Interview with Jos Houtzager about Out of The Box
On August 21, 2015, I (Ferry Meštrović) interviewed Jos Houtzager about his latest film project Out of the box, which premieres on September 12, 2015, at Film by The Sea in Vlissingen.
Hello Jos, thank you for giving me the opportunity to have an interview with you. Can you tell us something about yourself?
Hello, my name is Jos Houtzager, I’m 42 years old. I am a piano teacher and I perform regularly, mainly for nursing homes.
I started playing the organ when I was young, but I got bored quickly with the stale sound. At one point I played piano and I liked the sound better than the organ. I took piano lessons and at the age of about 24, I started composing my own songs.
On the 7th of June, you announced a film project called “Out of the box”. Can you tell us something about the film project?
That’s right, Out of the Box is a musical film about bullying and fear. It’s about people who live in their own world and who can think out of the box, I think those people are being bullied more often because they are different.
I suffer from anxiety and depression because of bullying. I noticed that I often lay in my bed and thought I would not make it. Making music was and still is my outlet and I could face my fears by performing my music for a live audience.
Why did you choose this subject for the film project?
The reason behind our decision is that there are still so many children being bullied on the internet. If I can contribute even a small part, so that for example a discussion about bullying or the behavior of a bully can be manipulated, then it is worth it for me. It is also a way for me to close a chapter in my life and move on with my life.
Who are your target audiences?
Our target groups are very broad. I do not think the film is suitable for young children because it tends to become very graphic. In the film adult music styles are used, such as metal and dance music, which is not your typical ‘middle of the road’ music. Although not suitable for young children, it is, of course, suitable for teenagers.
What is your goal?
With the help of Irene van de Giessen from “Herstel talent” and Bo van Scheyen, our goal is to visit care institutions and schools to set up a discussion about bullying.
The film is also about people who feel helpless and ask for help. I think that society is becoming a hostile environment and that we need to help each other. If you are selfish and only seek money, you will be rewarded. I think that’s wrong. It is actually weird if you think about it. We are all going to die, no matter how much money you have.
To do our film project, we have set up a great team. Bo van Scheyen directs our project, Dion van Drom films it, Aron Theunissen, assistant producer, Aron Verbogt who edits the film, Joseph Black, Paco Lous, Jacinho Tuhepary and myself for our band “Sans Zucre”. Including other teammates, the film is a real team effort.
How does the band Sans Zucre relate to this film project?
Sans Zucre is a means to clarify the film. The band has had many guest singers in the past and is looking for a new singer, then the band suddenly asks if I am interested in singing for the band. I hesitated because of the things I have experienced in the past. This is what the film is about, can I let go of the past and sing for a live audience?
Can you tell us something about the band Sans Zucre?
Sans Zucre is een projectgroep, vooral omdat wij (Jos Houtzager, Paco Lous, Joseph Black en Jacinho Tuhepary) te ver uit elkaar wonen en we allemaal andere projecten in ons leven hebben.
While we were in another band formation, I wrote the song “Het Licht” for Aron Verbogt’s (also known as Joseph Black) solo project. Karin de Loos did the vocals and Peter Provoost (neck) did the drums. We later recorded a song with Neil Cornelisse doing the vocals, which we used in another film called “Burn to Be Alive”. The film was recorded with some members of the same team who are working on “Out of The Box”. The music and film complement each other. Without the film, the music would sound very strange.
I wanted to do a short film, and I was looking for artists who would fit into the film. With Paco Lous on Bass, Jacinho Tuhepary on drums added to our group and of course Joseph Black on guitar, this is how the current formation of the band is established.
The songs that I have written and which we have now arranged are specifically written for our first show, which we played in “Het Arsenaal Theater, Vlissingen“
We have a total of 8 songs, of which 3 (Speeltijd, Heerser van Het Kwaad, Het Licht) are used for “Out of the Box”.
This is the playlist of what we have managed to arrange so far:
- Out of The Box
- Ik Geloof Dat Ik Het Niet Weet
- Ik Faal Sowieso
- Heerser van Het Kwaad
- Het Licht
Are there plans to release the film through media other than “Film by The Sea”?
We try to show the film at our local TV station first, and then we hope to release it on Dutch television.
At the same time, we try to make it an exclusive film so that people in care institutions and schools can actually watch the film while we can explain what the film is about, instead of looking it up on YouTube. Everything has become so accessible nowadays and I think it has both advantages and disadvantages. It is a complicated world in which we now live.
This is the conclusion of the interview. Thanks for your time, Jos!
Thank you for interviewing me, Ferry!