Arno / TC Matic Bookmark and Share


21 May 1949

Arno Hintjens (usually referred to as Arno) is a Belgian artist, born in Ostend. After a first try with the group 'Freckleface' Arno Hintjens and Paul Decoutere form the group Tjens Couter (named after their surnames) in 1972. In the seventies they recorded two albums filled with bluesrock. After the single 'If it blows (let it blow)', the transformation from Tjens Couter to T.C.Matic begins. The change of name becomes official in 1980, to underline the move from traditional R&B to more modern sounds. After the single Paul Decoutere leaves the new band T.C.Matic after a few months (and is replaced by Jean-Marie Aerts). TC Matic mixed diverse styles: new wave, blues, funk, hard rock, avant-garde and even French chanson, resulting in nervous metropolitan rock with American influences but a distinct European character.

Although Tjens Couter had been a well-known group, TC Matic got off on a difficult start. Only Marcel Vanthilt (Arbeid Adelt!) who was looking for bands to fill a record for the ASLK (a Belgian Bank) showed some interest in their demo-tape. With the 75.000 fr sponsor money from the bank they headed of to London and recorded five songs. 'Bazooka Joe' was released on the compilation album 'Get sprouts', the other four were released as a double single, without a record company. Still no-one was interested, so Paul Evrard, former manager for Raymond van het Groenewoud, founded his own record company Parsley. The single "O la la la" was released and sells 15.000 copies. The debut album 'T.C.Matic' that follows soon afterwards gets equally well received. Belgium soon becomes too small. They try to make a break to abroad with 'L'apache' their second album. The passage across the boundaries becomes a fact (they tour all around Europe) but never becomes a huge success. Only in Scandinavia the group develops a following.

Two more albums will follow 'Choco' of 1983 and 'Yé Yé' of 1985 (the only T.C.Matic record not produced by Jean-Marie Aerts) but then it’s already over for TC Matic. After a tour with the Simple Minds in 1986 the band stops and Arno goes solo. after the split of TC Matic, the tandem Jean-Marie Aerts-Arno stayed intact. They record five albums together until Idiot Savants in 1993. This record, which was recorded in Nashville and produced by Glenn Rosenstein, is generally considered his best record. In between the solo work he also undertakes the blues project 'Charles Et Les Lulus' (1991). This project sees a second album as 'Charles And The White Trash European Blues Connection' in 1998.

Arno keeps on releasing albums and focuses more and more on the French language. In 2002 he received the title 'Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres' ('Knight in the Arts and Literature') of the French government. Follow up album 'French bazaar' becomes a multi seller on the French market. After giving up smoking he returns in 2007 with the album 'Jus de box' highly influenced by music from the sixties. The album recieves mixed reviews. Three years later he recaptures himself with the album 'Brussld' an ode to the Belgian capital, followed by Future Vintage (12) and Human Incognito (16). In 2012 he receives a lifetime achievement award by Belgian radio 2 for his achievements in popmusic.

On the web:

- arno's website: http://www.arno.be
- fansitre: http://www.hintjens.be

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Lucio Battisti (Italy)

Hana Hegrova (Czech Republic & Slovakia)

What do we think:

DB: Although they only irregularly  work together since 1994 the tandem Aerts and Hintjens is what symbolises the music of Arno for me. The edgy almost neurotic guitar play, the funky beats and the bizarre lyrics give an impressive musical output. This doesn’t mean that the albums are just as good. Both artists are to experimental and restless to give a constant quality album wise. Don’t let it put you off though, there are lots of little treasures to be discovered. Arno sings partly in Dutch, English, French and Ostend dialect although in recent years he sticks to French. One of the most interesting singers that Belgium has given the world.

PR: TC Matic is a highly respected and influential representative of europopmusic. A unique sound from Belgium during the 'dark eighties'. Arno persuied a relatively succesful solo career. His albums are usually of high quality. Arno's interpretations and his own songs are very intense and emotional. The link between punk, pop and the classic French chansons.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪♪- TC Matic - TC Matic - 1981

♪♪♪ - TC Matic - Choco - 1983

♪♪♪ - Charlatan - 1988

♪♪♪♪ - Idiots Savants - 1993

♪♪♪ - French Bazaar - 2004

♪♪ - Jus de box - 2007

♪♪♪♪ - Brussld - 2010

♪♪♪ - Future vintage - 2012

♪♪♪ - Human incognito - 2016

♪♪♪♪ - Santeboutique - 2019

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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