Flip Kowlier biography
Rapper from Izegem of the West-Flemish hiphopcrew 't Hof van Commerce who one day got a guitar in hand and suddenly turned into a sort of singer-songwriter, as he says himself a musical crossing between "Urbanus and Ween".
The MC in question was Filip Cauwelier, aka Flip Kowlier (or "Levrancier"), who had already given proof that he had something more to offer than rhyming in the dialect of West-Flanders, by playing the bass in the formation My Velma (the band that Jan Leyers founded after the demise of Leyers, Michiels & Soulsister).
After the second 't Hof van Commerce album he (and the rest of the band - e.g. 4T4's "Atomic") craved for something else, and more precisely a solo-adventure "Because I'm kinda lazy, thing dragged on for quite a while though. One day, however, I drove to a music shop and bought me a microphone stand and a 4-trackrecorder and started writing songs. These were quite close to the things of 't Hof: lots of rap, lots of beats. I've stil got these at home, I can do something with them later. But the real spark came when i was offered an acoustisc guitar after one of the last gigs of 't Hof by a girl ... It was just a nice girl who happened to have some guitars at home she didn't play on anymore. I first wanted to buy it of her, but she didn't want anything else than me taking her to a gig of 't Hof. OK I said, that's a deal. It was then and with that guitar that I started to write popsongs.". So, the song "Gele Stylo" on the second Hof Van Commerce-cd ".herman" got a sequel.
A band was put together, with as the drummer Joost van den Broeck (who played with Flip Kowlier in his early days in the West-Flemish crossover band "The Prophets of Finance", and later drummed with De Mens, My Velma, Riguelle & Hautekiet or de Laatste Show-band), bass-player Pieter van Buyten (see also Marianne Debaene, the 2000-incarnation of punk-band The Kids, and the country-outfit Chitlin' Fooks) and keyboard player Peter Lesage (Moiano, Krewcial, Magik Ballet Ensemble, Atomic ...). With a few demo's, they also stirred the intrest of producer Wouter van Belle (see eg. Axelle Red, Dead Man Ray, Gorki ...) and Dead Man Ray drummer Karel de Backer, who got involved in it. The name of the band eventually became simply "Flip Kowlier", after "De Barabassen" and "Bernard & Edwyn" didn't pass the test.
The plan was to release a full-cd in September 2000, but to all kind of circumstances, it took till September of the year after for these plans to materialize. A first time Flip Kowlier introduced himself to the audience through a gig in the Ancienne Belgique opening for Laïs (spring 2001), and by spreading an MP3 of the folkpop song "Kwestie van Organisatie" (with the "wist je da in bad zitt'n schreien een vorme van besparing is" line - did you know that crying in bath is a way of saving). Just before the summer, he released a first single, the angry "Welgemeende". Especially this 2nd song - despite the very incomprehensible lyrics for anyone not born in Izegem - became a breakthrough - on modest scale - through the anger and energy that shined from this "sincere fuck you" (it was even dubbed a "West-Flemish Nirvana").
In September 2001 then came the longawaited CD, with the self-mocking title "Ocharme Ik" (translated that would be "Oh poor me"), with an number of melancholic popsongs and some firmer tracks. "I know what atmosphere the album had to have when we started recording. It had to sound like a gig in a small pub, withouth minding a creaking amp or so. The CD has to give you the feeling that we're playing right next to you." As Peter van Dyck wrote in Knack : "For some, who know Kowlier only as the rapper Levrancier, the folky popsingle Kwestie van Organisatie will have come as a complete suprise. But the mixture of folkrock, bossanova, punk, country, gypsy music, reggae and Tom Waits on the full-cd Ocharme Ik will surprise them even more. The young lad demonstrates what born artist he really is". Good to know also is that there's finally a lyrics-sheet included in the album, so that people from outside the Westhoek can also get a glimpse about what the heck he's singing.
- Flip Kowlier (gitaar, zang)
- Karel de Backer / Joost van den Broeck (drums)
- Peter Lesage (keyboards)
- Pieter Van Buyten (bas)