“A lot people think we’ve been apart for a long time…but after 2001 we were still performing and touring around the world until 2004. Then we had a little break for only two years and when we quit after like seven years we still got so many requests, and we officially quit, everybody went and did their own thing and I was still talking to my booker and management and there were so many requests because I don’t know how it is in Australia but here in Europe in 2006 and 2007 all these ’80s and ’90s parties became really popular and all the ’90s acts all had revivals…everybody came back! So I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s just do it’ and that was five years ago.
“We never expected it actually because when we started – again – when we came back, we had this attitude like, ‘You know, we’ll do a few shows a month’ because everybody had their own thing but then we got so many bookings”.
‘Vengaboys’ was originally a working name for Dutch DJs Dennis van den Drieshen and Wessel van Diepen, who hired four Dutch singers/dancers to form the group. Since the band’s inception, the lineup has changed several times as the band went in-and-out of hiatus. So what comes to Kim’s mind when she reflects upon the band’s success throughout the late ’90s?
“Well the thing is, I don’t really think about our music [laughs]. We’ve been doing this [for] 14 years. When we’re performing, we just enjoy the audience going crazy and we see everybody in the audience is reminiscing, ‘Oh I remember this song! I remember this one!’ and then they know all the lyrics. The thing with Vengaboys is what you say, tongue-in-cheek. It’s not some deep lyric stuff; it’s all about having fun especially now a lot of people have so many great memories.
“When we play live it’s the energy of the people. I mean people go back into their childhood, especially when we do student shows, and the students are between 18-25. When we had those number one hits, they were like ten or something! It’s really nice to see them go crazy and after the show when we talk to people that’s also really rewarding. So many people will come up to us and say, ‘Oh I got my first kiss [to that song]’…meeting the people after the show or when we have a meet and greet, it’s so nice to meet all those people.”
After an almost ten year studio hiatus, Vengaboys returned with 2010’s Rocket To Uranus which featured an appearance by famous homosexual personality Perez Hilton.
“We met [Perez] in Vegas…and we didn’t really actually know who he was because he’s very big in America but not so much in Europe. And we just had a lot of fun with him and afterwards we heard he was famous and we asked him to be in our video.
“We’ve always been performing on loads of gay prides all over the world…we have a huge fanbase in the gay community, that’s why it was kinda cool to add him – he fitted right into the concept of the song and video.
“It is quite fun, and you know what? It is so much fun that the BBC and the English broadcasters didn’t want to play it. Our comeback single really wasn’t what we expected…it was a bit ambitious I think to have a video like that and maybe even the lyrics, I don’t know.”
For those who haven’t seen the clip, Rocket To Uranus features an elongated rocketship with suspiciously spherical wings. Either Vengaboys have grossly misunderstood basic physics, or this song is clearly aimed at a gay audience. ‘Rocket To Uranus’ is hardly a double-entendre, as a double-entendre relies on the possibility of two meanings being interpreted. After seeing the bad guys in the video clip, onboard a spaceship shaped like a fist headed to ‘Uranus’, it’s hard to make the case that this song is about interstellar cosmic exploration. Thus, it was no surprise to learn that the video clip ran into certain censorship controllers.
“We had the most fun shooting that video and recording the song and doing all the promotion and stuff so no I wouldn’t do it differently, it went how it went. It’s also timing, you never know how a single will go if it’s released and also at the time there were so many artists releasing stuff so it was just bad timing I guess.”
Vengaboys announced three shows at The Corner Hotel and have sold out all three concerts. So what can Australian fans expect the tour to be like, and are there in plans for the future?
“Very energetic and there’s loads of interaction with the audience. Just one big recognisable party because everybody knows every song and every lyric…it’s just one big bowl of energy.
“At the moment our producers are working on new stuff but I can’t really say anything about it because they’re always kinda fake [laughs]. It took them ten years to produce something new, so it might one-two-three or ten years or maybe next year I don’t know. It’s always a surprise with Vengaboys.”