WOLVON are three dudes with three beards from Groningen ‒ or Broningen, as they call it. Ike, Bram and Ruben don’t shy away from bribing border officials in the Balkans or combing burger sauce out of their facial hair. They’re getting their ‘wolf on’ all right.
Interview by Zofia Ciechowska, photos by Julia Hendriks

‘The Dutch Underground isn’t very deep, it’s pretty wide though’


Are you secretly werewolves or are you telling people to get their ‘wolf on’ or is Wolvon just a reference to your big wolf beards?
Ike: ‘Wolvon actually comes from my third book that I never finished. I had this great idea to write a novel before my 23rd birthday… I wrote the first three pages. It was about this sea cow that lived with some wolves in the desert. I changed all the vowels in this novel to Os, so from the Dutch wolven, we got wolvon.’

How did it all start?
Ike: ‘Way back in ’95 during the war.’

Bram: ‘In the cafeteria at the University of Groningen, we had a coffee together. We took the same classes. We were young and naive and we thought we’d be nice companions. We didn’t have beards then, except for Ruben.’

Ike: ‘Yeah, Bram and I would always meet up and say, “Hey, we should start a band” and then we wouldn’t and then we’d meet up and be like, “So hey, I’m in this band” and be like, “Okay,” and then after a really long time of this going back and forth we finally started our band. Then we asked Ruben to play bass for us. We only asked because he had a good rehearsal space and his girlfriend had a bass guitar; that also helped.’


‘It’s more of a DIY scene than an underground scene. We don’t try to be obscure.’


Where’s your music taken you so far?
Ike: ‘It’s taken us to Belgrade, Mitrovica and Skopje last summer when we went on tour. It also took us to Bosnia and Herzegovina but that REALLY didn’t work out. We went on tour with this band called Neon Rainbows and we were supposed to play at a festival that was in a fortress on a mountain. It took us two days to drive there, which also included the bribery of some crazy officer on the Croatian border. So we dragged all our shit up the mountain to the fortress and on to the stage. Neon Rainbows were on before us and just after they started playing the singer got electrocuted by the mic. The dude passed out and bit his tongue, there was blood everywhere and he had to go to a Bosnian hospital. The festival got shut down.’

Bram: ‘We’re happy we were playing second.’

How deep is the Dutch underground for you guys?
Ruben: ‘Not very deep, it’s pretty wide though. There’s no underground scene for one particular genre; instead it extends from singer-songwriters to noise rock, just people who like to help each other out. It’s more of a DIY scene than an underground scene. We don’t try to be obscure.’

Bram: ‘Yeah, maybe the difference is that being underground is a choice, whereas DIY is a necessity. At our level you can’t make a living out of playing gigs, but we still want to have a good time and play music so we just do it ourselves.’

Ike: ‘I don’t see the Dutch underground as an underground, we all try to get some recognition, but we don’t particularly fit into any sort of mainstream music so we just float around the alternative circuit and that’s it. We’ve been putting on shows as Lepel Concerts in Groningen for a few years now for people that we know. That’s our little piece of the Dutch underground.’



Catch WOLVON in the Oude Zaal at 22.10 for The Sound of the Dutch Underground on 21 March – Melkweg, Amsterdam. They release their debut album via Subroutine Records on 25 April.