All The Lines Are Down, NEW CD (Instore Now)
All The Lines Are Down weaves a mist of isolation, drunken-delusion, yearning and ill-intent. Hengeveld unravels vignettes of other lives lived; calling through time to capture the mysteries of the everyday.
This raw folk-narrative echoes the disarming intimacy of Richard Buckner, in concert with an edgy and cyclical acoustic guitar-style reminiscent of Bert Jansch. Sweet, melancholy and occasionally menacing melodies working deeper beneath your skin with each visit. Tobias Hengeveld’s understated and idiosyncratic approach to music and the song-form has resulted in a work of striking originality.
Songwriter for Scout Hall and The Night Bell, Tobias Hengeveld has been lurking quietly amidst the Melbourne music scene for much of the past decade. Performing both nationally and internationally. The release of All The Lines Are Down sees Hengeveld stepping from the shadow of these projects with a debut record of his own.
Written during a period of turbulence and travel, All The Lines Are Down evolved through an extended studio collaboration with bourgeoning producer Andrew Bencina and a blessing of ‘Top-shelf’ Melbourne musicians.
All The Lines Are Down sirens Tobias Hengeveld’s coming-of-age as a songwriter; amidst a ground-swell of new Australian artists, once again focused on localized experiences and identity. A haunting dream illuminated by the history, mystery, wonder and woe of this place and its people.
Available online and in select record stores, through Vitamin distribution. www.vitamin.net.au
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
“On his debut CD, All the Lines Are Down, Melbourne singer-songwriter Tobias Hengeveld weaves understated, dream-dark folk songs of life in urban and rural Australia.
Tobias was born to Dutch immigrant parents in a small Southern Queensland town and moved to Melbourne's urban fringe at the age of 5. He went to art school and travelled overseas and eventually shifted from visual creativity to song-writing, inspired by Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Chris Whitley, and Bert Jansch. His is a unique voice in the making, with a strong sense of place and wonder.”
Lucky Oceans, The Daily Planet (ABC Radio National)
Now at a turning point in his life, Melbourne singer-songwriter Tobias Hengeveld has turned his hand to exploring both his personal background and the history of European settlers in Australia with the new album All The Lines Are Down. It has certainly been a year of transition for Hengeveld who has recently also abandoned his former project The Night Bell and stepped into the territory of a solo artist with spectacular results.
"I'm essentially still doing what I did with The Night Bell but I'm just using my own name now instead," Hengeveld explains. "I just no longer like the name all that much. The project has been driven by me and I wrote all the songs and it was pretty much a solo project anyway, with guests playing on it. I'd say this album is my best work to date and it's definitely more diverse than anything I've ever done in terms of arrangement as well as sonically."
All The Lines Are Down is also Hengeveld'd most personal work, having been written during a particularly difficult time in the artist's life.
"To be honest, the last couple of years have been incredibly hard for me because my mother has been very ill so there are a lot of personal undertones on this record," he reveals. "It's not something that's direct in the album but there is definitely an underlying sentiment to do with that experience. I can't deny it is quite melancholy. At the same time, quite a large chunk of the record is also about questioning your own artform and sense of place and history."
It isn't a surprise either. Due to his mother's illness, Hengeveld has spent a large amount of time revisiting his roots while going back to the place of his childhood - something he claims influenced the unique sense of Australiana about his songwritings. "I was born in a small southern Queensland town but we relocated to country Victoria later on," he says. "That has had an immense influence on my songwriting. I think some of the stories I tell through my music are loosely biographical mixed with fiction. A lot of the material is about my connection to the bush and country. It has been interesting going back to where I grew up because I'm going through this stuff with my mother and slowly saying goodbye in a sense. At the same time it feels like going back through my history. I'm definitely at a point in my life where I'm starting to look backwards and revisiting the imagery of the country that I've had in my head."
And it echoes through the stripped-back spaciousness of All The Lines Are Down. Exploring the sense of desolation the first European settlers often felt upon moving to the vast brown land of Australia, Hengeveld attempts to understand his own connection to the country his Dutch parents immigrated to prior to his birth.
"I'm first generation Australian and I'm a folk musician, so obviously what I do is very much about geography and local Australian history as well as my personal feelings," he says. "I've always been interested in our history because it's so prevalent around us. My songs are inspired by things I've read and the places I've visited in the last few years as I've been taking lots of roadtrips around the country. I think you can hear the very space and landscape in the music. I was definitely going for filmic music."
Along with burgeoning producer Andrew Bencina and a range of top-shelf Melbourne musicians, since 2007 Hengeveld has completely dedicated himself to his most ambitious of collaborations with All The Lines Are Down.
"Last year we actually managed to get some funding from the Australia Council along with myself financing the record," Hengeveld adds. "I think the tracking process of the songs seriously triggered Andrew's imagination and spurred him to push me for better things. We pretty much treated all the recordings as pre-production and we started looking into how to optimise the songs so as to create a real experience with them. The whole project has been really blessed because everyone that joined in was really drawn into the material and keen on playing on the album."
As the enthusiasm for the record's potential grew among all involved, so the recording methods themselves grew ever more adventurous when Hengeveld and Bencina began utilising wine cellars, underground water tanks and broom closets as recording locations. "Andrew came very highly recommended and now I can see why," Hengeveld says of his recording partner. "By the time it was over he'd actually become quite personally involved in the whole album. I think that's something to be said about his work ethic and integrity. He wants to move into the world of producing even more and he's one of those people that's zealous about sound engineering and has incredible knowledge about it. He's definitely researched his art, what more could you ask for? Personally, I think for him to have a record like this one is a really good thing to go through and to have to show."
Nina Bertok (Beat)
Tobias gets put under the grill by the Mess+Noise border patrol to test out his Aussie credentials.
Click here to see if he'll be deported (Mess+Noise)
Tobias Hengeveld, All The Lines Are Down. Radio Adelaide feature CD June 15-21
Click here to listen online (Radio Adelaide)
“A stellar folk song that just sounds like Australia. It reminds me of humid afternoons and interminable deserts. Love the voice too, reminiscent of Josh Pyke. 4/5 stars.”
Dom Alessio, Home & Hosed (Triple J)
“Sometimes it’s right there under your nose, half a turn away from where you are facing. So it is with Tobias Hengeveld, a Melbourne artist who I wish I had discovered years ago. Born to Dutch parents in Queensland, Hengeveld is nothing short of quintessentially Australian. His unashamedly strong accent adds a feeling of true honesty to his beautiful songs of life. His lyrics build stories and emotions in intricate weaves, reflecting on the reality of love and pain in such familiar streetscapes.
His melodies are simply gorgeous and permanently attach themselves to your psyche. The arrangements are nothing short of perfect. Fires magically start crackling when you first put it on and the atmosphere is immediately transformed. This is a superb album that deserves a place in every collection.”
John Carver, Across The Tracks (PBS 106.7FM)