Alongside his live work with Skratt, Van de Vliet is also an instrument maker. He studied plucked instrument making at the International Lutherie School Antwerp and then went on to learn about instrument restoration.
“Mostly I make guitars, but I have also made drums and I recently started to make a hurdy-gurdy and a nyckelharpa. It is a passion of mine, from choosing the perfect wood in Italy until I finish the instrument with numerous layers of French polish. It is a long process because I always want to improve the instruments.”
Van de Vliet’s d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones
are occasionally used to create sound clips of the instruments he is making, so that he can check the audio quality.
“The d:dicate™ 4011 microphone
would be a better choice for real measurements but unfortunately I don’t own one of those,” he says. “But when it comes to amplification, my d:vote™ is always nearby because no pickup can beat its audio quality, practicality or price point.”
Although not signed to a label, Skratt recently released its first CD, which was recorded in Van de Vliet’s living room with a very basic 8-channel set-up.
“I’ve always been interested in ancient instruments and I get inspiration from the diversity of musical instruments on show at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Brussels,” he says. “The instruments people play today are developed to perfection but they are just a small part of the story. I am also interested in the rough diamonds – the imperfect instruments and the unusual sounds they create.
“As a band, we are inspired by these instruments and we like to take unusual instruments and mix them into our songs. This allows us to play with different sounds and fit them together so that our music has its own twist. Hurdy-gurdy, glockenspiel, accordion, bagpipe, bouzouki, drums and a samba-whistle in one song, the sky is the limit!”