BLØF is a four-piece Dutch rock band from Vlissingen, in Zeeland, which has become popular regionally and internationally for its music, its frequent collaborations with bands from other parts of the world, willingness to incorporate other genres into their "sound", and focus on bettering the world around them. It has twice won the Edison Award for "Best Band" in the Netherlands.
Bløf played the first ever rock concert in the country of Bhutan, as part of their Umoja project in 2006.
BLØF is a Dutch pop rock band founded in 1992 by musician Peter Slager, and originally consisted of four musicians: bassist Peter Slager, guitarist Paskal Jakobsen, Bas Kennis, playing keyboards, and Henk Tjoonk as drummer. By late 1994, the band recorded their first album, Naakt Onder De Hemel, (roughly translated as "Naked under the heavens"), which took just one week. Drummer Henk Tjoonk suggested distributing it themselves, and their self-produced, self-promoted record was a hit in Zeeland; a province of The Netherlands. The record was well received by critics and drew enough attention to score promotional support and a contract from EMI Music, to take over distribution of the album nationwide. The single "Aan de Kust" became a hit song in Zeeland, despite the fact that it got little airplay from national radio stations. Keyboardist Bas Kennis credits their first rudimentary website that was up and running as early as 1995, before other local bands. His maintaining of the website gave fans access to the band and a way to find out more about their music and tour dates. BLØF received an award for "Best New Talent" for the album. The money that was included with the award was used to record their second album, Helder, which was released in September 1997.
The first two singles, Helder and Zeven Nachten didn't make it to the charts. Because of internal struggles within the band, almost causing a breakup, by the end of 1997 the band fired Tjoonk and hired Chris Götte in his place. With the help of ex-Doe Maar manager Frank van der Meijden they got a full recording contract with EMI. The changes in the group worked as the first single released after this, a piano ballad called Liefs uit Londen, became a huge success. On 10 March 1998, BLØF recorded live material in "The Nighttrain", a discotheque in Middelburg. This material appears on an extra edition of Helder. The next two singles the band released were songs from the live recording: a new version of Aan De Kust and Wat Zou Je Doen. The original version of both songs appeared originally on Naakt Onder De Hemel. Both songs became hit singles.
Years of success
In the summer 1998, the group performed more and received awards for their efforts. They released the album XXL Live Met Het Zeeuws Orkest, a live album recorded with an orchestra from Zeeland, and a new album called Boven. This album was recorded with the help of Peter Bauwers (2 Unlimited) and Ronald Vanhuffel. It had a stronger rock sound than before and the single Harder Dan Ik Hebben Kan became a single in less than a month. By early 2000, the band received an Edison Award for Best Dutch Band. Before the release of Watermakers, the group released the singles Dansen Aan Zee and Hier. At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the group gave a concert for the Dutch Olympians and their crew. In October 2000, Watermakers was finally released and became an incredible success. The band gave a huge concert in Ahoy in 2001 and they again received an Edison for Best Dutch Band.
On 17 March 2001, the band received a shock. Drummer Chris Götte died in a motorcycle accident, while riding from his home to the venue where the band was scheduled to perform later that day. Stunned by the news, the band stopped performing for some time to mourn the loss of their friend. A year later, they released the Live-CD Oog In Oog — Live In Ahoy, the last concert featuring Götte. They finally decided to continue, and chose a new drummer; Norman Bonink, who had experience playing in Frank Boeijen's band. Their first album in this new line-up was Blauwe Ruis in 2002 dedicated to Chris Götte and his family, followed by another Live DVD, Tussen Nacht En Morgen. While Blauwe Ruis is clearly influenced by the passing of Chris, the band decided to create a lighter, more positive album in 2003 called Omarm.
BLØF travelled to Kenya in 2003 to play with artists there, and they later used their experiences there as an inspiration for their seventh studio album. The band performed internationally after this. In 2004, the American band Counting Crows toured with BLØF, forming a strong friendship, and together, both bands recorded and performed during the summer. They made a single together called "Holiday in Spain", singing the song as a duet, in both languages, which has added to its popularity, and gained increasing visibility and interest in the United States.
In 2005 BLØF began travelling around the world for exposure to new cultures and inspiration for a new album, and were successful in their efforts, with a new album, Umoja being recorded. It was eventually released in 2006. The Umoja project tries to raise awareness for the Millennium Development Goals, collaborating with artists from 12 countries they visited on their tour., The project has resulted in many spinoffs: concerts in the Netherlands with almost all musicians that participated in the Umoja project, a special concert with the Kodo drummers from Japan, a book Umoja Travel Lodge, and a DVD of the Umoja concerts. While being a very successful project it is also very demanding for the Band. They say they greatly underestimated the amount of work that goes into such a project.
In BLØF's next album, Oktober, released in October 2008, they went back to basics, with a stripped down sound, and all tracks recorded in one take with no overdubs. The recording sessions in January and February, 2008 produced enough material for two albums so a second album appeared in early 2009 named April.
Both Oktober and April were no big success, so after the 2010 club tour they went back to the drawing board and promised to come back with a new album with the old BLØF-sound. This album came out on 25 February 2011 and is called Alles Blijft Anders (Everything Stays Different).