Nits Release Infos

Tom Telman provided us with the following release infos:

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In 1994 the Nits have entered the twentieth year of their existence. Until now, they have released 15 CD's and LP's and 32 singles and recorded 238 songs. Their best known CD's are In The Dutch Mountains (1987), Hat (1988) and the live-album Urk (1989). They produced 16 videoclips. About 1300 live-performances were given, television-shows not included. They toured in 19 countries in- and outside Europe. since 1974, nine musicians have been member of the band. In the Netherlands they received one platinum and two golden records. When two Dutchmen feel bored, they solve the situation by inventing a new cultural award. One of them creates an unlikely shaped sculpture, the other one phones the NITS.

The band has a tradition of surprising their audience with new approaches of something that unmistakably can be called a NITS- sound. In this manner, the new CD Da Da Da brings us more of the same, but in a completely different way. It is without a doubt a typical NITS-album, but it clearly distinguishes itself from its predecessors.

On the previous CD's Giant Normal Dwarf, Ting and the symphony-piece Hjuvi, Henk Hofstede, Robert Jan Stips and Rob Kloet have been experimenting elaborately with sound, timbre and instrumentation. At the same time the NITS, completed with bassplayer Martin Bakker and percussionist/violinist Peter Meuris, maintain a reputation as a popular live-playing and touring band. It was the sound of this strong performing band that was used for the recording of Da Da Da. That made the main lines of instrumentation and band-sound known at forehand and gave an emphasis on the melodic aspects of the songs.

The NITS have stuck to the working-method that tries to keep the influence of recording techniques on the music as small as possible. That meant that on one hand the comfort of a digital 48-track studio was used, but on the other hand a lot of effort was given to avoid any chillness caused by modern techniques. As always, the band has been recording the basic songs in one take. Microphones and mixing-boards of the warm-sounding older types have been used and an improbable series of instruments, varying from autoharp and cheranga to djembe, harmonium and mellotron has been tried out.

Da Da Da is the report, an also, in a way, the result of a life that for a great deal takes place on the road. Henk Hofstede's lyrics bear the marks of a traveling existence. Life-performances in Canada inspired to the lyrics of Whales at Tadoussac and Mourir avant 15 ans and in Homeless boy echoes a visit to Estonia. An other textual motif is that of the passing away of time, in different forms of appearance: death (Day and the Night, Mourir avant 15 ans, What we did), new life (Dreams) or time slipping away (Whales at Tadoussac).

The titlesong Da Da Da has been released as a single.

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Nits-history starts off in 1974 in the attic of a squat in Amsterdam. The inhabitant is Henk Hofstede, age 22, who is studying drawing at the Rietveld Academy of Arts. After some misfortune with the band Midas, Hofstede tries to get a new popgroup off the ground with his fellow student Alex Roelofs (bass), sociology student Michiel Peters (guitar) and Rob Kloet a self-taught drummer, who is attending technical college. They record their first demos as The Nits, a name adopted from friends that came into being as an analogy to The Beatles. Rehearsals take place in Henk's attic as well as in the basement of the Rietveld Academy.

On December 12, 1974 The Nits perform live for the first time, at a party for students of the academy organized by Henk himself, in a cultural center in Amsterdam. Gigs far and few between fallow, mainly in Amsterdam clubs. The group is constantly rehearsing, experimenting and messing around with taperecorders. In 1975 The Nits play at a showcase for Dutch groups organized by Holland's main music magazine, Oor. Their performance impresses Dutch record company Dureco, for whom they record their first single, Yes Or No. It reaches a second place in the Bubbling Under-chart and has The Nits play for the first time in the national TV-show Toppop. Next they record their eponymously titled debut album in Wales with producer Allen David. Released in 1978, the album fails to achieve success, in part due to poor distribution.

On November 29, 1978 The Nits sign s contract; with CBS (today's Sony Music). The Nits are introduced to producer Robert-Jan Stips, with whom they record their second album, Tent. The single Tutti Ragazzi becomes the first chart success. Slowly but surely the group (then performing in red and white suits) start getting media-coverage. With the 3rd album New Flat (1980) The Nits start selling outside The Netherlands as well. The group plays Germany, Switzerland, France and Scandinavia and its members decide that being a Nit will be their official profession from now on.

After the release of the fourth album, Work (1981), Alex Roelofs leaves the band. Robert-Jan Stips, who. besides being the Nits' producer, has played with groups such as Supersister, Golden Earring and Sweet d' Buster, unexpectedly take his place. His presence as a regular member brings a whole new-perspective to The Nits' music. As a tight unity they work on Omsk (1983), an album that is the classic showcase for The Nits' groundbreaking sound and deservedly wins a prestigious Edison award (the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy). The single Nescio reaches a comfortable 8th position in the Dutch top 40.

1983 also sees the release of the mini-album Kilo. One year later The Nits work with producer Jaap Eggermont on the recording of Adieu Sweet Bahnhof. Just before the release of this album Michiel Peters decides to stop playing with The Nits. His departure is widely regarded as the en of The Nits. This is by no means true, however, because after a six months break, in which Hofstede works on a project called La Grande Parade, The Nits regroup and record Henk (1986), the album that marks the first cooperation of bassist Joke Geraets. She becomes a definite member of the group and is therefore the first female Nit.

In November of 1987 The Nits release In The Dutch Mountains, an album almost entirely recorded in De Werf, a gymnasium-turned-recording studio situated on the border of Amsterdam's western harbour district. This album finally brings The Nits their long-awaited Dutch recognition. The title track becomes a huge success and the success of the album opens the way to a much broader audience than The Nits have known before. In The Dutch Mountains is successful outside The Netherlands as well, which means that the group faces a lot of work. Concerts take place in Finland, Russia, Canada and the United States.

The live-recording Urk (1989) sells over 100,000 copies in The Netherlands which is a lot considering it is a double-CD package. Some time earlier a second mini album is released: Hat (1988). With the release of Urk The Nits decide to let go of the prefix 'The' and be just Nits. 1990 sees the release of Giant Normal Dwarf, a record on which Joke Geraets can hardly be heard due to a serious hand-injury. The next year she lets go of the group altogether, after which Nits go on as a trio.

In this line-up they work on Ting, an album released in 1992. On tour Nits are supported by Martin Bakker (bass) and Peter Meuris (percussion), two musicians who soon become full members of the band. Thus they play on 1994's dA dA dA as well. A subsequent Dutch theatre tour is sold out long beforehand.

At the end of 1994 Nits for a couple of months work with Dutch stand-up comedian Freek de Jonge. In a number of theatre-shows entitled Dankzij De Dijken they offer a combination of material from both Nits (in a Dutch translation) and De Jonge. The CD-Version of this show ends up high in the Dutch album charts and a continuation of this co-operation is said to be possible.

This year Nits turn 21. The group reaches adulthood, whereas their music already did so years before. A good reason for a synopsis, or, as they say, a greatest hits compilation. After toying with the title Greatest Nits for some time, the band ultimately chose the more intimate sounding Nest. This title portrays the band in a beautiful way: hardworking little animals in search of a warm spot.

Together with Nest, a home video is released, entitled Vest. Amongst the 16 clips in this compilation are the windmills that moved Mask, the Amsterdam neighbourhood Watergraafsmeer as portrayed in J.O.S. Days and the row-boat Clip to In The Dutch Mountains which during 1988's Midem in Cannes won the highly regarded Cannes Clip Cup Trophy.

Last but not least real Nits collectors find lots of goodies on Quest, a bonus-CD that comes with the limited leather boxset containing Nest and Vest. Quest consists of twenty outtakes and demo-versions.

mm4_dnl 4_PREV(newspaper.html, [Newspapers]) [Books] [Henk on Nest] [Nits in Print] [Main Index].

Jochen A. Stein, jst at nitsfans dot org
Last modified: 02-12-2003