Eric, we know you as the lecturer from the audio production courses. But, besides being a lecturer you also play the Bass Guitar. Where did you start playing this music instrument?
I’ve always had a musical family. When I was young my dad had two guitars which my brothers played. My musical career started with playing the drums. Seeing them play guitar made me want to do that as well. Therefore, I started to play the instrument that was not yet in use. Unfortunately for me, this was the mandoline. This is how I learned to play acoustic guitar. When I turned 15, I got my first bass guitar for my birthday and my love for the bass began.
So, how did you become a lecturer?
When I was a bit older I was studying laboratory education. This because I had no clue what else I wanted to study. Also, my dad wanted me to follow a study because there is no future in the music industry. However, playing the bass became more important to me than to focus on school. Instead of studying, I played music in bands and practiced my music most of the day. The end result was that I failed to finish my school.
I started to follow a musical study at the conservatory in Tilburg, but this also didn’t work out. Almost running out of options, I decided to go to the music technology academy in Hilversum. In the old broadcast building there’s a study on applied music composition, studio technique and instrumentalist. Graduating gave me the label studio engineer, applied composition and bass player.
Afterwards I got introduced to IGAD. In here, I lectured audio for games. While doing so NHTV also needed someone for the IMEM department. This is how I got a job as a IMEM lecturer. I quit my position at IGAD and started working for IMEM. While IGAD was more challenging due to the interactivity of the sounds and music, both studies are equally interesting for me. Overall, the workload of both parts is something I enjoy to do.
What else do you do besides teaching?
In the past I did hold classes in the Nieuwe Veste in Breda, lectures at factorium and many more music projects. In 2006 I went to Brazil for a music project. Here, we build a record studio in one of the favela’s to enable the people over there there to record a CD. This was a program organized by the Strohalm Foundation. This is how I got to know Silke Hassreiter.
Now I’m writing music for theatres and adding music and audio to movie clips. Besides, I run a music school for bass players. The school, which is called Bass University, is one of the biggest bass schools in the Benelux. In total there are around 41 students whom I teach the bass.
What will the future bring you?
My father always said that music would never pay the bills and in some way he was actually right. The reason that my hobby became my job is because I am very versatile. The people who tend to focus only on playing the bass are facing difficulties in the field. For instance, I organize bootcamps (that are called basscamp) where groups of 15 people get together to play music. Group lessons differ very much from individual lessons. On the other hand, I also play a lot of music in different live bands or engineer audio for other shows.
I am currently having an intern from the conservatory. I’m also thinking about hiring employees to take over some of my work. However, I find it hard to let go of some of my students. You really grow close to the people who you see on a weekly basis and it’s satisfying to watch the progress they make. It’s hard to hand over some of my work because some students join the university mainly to be taught by me. Eventually this is something that will happen due to the fact that the Bass University is booming. So actually, it’s good news!
Do what you love
So there you have it. As long as you are willing to give everything you can turn your hobby into your job. Since Eric was a little kid, music has been all he thinks about. Against his father’s advice he quit school and spend most of his days playing the bass guitar. Now, he runs one of the biggest bass school in the Benelux.
Bands and live music
The music I play has to have some sort of rhythm. I am not really the rock-type of bass player. In rock music you usually play only 1/8th bars. While in more rhytmic music such as latin, funk, ska or ska the bass lines are more varied. These are also the genres I like playing most.
As for where I play music I mainly play in the belgian music scene. In Antwerp the live music scene is bigger than in most places in The Netherlands. A couple weeks ago I played with Manford Man’s Earht Band. A famous band known for “Blinded By The Light”. They were looking for a bass player so I helped them out.