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Belgian three-man band in the tradition of the Pixies, Jonathan Richman & the Ramones.
Erected in 1991, the group participated in Humo’s Rock Rally in 1992, got to the final, but failed there (just as did dEUS or the Sideburns -later Novastar-, all ending up behind winner Charlie 45, The Beautiful Babies and Orgasmaddix). But their fresh approach to songwriting had opened them a lot of doors. They got to go the the New Music Seminar in New York.
They debut on CD with “Nemo”, and the Belgian press is almost unanimously positive. Fresh and poppy singles like “Bicycle called love”, “You’ll be Sharon” etc.. fair well on the radio.
As the review went in Humo “Nemo. From Limburg. Final in the Rock Rally 1992, contract with international record company, European distribution. New Music Seminar in New York, high expectations .. your average Belgian group would go wild and start spending millions. None of this with Nemo. They recorded their album in a previously unknown studio in Helchteren (of all places), budget : 100.000 fr. (2.800 $), in eleven days. Self-produced. Mixed by Frans Hagenaars (Frans who ??). Nothing has been done about the charisma of singer Peter Houben (we’ve compared him with a yellow postcard earlier). In short : Nemo acts like nothing has happened. Put up a milestone in Belgian rock. Pff. 18 songs full of surprising angles and good ideas … When we saw Santa Claus strolling through Antwerp we got the cold sweat, but finally it’s there : the Belgian debut of the year.”
One year later a mini-album “Popmusics” and a full album “Dum dada” (“Nemo continues to charm, slows down from the Pixies-speed of the first album and wins in subtlety”) follow. They get to participate for Belgium in MTV’s alternative Eurovisionsongfestival.
Singer Peter Houben has also been cooperating in a project together with Mauro Pawlowski of the Evil Superstars (who had been a roadie before starting with the Superstars). This group was called Mitsoobishy Jacson and has released the album “Nougat in Koblenz”.
The other members of the band are also involved in other projects : drummer Herman Houbrechts is a member of the group Dead Man Ray & designer of record sleeves.
In 1997, Nemo drastically changed it’s personnel : Pascal Deweze of the brilliant but short-lived Metal Molly (who played bass in that band, but has changed to guitar now), and Bert Maes of Sister Poopoo joined the band (“a very strange little man, computerjunk, Satanist and fan of de Rode Ridder” said Peter Houben) . Bart Gijbels has left the band (“without a fight“, assures Peter Houben : “we see each other regularly and kiss on the mouth on these occasions“). This means the band has changed from a trio from Limburg to a quartet from Limburg / Antwerp / Leuven : enter Nemo II.
In March 1998, a new single was released, called “Starsign”, followed by the full album “Kiss me, you fool”. Due to the changes in personnel, the album sounds quite different from the ones before. Still, as De Morgen wrote in a review “On it’s third full CD, Nemo does what it does best : catchy pop songs powered by twisted guitars and multiple voice tracks. Nemo makes music in the same spirit of the bands on the New Zealand Flying Nun-label : sometimes the songs are recorded a little bit careless, but that doesn’t diminish the disarming charm of the band“.
A few songs were mixed by Frank Vander linden (see De Mens) who also “voice-coached” Peter Houben. “I don’t like to sing in a studio, and I usually try to get rid of it in one or two takes. For this record, Herman said “this time you’re gonna do it right”, so we asked someone with a lot of experience singing.”
Together with the closure of record company Brinkman, Nemo disappeared. Peter Houben went on to record an album with Mitsoobishy Jacson (boys together out rageously), and then started a brand new band names “Ultracowboy“.
– Peter Houben (vocals, guitar)
– Bart Gijbels / Bert Maes (bass)
– Herman Houbrechts (drums / vocals)
– Pascal Deweze / Aldo Struyf (guitar).
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