“Beautiful original compositions and solid drumming.”Lucas van Merwijk (world renowned drummer, clinician, band leader, author)
“He skillfully leads the band through jazz, fusion, pop, rock and all the stuff in between.”Kenneth Dahl Knudsen (Danish bass player, composer, band leader, educator)
Inner Home is the debut album of drummer/composer Simon Hölscher. The album has been released in May 2020 on vinyl and cd. The album contains musical postcards from Aalborg, Amsterdam and remote places. It also celebrates Simon’s belief that we all carry our home inside of us, thanks to the people we meet, the places we visit and the memories we collect. It’s safe to say that Inner Home is one of Aalborg’s most international albums.
It was early adopted by Dutch label ZenneZ Records, which also represents artists like Joris Teepe, Hermine Deurloo (feat. Steve Gadd), Rembrandt Frerichs, Kika Sprangers and The Preacher Men.
Simon is a soon graduating Master’s student at the Royal Academy of Music in Aalborg, Denmark. His sound ranges from big band jazz to indie rock. In the same year, he performed with jazz great Tineke Postma in the HKU Big Band and ran a support show for Sigur Rós with another band. Touring in Europe has further shaped him as a musician and human being. Needless to say, Inner Home is heavily influenced by this all. Modern jazz, funk, fusion and breakbeat music intertwine on this special record that will speak to many ears and souls.
The band consists of musicians from Denmark, Latvia, Czech Republic and the Netherlands:
Casper Hejlesen (guitar); Dan Hejslet (trumpet, flugelhorn); Edgars Cīrulis (piano, keys); Jan Sedlák (bass); Simon Hölscher (drums, composition); Thomas Hust (harmonica).
Follow the progression of Inner Home on this blog.
BLOG #16 Album review by digital magazine JazzFlits (in Dutch)
(May 8, 2020) The jazz publishers of JazzFlits were so kind to review Inner Home. The text is in Dutch (read it here on page 8) but here a translated fragment:
“After the Utrecht Conservatory, Simon has spread his wings to Denmark to study for his Masters at the Royal Academy of Music in Aalborg. If we look at the international group that supports him on his debut, we may conclude that he landed well. (…) It’s a solid team of fine musicians that make this album shine; together and with their solos.”
BLOG #15 Appearance in Danish podcast series ‘In the Process’
(April 10, 2020) Out now: a long interview about the creative process behind ‘Inner Home’. It’s episode #6 of podcast series ‘In the Process’, created by a collective of musicians and producers from Denmark.
You can listen to the full 40-minute interview here.
BLOG #14 Crowdfunding, concert and Covid-19
(April 3, 2020) Good news and bad news this week. Tonight would have been the album release party in Denmark. Due to the risk prevention rules regarding the Covid-19 virus the concert had to be cancelled (and postponed for now). There would be too many people in a relatively small concert hall tonight. We don’t want to create a risky enviroment where a virus can potentially spread. We can also imagine that people who were initially excited to attend the concert decide to play it safe and stay home now. The release party is not complete without you. We will find a better moment in the future.
There is good news too. The crowdfunding campaign for Inner Home is active since a month and dozens of music lovers have already ordered a vinyl record or CD. The donations will cover a big part of the expenses made to manufacture these physical copies. I personally think they look amazing, but that comes at a price. The crowdfunding page can be found here: https://igg.me/at/innerhome.
BLOG #13 Revealing the album on vinyl
(March 18, 2020) Here it is, the vinyl edition of Inner Home. The photography on the center labels comes from Sam Tomajko. The chosen colour of vinyl is transparent, to match the open view of the windows in the pictures. The photo on side 2 is different from the one on side 1. On side 2 I have my back turned to the viewer. When you turn the record around, it’s as if I also turn around with it.
BLOG #12 Test pressing = APPROVED
(February 28, 2020) Making a good sounding vinyl record is a complicated process. I have trusted The Multimedia Company, a record maker in the North-Holland province, with this delicate task. The test pressing got delivered this week and I must say… It sounds great!
Black is just the standard colour for the test pressing. I can promise you that the official vinyl record will be pressed in a special colour.
BLOG #11 Single release: The Amsterdream is out now!
(February 14, 2020) Second album single ‘The Amsterdream’ is out now!
Click for Spotify / Click for YouTube
This ballad features a great harmonica player from Denmark. There’s a little story behind the guy and his wonderful solo. Last year around this time, I would often jam at a café near the fjord. It was always a come-and-go of musicians, sometimes there were eight people on stage. At a certain moment during the jam, I hear the soloist ending his solo; a moment when you usually pay a bit closer attention to your fellow musicians: Who/what comes next?
Some of the musicians were covering the view, so I didn’t really get the communication. A harmonica player had been stand-by in a dark corner, apparently, because I suddenly heard him starting a solo. I switched from sticks to brushes, giving him more sonic space. Damn, this solo was good!
His name is Thomas Hust, a local from Aalborg. He once studied drums (!) at Berklee College of Music in Boston and he has played with Horace Parlan, Victor Mendoza and Duke Jordan. Here in Aalborg, I saw him at the jam often. He would also kill it on piano and drums. As late as September, the idea arose to ask him as a guest soloist on ‘The Amsterdream’. I’m very proud of this one!
BLOG #10 Single release: Karolinelund is out now!
(January 31, 2020) ‘Karolinelund’ is out now!
Click for Spotify / Click for YouTube
The opening piece of my upcoming album is about a park in Northern Denmark. It was once a place with rollercoasters and other attractions, but since it has closed down there is only an abandoned gate with four horses left. Karolinelund Park has a mysterious vibe about it, which I tried to capture in the music.
Dan Hejslet – trumpet
Edgars Cīrulis – piano
Jan Sedlák – bass
Simon Hölscher – drums
BLOG #9 First single Karolinelund ready to be pre-saved!
(January 24, 2020) The first single will be available on the 31st of January! Click the link to pre-save it to your Spotify library: https://add-it.feiyr.com/Simon%20Hölscher/Karolinelund
BLOG #8 First single coming soon
(January 17, 2020) The first single of ‘Inner Home’ will be out on all your favorite streaming platforms in about 2 weeks.
Special thanks to my amazing cooperation partners during and after the recording: Martin Korsgaard for recording us and for his good vibes during the studio days. Jon Alexander for his excellent mixing and mastering. Samuel Tomajko (Instagram: pm_jpeg) for his stunning photography and cover art. Statens Kunstfond and Aalborg Kommune for supporting the project.
BLOG #7 Extraordinary places for inspiration
(January 3, 2020) Happy New Year! The first single will be released this month. We’re getting closer to hearing the first sounds of Inner Home. On the previous blog, I promised to share a strange hobby of mine. I would also like to shine a light on some of my inspiration.
I spend half of my time at the Musikkens Hus in Aalborg. Its rooms, its instruments, its studio, its library and its people have a great effect on a young artist like myself. It has a unique look, but it’s not the only one of its kind. The architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au has designed a handful of extraordinary buildings around the world. I was able to see a few already, and the hobby continues.
The Busan Cinema Center in South-Korea has the longest cantilever roof, a Guinness World Record. Visiting South-East Asia was a rush in general. It has shown me how big and diverse the world is, and how low the skylines of Europe actually are. A piece on Inner Home highlights this journey.
A year later, in Europe, I got to visit two Coop Himmelb(l)au creations in Lyon and Munich. The Musée des Confluences is an anthropology museum and the BMW World is a car showroom. Two things that I’m very interested in – humanity and automobiles – were also great sources of inspiration for the album.
These references might seem abstract at this point, but things will become more clear once some of the music and artwork are published. Stay tuned!
BLOG #6 The House of Music: a 5-star hotel for musicians
(December 20, 2019) The architecture in Aalborg shows a lot of variety. For example: there is a 500 year old church in the city center, but the nearby apartments were built this year. One of the biggest eyecatchers along the fjord is definitely the Musikkens Hus (House of Music). Maybe you hate it, maybe you love it. Some call it an iconic landmark, others call it a Swiss cheese. Insiders call it a 5-star hotel for musicians.
The entire album has been recorded in this building. As said before, we wanted to create this live sound and I think we have succeeded.
The Royal Academy of Music is on the top two floors. Here you will find the typical music academy things: sound isolation doors, teachers’ offices, a lunch room and arty furniture all around. Students have 24/7 access to the music rooms. Compare that to other academies, which often close at 8 or 10 pm.
Description of self: “Musikkens Hus is a place where people gather around great musical experiences. It is an open and relevant multi-purpose venue that brings visitors, students and performing artists together in a shared interest – music.”
Next week I will tell you about a strange hobby of mine. It has a lot to do with the Musikkens Hus.
BLOG #5 Why Denmark?
This blog post has been published in Dutch on external social platforms on December 13, 2019.
(December 6, 2019) The end of the year is typically a time for personal reflection. This got me thinking about where I was last year around this time: recovering from culture shock and the many official documents in a strange language. Why I wanted to go to Denmark, you ask?
Actually, we could speak of going back to Denmark. It all started in 2016, when I took the opportunity to study abroad. Denmark was highly recommended, so I went there for one semester. The pace of the city, the study facilities, the healthy Danish rye bread and my gym buddies had a great impact on my physical and mental health. It showed me a new way of living, with new habits and new results. Back in the Netherlands, many people noticed the change.
I went back to this environment because I wanted more of this development. However, going abroad for years is a different story. It took months to get settled. Once that was finally done, I was left with a lot of room for artistic development, creativity, a big project, you name it. This is how the idea of making an album came to mind initially.
The Danish State is very supportive of the arts. There are dozens of public (and private) funds for artistic projects. Denmark sees the social relevance of art and is willing to support underfinanced projects that show great potential. A good plan could get support, based on a well-written application. Also, big music venues get a yearly subsidy for artist booking (if I have understood this correctly). Accordingly, musicians get a minimum ‘tarif’ for their performance.
* Hello, government officials in the Netherlands. Do we read along? *
Let’s not forget that I am also a graduating Master student. We have a relatively big freedom of choice here. I could basically set up my courses in a way that they support the album project (first taking Composition classes, followed by Production and Entrepreneurship). The academy’s studio facilities are impressive and don’t even get me started on the musicians who I get to make music with. In other words: there is no better time for an album than now!
BLOG #4 Living the 4-way coordination lifestyle
(November 29, 2019) Have you ever seen a drummer using both hands and feet independently, playing different patterns at different tempos? We call this 4-way coordination (a drumbook with this title was published in 1991) and it perfectly describes how I have spent the past week. Several things needed attention:
– the final feedback round for the mixes;
– a brainstorming session with the cover art designer;
– talking details with the booker of my release party (yes, it’s on!);
– and pitching Inner Home to certain music organisations.
The to-do list was always within reach; coffee and water too.
Plan for next week: enjoying some concerts in Aalborg and joining in the Christmas coziness (it’s called hygge in Danish).
BLOG #3 Mixing day at Alexander Audio, Copenhagen
(November 22, 2019) Another week has passed and it was time to visit Jon in Copenhagen to have our ears in the same room. Inner Home is going to be quite a dynamic album (think: jazzrock, ballads and breakbeats) so we can’t apply a one-size-fits-all principle. Jon was often ahead of my thoughts and crafted a great sound for the album.
Jon Alexander is a British recording/mix engineer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has worked as an assistant engineer on sessions ranging from Hans Zimmer’s score for the movie Interstellar to Made in Brazil by Eliane Elias. After graduating with first class honours from the world-famous Tonmeister course at the University of Surrey, he sharpened his skills at Abbey Road Studios in London. Today he combines his technical and musical expertise to deliver quality recording material, with a focus on jazz and classical.
BLOG #2 On track and off to Copenhagen…
(November 15, 2019) All of my album tracks have been recorded in the beautiful Musikkens Hus in Aalborg. My musician friends and I were fortunate to spend three days here, completely focused on the creative process. We have chosen to record the majority of the music live, which will give you more of an intimate and concert-like listening experience.
The files have been transferred to a sound magician named Jon. He will cast some magic spells on the mixes from his Copenhagen studio. So if you happen to live in the Danish capital, please don’t mind the thunder.
Next week, I will report from Copenhagen where we finish the production.
BLOG #1 This is the story of Inner Home