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:

  1. Speelti­jd
  2. Out of The Box
  3. Ik Geloof Dat Ik Het Niet Weet
  4. Jaws
  5. Ik Faal Sowieso
  6. Heers­er van Het Kwaad
  7. Gri­js
  8. 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!

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