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Doubt In My Heart

by Benjamin Schoos

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about

EN

A record full of soulful sunshine pop and warm but subtle burrs of synthpop and crispy psychedelia.
Don’t let the title fool you, the new album from Benjamin Schoos is his most dazzlingly assured yet. Doubt In My Heart, the fourth studio album recorded under his own name, features a host of inspired collaborations unleashing nine gorgeous new songs that celebrate interconnectivity in times of trouble.

“This album was written at an emotionally complicated time in my life,” admits the Belgian musician. “It's a bit like the mixtape of my heart at each moment along the way. It's a really intimate album despite all of the guests making appearances on it.” And therein lies the beautiful paradox of Doubt In My Heart, an album of solitude made with a host of new musical friends from around the globe. Rather than licking his wounds, Schoos took a risk and reached out in the hope of nding some af nity in dark times, and received it back in abundance.

The songs on Doubt In My Heart therefore are emotionally intelligent, sexy, witty, touching and sometimes sad, but they are all infused with a warmth that only comes from human interaction. “My initial idea was that I wanted to play all of the instruments and improvise with myself,” he says. “It had been a long time since I’d played the drums or even the acoustic guitar on my records.” He began writing melodies and scribbling down lyrics in his notepad, but other unknown voices began to suggest themselves.
“I thought instinctively that the musical environment would lend itself to external collaborations to get me out of my cocoon. So I had the idea of replacing me with singers, which would be less sti ing for me personally.” Schoos says it was important to take a back seat this time around: “Yeah, I really wanted to make a record that I could listen to myself,” he explains, “something that goes from the intimate to the universal. And my voice could not do justice to this project.”
Modesty aside, the record certainly feels luxuriantly free, full of soulful sunshine pop and warm but subtle burrs of synthpop and crispy psychedelia and a whole mixtape of different singers bringing varied interpretations and contributing their own ideas. Lead single “All Night Every Night” with the American singer songwriter Dent May which was released in May of last year is, according to Norman Records, packed with enough “sunshine to see you at least as far as Crimbo.” Follow up ‘Shoes’ is also like a warm bath, full of brilliantly evocative imagery and underpinned by sweet 70’s soul. Opener ‘The Traces of Our Thoughts’ with Marker Starling starts with the subtle pulse of an analogue drum machine and builds into a symphonic rock ballad full of minor key west coast harmonies.
Many of the other chansons are based around major 7th chords, but each arrives at a different illustrious destination standing out from its contemporaries. With players accrued from across the planet mostly via the medium of email, with sounding sessions done via Skype, the collaborators came together virtually, with most of the artists having never met the Seraing-born singer before. “It was magical, with everyone very involved in the recording, despite the distance,” he says. What’s more, while not having met, the universal themes of the heart were immediately relatable to all concerned. What they shared was a mutual admiration and a commonality through human experience.
As for those guests, the aforementioned Canadian singer Marker Starling, who Benjamin calls “one of the most talented songwriters of his generation”, appears on three songs including the title track. Fellow compatriots of Starling’s, Nicholas Krgovich and Drew Smith from Bunny, also provide vocals on excellent new tracks. The Brits Robert Soleto and Alex Gavaghan weave their magic as well. The album is rounded off with the ambient psyche of ‘I’m Disappearing’, featuring Kevin Coral of Future Children and some deliciously paced spidery drumming from Benjamin.
“One collaboration would lead to another,” says Schoos, “thanks to the interconnectivity of the world wide web”. He had initially been introduced to Sterling’s music by Stereolab’s Lætitia Sadier, who he’d recorded another duet, ‘Je ne vois que vous’, with in 2013. Sterling in turn introduced him to Nicholas Krgovich and Bunny, both from the Tin Angel Records stable, a UK label with plenty of international acts.
It’s a record that grew organically and makes a strong case for cyberspace being a part of our reality now. Doubt In My Heart is an international pop record sung in its entirety in English that somehow manages to be personal and universal, self- analysing and life-af rming, brooding and amusing, amiable and yet aloof, familiar and yet like nothing Schoos has attempted before. If he had any doubts in his heart that it might not work then Doubt In My Heart is a record of beautiful paradoxes that’s an unequivocal triumph.

FR

Un disque libre, luxuriant, gorgé de sunshine pop, de doux psychédélisme et de chaleur contagieuse.
Le titre est trompeur : si turpitudes du cœur, il y a, le nouvel album de Benjamin Schoos n'en est pas moins son plus assuré à ce jour, ainsi que son plus éblouissant. C'est déjà son quatrième disque studio signé de son véritable nom et ces neuf magnifques nouvelles chansons sont toutes des collaborations qui célèbrent l'idée de s'associer humainement durant une période troublée. «L'album a été écrit à un moment émotionnellement compliqué de ma vie», confie Benjamin. Il est un peu comme la mixtape d'un cheminement difficile et c'est un disque vraiment très intime malgré tous les invités présents.» C'est là le plus grand paradoxe de Doubt In My Heart, qui parle beaucoup de solitude tout en invitant une ribambelle de nouveaux amis musiciens internationaux. Benjamin Schoos aurait pu panser ses plaies seul dans son coin mais il a préféré prendre le risque de provoquer des rencontres nouvelles et de chercher des affinités inédites durant une passe sombre. Le moins que l'on puisse dire, c'est que le pari est gagnant.
Les chansons de Doubt In My Heart sont intelligentes, sexy, spirituelles, touchantes, parfois tristes, mais toutes infusées à la chaleur collaborative et aux émotions humaines. «L'idée initiale, c'est que je voulais jouer de tous les instruments et improviser seul, dit l’artiste liégeois. Cela faisait longtemps que je n'avais plus touché une batterie ou même joué de la guitare acoustique sur mes disques.» Il a donc commencé en solitaire à écrire des mélodies et de gribouiller des idées de paroles mais très vite, la tentation de mêler des voix inconnues au projet s'est imposée. «Instinctivement, j'ai pensé que l'environnement musical se prêterait plutôt bien à des collaborations extérieures, histoire aussi de sortir de mon cocon, que cela soit moins étouffant. J'ai donc eu l'idée de me remplacer au micro par d'autres chanteurs.» Il était pour Benjamin aussi important de se mettre cette fois au second plan, d'enregistrer «un disque que je pourrais moi-même écouter», à la fois très personnel mais aussi universel : «Et ma propre voix n'aurait pas pu rendre véritablement justice au projet».
Doubt in My Heart est un disque tout à l'opposé de cette modestie, sonnant surtout libre et luxuriant, gorgé de sunshine pop, de doux psychédélisme et de chaleur contagieuse. «All Night Every Night», le premier single interprété par le chanteur-compositeur américain Dent May, est sorti en mai de l'année dernière et selon Norman Records, a été «emballé avec suf samment de soleil pour tenir au moins jusqu'au putain de jour de Noël.». Le deuxième extrait, «Shoes», tient lui aussi du bain chaud, avec la soul seventies en guise de mousse relaxante. Quant à «The Traces of Our Thoughts», chanté par Marker Starling, on y ose le grand écart entre électronique, ballade de rock symphonique et harmonies West Coast. Les autres chansons sont quant à elles pour la plupart basées autour d'accords en septième majeure, tout en se dirigeant chacune vers une destination différente, selon un chemin qui lui est propre.
«L'enregistrement a été vraiment magique. Tout le monde était très impliqué, malgré la distance», s'enthousiasme Benjamin. Ces collaborations sont effectivement restées virtuelles. Joints par email, enregistrés via Skype, les artistes ne se sont pas rencontrés. Tous se sont néanmoins retrouvés dans les thèmes universels et les idées proposées par Benjamin. Marker Starling, selon Schoos «l'un des compositeurs les plus talentueux de sa génération» apparaît sur trois morceaux, dont le titre phare. Tout comme lui Canadiens, Nicholas Krgovich et Drew Smith de Bunny, chantent eux aussi sur l'album, à l'instar des Anglais Robert Soleto et Alex Gavaghan. Quant à ‘I’m Disappearing’, dernier morceau de l'album, il est interprété par Kevin Coral (The Witch Hazel) de Future Children. «Une collaboration menait tout naturellement à une autre, partage Schoos, tout ça grâce au web, que je ne remercierai jamais assez.»
C'est Lætitia Sadier de Stereolab, avec qui il a enregistré un autre duo en 2013, «Je ne vois que vous», qui a fait découvrir à Benjamin à la musique de Marker Starling. Ce dernier l'à quant à lui dirigé vers Nicholas Krgovich et Bunny, l'un et l'autre issus de l'écurie Tin Angel Records, un label anglais au catalogue très international.
Doubt in My Heart est donc un album qui s'est élaboré de façon très organique, tout en présentant de solides arguments en faveur du virtuel, désormais part entière de notre réalité. Disque de pop internationale entièrement chantée en anglais, c'est aussi une œuvre qui arrive à être à la fois très personnelle et universelle, gorgée de vie et émotionnellement troublée, assez sombre mais amusante, à la fois plutôt familière et malgré tout en rien comparable avec tout ce que Benjamin Schoos a pu faire jusqu'ici. Incontestablement, les doutes du cœur ont donc accouché d'un véritable triomphe pop!

Quotes

"An invigorating change of Pace for the Belgian chansonnier" Mojo

"Le feu d'artifice Doubt in my heart s'achève avec I'm Disappearing enregistré avec les géniaux de Future Children de Kevin Coral" Rock & Folk

"Sung entirely in English, Schoos has crafted a universal pop album here, that’s both glorious and introspective, and often points towards the past while still maintaining a very modern playfulness. " Takeeffect

"...9 pièces pop langoureuses et imparables à ranger entre une production
Tricatel, Perry Blake et Burt Bacharach. Indispensable !" Magic RPM

" Les harmonies sont somptueuses telle une compilation West Coast fonciérement pop, d'une modernité indéniable" Le Soir

"Schoos Speelt met de Doorloper zacht synthstralings als met enne dimknop: van de zonneheldere West Coast tot de Knusse avondschermering hangt. Très Tof" Knack Focus

"Cette fois, le mélomane liégeois nous revient avec un nouvel album électro rock, aux mélodies enveloppantes, empreintes de mélancolie" Femmes d'aujourdhui

"Le dandy des hauts-fourneaux panse ses plaies avec un grand disque pop." Moustique

"On se laisse gagner par les mélodies, pop, psyché dans la feutrine, parfois sobrement électro..." Muzzart

'Un petit bijou de pop music est aussi singulier que le contexte dans lequel il est sort" Sudpresse

" Un maître ès pop à l’allure impeccable et au style soigné qui fait fondre nos cœurs avec ses chansons langoureuses depuis des années" Benzine

"Benjamin cède le micro alignant de brillantes mélodies pop en anglais, à la fois solaires et mélancoliques" Focus Vif

credits

released April 3, 2020

Produced by Benjamin Schoos for Freaksville Publishing
Recorded in Belgium at Eastview Studio by Sabino Orsini
Vocal tracks and overdubs recorded between USA, Canada and England.
Mixed and Mastered in France at Farside by Gilles Martin
Artcover Brest Brest Brest !
Pic Pascal Schyns

2020 Freaksville Records - Freaksville Publishing

Avec l’aide de La Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (service de la musique non classique)

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Benjamin Schoos Belgium

When he's not running the brilliant Freaksville label, Benjamin Schoos is concentrating his efforts into producing lush, string-laden, melancholic and very French pop. The dandy crooner has produced, composed and arranged a whole host of songs for a variety of cult figures including Lio, Marie France, Chrissie Hynde, Alain Chamfort, Laetitia Sadier, Miqui Puig. ... more

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Track Name: Traces of our thoughts Feat. Marker Starling
Traces of Our Thoughts (feat. Marker Starling)
(Chris Cummings /Benjamin Schoos)

What is it in the traces of our thoughts
That sings a song to us?
Something that we embrace is never caught
That sings a song to us
Something that we embrace is not held
And yet it sings its song to us
Song to us
Is it there
In the notes
Those up front and those
Hiding there in the back?
Is it there
In the words
The meanings often just
Holding doors
Just a crack?
Ooooh, it sings a song to us now
(every day, every minute, every hour)
Sings a song to us now
(every day, every minute, every hour)
Ooooh, it sings a song to us now
(every day, every minute, every hour)
Sings a song to us now
(every day, every minute, every hour)
Track Name: Shoes Feat. Nicholas Krgovich
Shoes ( feat. Nicholas Krgovich )
(Nicholas Krgovich/Benjamin Schoos)

Leaning against the kitchen wall,
The phone cord tangled round the chair,
It's hard to care,
But you do,
And you move to slip on your shoes.
It's after dinner,
And the rain just stopped,
And the dog wants to go out for a walk,
The streets are slick,
And they smell wet,
And there's two coyotes in the park.
Now things are wilder than you think,
Clouds move, there's the moon,
A local dance at the skating rink,
They took out the ice.
While some dance in lines,
And some shuck and jive,
You scoop up the dog and sway from side to side.
And nights like this will come again,
And again and again,
And life's a gas you knew it then and you know it now.
But what's it gonna take,
An electric sparkle on the lake?
For you to get in there and shimmy shake.
Track Name: Baby I’m In Love Feat. Drew Smith (from Bunny)
Baby I’m in Love (feat. Drew Smith from Bunny)
(Drew Smith /Benjamin Schoos)

Can I give you
What you give me
You've given everything you are
to me so tenderly
Am I just as brave
or am I trying to save
myself from all the pain
your touch could start
or break apart
Baby I’m in Love
I’m in Love with You
I love you
There is a choice
the paths are clear
to heed my own voice
or be cowed by fear
To be one with your heart
or walk from ruin to ruin
and curse each start
Track Name: All Night Every Night Feat Dent May
All Night Every Night Feat. Dent May
(Dent May-Benjamin Schoos)

i was in the wrong place
tired of my 9 to 5
you showed me the right way
suddenly it’s good to be alive
searching for a melody
i couldn’t find the words to rhyme
you wrote me a symphony
could this be a true love for all time?
sure as I’m gonna be
i know you’re right for me
long as I ever breathe
i need you
all night every night
every week every month of every year
i need you all night every night
every week every month of every year
i need you all night every night
i thought i would be lonely
solitary all my days
now you are my only
this is more than just a passing phase
deeper than the ocean
hotter than a fiery blaze
you have my devotion
will you be my sweetheart for always?
sure as I’m gonna be
I know you’re right for me
long as I ever breathe
i need you
all night every night
every week every month of every year
i need you all night every night
every week every month of every year
i need you all night every night
i need you
i need you
all night every night
every week every month of every year
i need you all night every night
every week every month of every year
i need you all night every night
i need you all night every night
i need you all night every night
i need you all night every night
i need you all night every night
Track Name: Melody Souvenir Feat. Alex Gavaghan
Melody Souvenir
(Alex Gavaghan, Marc Wathieu, Benjamin Schoos)

It comes everywhere with me, your melody souvenir
Sounding in my thoughts everywhere I go
This cleansing holy balm
Those guilded notes
So full of charm
Come wrap me right from wrong
Keep me strong, keep me strong
And forever in your palms
Everywhere with me, your melody souvenir
Ghosting on the wind
Everywhere I blow
I'm a fool to my own pride
But keep me from the fools outside
The piano that you blessed
With every touch, every touch
Sings to me inside
It comes everywhere with me, your melody souvenir
Bouncing off the walls everywhere I show
Oo la la la!
Everywhere with me, your melody souvenir
Whispered in the trees, everywhere I crow
Like the tits upon the branch
I shuffle on, my Sunday dance
I hum my hum along
You keep me strong, you keep me strong
And forever in your charms
Everywhere with me, your melody souvenir
Pounding in my thoughts, everywhere I flow
Everywhere with me, your melody souvenir
Sounding in my thoughts, everywhere I go
Track Name: Doubt In My Heart Feat. Marker Starling
The Doubt In My Heart (feat. Marker Starling)
(Chris Cummings /Benjamin Schoos)

Shoop doo-wah, shoop doo-wah Shoop doo-wah, shoop doo-wah
You can’t do that
You might think that you can
But you can’t
You can’t do that
You might think that you can
But you can’t
All I want is to love and be loved (can’t do, can’t do, can’t do
that)
All I want is to really love and be loved (can’t do, can’t do, can’t
do that)
But the odds are against me
The doubt in my heart prevents me
It’s not meant for me
Shoop doo-wah, shoop doo-wah Shoop doo-wah, shoop doo-wah
Dadoo dadi doh da do
All I want is to really love and be loved, loved, loved, loved
All I want is to really love and be loved, loved, loved, loved
But the odds are against me
The doubt in my heart prevents me
It’s not meant for me
All I want is to love and be loved, loved, loved, loved
All I want is to really love and be loved, loved, loved,
Track Name: Power To Amaze Feat. Robert Sotelo
Power To Amaze feat. Robert Sotelo
(Andrew Doig /Benjamin Schoos)

A Truly Sentimental State
Right Now
Forget The Pressure Concentrate
Somehow
Tomorrow Seems So Far Away
Not Found
We’re Given Power To Amaze
Astound
How Long Has It Been
Since Our Love Was Found
The Frequency Rings
It’s Moving The Crowd
How Long Has It Been
Since Our Love Was Found
The Frequency Rings
It’s Moving The Crowd
Track Name: Catching in Passing Feat. Marker Starling
Catching in Passing (featuring Marker Starling)
(Chris Cummings /Benjamin Schoos)

Catching in passing
Chance harmonies massing
Writing, erasing
Creating, effacing
These are the ways it comes to life
Leaping off the page and into flight
These are the ways it comes to life
Leaping off the page into the light
Smoothing and plashing
Consoling and clashing
Dampening and ringing
Silent yet singing
Arriving and leaving
Suspecting, believing
Destroying and making
Giving and taking
These are the ways it comes to life
Leaping off the page and into flight
These are the ways it comes to life
Leaping off the page into the light
Track Name: I’m Disappearing (Syd) Feat. Future Children
“I’m Disappearing (Syd)” feat. Future Children
(Kevin Coral/Benjamin Schoos)

I'm disappearing
or was I ever here
in a catalogue of lost things
the small and dirty years
take a chance on us
what could go wrong
we're so full of rust
while the radio plays
all these silly songs
as we turn to dust
a devil rising
hidden among the woods
carrying unknown names
so totally together then pulled apart
the windmills start then they stop
i'm disappearing/or was i never here
in a catalogue of lost things
small and dirty years
pull the horse from the water all day long
pull the horse from the water all day long
it's time to pay the governor
it's time again