In 2012 I wrote Bolted Down, a first song text based on the death of my father. Making this album has become a grieving process for me. It is made in memory of my father, Zeger van de Bijl and dedicated to my mother and sister.
In 2012 my father died after 7 years of complications due to his paraplegia, caused by a medical failure after a motorcycle accident. The last years of his life were very difficult for him, so I sometimes secretly wished that it would not take too long, but when he actually died, it was much too soon of course. It made mourning very difficult for me. I felt numb and was indifferent to almost everything, so I had to clear my mind and get my life together. In 2014 I stayed at a retreat in Bromskirchen, Germany. There, at last, I wrote everything down into six songs. I recorded them on my four track recorder and called them “The Broms Sessions.” They are the blueprint of this album. After my father died I wish I had discussed many things with him, although during my visits I often could not get myself to find the right words or simply did not think of it.
Therefore, there are three songs on this album about my father, or my feelings about him (Bolted Down, Please Tell Me How and Brief Moment). Some others are not about him, but remind me of him or were dedicated to him. (If We Never Meet Again This Side Of Heaven, Sparrows and Still).
Other songs are about other feelings that I faced during the grieving process, like doubts about my faith. I was angry with God and felt misled, or maybe had I fooled myself (Tinder)? I was annoyed by hustlers who always know how to get their will done (Muzzler). At the same time came to realize that I cannot always solve everything and that sometimes it is okay to do nothing (Stay For A While and Afraid). And what is an album without love songs (Sunset Eyes and The Next Plane)?
So although it was not my first intention to write a concept album, it nevertheless became one. This Side Of Heaven is about life, which is sometimes difficult and sad, sometimes very beautiful and fun. And it’s about hope. The title comes from "If We Never Meet Again This Side Of Heaven", a song my father loved and which I also put on the CD-version. (You can find it as a bonus track, when buying the whole CD.)
About my sound: I like the sounds and music of The Carlton Chronicles of South San Gabriel. It sounds like the band is right in front of you or in your own living room. That is also the case with Bonnie Prince Billy. I also feel inspired by Jason Upton's "On The Rim Of The Visible World", on which he not only sings about his faith, but also about all the other things in life. He recorded it in his own house and I like that sound.
"This Side Of Heaven" was recorded in cottage, bedroom, living room, garden shed and garage. And that is exactly what I wanted it to sound like.
Download your own copy of This Side Of Heaven at Bandcamp for only €2 and get 10 tracks plus two bonus tracks.
You can olso download a copy (ten tracks only) on CDBaby for only $2.
But If you'd like to get a hard copy CD in a nice tray with 12 songs you can get it for only €5,- (minus shipping costs). Just go to the contact button and leave a message.
But whatever you do, please follow me on Spotify!
Many thanks go out to :
my wife and daughters, Mara & Judah, for believing in me and giving me the time and space to do this; Mark Korbien; Arjan Grooten; Peter Hartman; Jeroen Trenning; Erwin Versluis; Quince
Jones, for checking my English; and everyone who supported me in any other way.
Recorded, mixed and produced by Mr. Hatchet. All music & lyrics written by Mr. Hatchet except for "If We Never Meet Again This Side Of Heaven" written by Albert E. Brumley (bonus track), "Sparrows" written by Catherine MacLellan (bonus track) and "Still" music written with Whipster.
All instruments and vocals by Mr. Hatchet except :
Brief Moment/ Please Tell Me How; bass by Mark,
Bolted Down/ Tinder/ Still; pedal steel by Arjan,
Tinder/ Still; piano by Peter, The Next Plane; el. guitar, add. lyrics & backing vocal by Jeroen,
Please Tell Me How; Organ by Erwin
and The Next Plane; piano by my dear Mara.
This was all recorded at home in the living room, or in the garage, with nothing more than a four track recorder, a couple of mics, a laptop and some mixing software. Hope you like it.