Lena Hessels is the princess of the Dutch avant-garde. The young singer is the daughter of Terrie Hessels, who has been the guitarist of the ever progressive The Ex for over forty years. Lena played 'Welter' and 'Silence So Loud' live on Vlieland during Into The Great Wide Open, near the brand new brewery of the island.
Already at age ten, Lena Hessels performed as 'support act' for The Ex. She grew up in the so-called White Villa in Wormerveer, where Ethiopian musicians who collaborate with The Ex regularly visit. The experimental jazz drummer Han Bennink and Sonic Youths Thurston Moore have also known Lena since she was young, which logically had some influence on her.
What, "when she was young"? She still is, of course: the understated yet complex songs on her debut album Billow, released last year, are even more impressive when you consider that Lena wrote them right after she graduated from high school. At the time, she locked herself in her room for a month, working on her songs day in and day out. The result was a fascinating collection that transcends genres, mixing dark folk with ominous field recordings. Lena Hessels has the mind of a punk, but clearly also has an ear for modern pop music. Of course Lena will always remain 'the daughter of', but it is very likely that in the foreseeable future people will also talk about Terrie as the father of one of the most exciting and idiosyncratic musical talents in the Netherlands.
The session with Lena Hessels was filmed at the brand new Vlieland Brewery, with the dunes within reach. During the Into The Great Wide Open festival, Lena took part in a Personal Trainer project, which in a week recorded an album full of special guests from the Dutch indie scene in a bunker on the island. Both the festival and the brewery contributed to the creation of this session.
Cinematography: Thomas Foster and Sophie Gipmans
Edit: Peter Marcus
Production and recording: Wessel van der Spek en Jasper Boogaard
Mix and master: Jasper Boogaard
Written by: Dirk Baart