Members: Geert van der Velde, Kim Janssen, Stef Thoen, Megan Hoffman
The Black Atlantic is the Groningen (The Netherlands) based acoustic pop band formed around singer and songwriter Geert van der Velde, former frontman for American metalcore group Shai Hulud. The Black Atlantic released their debut album 'Reverence for Fallen Trees' digitally for free (worldwide) as part of the In A Cabin With international recording series on August 21st, 2009. It has already been downloaded over 60.000 times since then.
About 'Reverence for Fallen Trees'
In February, 2008, The Black Atlantic contacted the international recording project In a Cabin With (IACW) about a possible recording session. IACW were immediately enthusiastic and plans for a late 2008 recording, to take place in a log cabin, were made. The cabin, owned by van der Velde's in-laws is located in the small town of Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. For this recording, drummer Marcel Wolthof was re-enlisted alongside singer-songwriter Kim Janssen on various instruments. Janssen co-wrote some of the songs for the recording and has permanently settled in and joined the band.
The title of the album 'Reverence for Fallen Trees' is a metaphor for honour the dead, referring to van der Velde's grandparents, 3 of whom passed away recently in the past year. The album deals with such topics as remembrance , grief, family, love, disenchantment and overcoming, eloquently worded and brought to life in natural methaphors and direct references to this period in his family history. Musically the new songs showcase a much wider variety of instrumentation and willingness to experiment with sounds and soundscapes, and the use of multi-layered vocal harmonies; inspired by such acts as Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and the Beach Boys. Rhytmically the group has chosen for a much more minimal, percussive approach touring with only a snare drum, floor tom and cymbal.
History & Touring:
The Black Atlantic started as a project of van der Velde in his off time from his philosophy studies. Gradually the project turned more serious after van der Velde recorded his first song - a Valentine's gift to his then girlfriend, now wife (and bandmember) - in February of 2006.
After posting the song online (Myspace) and getting 2 immediate indie label deal offers, van der Velde wrote and recorded 'Send This Home' in the early Fall of 2006 with the help of various contributing friends and eventually abandoned his studies to focus full-time on the band.
The EP documents van der Velde's very first attempts at writing pop music, and showcases his penchant for melancholy and introspection, as well as his then obsession with Elbow. The EP was released on July 10th in the US by Five Point Records from New York (one of the two indie labels who had initially offered a deal). And, in January 2008, 'Send This Home' EP was re-released in Europe through Midsummer Records (DE).
Live The Black Atlantic made it's first live appearance, in one of many incarnations, at Eurosonic 2007. Since then the band has maintained a steady diet of touring, playing shows ,in a revolving line-up up, until April 2009, opening for Nada Surf (usa), Patrick Watson (ca) and touring the US East Coast and Midwest multiple times, once with Tim Williams (usa) and later with friends The Antlers (usa). In Europe the band has toured with Saturday Looks Good to Me (usa) and most recently with Windmill (uk).