2015 proved to be the biggest year of Balthazar's career, and 2016 has been a firm continuation of that success.

Thin Walls helped the Belgian quintet establish a devoted fanbase, one that constantly grows to new lengths. The campaign for the album is coming to a close, and with that we thought it'd be a great idea to sit with singer/guitarist Jinte Deprez to discuss how Thin Walls came to be, and what's next for a band that seems to have it all figured out.

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When you and the band went into the studio to create Thin Walls, did you have an objective in mind? What was the idea for the approach?

We'd been touring for a very long time before we went into the studio and had written most of the new songs on tour, which gave the songs a very straightforward, direct feel compared to our previous recordings. The songs were written in a more numb way, cause that's the kind of vibe you get after a while, being on tour. So the objective was kind of to capture that non-thought-through direct vibe, since that's what the songs were about. That's also why we worked with a Ben Hillier, our producer for the album, for the first time, we didn't want to think too much about all the technical stuff. We wanted to be the naive musicians again, sitting in the corner waiting to play, and leave the responsibility to Ben, which worked great, although we probably had our opinions anyway. We liked the studio time a lot, also, we'd been recording our previous records in our own bedrooms, borrowing some mics and such, so being in a real studio for a couple of weeks until it was finished was a first.

What was the first song recorded and what was the last?

I think the first one was 'Then What', since it's a kind of song that kicks things off. The song has an enthusiastic feel, which is pretty rare in our songwriting. We left the more bluesy ones for when the mood was set. But it all went really fast; Michiel (drums) and Simon (bass) were machines in the studio. They just went from song to song, a couple of takes. The last one must have been 'So Easy', we had a couple of extra songs that didn't make it on the album, and it wasn't sure if this one was going to be on the album, but we all loved the lazy 'I Don't Care'. Easy strings and small drums are nice touches to finish the recordings, so luckily it got into the tracklisting. We recently released 'The Silence' and 'Decisions' as well, those were some of those extra songs.

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Something that's been incredible to see is how the production for the shows has grown. I'm sure there were loads of chats to make that happen, but can you remember what it was like stepping onto stage for the first time and witnessing the production above and around you?

Well, we kind of had the idea to keep a part of our previous setup, with the big 'Balthazar' letters, but just enlarge the whole feel. Since our album had a golden cover, we wanted a whole golden playground, so it looks like there are these cubes we can climb. It has the feel of a '60s or '70s TV show, I always liked those cosy decors before fireworks and video-walls came to kill the vibe. For our arena show, we just thought we should go all the way with a sort of UFO above us, actually just some golden bars, but anyway, it felt like a UFO. It was a very special experience, cause you try to create a world with your music, but as you get bigger, you can actually literally built one on stage. I was surprised people said it was kind of subtle. I guess the missing fireworks had something to do with that. You need some principles anyway.

How did the idea of the mini-plateaus come about? The risers on the side of the drums the band members would climb onto while performing?

I loved the way Ringo Starr always played high above the rest of the Beatles, when they did a TV show for example. So we just wanted something like that, but since we like to walk around, let the drummer be reachable. Once you know how to walk around those mini-plateaus without getting stuck with your guitar cable, it makes performing much more entertaining for ourselves, and hence also for the crowd. Also, we just needed something to fill the stage, my amp is so small you wouldn't even notice it.

Do you feel that live shows, especially shows with such production, bring better context to songs for some people?

It depends on how big the venue or the festival is. Of course, it helps when you need to fill a big stage - it enlarges your whole band persona. Our music is always a bit moody, so if the mood is set right visually, the music already has the right context from the start of the show. Recently we played some small shows in the USA and I actually loved the fact that we couldn't rely on a production. It's nice to give a circus to the people, but it's equally nice not to be dependent of the circus.

What's a show that's stuck out to you from the Thin Walls tour?

There were a couple of bigger ones, like our arena show in Brussels, that was the first arena show we ever played, so that was special. But to be honest I enjoy the somewhat smaller capacities, like the Olympia in Paris, such a legendary, beautiful venue. People still look like people and not like an abstract crowd. That said, we had a really drunk show in Estonia for a very small crowd, so we played in between the audience, leaving Michiel alone on the stage. It was the perfect wild show, and the music sounds so different, way more real, we loved it. Our first show ever in Kiev was heartwarming to see a crowd of 800 people do a flash mob during one of our songs. We thought nobody would come to our show there, but it was madness.

Oddly enough, I got into your band from the Editors guys, and I ended up missing your NYC shows while being away on tour with them. I remember really wanting to be here for those shows. What was it like playing for American audiences? I saw footage of the Rockwood show and I was surprised how the massive sound could be conveyed in such a small room.

You'd be even more surprised if you saw our sound engineer mixed the live show on a little iPad. It was a great adventure to play in USA, one we'd like to repeat soon. To be honest we had no big expectations, so the vibe on tour was really relaxed and we enjoyed the fact that we needed to prove ourselves again in a small bar or venue. When you play in NYC, you know you play in-front of a very spoiled audience, every band in the world plays New York, so you know the audience is not easily impressed. But the NYC shows were absolutely great, we had nothing to lose, so we just did our thing and were quite happy with the response.

Going back to the making of Thin Walls, to me the album has this scope that entices the ears but also your emotions as a listener. There's an aspect of storytelling happening in segments throughout the album, but the level of cohesion is also quite apparent. I was curious to hear in your own words, if you felt that the songs on the album relate to one another or exist on their own islands in a way?

That's nice to hear, because we always write the songs very separately, just making a shitload of songs, but once we start to finish the lyrics or the arrangements, we kind of feel the urge to find some cohesion with the other songs. We love the whole old-school album feel, which is a bit dying these days, since we're going back to a single culture. But to find the right tracklisting is bliss, making sure you plant some seeds along the way, so the whole album exceeds by having the songs be separate as a bigger story. I love the fact that the album starts with 'Decency,' which basically says goodbye to our previous album, 'Rats'.

The ending song, 'True Love' is also a song you can't put anywhere else than at the end, the moment you can go a bit bigger with your words and with your gestures. The fact that those separate songs can find a relation with the rest of the songs means for us that the album is finished. I still have troubles with choosing the first single for example, because it doesn't feel right to me to release a song without a context of the other songs. But that's showbiz I guess.

As a band, did you find yourselves thinking about how people would experience these songs, and how you wanted people to feel when they listened to them? Were those conscious ideas?

We don't really think about other people when we write or arrange the album, because that's a dead end street. We just try to create the right mood. We really love very subtle and small arranging, leaving the instruments not to beg for attention, but just being relaxed with their spot. We love that kind of music, so we always made sure we weren't overplaying our instruments. It's arranged from a producer's point of view, not from each musician's point of view separately. The story of the song is the most important thing, not our ability to play 300 notes in one minute. I believe it's way more rock'n'roll to sing a song a capella, than to bury your voice in stadium guitars. Some breath among the songs creates something peaceful, but at the same time it creates a lot of tension as well.

It's also been incredible seeing how photographer Anton Cerone has brought the band to life with such amazing work. How did you meet Anton and what's it been like working with him, in contrast to other photographers?

Anton Coene is just the sweetest person; I always forget he's our photographer, cause you never feel his camera breathing down your neck. He's like a hangout friend, and you wonder why he's there until he shows you a ton of marvelous pictures. He's been going on tour with a lot of bands for a while now, and via that he started coming along with us. I think it's really important for us in the first place, cause I always forget most of the venues or the cities we walked around. But he also makes it easier to give the right impression from the whole tour trip; he sets the right vibe, the right shots and situations. Some of those pictures we use on our social media, that's more relevant than a... selfie or something.

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Now that promoting Thin Walls has come to a close, the band will be working on some solo projects. Can you tell me a bit about your upcoming project? How did the concept come together?

We all felt a bit itchy I guess to try some new things, it's nice that we all feel the same way and that we're big fans of each other's projects. It's like finding some creative oxygen in between Balthazar albums. Of course, the music is a bit different, but it's not a whole different world, it's more like some unexplored corners. My album isn't finished yet, so I can't tell too much about it. For now, it's a bit more electronic, a bit more personal, a bit more groove based maybe. I recently went to see Maarten's project, Warhaus, and it surprised me that it's great to see your bandmate from another point of view for once. I guess we just enjoy the extra space after almost 6 years of non-stop writing and touring with each other. We don't want to lose ourselves in the big machine Balthazar sometimes is.

Lastly, on Facebook the band also mentioned how despite working on solo projects that a new Balthazar album is being made. Without giving too much away, does it feel that there's a mission or process in place on how you guys want to approach the next album?

Well it's really early to say something about it, but we have the feeling the first three albums are like a finished trilogy. We're very excited to surprise ourselves again and trying to bend the ways Balthazar can write and create songs. We're going to experiment a lot first. Trying to get naive again, trying to be smartasses. We'll see what happens, we might start to rap for all we know.