|Also known as||Hoover|
Hooverphonic is a Belgian band that formed in October 1995. Though originally categorized as a trip hop group, they quickly expanded their sound to the point where they could no longer be described as a singular genre, but rather encompass alternative, electronica, electropop, rock, and a mixture of others. The band originally called themselves Hoover, but later changed their name to Hooverphonic after discovering other groups were already using the Hoover name and to avoid any legal issues with the vacuum cleaner company.
Since their formation, Hooverphonic’s lineup consisted of bassist Alex Callier, guitarist Raymond Geerts, and various lead singers. Prominent ones included Liesje Sadonius (1996—1997), Geike Arnaert (1997—2008, 2020-present), Noémie Wolfs (2010—2015), and Luka Cruysberghs (2018—2020).
The band were set to represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam with their song "Release Me". However, on March 18, 2020, the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They instead represented Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with the song "The Wrong Place".
A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular
The original members of the group were vocalist Esther Lybeert, keyboardist Frank Duchêne, bassist Alex Callier, and guitarist Raymond Geerts. Lybeert recorded several demos with the group; however, she backed out of the band on the day they were to sign their contract with Sony Music. The band then brought in Liesje Sadonius to record the album. Sadonius left Hooverphonic on amicable terms shortly after the release of A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular. Kyoko Baertsoen, singer for fellow Belgian trip hop band Lunascape, filled in for Sadonius for three months of a European tour in 1997 before Geike Arnaert was made the permanent singer later that year.
The band achieved international recognition through the inclusion of the Stereophonic track "2Wicky" on the soundtrack to Bernardo Bertolucci's 1996 film Stealing Beauty. "2Wicky" also appeared on the soundtracks of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Heights. The track’s main riff is sampled from Isaac Hayes' recording of the 1960s hit "Walk On By".
Additional session musicians for Stereophonic include Eric Bosteels, a session drummer with Hooverphonic from 1997 to 1998 (replaced by Mario Goossens until 2005) and David Poltrock, a keyboard player with the group on and off from 1998 until 2005. In 1998, Hooverphonic also contributed to the Depeche Mode tribute album For the Masses with their cover of "Shake the Disease".
Blue Wonder Power Milk
After an extensive European tour with artists such as Massive Attack, Morcheeba, and Apollo 440, and a tour opening for Fiona Apple in the United States in 1997, the band released Blue Wonder Power Milk in 1998 with 18-year-old Arnaert on vocals. A marked departure from their debut, the album is driven less by breakbeats and samples, and more by organic string elements and traditional song structures.
The single "Club Montepulciano" was a hit in native Belgium and a minor college hit in the U.S., while "Renaissance Affair" was featured in the North American commercial campaign for the new Volkswagen Vapor Beetle. "This Strange Effect" and "Eden" were both featured in American cell phone commercials: "This Strange Effect" for the Motorola SLVR, and in 2006, "Eden" for the Cingular 8525. "Eden" was also used in the 1998 slasher film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. At the time of their release, both songs were also featured in two separate third-season episodes of La Femme Nikita. Shortly afterwards, Sarah Brightman recorded a cover of "Eden" on her 1998 album Eden. Yoko Kanno samples the opening track "Battersea" in "Cyberbird", on the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex O.S.T. 2.
At this point, Frank Duchêne decided to quit the band: «Having made two successful albums for Sony Music with his band Hooverphonic, and after extensive touring as support for Fiona Apple, Moloko & Massive Attack, he was unhappy with the project and near the end of 1998, decided to leave.»
Early 2000s: The Magnificent Tree
The band followed up Blue Wonder Power Milk with 2000’s The Magnificent Tree, which expands on the sound of Milk with a warmer, more approachable sound. Highlights from the album are the string-laden "Out of Sight", "Mad About You", and the title track.
The same year, Hooverphonic was asked to write a song specifically for the opening ceremony of the 2000 European Football Championship, which took place in Brussels, Belgium. The result — a 12-minute-long track called "Visions" — became the theme song of the championship, and Hooverphonic’s performance at the opening ceremony was heard/seen by more than 1 billion people.
On the heels of Tree's success, the band became the first Belgian outfit to headline the Belgian Rock Werchter musical festival in 2001.
2002: Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane
2002 saw the group shifting gears again, this time releasing the concept album Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane. The album tells the story of the fictional title character, a celebrity and singer catapulted into stardom at the expense of her relationship with her twin sister. Driven to the brink of insanity by the pressures of fame, Jackie quits show business and returns home to attempt reconciliation, where her sister kills them both with a poisoned last supper.
Jackie Cane retains the dreamy elements of Hooverphonic’s previous works, most notably on songs "Nirvana Blue" and "Human Interest" (which contains references to "Echoes" by Pink Floyd), but tracks like "The World Is Mine" (the first single) and "Day After Day" have a clear Broadway influence and quality to them. The album went platinum in Belgium and won the group ZAMU’s Best Pop/Rock Band and Best Album awards in 2002.
2003: Sit Down and Listen to Hooverphonic
In 2003, the band released an album performed live in a studio with an orchestra entitled Sit Down and Listen to Hooverphonic, featuring a selection of songs from the band’s body of work, as well as the new songs "Antarctica" and "The Last Thing I Need Is You", and a cover of Lee Hazlewood's "My Autumn’s Done Come". The band launched into an extended European tour in September 2003, performing in over 100 concert halls.
2005: No More Sweet Music
The band’s fifth studio album, a double CD entitled No More Sweet Music/More Sweet Music, was released in December 2005. Both CDs include the same 11 tracks, however, they are all different versions.
2006: Singles '96-'06
In 2006 the band left Sony/BMG, complaining of lack of label support for No More Sweet Music. A best-of album (Singles '96 - '06) was released to end the relation with Sony/BMG. The band went on to work without a label.
2007—2008: The President of the LSD Golf Club
In an interview for the Spanish TV program Nosolomusica, Alex Callier gave some hints of a new, more psychedelic orientation for the band’s forthcoming music. During a show in Moscow (October 2007), the band revealed the first single of the new album, "Expedition Impossible".
The President of the LSD Golf Club was released in October 2007 in Belgium and the Netherlands. The album was released in Europe in March 2008. Following the release, the lead singer of the band, Geike Arnaert, announced on 10 October 2008 she would be leaving the band to pursue a solo career. Arnaert had been working on solo material for a few months. The last concert Hooverphonic did with Geike was on 13 December 2008 in Tele-Club, Ekaterinburg, Russia. It was filmed by the local MTV station and was shown on Russian TV in 2009.
2010s: The Night Before, With Orchestra, Reflection and In Wonderland
On 29 October 2010, Hooverphonic announced a new single on their website. The videoclip showcased fourteen possible singers but only one of them, Noémie Wolfs, proved to be the real successor to Geike Arnaert. The single "The Night Before" introduced the new singer and was followed on November 26 by the release of the full-length album The Night Before. The album went platinum in Belgium soon after its release.
Three more albums were released in the following years featuring Wolfs as main vocalist: the orchestral album With Orchestra and the live album With Orchestra Live in 2012, and the studio album Reflection in 2013. With Orchestra Live features orchestral renditions of songs spanning the Hooverphonic entire career performed live at the Koningin Elisabethzaal in Antwerp. The performance was also released on DVD. In 2016, all the songs from the concert were uploaded on the band's official YouTube channel in high definition. With more than 100 million views, the "Mad About You" performance is the most watched video of Hooverphonic.
On 26 March 2015, Hooverphonic announced that Wolfs would be leaving the band "in mutual agreement". The band's ninth studio album, In Wonderland (2016), featured vocals from Janie Price, Emilie Satt, Litlo Tinz, Christa Jérôme, Tjeerd Bomhof and Felix Howard.
2020s: Looking For Stars, Eurovision Song Contest and Geike Arnaert’s return
In April 2018, Hooverphonic introduced their new singer Luka Cruysberghs. Cruysberghs provided vocals for the band's tenth studio album Looking For Stars, anticipated by the single "Romantic".
Hooverphonic were supposed to represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam with their song "Release Me". The event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hooverphonic was the only Eurovision entrant for 2020 who refused to take part in the "Love Shine a Light" performance, where entrants each contributed sections of the song, although a photograph of Cruysberghs was included with the other participants making a hand heart at the end.
On 9th November 2020, Cruysberghs left the band and, on the same day, Geike Arnaert announced her return as a lead singer. Also on the same day, they released a new version of "Mad About You" for the song’s 20th anniversary.
In May 2021, the band's released their eleventh studio album overall and sixth to feature Arnaert as vocalist, Hidden Stories.
This section needs expansion with: bios of members, specially those without separate articles. You can help by adding to it. (September 2021)
- A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular (1996)
- Blue Wonder Power Milk (1998)
- The Magnificent Tree (2000)
- Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane (2002)
- No More Sweet Music/More Sweet Music (2005)
- The President of the LSD Golf Club (2007)
- The Night Before (2010)
- Reflection (2013)
- In Wonderland (2016)
- Looking for Stars (2018)
- Hidden Stories (2021)
Use of music in television and movies
Hooverphonic’s music has also appeared in a number of commercials and other TV series:
- "2Wicky" has appeared in numerous movies, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Permanent Midnight, The Interview, Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty, as well as an episode of Entourage. "2Wicky" and "Inhaler" were also featured on episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and are also on the series soundtrack.
- "Eden" is included on the soundtrack of the film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and in episode 10 of season three of the series La Femme Nikita.
- "Renaissance Affair" and "This Strange Effect" were used in the Belgian movie Shades, as was "Shades" (the theme composed for the film). "Renaissance Affair" was also used in the US in a Volkswagen New Beetle TV ad circa 2000. Alex Callier worked as the composer for the movie. "This Strange Effect" was also used in the 20th episode of La Femme Nikita.
- "Battersea" was used in the 1999 pilot of the NBC TV series Third Watch and in the end of the show’s last episode ("Goodbye to Camelot"), in 2005.
- "Mad About You" was used in the CBS TV series Cold Case, in the third-season episode "Sanctuary". The song was also featured in the film A Lot Like Love during the New Year’s Eve sequence, in the 2002 film New Best Friend, and in Driven. Netflix also used this song in The Umbrella Academy season 1, episode 8 titled "I Heard a Rumor".
- "The World is Mine" was featured as the theme song of the UK television series Mile High (2003—2005), which follows the lives of an airline crew at the fictional UK airline "Fresh!".
- Farren, Neil (1 October 2019). "Belgium: Hooverphonic to Eurovision 2020". Eurovoix. Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
- Callier, Alex (2005). 10 Years With Hooverphonic - Alex Callier Interview (television interview) (in Dutch). ëën. Event occurs at 1:47. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
In fact the demos were done by Esther. She also did all the showcases and on the day we had to sign our record contract at Sony Music she said: "I don't think I can do this..."
- Biography Archived 2016-04-19 at the Wayback Machine, Frank Duchêne Website. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "Hooverphonic - Expedition Impossible (Live @ B-2 / Moscow)". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Hooverphonic front woman Geike Arnaert quits band". Side-line.com. 1999-02-22. Archived from the original on 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Noémie Wolfs is new Hooverphonic-singer Archived November 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- The Night Before goes platinum Archived January 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "Hooverphonic releases deluxe box set version of debut album A New Ste…". 26 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013.
- "Hooverphonic - With Orchestra Live (Koningin Elisabethzaal 2012)". Discogs. Retrieved 2021-09-25.
- Hooverphonic - Mad About You (Live at Koningin Elisabethzaal 2012), retrieved 2021-09-25
- ""I don't feel it" — Alex Callier explains why Hooverphonic sat out of the "Love Shine a Light" segment". wiwibloggs.com. 2020-05-17. Archived from the original on 2020-05-18. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
- Boris, Meersman (2 March 2021). "Belgium: Hooverphonic's song, 'The Wrong Place', set for 4 March release!". ESCUNITED. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.