-- Tim's Favourite gets shredded! --

Stijn Daneels
To kick off the new year I went to music bar Gonzo in Ninove (January 12, 2019) to check out the local act Tim’s Favourite. A few weeks before the gig I reviewed the band’s new album “We, The Willing” and I also met band leader Jan Pauwels during the Pekenrock festival in Ninove (which took place September 2018). So before he began his 90-minute gig, Jan sat together with me to talk about the band’s main inspirations, how Tim’s Favourite were very close to becoming the supporting act for an Alice In Chains gig in the Trix and we also pondered the idea whether free will truly exists or not!

BMS: Hello Jan! Congratulations on the release of your new album, “We The Willing.” It was a sweet piece of thinking man’s metal with well-thought out lyrics, a nice variety of melodies, pacing and song structures reminiscent of bands like Alice In Chains and Tool. I only wished the songs to be a bit shorter but other than that, great job!
Jan: Thank you for the positive feedback. The entire album was entirely recorded at my own home studio. It’s a separate room in my townhouse that I originally only used to practice my vocals but eventually I decided to have the entire album recorded in there because it’s so well-isolated that me and the other guys could play at full volume without my neighbors losing any sleep over it (literally!)
BMS: I believe that “We, The Willing” is a concept album. Am I right?
Jan: Yes, in fact, the entire album is about the ever-going philosophical debate regarding free will. One of the release’s highlight tracks, “The Day Free Will Was Disproven,” imagines a world wherein it’s scientifically proven that free will doesn’t exist. The song asks the question how humanity would react to such a revelation. Would we drastically alter our way of life? Would we end up in a world of anarchy and violence? Or would we just be trying to ignore the facts and keep our hopes and beliefs up?

Jan: The song answers that question in the neutral, people would move on with their daily lives no matter how hard free will’s existence has been (dis)proven. Personally, I don’t believe we’ll ever come to discover the truth about free will, but I can understand people’s desire to believe in that philosophical idea. It gives them hope and justification for their individuality and independence. But sometimes people lose their courage and need a helping hand. And that’s what inspired me to draw the cover art of the “We, The Willing” album, because it features Lady Liberty, tired, haggard, on her knees and crying as a hand comes out from the skies to help her back up. It shows that even the universal symbol of freedom and independence sometimes needs help to return to the right path!
BMS: Food for thought, interesting! Now, you describe your music as zen metal. Personally I would describe it as grunge metal spiced up with psychedelic, thrash and progressive metal as well as having some beautifully hypnotizing vocals. And yes, you’ve already heard this a million times before, but your vocals remind me of Layne Staley from Alice In Chains.
Jan: Layne who? Ha, ha, ha! Yeah, I’ve already heard that comment many times over but I don’t mind. Alice In Chains has always served as a main inspiration for Tim’s Favourite. Another big inspiration is the song “This Is The End” by The Doors. I love that song’s dark, foreboding yet also very meditative quality. And I also enjoy oriental music a lot because that can be very eclectic as well.
BMS: Speaking of Alice In Chains, a few years ago, you were very close to opening up for that legendary grunge metal band when they played in the Trix in Antwerp.
Jan: Yeah, it was in fact the people of the Trix themselves who offered us the opening spot. Unfortunately, Alice In Chains already had a supporting band touring along with them so there wasn’t anything we could do about it. But we still consider it a huge honor that Trix thought about putting us as AIC’s opening act.
BMS: I also noticed that you use a projector during some of your performances.
Jan: We mainly used a projector back when we were promoting our previous album in order to visualize the songs. It was a very time-consuming process because we used clips edited together and we also had to play in synchronization with the video playing in the background. Now that “We, The Willing” is out, we ditched the projector and just focus on the music and invite the audience to use their own imagination.

BMS: Yeah, let the music speak for itself. Now, you’ve found a new bassist, Wolf D’Haese.
Jan: That’s right and we’re looking forward to playing many gigs with him. But our former bassist, Gorik, will still remain a part of our band as he’s now transitioning to playing guitar since that’s less physically strenuous for his joints compared to bass. And of course, having a second guitarist opens up a lot of future possibilities to expand Tim’s Favourite.
BMS: What are the future plans for Tim’s Favourite?
Jan: We’re currently working on a music video, that clip is still in the conceptual phase since we really want to visualize one of the more complex songs on the album. Maybe it will be “The Day That Free Will Was Disproven” track, maybe we’ll go for some provocative or controversial imagery. You’ll find out soon enough.
BMS: I look forward to it! So, what other things do you have in your life aside from Tim’s Favourite?
Jan: I love cycling! And I’ve also discovered that I’ve got a natural talent for swimming ever since that faithful day I tumbled into the Dender river! Ha, ha, ha! Ah, and I make a living as a shop clerk in my local Fnac store.
BMS: Time for a final question? Is Tim’s Favourite still the favorite band of your nephew Tim?
Jan: Yes, as a matter of fact, he’s just arrived here, ready to see yet another of his uncle’s gigs. I’m still very thankful for him being the inspiration behind this band’s unique name and I’m looking forward to playing a lot more shows for him and for all our other fans!
BMS: Great! So, you’ve got anything more to add to this shredding chat?
Jan: Did you like shredding me?
BMS: This was actually one of the more thought-provoking shreds I’ve done thus far and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. Thank you very much! Time for the picture!