Back to

He wants you to listen to his music in the way one looks at a painting or a statue. Composer Tom America doesn't make ordinary songs, but little musical sculptures.
He interviews people, samples their voices, takes the speech melody and moulds it with notes around this all.
With his speech compositions the former pop-musician (he played in the bands Gasphetti and MAM) is a genre on it's own.
Earlier the Tilburger composed music to the poetry of Jan Hanlo and he did speech projects with Tilburgers, people from Amsterdam and Brussels. He travelled to the poetic city of Siena, the historic medieval city in Toscana to record the voices for Terra di Siena. This city fascinated him since his art school days especially because of it's typical "burnt Siena" shade and the famous 14th century fresco Il Buon Et Cattivo Governo (the good and the bad government) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. The Tilburger was musically interested in the stories of its inhabitants and what they would sound like. Joined by his Mini Disc recorder America, who doesn't speak Italian nor reads notes, visited different neighbourhoods of Siena accompanied by an interpreter. He interviewed conspicuous Sienese about the passion for their city, it's colour and their relation to the fresco. Home again America downloaded the Italian speech rhytms into his "spraakorgel" (speech organ, a keyboard lined to a sampler), and composed music around this all. As a result strings wave on the rhytm of an old Italian ladies-voice. We visit him in his small studio. America translates her words: "Life in such an old city is a medicin against the insanity of modern times.'' Isn't that beautiful? Besides it swings, it's like a European rap."
Next "song": "This is about the Piazza del Campo in Siena, the most beautiful square in the world."
A moment later: "After all these are all my declarations of love, by means of their voices."

Besides Terra di Siena America wrote Dover/Ostend in which the the voices of the inhabitants of British Dover and Flemish Ostend speak about the sea but most of all of the seagulls, the symbol of the city of Ostend.

In the same way projects were done about cities like Berlin (Tempelhof) or Aix-en- Provence ( Paul Cézanne). America wants to go deeper into Europe.
"I would like to show to the USA, hey guys, we got something ourselves too. There's more than Coca Cola and McDonalds! We are much to sloppy with our own qualities.

For his own dialect project "de Winter? de Winter!" America biked many mornings to a Tilburgian home for the elderly to question the inhabitants about the winter. Maybe "Siena" was more complicated to achieve, but the result is the same: swinging stories of working class, old people. "It doesn't matter you go to the Tilburgian neighbourhood Broekhoven or Siena, in their own way, all people have a story."

In America's world of voice-sounds anything goes, anything's possible. The possibilities are inexhaustible, new ideas are constantly bubbling up. In this way he made in cooperation with Happy Hooker Xaviera Hollander an ode to Indonesia and Bali. Next to that he sampled the voices of the famous Dutch talkshow hosts Frits Barend, Henk van Dorp and Jan Mulder. "Ideal material, they constantly quarrel, wrangle, so it's full of speech-expression."