Novatia – Flow (EP)

NOVATIA is het geesteskind van Ingmar Kops (synth en piano), Joep Selen (zang), Joost Lobbes (drums), Fabian van Dijk (bass) en Rindert Bul (elektrische en akoestische gitaren). De heren speelden in diverse prog-metalbands en waren een beetje klaar met het bedenken en spelen van complexe muziek die alleen omwille van de complexiteit werd gemaakt. Ze namen een stap terug om zichzelf te herontdekken en het gevolg werd Novatia (gebaseerd op het Latijnse woord “novare”, dat “herontdekking” betekent). Het vijftal wilde meer vanuit het hart en minder vanuit de geest spelen en was op zoek naar de perfecte vorm van toegankelijke muziek die desondanks wél interessant genoeg is. Door de basis to-the-point te houden en zich niet alleen op de muziek maar ook op de teksten te focussen biedt Novatia een positief en licht alternatief voor donkere rock, prog en metal.

novatialogo

Door Rinco Ennema

Met behulp van improvisatie als uitgangspunt en gebaseerd op klassieke opnametechnieken in de studio, creëerde Novatia een verzameling melodische liedjes die zich ergens tussen rock, pop, jazz, funk en (neo)prog bevinden. Deze nummers zweven van sferische en progressieve soundscapes naar energieke riffs en jazzy, funky grooves die herkenbaar zijn en lekker in het gehoor liggen. Tot nu toe heeft de band twee EP’s uitgegeven: het debuut ‘Remind you of yourself’ in 2015, gevolgd in 2016 door een tweede EP met de titel ‘Reflections of Thoughts’. Beide EP’s kregen gunstige recensies en nu is er een derde EP die naar verwachting op 5 november a.s. wordt uitgebracht.

‘Flow’ heet de nieuwe EP en telt net als de drie voorgangers vijf nummers en een totale speelduur van een klein half uur. De mannen hebben getracht om “een mooie mix van pop, rock, jazz, funk en progressieve rock samen te stellen” en volgens mij is dat gelukt. In het eerste nummer valt meteen al de zuivere stem van de zanger op, die af en toe wel wat gepolijst klinkt maar zeker voldoende power heeft om te kunnen overtuigen. Track twee bevat wat meer opvallend gitaarwerk en is anders van opbouw dan de eerste. Het nummer heeft meer body en komt lekker stevig binnen. De derde is inderdaad wat jazzy, funky en minder op rock gericht. Lichtvoetig en het huppelt lekker door, zal ‘k maar zeggen. Dat geldt eigenlijk ook voor het voorlaatste nummer maar die is wat meer poppy-jazzy-funky met een heerlijk trompetje en fraai toetsenwerk. Lekkere bassriffs ook op deze.

Dan de afsluiter. Een rustig nummer, muzikaal prima en als toetje smakelijk te noemen. Een afsluiter van een prima EP van een band die ondertussen ook best een volledig album had kunnen maken. De inspiratie is duidelijk aanwezig, de kennis en kwaliteit ook. Mochten de heren ooit besluiten om een full-album te maken zou het wat mij betreft wél een lekker afwisselende mogen zijn. Ik weet zeker dat ze dat kunnen.

novatiaband

Tracklist:

1. The Night is filled with Colors
2. Between the Lines
3. May we interrupt
4. This Drive
5. Before Autumn Comes

Wat zegt de band zélf over ‘Flow’? (in het Engels)

T h e  s t o r y  b e h i n d … F L O W

“FLOW” is a state of mind. Being in the flow is being creative, being productive and being in control. Being
on top of your game. It’s about making your own choices, following your heart and finding your way
through life. About trying to make a difference for yourself or others, no matter how large or small the significance. About staying positive, no matter how much negativity surrounds you. Getting in the flow
isn’t always easy. And staying in the flow is even harder. But when you’re in the flow, be sure to make the
most of it!

When we started writing for our third EP, we quickly decided that this should be the common thread for
this recording. Looking at ourselves and others we tried to figure out how people get inspired to do what they need to do to make the best of the situation. And it didn’t take long before we got in the flow
ourselves and the musical and lyrical ideas started to come together. The result is a collection of five songs which both musically and lyrically are all connected by this one common theme. From the melancholic
opening chords of “The Night is filled with Colours” to the raging riffs of “Between the Lines” to the jazzy
acoustic outro of “When Autumn Comes”, the record flows through a variety of styles, in true NOVATIA fashion, while telling the story of how people are searching, finding and losing their flow.

T h e  N i g h t  i s  f i l l e d  w i t h C o l o u r s

Shortly after releasing our second EP “Flowing Thoughts”, we stumbled upon a songwriting competition
where the objective was to write a song that was inspired by a piece of art (Art Rocks). Of all the art that we could choose from, the painting “Terrace of a café at night (Place du Forum)” from Vincent van Gogh
inspired us the most. Not only because it’s a beautiful piece of art, but also because of the story behind it.
Van Gogh had always wanted to paint a night scene but never found the perfect setting where he could apply his own, unconventional style. Until he walked into a street scene on a warm summer night which
captured his artistic eye. Staying away from the usual dark and grey tones that dominate the night, he
used vibrant colours to accentuate the warmth that was added to the colours of the steet terrace by the gas lights that were used in that period. After completing the painting, he wrote enthusiastic letters to his
sister on how much he enjoyed creating his work of art.

A bit similar to van Gogh with his uncommon choice of colours and unconventional use of techniques like
pointillism, we decided to take an alternative approach while writing this song. We decided to use
uncommon (for us at least…) major keys and chord progressions when writing the music and melodies. Lyrically, we tried to steer away from the more obvious themes. We could have let the street scene itself
inspire us and could for instance have written a song about lovers meeting in a bar at night. But instead we
decided to focus on the story behind the painting: the story about the artist and his inspiration. We tried to
capture the feeling that we think van Gogh must have experienced when he finally found the setting that
captivated him. Musically and lyrically, the song follows the story of a man walking aimlessly through the
streets of a small French town until he stumbles upon a colourful scene which inspires him to create the most beautiful painting of his life.

We didn’t win the competition with this song, but that didn’t matter. It was the first step on our path to our new EP and we found the direction in which we wanted to go. We were in the FLOW…

B e t w e e n  t h e  L i n e s

After looking at van Gogh, we tried to find new sources of inspiration on our quest to figure out what drives
people. The news (which is widely available on TV, radio and the web) seems to be a widely used source of inspiration for many bands in this information age. Given the somber and negative backgrounds of the
news of today, this definitely seems to have an effect on todays music and lyrics. As a band, we usually try to have a positive outlook and decided to skip the news and look a bit closer to home. During the last few
years we met some amazing people who we count to the inner circle of NOVATIA. We decided to bring
these people together in an online community where we could discuss with them about the band and let them partake in the creation of new music. Essentially, these people are now part of the band… that is why
we call them IN-NOVATIA.

One of the members of IN-NOVATIA is doing a lot of volunteering and has started a foundation to help to
support women in New Delhi (India) to be able to support themselves. The way she speaks passionately
about her activities inspired us to write this second song of the album. In short, the song is all about choices. With all the dark, scaring news we are exposed to each and every day, it would be easy just to sit
behind your screen, dwell in the darkness and let apathy and fear take over. Or you could go outside into
the light and try to make a difference for the ones you care about. Passively absorb all the negativity or actively look for the positive? The choice is yours… Think for yourself and read “Between the Lines”…

Musically, this song starts out with a long, spherical build-up after which it breaks down in some of the heaviest riffs and solo’s we’ve written so far in the history of NOVATIA. You could say this is definitely the
most proggy song on “FLOW”.

M a y  w e  i n t e r r u p t

The next song we wrote for this EP is more introspective: we looked at ourselves and tried to figure out
what makes us tick. Our major source of inspiration was a show we did at a boating festival in the north of the Netherlands. We took all of our gear and PA on the road and drove for hours to get there. We set up
our gear at the pier and played for three hours straight while people sailed by in their boats. Some stayed
for a while and listened and some rushed to the end of the canals to get to the bar as soon as possible. Soon after we started, we realized we (and all the other bands at the festival) were just background music
for the people sailing and watching the boats. So we threw our setlist overboard and started jamming in
the setting sun. We got a BBQ and some beers on stage and just enjoyed ourselves.

After a short night in what was clearly not the best hotel in town, we looked back at an amazing weekend,
realizing that creating music (or any form of art) is something you mainly do for yourself. The experience of creating music has almost no alignment with the experience of listening to it. We probably have spent
way over 50 hours on writing, discussing, recording, mixing and mastering this specific song that, for most people, is nothing more than a 4 minute musical backdrop for their regular activities. And if we are really
lucky, we may interrupt those regular activities and make people actually listen to the music and the lyrics.
Still, we will continue to put our hearts and souls into creating music as that is what we love to do and what gives us energy. Of course if people enjoy our music, we see this as a huge compliment. But we can’t
influence what people think of our music, so we just will focus on creating art according to our own
standards. And looking back to the first song of the album (The Night is filled with Colours), we assume we are in good company. Even a masterpiece by van Gogh is for most people “just a painting on the wall”…

Musically, it is a bit of a weird song, almost fusion inspired. And in that sense it also lives up to the title, being a short interruption of our “regular” program of jazzy, funky, proggy pop rock.

T h i s  D r i v e

Writing this song was an interesting experiment. We asked our IN-NOVATIA members to contribute their
stories to us. We locked ourselves into a studio for one day with these stories and forced ourselves to write a full song inspired by one of these stories in one day. We had several IN-NOVATIA members coming over to
the studio during the day to provide us with instant feedback.

First step was of course to select a story to begin with. Luckily, one of these stories fitted very much into
the whole FLOW-theme and explored the fact that the moment you start to realize that you are in the
flow, is often the moment that you start overthinking and consequently lose your flow. The story itself was how your disruptive ego can destroy a good game of golf, but could be applicable to anything – including
making music. When things are going smoothly there is bound to be a moment when that little voice in
your head starts to intervene and you start to calculate your next move instead of following your gut feeling. That is when your ego disrupts the flow. During the day, we had some of these disruptive
moments, but we managed to let go, take some distance and regain our groove.

The end result of this long, intensive day was a very dynamic and funky song with some interesting chord
progressions and thundering bass lines. The final recording sessions for this song were a lot of fun as we had a horn section come over to the studio to funk up this song even more!

B e f o r e  A u t u m n  C o m e s

The closing song of “FLOW” tells the story of someone who is on the verge of a breakdown, a depression. Totally out of the flow, the protagonist is at a point where he doesn’t see any way out anymore. But
eventually he realizes, inspired by his friends and loved-ones, that he himself is the only one who can
decide whether his summer will continue or if autumn will come. Eventually he chooses to try to regain the flow in his life and steers away from what possibly might have been a drastic, irreversible decision. In a
sense, this song continues the story from the song “Rule” of our second EP “Reflection of Thoughts”, but
this time from the perspective of the depressed soul instead of the helping hand.

Musically, this acoustic, jazzy song is very atmospheric and laid-back. Instrumentally, we have taken a step
back to an almost minimalistic setting, allowing plenty of room for some breezy percussion and heartfelt vocals to deliver the story.

http://www.novatia.nl/

https://www.facebook.com/novatiamusic/

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