“We got together one Sunday, we jammed, and we were like, ‘Hey, this feels awesome. Let’s conquer the world together,” Joshua, lead vocalist, laughs. Chef’Special–complete with vocalist Joshua Nolet, guitarist Guido Joseph, bassist Jan Derks, keyboardist Wouter Heeren, and drummer Jerry Prudon–began their musical journey together during a warm summer eight years ago. With newfound inspiration and motivation, the guys bought a van and traveled down the west coast of Europe. Along the way, they played shows in surf camps in exchange for food, drinks, and a little bit of gas.
Hailing from the Netherlands, a relatively small area with a small music scene, it was difficult for the band to get their music out there in the beginning. “The Netherlands is not that big, so there’s not a lot of room for bands that are not very mainstream”, Wouter explains. “If you’re in a sub-genre, it’s definitely harder to get noticed because there’s not a lot of people going to those shows. In the US, there are so many people that every genre of music has a relatively big crowd compared to the Netherlands. All kinds of music can fill a stadium with people in the States,” he adds.
When asked about the biggest struggle Chef’Special has faced in their eight years, Joshua clarifies, “Collectively as a band? Because I have so many struggles.” Jan chimes in with a light-hearted “every day,” and everyone laughs. The truth of the matter is that while life as a touring band can be fun, musicians are still normal people who face the same ups-and-downs as everyone else.
Touring, for one, poses its fair share of challenges for the band. On top of missing friends and family, they also need to keep themselves healthy, which can be difficult when living out of a van or a tour bus. “I think having a little structure every day helps with that. Staying fit, energized, and healthy is something you have to work on,” Jan reflects.
Evidently, they have learned that waking up every day in a different place can take a toll on both body and mind. Josh describes, “We get out of a venue, get on the bus, we sleep, and then we wake up somewhere else. So, it’s weird. We don’t really know where we are right now. We can see it on the map, but we don’t have a physical idea.” Sometimes, you just don’t know which way is North, and this can certainly cause you to feel lost.
Check out the rest of the feature in our upcoming issue–coming soon!
PHOTOS: PENELOPE MARTINEZ
WORDS: MICHELLE BALZER