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Thé Lau :17 juli 1952, Bergen

Founding member of Dutch popband The Scene began his musical career in the local bands Tortilla and Turquoise. Together with Jan de Hont he was one of the members of the country-rock Group Music Garden before he joined cabaret company Neerlands Hoop (build around comedian Freek de Jonge and musician Bram Vermeulen). In 1979 he formed The Scene and started to write his own material which was half in Dutch and half in English. A performance on the TV show ‘VARA’s popkaravaan’ gained the band fans but no contract. In 1980 the band was even voted the ‘best band without a contract’. That changed when Dureco signed the band and the first, mostly English, album was released. In 1983 The Scene went to Poland as part of a European exchange project where they toured with Budka Suflera.

From the start the band had the obstacle of ever changing band members around Thé. Due to this fact they lost their contract and it took until 1985 before the second album appeared, released independently on their own label. This was followed by some single releases called 'S.E.X.' (1986), 'Ritme', 'Wereld' (1987) and a  cover of Madonna's 'Borderline' (1988). With minor succes. In 1987 Thé Lau starts his close working relationship with Rick de Leeuw, singer of the popular Tröckener Kecks. The Dutch languaged album ‘Rij rij rij’ (´Drive drive drive´) is the first result. Based on this album Phonogram signs the band and work starts on the album ‘Blauw’ ('Blue'). The single ‘Iedereen is van de wereld’ (literally 'Everybody is out of the world' but in fact meaning ‘Everybody is out of their mind’) was a first minor success but the album meant their breakthrough. Oddly enough it was neighbouring Belgium that embraced the band and it was only a year later that Holland picked up on the album. In the end the album received an Edison for ‘best local album’. At this time the most steady formation is active with Emilie Blom van Assendelft on bass, Jeroen Booy on drums and Otto Cooymans on keyboards. One more attempt to break the international market was done at the New Music Seminar in New York in 1991. But fate (and electricity) was against the band and it would be years before Thé Lau would sing in the English language again. In 1992 the album ‘Open’ came out again produced by De Leeuw. In the same year ‘Iedereen is van de wereld’ is re-released as a benefit single (with a track from De Dijk on the other side) for Médecins Sans Frontières.

In the nineties the band released very diverse albums. ‘Avenue De La Scene’ is a dark and somewhat melancholic album, ‘Arena’, written with Emile den Tex, is latin / Spanish influenced and ‘Marlene’ which features orchestral arrangements by Dante Oei. This diversity makes it hard to pinpoint the band and tracks like the ten-minute poem ‘Otto’s imperium’ doesn’t make it easier. In 1997 Thé Lau does  his first solo theatre tour called 'Lau Late Night'. Arena is also released in the German language (including as extra some older songs also translated). In 1998 sales go down so radically that the band is dumped although live they stay active until 2002. In 2000 Thé Lau releases his first book with short stories called 'De sterren van de hemel' ('The stars of heaven').

In 2002 the other band members do no longer agree with Lau about the musical course and Lau decides to release ‘De god van Nederland’ ('The god of the Netherlands') as a solo album. In the papers he refuses however to declare The Scene dead. In 2005 he releases a special single ‘In vrijheid’ ('In fereedom') to celebrate the Dutch liberation of 1945 (written for the liberation-festivals). In 2006 he releases a second solo album and again a book. Five years after the split, The Scene get back together. In May a new CD is released and in the summer the band tours festivals in the Netherlands and Belgium. The album 2007 consists of adaptations of classic songs from The Scene and two new songs. Guest musicians on the album are Paskal Jakobsen from Bløf (on 'Iedereen is van de wereld') and Belgian singers Sarah Bettens (on 'Blauw') and Tom Barman from dEUS (on 'Rigoureus').Two years later a completely new album is released, their first in 11 years. In 2012 the album 'Code' is released recorded in four days with a more raw result.

On the web:

- The scene's website: http://www.behindthescene.nl

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

- Dado Topić (Croatia)

What do we think:

DB: Thé Lau and his band The Scene has always been a bit of an odd factor in Dutch pop. Starting to sing in Dutch when it just became out of fashion. Being more close to Belgian romantism then Nederbeat and recording albums in a diversity of musical styles. Mostly under influence of Thé Lau's stubborness to conform to anything regular. The Scene moves somewhere between intellectual popmusic and straight forward singer/songwriter. Something of a Dutch John Cale. In the end the band endured all musical changing winds around them and is now regarded as one of Holland's best.

PR: The Scene has left an impressive mark on Dutch pop music during the nineties. Some of their singles, like 'Blauw', have become part of the collective Dutch memory of adolescents, growing up in this time period. One can argue whether they were (and still are) part of Holland's primary league of pop bands, but they have had undoubtedly a lot of influence on many Dutch bands that have emerged since the mid-nineties. Both lyrical inspiration and romantic undertones are very much recognisable in for instance succesfull Dutch band Bløf..

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪♪ - Blauw - 1990

♪♪♪ - Open - 1992

♪♪♪- Avenue De La Scene - 1993

♪♪♪ - Arena - 1996

♪♪♪♪- Liefde op doorreis - 2009

♪♪♪♪ - Code - 2012


Further listening:
The Scene - 1980, This is real - 1985; Rij rij rij - 1988; Arena (in German) - 1998; Marlene - 1998; 2007 - 2007

The Lau solo:
De god van Nederland (2002); Tempel der liefde (2006)

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands