Interview with Jos Houtzager about Out of The Box
On August 21, 2015, I (Ferry Meštrović) interviewed Jos Houtzager about his latest film project called “Out of The Box”, which will premiere on September 12 at “Film by The Sea” in Flushing, the Netherlands.
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 gigs on a regular basis, mainly for nursing homes.
I started playing the organ when I was young, but I got bored with its stale sound very quickly. At some time I played the piano and I liked the sound of it better than of 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 correct, Out of The Box is a Musical film about bullying and anxiety. 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.
Because of bullying, I have been found to suffer from anxiety and depression. I often found myself lying in my bed and thinking that I wouldn’t make it. Creating music was and still is my outlet and I was able to face my anxiety by performing my music in front of a live audience.”
Why did you choose this topic for the film project?
“The reason behind our decision is because there are still so many children being bullied on the Internet. If I can contribute even a small part so that, e.g., a discussion is opened about bullying or it can manipulate the behavior of a bully, then it’s worth it for me. It’s 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 audiences are very broad. I don’t think the film is appropriate for young children, because it tends to get very graphical. Mature musical styles are being used in the film like metal and dance music, which isn’t your typical “middle of the road” music. Although it’s 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 “Hersteltalent” (Dutch for Recover Talent) and Bo van Scheyen, our goal is to visit health 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 should help each other. If you are being selfish and you’re only seeking for money, you get rewarded. I think that’s wrong. It’s actually a strange thing if you think about it. We all die, no matter how much money you have.
To do our film project, we’ve set up a great team. Bo van Scheyen is directing our project, Dion van Drom is filming it, Aron Theunissen who is 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 true 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 a lot of guest-singers in the past and is looking for a new singer. Then suddenly, the band asks me if I would be interested to sing for the band. I am doubting myself because of the things that I’ve experienced in the past. This is what the film is actually about. Am I able to let go of the past and sing in front of a live audience?”
Can you tell us something about the band “Sans Zucre”?
“Sans Zucre” is a project band, mainly because we (Jos Houtzager, Paco Lous, Joseph Black, Jacinho Tuhepary) live too far apart and we all have other projects going on in our lives.
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 (nek) 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 in 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 wrote and we arranged now were written specifically for our first show, which we played in “Het Arsenaal Theater, Vlissingen”
We have a total of 8 songs, of which 3 of them (Speeltijd, Heerser van Het Kwaad, Het Licht) are being used for “Out of The Box”.
This is the playlist of what we 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’re trying to show the film on our local TV station first, then we hope to release it to the general Dutch television.
At the same time we try to make it an exclusive film, so that people in health care institutions and schools will actually watch the film while we can explain what the film about , instead of looking it up on YouTube. Everything has become so accessible these days, and I think that it has both advantages and disadvantages. It’s a complicated world we live in now.”
This concludes the interview. Thank you for your time, Jos!
Thank you for interviewing me, Ferry!