Reindert Spanhove

Reindert is our music man in Leuven. You spot him more often with than without a saxophone and if you put him in a room with more than two musicians, a jam breaks out in no time.

To what extent is music in your blood?

Both my parents are musicians so music was always an obvious thing for me as a child. For a long time I even thought that everyone had a separate music room at home, just like us (laughs). The dream of playing the saxophone has also been there for as long as I can remember. Gradually the realisation grew that I didn't want to do that typical '50s jazz, that I had to find a different way to be creative. I then got into singer-songwriting and electronic music - two different genres that I still go shuffle between as a musician.

What musicians are an inspiration to you?

I look up to musicians who breathe music. People who really live the story. My saxophone teacher John Ruocco was such a person. The man is a living legend who not only taught me how to play the saxophone, but more importantly taught me what it means to be a musician. His stories and anecdotes fundamentally shaped my view of music.

You make music under the names Frayhm, Myhriel and Miran. Why so many musical alter egos?

I don't necessarily want to share everything I make by shouting it from the rooftops. The music created under Myhriel is more intimate and I deliberately keep it more confined. Whereas with the Frayhm songs I want nothing more than for all the world to hear them. No doubt these different alter egos also emerged from my ongoing quest as a musician. I have the urge to put something out into the world, but haven't figured out 100% what that something should be and what it should sound like.

How do teaching music and making music relate to each other for you?

This is something I often struggled with in the past because after teaching I often felt like I had no energy left to make music myself. At WISPER, that all fell a little more into place. I have more room to be myself during the workshops, and also get a lot of satisfaction and energy from the connection you have as a teacher with others who are all involved in art and music.

Music is much more about sounds and feelings than about chords and symbols.

What misconception among musicians would you like to end right here, right now?

That you could not enter into a creative process without a theoretical background. Sometimes theory even gets in the way of the intuitive aspect of creation. Music is much more about sounds and feelings than about chords and symbols.

You feel it every time when you get together with other musicians and start experimenting: the magic of creation. That regular practice will get you so much more tools as a musician than reading ten theoretical manuals. A good teacher sets out the beacons for such a practical search, instead of offering ready-made answers. Besides, it's not like I have those answers myself (laughs).

What plans do you have for the music workshops at WISPER in the future?

I would love to connect the world of producers and (electronic) musicians. The big, expensive recording studios have given way to a generation of bedroom producers - just look at Billie Eilish's first record, which was literally recorded in a bedroom. But despite that evolution, there is still a gap between the two. On the one hand, you have the producers who are super strong technically in putting tracks together, but get stuck on aspects like melody and harmony. And on the other hand, there are the musicians who have that melodic feel, but lack the technical know-how to achieve the sound they have in mind. I would very much like to close that gap.

You get unlimited resources to organize the course of your dreams. What does it look like?

I'd invest in a giant WISPER tour bus and use it to travel around Europe with a bunch of musicians and play on the streets of all sorts of cities. Just drive to a random city, unload and start playing. Now that is connecting. And what musician doesn't dream of going on tour?

Which musician would you like to spend a month in the studio with?

Without a doubt, Bon Iver. I think his creative processes are among the most interesting in music history. His latest record took years of work with a whole army of musicians and producers, but did you know that he recorded his very first record almost by accident in a hunting cabin in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin, with only a guitar and vocal microphone?

What musical tip do you have for the Wisperlings?

For those who don't know him yet: Nils Frahm. That man really reinvented the piano as an instrument by working with electronics. He may not be a piano virtuoso in the classical sense, but he is a great example of what can happen when the world of producers and musicians come together.

Written on Tue 9 April '24