We met up with Jan Wouter Van Gestel, better known as Tout Va Bien, in a studio in Antwerp on the hottest day of the year. We dressed the singer in denim and had a little chat about his summer, song writing and personal style. Oh, and we put him in a tub. Because apparently, that is his thing.
It has been a busy summer for Tout Va Bien, playing around 15 festivals, working on new material and finding moments in between to clear his head and getting inspired.
Daily Dose of Denim: What has been the climax so far this summer?
Tout Va Bien: I’ve enjoyed playing at every festival, but being the opening act at Rock Werchter this year was a personal highlight. I played at noon and yet The Barn was crowded and the people that showed up were very much going with it.
Another festival I truly enjoyed was Les Ardentes. When I finished playing, I had the chance to see the Liam Gallagher concert on the side stage. Him singing Wonderwall and me sipping on my cold beer and thinking to myself ‘how did this happen exactly?’, that was a cool moment.
Besides those two concerts, I always enjoy playing a home match, like I did at Viva Lola and Maanrock.
DDOD: What do you do in between concerts?
TVB: I picked up writing again and I’m currently in a creative state of mind. A lot has happened in my life the last couple of months and it offers a kaleidoscope of things to draw from when writing. For the moment, I am focusing on the creative process and I try not to worry too much about the production. All of that will come in a next stage.
I used to sit at the piano and come up with new stuff, but that’s not how I work nowadays. I walk a lot with my headphones on, get in touch with nature and then melodies and sentences will come to me. When they have potential, I record them.
DDOD: Are you hard on yourself when it comes to writing?
TVB: Absolutely. I’m a perfectionist, so I only want to keep the absolute best songs. I am writing on my own now, which is different from the last EP, when I wrote all songs with Ozan Bozdag from Oscar and the Wolf.
DDOD: How do you relax in between festivals?
TVB: When I’ve played a series of concerts, I try to disconnect, from Belgium and myself. I have this place I go to, Lombok – I call it my healing place. When I get away from all the noise, I can truly listen to myself and create.
DDOD: We’ve done a photoshoot together. How important is the visual aspect of your job?
TVB: Very important. Social media has become such a big part of our lives, so it is crucial for an artist to be conscious of how he presents himself to the eyes of the world. Back in the days when my career took off, I couldn’t be bothered with my public image. I am more aware of that now.
DDOD: How would you describe your personal style? Is it very different from how you present yourself as an artist?
TVB: If it were up to me, I would be wearing jeans and a white tee most of the time. I am still very much a boy scouts at heart. However, thanks to growing up with my three sisters, I am in touch with my feminine side and I do like a well-styled outfit. What I don’t like though, is dressing up. I like to stay true to myself and my style. How I present myself on stage or during photo shoots should still be a recognizable version of myself. I am not the type to wear gold capes, that is just not me. But there’s nothing wrong with giving a little twist to the truth.
Jan-Wouter is wearing:
Picture 1, 3, 8
White tee: Zara
Cut-off jeans: H&M Conscious
Picture 2, 7
Shirt: Pull & Bear
Suit: Hugo Boss (here)
Sunglasses: model’s own
Singlet: H&M Conscious
Shirt: Urban Outfitters
Jeans: H&M Conscious
Cap: Urban Outfitters
Denim shorts: Levi’s vintage
Shoes: model’s own
Sneakers: model’s own
Shot at Studio Reset in Antwerp.