We find ourselves on a Belgian street, only illuminated by moonlight. A sultry voice begins to croon, speaking of dark fun, lust, and the price of yearning for those things, all while keeping his gaze fixated on us as we become hypnotized by that voice. That voice...that voice. It's a voice that's enticed many Europeans for several years, and belongs to Maarten Devoldere, one of the vocalists/multi-instrumentalists of Balthazar.

Throughout his career, Devoldere has been recognized for the amount of range he can convey in just one track, which leads us to his expansive solo-outing, Warhaus. With Warhaus, Devoldere has crafted a masterpiece full of intrigue, tension, carnal tones, and just a damn cool record. The album is rightfully titled, We Fucked A Flame Into Being, and showcases a side of Devoldere we always hoped to see at the forefront: the illustriously gifted crooner. I got to sit down with the artist known as Warhaus recently to find out how the album came to be. Also part of this piece is the exclusive premier of the track 'Bruxelles,' a stomper of a tune that steadily builds into a beautiful opus of orchestral sounds. It's a prime example of how distinctive Devoldere can be with his voice, and just how unapologetic the man can be with his lyrics. Enjoy.

Congrats on this album! It's been a great thing, integrating music like this into my day to day life. It's music that makes me think of cigarettes and whiskey glasses, but also the night and that lustful feeling. There's various moods here that bleed into each other. Was that element, of mood, of great importance to you when it came to creating this record?

Most music in general is being shaped by a certain mood or particular experience and my songs aren't very different in that. But it also works the other way around in a very personal way. If people who'll listen to the album feel like having a desolate walk in the middle of the night, or throwing nuts at a monkey in the zoo than his or her mood is shaped with these songs.

When it comes to solo projects, I find that the most important/validating element is when it's clear that the album made is one that couldn't have been made with the primary group. I was quite clear to me by the second track that this could not fit into the world of Balthazar. Was that an aspect of the record that became clearer to you as you made it?

It's not a collection of songs that didn't make it to a Balthazar album. It was a completely different starting point to write, although in the end you discover there are lots of similarities as well, which is kind of normal. I didn't want it to sound like an indie band but more as one whole personal story.

They're very distinct textures on the album. It's almost indescribable, but that stark European tone of lust and contemplation is highly omnipresent as the album progressed. Where was the album made, and do you feel the area it was made played a part in the sounds?

Imagine a band being a recipe and band-members are ingredients. Changing ingredients will have another taste to the recipe just like every individual within a band is adding up to the sound and sometimes counteracts with another band-member to finalize a song. Warhaus' songs were made all over. On tour, at home or on a boat I borrowed six months from a friend, at home. It hasn't been a scheduled recording, not at all. All songs were made when they were meant to be made, no deadlines or demands.

The last album campaign was the biggest that Balthazar had ever embarked on, for Thin Walls. It blows my mind to even think that you could've made this album. Did you find yourself writing while on your travels and in hotel rooms?

Yes, I wrote some things on tour but the inspiration came from more solitary moments at home or wherever. We really did tour and work a lot but apparently I find the time to go out and destruct myself as well more than often which makes me think I could have written more. Its how you look at it, I guess.

'The Good Lie' is... it really does encapsulate so much of what this album is. Was it created early on or later in the albums creation? Also, why did you choose it to be the first track people would hear of the project?

It was the last song I've written for the album. I wrote and recorded the lyrics literally the minute the mix started. I agree it encapsulates much of what the album is, probably because I finally had an overview of what the album would become, so it seemed like a good first song to release. Plus It has a sing-a-long chorus which makes it easier to sell my beloved baby to my beloved audience.

I was listening to the old and the new. Gainsbourg, Nicholas Savage, Alex Cameron, Roxette and that Paloma Blanca song are amongst my playlist. Not necessary of any influence but it prevents me from doing nothing. Who are the characters of this album? Where are they when the story begins?

All songs are related to a girl I crossed paths with in someway. I look at songwriting as advertising. If you don't sell a girl to the audience it's bad songwriting. In case you're talking about the two cops in the video. The tall guy used to be a Belgian tv-host from the '80s but alcohol got the better of him and he got fired. I met him in a park in Brussels where he was reading out of a Vonnegut book, after that he and I met on a regular basis. I like to include him in my projects as much as i can. He plays drums on one of the tracks. The short guy is an actor, just an actor.

I do hate to ask this question, but you really did bring it upon yourself. The title We Fucked A Flame Into Being... what inspired it?

I read that line in a DH Lawrence book when I was a kid. I knew then somebody had to make a pop album that goes by that name. When I turned 27 and still nobody in show-business had jumped at the opportunity I decided to go for it myself. I like the contradictions in that sentence, it's brutal and romantic. It's old fashioned and contemporary. I guess musically I can relate to those contradictions as well.

Do you play all the instruments on the album?

I worked with lots of musicians who jammed on some guide tracks without having a clue what the song was about. Im not much of a technical musician but I played all the messy parts if I thought the vibe was right. Except for the messy guitar part in 'Beaches'. This is played by Vihaan Sardana, an Indian musician who usually makes songs for Bollywood movies. Great musician, terrible cook.

One of the major strengths of this album as well is how balanced the lyrics are to the instruments. Nothing feels overdone, and nothing clashes with one another. When you reflect now on the lyrics of the album, how do they make you feel? How do you feel that you've grown as a writer?

I don't feel like I've grown, but thank you. I'm working day and night to outgrow my good manners in song. I'm aware it's a rock n roll cliche to say this, but digging up dirt from your soul and excluding morality helps to write something that people can relate to in an honest and comforting way. It more feels like I've evolved into a person who is capable of writing the songs that are meant for Warhaus. If I would feel like I've grown, it would mean i'm discontent of everything I've made in the past, which is not the case. Although I cant stand listening to songs after release date, but that has more to do with the sonically nerdy producer side of things.

Was there any instances of feeling stressed out when making this album? They're so many big ideas here, that I found myself wondering if there was ever a struggle forming these ideas into concrete elements?

When you have an idea about how you want to make a certain sound for a song it can be quite a challenge to realize but I when there is stress involved in the making of it you'll hear it. So I wanted to exclude as much of this as possible. That been said, I must admit that working 6 years on a record and considering it as a testament of your twenties is a very pretentious thing. Telling your mother you're afraid you're gonna die before your work is finished and putting up a actual testament in which you say what needs to happen with the songs in case you don't make it is a very pretentious thing as well for a healthy young man. But hey, I love the self deceiving part in which you believe that you actually might write a 3 minute pop song someday that makes the stars fall from the sky. You shouldn't put things into perspective when writing. You do that the other 99% of your time.

Another standout track is 'Beaches', which has these bombastic horns and brilliant guitar. It's a track that sounds like it was birthed in a big room! Was this indeed the case, and what was the process like in finishing this track?

When I tried to put vocals in this song, it took the edge of it which was basically saying fuck you to the song. It kept me awake several nights about how to complete this song but sometimes the answers are right in front of you. Just leaving it along.

Who is the female vocalist on 'Memory', and do you feel that a female voice complements your voice in a distinct way?

Not only in Memory, she sings on half of the songs of the album. Her name is Sylvie Kreusch, a Belgian vixen. I like the fact she sounds like a young girl. It adds a lolita-esque feeling in which the older man pretends to have the wisdom but is actually in no position of control at all. If Sylvie finds the time, she joins the live band as well which feels on those occasions like a true blessing.

As I said before with Balthazar, the last campaign was the biggest you guys have ever done. With big shows comes an evolution towards playing live, and I wonder if that experience at all informed how you wanted to approach the live shows for Warhaus?

Warhaus needs a whole different approach. My position within Balthazar is totally different compared to Warhaus, so in a way, a lot of things are new to me. That's the whole fun part about forming something new, you make the same old mistakes all over again and that pushes you to undiscovered terrain.

Lastly, does it feel in any way that your experiences with Balthazar inspired you to make this album at all?

Playing in a band is all about putting your ego aside. Making a solo record is exaggerating all details in ones persona. Playing in a band is a lot of fun and has lots of advantages but when it comes to getting a personal feeling across there are some boarders. You cant imagine Bob Dylan writing blood on the tracks with a songwriting companion, or John Lennon singing about his mother in the Beatles. So I guess after discovering that in Balthazar, I was curious to discover that other part of writing too. By the way, I cant title a Balthazar album We Fucked a Flame Into Being, because it would sound as if jinte and me started a romantic affair, which might happen someday, but hasn't yet...

  • UK Dates:
  • 9th October Brighton – The Hope and Ruin
  • 10th October Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
  • 12th October London – The Lexington