Yoshimi! (AKA Niek Hilkmann) interviewed by KN

Welcome! Welcome! At this fabulous indepth interview with Yoshimi aka Niek Hilkman! hosted by your critical host KN! come in and be welcome!

Welcome! Welcome! At this fabulous indepth interview with Yoshimi aka Niek Hilkmann! hosted by your critical host KN! come in and be welcome!

Yoshimi! Is a project coming from (and active in) the country that is known for its wooden shoes, tulips and orange t-shirts; The Netherlands.
It’s main and pushing founding member is a bright lean curly fellow called Niek Hilkmann who performs as Yoshimi with a colorful bunch of music making people. One of the big supporters is his own brother, and in its early days there was also his guitar playing granddad on stage to play with the self-written and composed Yoshimi songs (and occasionally a cover) .

Since my first time hearing music by this family orientated band (that at the same time isn’t a band according to Niek, but the music of Niek performed as a band) I was kindly surprised by its seemingly playful and carefree sound. I had not heard something like this before and while working hard to find some kind of box to make it more understandable; I came up to classify its main output so far as rumbling wonky joy toy pop.

Yes, rumbling wonky joy joy pop has been quite the genre dominated by Yoshimi and next to many shows all over the country to spread these vibes; the project had also given birth to plenty of records to be played at the homes and radio stations of the musically deranged and challenged. ūüôā

You must be tremendously excited to know that we have managed to get Niek Hilkmann (aka Yoshimi!) over at the Yeah I Know It Sucks Studio for a ground shaking little interview.
Bring in the balloons, the plastic flutes and toy pianos and give a warm applause for the arrival of the brave Yoshimi!

Niek / Yoshimi's grand arrival at the Yeah I Know It Sucks studio for the interview of the century

Niek / Yoshimi’s grand arrival at the Yeah I Know It Sucks studio for the interview of the century

Welcome, Niek! Or shall I call you Yoshimi? What do you prefer? Take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

Ah I almost forgot that you mentioned prior the interview that you could understand reading my version of English but can only respond in your native language ‘Double Dutch’.

Do not worry as we have invited another bonus guest: Theo Stoter. Theo is a professional translator and will sit in with our interview to translate your Dutch answers in the language out dearest readers at home could understand.

KN> Welcome Theo, thanks for coming..

TRANSLATOR THEO> Welkom Theo, bedankt voor het komen…

KN> uh, yes. Theo you don’t need to translate me, just translate Niek will you?

TRANSLATOR THEO> buh ja, Theo je hoeft mij niet te beantwoorden maar alleen een late nacht door brengen met Niek , Will en Joe?

KN> Security!!

THEO TRANSLATOR> suiker ie tiet!!

Security> hey hey… What’s up, doc?

KN> can you please stand behind Theo the translator and put your fingers in his ears while I pretend to be the host of this interview and ask things to our guest? And when Niek, our guest, answers you can put them out so Theo can hear and translate..

TRANSLATOR THEO> een kan of pies voor grmmmmhmpff..

KN> sorry, Theo. I didn’t want to grab your tongue, but it isn’t the time yet to translate. Please.. Be silent, okay?


from right to left we have the guest Niek Hilkmann aka Yoshimi!, next to him sits your host KN, and on the left we have Theo the translator. Behind him is the security officer.

from right to left we have the guest Niek Hilkmann aka Yoshimi!, next to him sits your host KN, and on the left we have Theo the translator. Behind him is the security officer.

KN> Sorry for that Niek! I’m sure you are used of messy interviews and unexpected stupidity.. Maybe it’s good to start with some small talk to break the ice. What is your favorite color?

Yoshimi! niek> Geen enkel probleem. Dat soort zaken zijn onvermijdelijk bij interviews op dit hoge niveau. Vandaag ga ik voor een diepe tint lapus lazuli blauw!

TRANSLATOR THEO> Dame ankle emblem. That kind of bags are not easy to bite with interviews on this level. Today I go for a deep pint monkey puss late Zulu blue.

KN> now that we have the most important question out of the way, I wanted to take the opportunity to dive deep in this interview. Do you remember how you found the name Yoshimi and can you explain what it stands for in your own world?

Yoshimi! niek> Ik herrinner het mij als de dag van gisteren. Het gebeurde op een saaie schoolmiddag. Ik zat achter het een of andere bureau wat te brabbelen. Eerst kwam er een y, toen een o en uiteindelijk een shimi. Voor mij staat de naam yoshimi voor volkomen willekeur

TRANSLATOR THEO> I had troubles in May the same as yesterday. It happened on an old school boring midday. I was dabbling behind a different bureau. First there came an egg, than I was like O my gosh while I climbed out of a chimney. To me Yoshimi is like a will of liquor.

KN> do you agree with my view of Yoshimi creating rumbling wonky joy toy pop? Would you describe it differently?

Yoshimi! niek> Je slaat de spijker op zijn kop! ‘Nieuwe Nederlandse vrolijkheid’ zou ook niet misplaatst zijn.

TRANSLATOR THEO> you hit the spikes in a cup! New Netherlandish happiness’ would be a different place.

KN> An interesting question is how it all started. It’s obvious that music runs in your family. I mean your grandfather plays the guitar and you have an older brother who plays among other things ‘acordeon’ too. But still how did it come to you to make music and especially the kind of music you do? Did you just wake up one day and though: eureka!?

Yoshimi! niek> In eerste instantie speelde ik cello, maar ik was een erg slechte leerling. Nadat ik ‘Leer cello spelen met Disney liedjes vol. 1’ volledig had doorgespit, besloot ik over te stappen op gitaar en ging ik screamo en grindcore nummers imiteren. Daarna ging eigenlijk alles vanzelf.

TRANSLATOR THEO> at the first instant I played cello. But I wasn’t very good in leather. After I filled a book ‘play leather cello with Disney’ with my spit, I went out to play guitar to immigrate screamo and grindcore. After that I found an egg and a dead body

KN> One of my personal favorite songs of Yoshimi is Johny ain’t dead. It has also a video clip that is (what a coincidence) also my favorite Yoshimi videoclip. Both song and video are so nice raw and rumbling and basically speaks volumes about the fun you had when making this wonky pop. I too have one ‘song’ named ‘Johny’, which was inspired on my first best friend that like all best friends had disappeared of my life line ūüėÄ but I am curious what was the story behind ‘Johny ain’t dead’, can you tell us something more about it before we are going to dance around while we watch the video?

Yoshimi! Niek> ‘Johnny Ain’t Dead’ gaat over de universele pre-adolescente Johnny Rotten fan, de postmoderne punkminnende puber met een recent in India geprint bandshirt die stennis loopt te trappen op school en aldus behoorlijk verward en woest aantrekkelijk is.

TRANSLATOR THEO> kleine John is niet dood’ is about an adult with coins that is a fan of a rotting Johnny. A post modern punk minding purple Indian printed Band shirt that kicks loops on a skull & a all US hearing aid warmed whoosh that pulls a dead body.

a random look in someone's kitchen

a random look in someone’s kitchen

KN> can you give us a little sneak peak in the Yoshimi kitchen? I mean in other words; when you are making a track, how does it work? Where do you usually start? How does a typical Yoshimi tune gets born?

Niek / Yoshimi> Over het algemeen zonder ik me ergens in de ochtend af, rammel en rommel met wat ik die dag zoal op de vloer heb liggen en maak er vervolgens een liedje mee. Tenslotte laat ik de opnames 4 jaar op mijn harde schijf staan totdat ik een tekst heb verzonnen die ik de moeite waard vindt om in te zingen.

TRANSLATOR THEO> all over the mean Sun I lay my egg somewhere in the morning. I use Ram, Rom & watt on the floor and follow the lead towards May. Ten slot machines later I stable names on top for 4 year long and stand on my hard disk until I have a sunny text good enough to sing to the cafe owner.

KN> when I think of Yoshimi’s sound, I strangely feel there is some inspirational connection to Dutch artist Wim T. Schippers. I don’t know if it’s the music he had put out, the humor or perhaps just his voice. I know that you did a cover of a song from his Jacques Plafond & his plafonni√®res’ s Hark! release from the eighties. Can you tell us something about this? Is it just a coincidence or are we digging in the right corner?

Yoshimi! niek> In 2008 werd ik gevraagd door WORM, het insitituut voor avant-gardistische recreatie, om een cover te maken voor de eerder genoemde heruitgave. Het idee was om een ode te maken aan een obscure plaat en dat die ode zo inherent nog obscuurder zou gaan worden dan het bronmateriaal. Dat is gelukt! Schippers houdt net als ik nogal van het spontane en het onzinnige, maar hij wil weleens iets te cynisch daarin doorslaan.

TRANSLATOR THEO> in 2008 I had been asked by a worm , the institution for avant-garde recreations, to make a cover for the earlier named recycled material. The idea was to make a record more obscure than the obscure material used in the original. That brought good luck! Sailors wood loves spontaneous sentences but would like to hit cynics while slamming the door.

KN> I bet you must be thirsty from answering all these dubious questions. Would you like something to drink? What does Yoshimi like to drink the most?

Yoshimi! Niek> Dankjewel Kai, doe mij maar een blauwe fernandes.

TRANSLATOR THEO> wish you well Kai, Dubai wow paint with nandos.

KN> to my knowledge there isn’t really another Yoshimi band out there. Are there any other bands that you recommend that might have another kind of jolly rambling joy toy wonky pop vibe that we should know about?

Niek / Yoshimi> Het is even zoeken, maar ze bestaan! Wat denk je van Andreas Dorau? Bekend van hits als ‘Flaschenpfand’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ-wQVVTOrE)en ‘Fred von Jupiter’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw5F8Noxgu4)? Het topje van de ijsberg!

TRANSLATOR THEO> it’s a bit of a search but they stand up! What do you think of Andr√© Doris? Legends of the hit ‘flashy teeth?’
ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ-wQVVTOrE) and
Fred from Jupiter’
The little top of the iceberg!

KN> by watching a music video for the Yoshimi song with the lengthy name: ‘I will act like I’m not afraid to make a fool out of myself and I will make you love me’ I get the feeling that this is done with a certain youthfulness somewhere off duty with student friends. Can you lift the curtain and tell us something about this video? What (if?) are you studying? And how did you (and your brother) managed to control ‘the actors’ without collapsing in some kind of useless mess?

Niek / Yoshimi> Ik studeerde toentertijd Perzische taal en cultuur, geloof ik. De mensen in de clip deden die studie niet, maar studeerden weer iets anders. Inmiddels zijn de meesten daar wel klaar mee. Voor deze clip hadden we natuurlijk een strak gechoreografeerd script. Alles wat je erin ziet, is precies zoals het moet zijn!

TRANSLATOR THEO> I studied time trumpet, Persian language and culture and my own religion. The people in the clip wouldn’t share my studies, but studied something else. In the middle most of them had quit. For this clip we had a naturally tight geographic scripture. Everything that you can see is precisely what it should be.

KN> there are a lot of Yoshimi songs that are (if I’m not misinformed) about girls.. Are the songs autobiographical? What drives the lyrical content of Yoshimi the inspirational way?

Niek, Also known as Yoshimi! is working hard to write a new song

Niek, Also known as Yoshimi! is working hard to write a new song

Niek / Yoshimi> Och, ik heb evenveel liedjes geschreven over jongens. Sommige van die liedjes over meisjes zijn trouwens geschreven vanuit het perspectief van een meisje. Wellicht wat verwarrend, maar zo is het leven. Daarom schrijf ik tegenwoordig over honden en katten.

TRANSLATOR THEO> Ogre, I have written just as much songs about boys. Some of the songs about married girls are written from the perspective of the girl. Lots of light and messy, but that’s life. That’s why I now write against words about dogs and cats.

KN> Yoshimi has songs in English and in Dutch. A good example of a mix & match of these languages are on the albums ‘Milkshakes at the Pizzeria’ and the latest ‘Bottelaars en Beesten’. The album ‘Sowieso’ is completely in Dutch. What do you prefer and is there a difference for you in writing songs in English or in your native language? Will there be a follow up of ‘Sowieso’ or perhaps one day an album with songs only in English?

Niek / Yoshimi> Op het ogenblik hou ik me vooral met de Nederlandse taal bezig. Het is heel vreemd om te zingen in dezelfde taal als waarin je in het dagelijks leven praat. De grens tussen feit en fictie wordt er wat troebeler door. Het Engels dank ik echter nog niet helemaal af, over een tijdje komt dat vast weer op de een of andere manier terug. Wellicht bij mijn generatieve MIDI-Floppy-Project!

TRANSLATOR THEO> my eyes on a tin can I keep myself busy with the Dutch language. It is really weird to sing in the language that you usually talk in. The border between reality and fiction becomes a troubadour. But I would not dump English before thanking it. In a while it might return in a different mothers kidney. Enough light for my generative MIDI Floppy Project.

Theo the translator, the security, your host KN and guest Niek / Yoshimi! getting more and more relaxed as the interview goes on

Theo the translator, the security, your host KN and guest Niek / Yoshimi! getting more and more relaxed as the interview goes on

KN> I’m sure this is probably too early to discuss your MIDI Floppy project but as YIKIS is kinda the place to read about floppy’s and music, could you lift perhaps a little bit the curtain of secrecy and tell us a bit more about it? Is it going to be a release? Might we ever review it somewhere in the near future?

Niek / Yoshimi> Ik mag er nog niet teveel over zeggen, maar het gaat om een machine die ik samen met een zekere Andre uit Spanje en een zekere Joseph uit Oostenrijk ontwikkel. Het apparaat is gebaseerd op het song poem cassette principe, maar dan met floppies en volledig geautomatiseerd.

TRANSLATOR THEO> I can’t say alot about it, but its goes around a machine that I made developped together with a secured Andre from Spain and a secured Joseph from¬†Austria. The machine has a base of song poetry cassette principles, but than with floppies and completely full and automatic.¬†¬†

^ this is the cover artwork for a Yoshimi cassette tape with remixes, a cover and a brand new Yoshimi song

KN> next to finding your ways with vinyl, tape, floppy and activity on VHS you are coming across as a person who seems to love exploring all kinds of formats. Do you have perhaps a favorite and can you explain why?

Niek / Yoshimi> Media zijn als kinderen, je houdt van ze allemaal of je moet ze niet nemen. Echter, net als bij kinderen valt er wat voor te zeggen dat de probleemgevallen de meeste zorg, aandacht en liefde nodig hebben. Iedere ouder wil zichzelf gewenst voelen, dus mijn voorkeur gaat uit naar alles wat moeilijk doet en zich vergeten voelt.

TRANSLATOR THEO> The media is as children, you have wood for all of them but shouldnt have intercourse with them. But in reality, just like children there is always something to say for the problematic ones who need more care, thinking about and needy in love. Every parent would want to wish their own feelings  themself, so my pre drink of liquor goes with onions to everything that acts difficult and dont want to lose its feelings.

KN> Yoshimi seems to know how to travel the Netherlands to perform, are you managing yourself? And do you have any plans to pass the border to broaden up the horizon and gain more fan girls?

Niek / Yoshimi> Ik doe momenteel alles samen met Ruud en Arie, die ook live meespelen. We hebben tot dusver 1 optreden gehad over de grens; in een Belgische kerk met botsauto’s! De wereld moet nog even wachten, maar die gaat nergens heen.

TRANSLATOR THEO> I’m making a monument together with Ruud and Arie, who also play a part in my life. We have until now one far gig done over the border; in a Belgium church with crashing cars! The world has to wait but goes to somewhere else.

The latest Yoshimi album released on CD with hand stamped covers

KN> is there a message inside the music of Yoshimi that you secretly are spreading like an innocent playful virus?

Niek / Yoshimi> het maakt niet uit, wat je doet, want het komt toch nooit goed. Maar dat maakt ook niet uit, al raak je al je tanden kwijt, want het is lente voor altijd.

TRANSLATOR THEO> you don’t make an onion, what you do, because nothing good will come out. But you don’t break up with an onion, because it’s forever paying rent.

KN> you have been releasing a track (collie) as Niek Hilkman instead of Yoshimi. Is there a difference? And are we going to hear more of Niek or of Yoshimi in the future?

Niek/ Yoshimi> Verschil most er zijn. Het eerstvolgende in de pijplijn is een EP onder eigen naam. De naam heb ik nog niet bepaald, ook al lijkt ‘flanellen lamellen’ me een leuke tongbreker.

TRANSLATOR THEO> peel a potato with a distance. The upcoming thing in the pipe line is a EP below my own name. I didn’t impale the name yet, but I like ‘flanellen lamellen’ as it’s a good tongue breaker.

KN> I think we have to come to a moment in time that we have to round this intensive interview off.
Really glad you had the time to come over in our (hopefully) mutual search for answers. Do you have anything else you want to say before we jump on our horses and gallop away to our own homes?

Niek / Yoshimi> Ik zeg maar zo, ik zeg maar niets.

TRANSLATOR THEO> I would say so, I say nothing

the indepth interview had ended well. The security, your host KN and Theo who worked so hard translating the double dutch from the relieved guest Niek / Yoshimi! took a fine relaxing splash at the Yeah I Know It Sucks hot tub! Happy endings indeed!

the indepth interview had ended well. The security, your host KN and Theo who worked so hard translating the double dutch from the relieved guest Niek / Yoshimi! took a fine relaxing splash at the Yeah I Know It Sucks hot tub! Happy endings indeed!

for more Yoshimi and Niek please visit the official online things:


This entry was posted in acoustic, audio collage, avantgarde, dance, experimental, folk, indie rock, lofi, pop, rock, sing & song writer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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