Introducing Get To Know… Personal Trainer

With new track ‘Politics’ out now, we meet the mastermind behind the Dutch collective.

Hello and welcome to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… getting you a little bit closer to the buzziest new acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

Recently we’ve met your new fave pop band BLACKSTARKIDS, rising singer CLOVES, Bristol-based jazzy newbies Waldo’s Gift, indie-pop newcomer Devon, and now we’re catching up with Amsterdam-based collective Personal Trainer.

With an ever-shifting line-up formed around singer/songwriter Willem Smit, their brand new stomper ‘Politics’ came out today via Sports Team’s Holm Front label. A dazzling new’un, it’s the latest taste of more music set to arrive soon.

We sent Willem over some qs to find out a bit more…

Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio.
That’s a tough one. I’ve never made a Tinder bio, but have thought about how hard it would be to write one. It seems especially hard when you’re describing something like sound or music.
Maybe: Self-indulgent, wacky, and chubby entity. Not a great listener, for I am music.

What’s your earliest musical memory?
At age three or four I only wanted to listen to The Lion King soundtrack. I don’t remember much of the music, but that might be because my dad got so fed up with it that he would play ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ by Belle & Sebastian and tell me it was Scar’s new record or ‘Surfer Rosa’ by Pixies and tell me it was Timon & Pumbaa’s new project.

Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out (and why)?
When we were just starting out with Personal Trainer, I was in the band Canshaker Pi. I think I had been really into stuff like Ought, Micachu & The Shapes and Girl Band. I think in the first few months of the band I wanted to go back to the idea of this bolder straightforward pop-rock song. Like ‘Answer To Yourself’ by The Soft Pack. I was also listening to the first three Brockhampton records at the time. I liked (and still do) the idea of making something I’m really into, but my mom would dig too. That feeling has been growing since I started the band. With our new single, I think I made the perfect song for my mother.

You’re from Amsterdam! What do you think of the music scene there at the moment?
There’s a bunch of great people in great bands here and we have a bunch of members in each other’s bands and we’re playing many shows together. Still, I try not to call it a scene because that would make people either part or not part of it… I guess… I don’t know! In the last few weeks, Amsterdam bands Global Charming (check out Celebration) and Apneu (check out Star Scrambler, Sign Seer) have released wonderful records.
There’s The Klittens that have been making great stuff for a while and are working on an EP. The latest and best thing I’ve heard here is A Fungus. They are young and cool. I guess you’d like them if you’re into Polvo or Black Country, New Road or something (I hope they don’t mind me saying that).

Are there any other artists breaking through at the same time that you take inspiration from?
I love Dutch bands like Lewsberg, The Sweet Release Of Death, and The Homesick, but you have some cool stuff going on in the UK too! A year ago I was super into the black midi, BC,NR, Squid deal. I like The Cool Greenhouse!!! I like Jockstrap!!! I think that Working Men’s Club record is bad-ass and I like the first couple of Do Nothing singles. Longtime friends Bull have been releasing wonderful music, as well as Swine Tax from Newcastle.

Who would be your dream collaborator?
Either Charlie or Andy Kaufman. Or Kanye West?

Musically or otherwise, what are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m making a record with Personal Trainer and I’m making a record with my girlfriend. I am mostly looking forward to the release of this Holm Front 10” next year and hopefully playing (regular) shows again.

If people could take away one thing from your music, what would it be?
Whatever they want! I like it when it makes me laugh, makes me sad, or gets me pumped up. But that’s just me… When we’re playing a show, I like it when people dance and maybe get a bit confused once in a while.

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