Personal Trainer are the Amsterdam based collective who are rising to fame after being picked up by indie record label Holm Front. Meeting the band was a bit like meeting the seven dwarfs, although I wouldn't say any of them fit the 'grumpy' bill. Mischievous and energetic, it was both hard to keep up with them and impossible not to feel drawn to them. They have direction, that's for sure, but they struck me as having a quality many of us lose at a young age - a desire to run towards the unknown and to live a life of spontaneity.
Was it fate that they ended up forming a band together? There were certainly a lot of synchronicities. Kilian recounts fondly the day his 10 year old self turned on the TV and caught Willem on television - a moment that inspired him to pursue a career in music and undoubtedly brought the pair together to form a band years later. Both in studio and on stage they gravitate towards chaos, citing experimentation and improvisation as being an integral to their creative process. With a calendar full or tour dates and the release of their new single 'Key of Ego', we managed to catch up with frontman Willem Smit to talk new years resolutions, upcoming gigs and, of course, egos...
Rachel Edwards: Happy New Year guys! How did you see in the New Year?
Willem Smit: Hi, happy new year to you too! A bunch of Trainers had a nice couple of parties in Amsterdam I think. I heard they went to the Vondelbunker, a small venue and a bunch of rehearsal rooms and studios located in a bridge over the Vondelpark. I was away and spent new years eve playing geoguessr with my girlfriend!
R.E: I broke all my resolutions already. Do you have any New Years Resolutions?
W.S: I want to drink less, eat healthier and walk for an hour every day. Musically, I'd want to do something I haven't done before without it feeling forced!
R.E: What are you most excited this year?
W.S: Putting out new music and playing live. The last two years venues have been mostly closed in The Netherlands.
We played a bunch of seated shows here, as well as some live streams (we did a 24 hour live stream show in April).
All fun and interesting - made me look at live shows differently. I'm very much looking forward to playing "proper" shows.
R.E: Will you be touring? Where are you most looking forward to playing?
W.S: We have a tour planned in the UK in May, which is exciting. I'm also looking forward to playing our first ever Amsterdam headline show. We've played in Amsterdam a lot with other bands and Personal Trainer, but I realised quite recently that we never had a full capacity Personal Trainer Show in Amsterdam yet. We're playing a venue called Paradiso Noord, which is a big black box with a good PA and no vibe really. I like it for shows!
R.E: What has been your craziest fan moment?
W.S: Being a fan: Stephen Malkmus co-produced my former band Canshaker Pi's first record when I was 17, which was definitely a crazy fan moment! Being the star: I once walked into an elevator and saw on someone's phone he was listening to one of my songs. That was pretty cool.
R.E: Who are you listening to at the moment? W.S: I listened to "A Collection" by Claire Rousay yesterday. I listened to the Mitski record "Be The Cowboy" a couple of times and I revisited some De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig (Amsterdam band) stuff.
R.E: Do you have a song you're most excited to release?
W.S: We're putting out (or have put out) Key Of Ego on the 2nd of February. I'm stoked about that as it's the first new song in a while...
R.E: With so many of you in the band, do you ever find clashes of ego?
W.S: Constantly! Naturally I think! But I think it hardly ever gets in the way of anything. We're all pretty chill.
R.E: What do you like about the London music scene?
R.E: And lastly... What's your favourite F Word?
W.S: Depends on context I guess, but flashbang sounds cool.
R.E: That's a good one! Thanks for talking to us!
You can listen to Personal Trainer's new single 'Key of Ego' here