You might know me from…
Benjamin: … my performances on stage as a singer or guitarist since the end of the 90’s under the pseudonym of ‘Miam Monster Miam’, as a keyboardist and perhaps as a radio columnist at La Première (Dictionary Game, podcast Salut Les Copions)
Floris: … my work as an actor and director. Musical is my core business. A few years ago, I made my debut as an actor. As time went on, I got some opportunities as a creative. Lately, I’ve mainly been working as a director and assistant director, but I’m also still acting in various musicals.
In addition, I am a lead singer with The Diamonds, I am a backing vocal with Helmut Lotti and a voice actor.
Wietse: … many music and television recordings; During my career, I have had the privilege of working with a wide range of artists and production houses across the entire music landscape. As a saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist, I have not only played many concerts, but also have I collaborated on the albums of several (more than 100) artists.
Furthermore, as an arranger for mainly wind and string players, I have provided several – I dare not count them – arrangements for albums of artists, but also for musicals, television and film.
This is how I got to know PlayRight:
Benjamin: Thanks to – or due to – Uradex, an old, incomprehensible history to performers. Fortunately, PlayRight arrived with a better image and an efficient service.
Floris: Some colleagues pointed out that I had to declare the recordings of CDs and voice-over work. They explained to me how PlayRight works and how important it is to become a member.
Wietse: Via colleagues of the generation before me. PlayRight was then still called Uradex. When I just started in the recording circuit and was asked to play my first recordings, they said to me: “You really need to declare those recordings. You are entitled to rights.”
I became a PlayRight associate because…
Benjamin: … I needed a solid Belgian company to collect my neighbouring rights coming from phonographic recordings, while at the same time being a studio musician and director of many albums and TV documentaries.
Floris: … I want to support PlayRight in achieving its goals. It is an important society that, according to me, should enjoy even more fame among the artists.
Wietse: … I am interested in the operations of PlayRight. Some of my colleagues and I, as musicians we noticed that the declaration system could be even more improved. After that realisation I started to really dig deep into it.
I decided to run for the PlayRight Board of Directors because…
Benjamin: … new issues and new guidelines will apply to neighbouring rights in the digital world. I would like to be part of this historic adventure for performers and work collegially with the administrative body to guide these changes as best as possible.
Floris: As I am a member of the Board of Directors of De Acteursgilde, I encountered other board members of the PlayRight Board of Directors. Because of the common interest and the ability of both organisations to strengthen each other, it seemed opportune to run for the PlayRight Board of Directors.
Wietse: PlayRight looks after the artists’ neighbouring rights. Those rights have long been undermined by, among other things, the streaming of music. It is a complex matter and I hope that I’ll be able to inform many of my colleagues correctly and contribute something to PlayRight via the experience I have in the sector.
As a teacher at the Brussels Art Academy, I get in touch with the future talented generations on a weekly basis. I wish to do for them what other colleagues have done for me in the past.
This is what I hope to contribute to the Board of Directors and the General Assembly as a new board member:
Benjamin: Because of my status as an entrepreneur and creator, I have experience in the administration of cultural societies and enterprises. Moreover, I have a transversal vision of culture through my multi-disciplinary practices.
Floris: I hope to respond to the needs of the artists through my experience in the field and the close contact with colleagues from different fields. In addition, I want to support the Board by applying the knowledge I have, while at the same time continuing to educate myself via the knowledge and experience of my fellow board members.
Wietse: I hope to be able to clearly represent at Playright the voice of the performing and studio musician, from any genre.
In my opinion, PlayRight could serve affiliated artists even better in the future by…
Benjamin: … further improving the distribution of neighbouring rights generated online, changing the statuses as to adapt to the current times, and by better communicating with its members.
Floris: … making them even more aware of its existence. Many of my colleagues are still quite ignorant about rights and collecting societies. Of course, the artist is responsible to take care of himself/herself, but at the same time PlayRight could raise even more awareness to recruit more artists.
Wietse: … continuing to fight for the rights of the artists. A lot of things have positively changed in recent years: the recent vote on the law on streaming of music and images (although it is only a statement of intent without concrete figures for the time being), the updated PlayRight portal…
This is what I am currently working on on a personal/professional level:
Benjamin: A series of concerts that I will play in October (amongst others at Botanique, Flagey…), around my latest instrumental album The Love Note, radio and podcast reviews (La Première, Radio Rectangle), and the release of my first graphic novel at Editions du Caid at the end of this year.
Floris: I am currently assistant director at ‘MAMMA MIA!’.
Wietse: On every recording and during every concert I am playing as if my life depends on it. I am trying to get the most beautiful, or at least the most appropriate, from my imagination in each single arrangement… As a teacher at the Brussels Art Academy, I try to pass this on to all students, as well.
These new projects are on the horizon:
Benjamin: As always and again: new music, radio, cinema and television projects!
Floris: Soon I will be directing the French version of ‘MAMMA MIA!’, and I’ll also be performing Benjamin Coffin III in ‘Rent’. Later this year, my directorial debut ‘Robin Hood & I’ will be back in theatres. In December, ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’ will premiere, of which Stany Crets and I will be the directors.
Wietse: There are so many! A concert tour and festivals with Clouseau, Yong Yello, Tribute to George Michaels… Arrangements for Warhaus, Isolde Lasoen, Noëmie Wolfs, Zimmerman, Oxalys/Koen Brandt… Finally, also television recordings and arrangements for Liefde voor Muziek, The Voice, etc.
My biggest dream as an artist is…:
Benjamin: Well, I would love to do an international tour again and share my music on stages all over the world.
Floris: … being able to carry out my profession with full enthusiasm my entire life, living off art, and meeting countless beautiful people along the way.
Wietse: … setting up a large orchestral project.
The main life lesson I learnt being an artist, so far, is:
Benjamin: You must arm yourself with a lot of patience and dedicate a lot of time to the art that you are practicing.
Floris: If you are open-minded and constantly keep an eye on whatever happens around you in the world, you get inspired the most.
Wietse: Every recording is something unique. You are only as good as your last concert/recording. Always do your best for everyone. Being kind is free!
What I want to pass on to other artists:
Benjamin: It is possible to achieve great things with little! One word: action!
Floris: Always listen to your heart. And join PlayRight! J
Wietse: Invest in your own projects so that, when you listen back to them within 20 years, you don’t think: ‘If only I had recorded real drums/winds/strings…’. Some things will just always sound cheap and bad, even after 20 years.
Real live tracks and personal sounds sound so much better than many ‘generic’ samples and are part of the ‘signature sound’ of many big bands.
After the plastic demo, go a little further and liven things up! That’s what it’s all about.