Hans, Grasjas' debut album 'Doe Dat Dan' ("just do it", red.) has finally been released. On the album you play the trombone, sing and you also wrote most of the lyrics. Can I call you the soul of the band?
Hans Daans (trombone, vocals): "I guess I am, yes. When we started Grasjas, the line-up was still quite different, but for the last six months we've been more or less playing with the same people (Abby Ketami: keyboards/vocals, Gertozzz: guitar/vocals, Pupa Jammy: bass, Mustafa Ketami: drums, red.) and the more we play together, the better it's starting to sound."
I've rarely seen Grasjas on stage before the release of the album. Where the changes in line-up to blame for that?
Hans Daans: "Yeah, that made it quite difficult to perform live. First we were stuck without a bass player for a couple of months and after that our guitarist quit as well. Things like that make it hard to do stage shows."
Following in the footsteps of Campina Reggae, you guys are already the second Antwerp-based band choosing to do reggae in the Dutch language.
Hans Daans: "Dutch is my mother tongue, so it's much easier for me to express myself in. Singing in Dutch allows me to be much more profound or to add a humoristic note to my lyrics; something that doesn't come that easy when I'm writing in English."
Contrary to Campina Reggae, who use a sort of Campine dialect, you sing in the standardized version of the language, making a comparison with the legendary Dutch reggae band Doe Maar almost inevitable. Is that a comparison you'd rather avoid?
Hans Daans: "Doe Maar was a great band, so I take it as a compliment. Our music is quite different from theirs, but I guess when you do reggae in Dutch, you're bound to be compared to them."
What are your songs usually about?
Hans Daans: "I mainly draw from daily life, mostly my own, but sometimes other people's as well."
Some of the band members of Grasjas are proudly growing their dreadlocks. There's a thin line between reggae and Rastafari, how true is that for Grasjas?
Hans Daans: "Personally, I'm not into the whole Rastafarian philosophy. I've never focused on that aspect of reggae music and I think the same is true for the other band members in Grasjas."
The Netherlands now have their own Doe Maar successor in the form of Luie Hond, a band that scored a number one hit with 'Met Je Poes In De Playboy'. If the same luck would befall you guys, would you mind performing in what's known as the "commercial circuit"?
Hans Daans: "Should that happen then I have no objections with that, just as long as we can play the music we want to play without having to make concessions. The more people listening to our music, the better!"