Piet Souer: The "other" architect of the Luv' sound.
Interview posted on April 11th 2009
|Piet Souer and Luv' at Will Hoebee's 60th birthday party in July 2007
Two men created the unique Luv' sound
(influenced by Bubblegum and Synthpop, Exotica, Disco, Latin American arrangements and Schlager): Hans van Hemert and Piet Souer. Both of them composed the whole Luv' repertoire under the pseudonym "Janschen
Piet Souer is a true
"maestro" because of his tailor-made compositions. It's hard to sum up his incredible career in a few sentences. His work with famous acts (Anita Meyer, Mouth & MacNeal, Liesbeth List & Ramses Shaffy, Doris D. & The Pins, American Gypsy, Champagne...) made
him gain twenty two gold and platinum records and two Conamus
Export Prizes. He received an “Outstanding Song Award” thanks to the song “Too
Young To Know” performed by Anita Meyer at the World
Popular Song Festival in Japan in 1981.
Souer collaborated with international artists
such as Englbert
Humperdinck, Vicky Leandros, Helen Shapiro and Kathy Kissoon.
In 1982, French Bulgarian entertainer Sylvie Vartan sang his self-penned chanson "La Sortie de
Secours", released as a single and a cover version of “I'm So Sorry”
(originally performed by Josť Hoebee). The same year, British group Tight Fight covered
"Fantasy Island" (originally
performed by "The Millionaires") which became a UK Top 5
hit and a
European Top 10 single.
Piet also composed TV jingles and film soundtracks ("Vincent van Gogh", "Rembrandt van Rijn",
"Zwartboek" (Black Book)....)
Moreover, this eclectic artist wrote two songs for the Eurovision
Song Contest: Bernadette’s Sing Me A Song (in 1983) and Maxine & Franklin Brown’s De Eerste Keer (in 1996).
is still busy in the music business. One of his most recent productions is the female singer from Volendam Tamara Tol (who currently
promotes her music in Germany).
he asked Josť to render a couple of tracks with his former band (The Valiants) in Eindhoven.
It has been a real honour to interview this sensational
record producer and I want to thank him for his answers to my questions.....
|Josť and Piet's band "The Valiants" at the "Back to the sixties" concert in Eindhoven (Dec. 2008)
Ralph: When and how did you first meet Josť?
Piet Souer: I must have met Josť in the early seventies when she was
singing with her sisters. I helped them out with harmonies and even recorded a song with them (1).
Ralph: When and how did you ask Josť to join Luv'?
Souer: When I was leaving for Hilversum on request of the record company, I promised Josť that if I ever would see a possibility to sneak her in, I would do that.
Ralph: Hans van Hemert and you composed as "Janschen & Janschens" the Luv' repertoire?
How was the songwriting process?
Souer: Yes, we composed all the songs. Sometimes, I came up with ideas, sometimes he did. But he was one step ahead when
it came to commercial songwriting because of his success with Mouth & McNeal (2).
Ralph: How would you define the Luv' sound?
Piet: Bright and happy.
Ralph: The majority of the group's songs were pop tracks as well as compositions
influenced by the Latin American sounds. It was Luv's winning formula. However,
at the time of their glory, Disco music ruled the world. The trio recorded some disco flavoured songs (like "Everybody's
shaking hands on Broadway" or "Flash"). Don't you think that by choosing a
strickly disco style, the ladies would have been greater and reached the American and the British markets?
This is an important question. I think that the ones who decided which title would be released as a single were more European
musical focused. It means that you go for the accessible songs based on European musical history (like German/Deutsche Schlager).
In my opinion, it could have been bigger when the Anglo-Saxon influences would
have been greater. Beethoven Vs Gershwin. Thanks for pointing the tracks, they happen to be mine.
your favourite Luv' song? Why?
Piet: Oh well. I don't know. I always feel weak when
I hear them singing 'cause it was so joyfull.
Ralph: You formed a
limited company (InterLUV') with the ladies, their manager (Pim ter Linde) and Hans
It lasted a couple of years. What was the aim of this company?
Were you satisfied with its results?
Unfortunately I had nothing to do with that company. The greediness of the people involved (except the ladies) left me out.
No hard feelings. One year later, I hit the charts with a #1 hit "Shine Up" with Doris D. & The Pins (3).
Behind the songs, there's business you know.....
their heyday, Luv' had two labels (Philips/Phonogram in 1977-1979 and CNR/Carrere in 1979-1981).
Which of these record companies respected the most their integrity?
Piet: I really don't know it. The success of a group like Luv'
attracted companies that didn't need to produce that much of an effort because their charisma was
Ralph: After Luv's break-up,
the ladies went solo. What do you think about their solo career?
Piet: I think that Josť did a good job
by collaborating with Pim Koopman (4). I respect this guy. A good musician and
producer. He recorded my song "I'm so sorry" which became later a Top
10 single with Sylvie Vartan in France.
Ralph: When things were getting worse with Luv',
you were involved in another project: Doris D. & the Pins. Were there any songs of Doris
that were first meant for Luv'? Is it true that Josť recorded background
vocals on Doris D's tracks?
Piet: No there were no songs ealier meant for Luv'
and yes, Josť did the backing vocals on that album.
Ralph: Apart from Luv' and
Doris D. & The Pins, are there any other female act that you appreciate?
Piet: I like Ilse DeLange
(5) with "Incredible" and Sabrina
Starke (6) with "Do For Love". Both very strong but I
must admit that there are a lot of talented singers you've never heard of....
Ralph: You are close to Josť. Among her tracks that you
produced, which one do you prefer?
Piet: I just like her voice. There's
Marga Scheide formed another Luv' act with other members. What's your
opinion on this version of the group?
Luv' was too strong in their performance and being. It could never be replaced. It also
has to do with their inspiring togetherness
with other people.
Luv's reunion in 1993 and the success of their Gold compilation, the
girls recorded their last studio album "All You Need Is Luv" with you and Martin
Duiser (who also took part in the Doris D. project). It was only available in the Kruidvat
stores. Why wasn't it possible to release it through a normal record company?
Piet: Because it was a special
project with Kruidvat, which included exclusivity.
BIG THANKS to Piet for making this interview possible and for your
For more infos, click the following links:
*Piet Souer Official Site
*Informations on the Nationaal Pop Instituut Web site
*Souer's page on the DutchCharts.nl portal
(1): Piet Souer
produced in 1976 a single (entitled
"Elongi") performed by Josť
and her sisters.
(2): Mouth & MacNeal, alongside Luv',
was one of the most successful productions of Hans van Hemert in terms of export
success between 1971 and 1974.
Their greatest hits were: "How do you do",
"Hello-A", "I See a Star"...
Doris D. & The Pins was a British/Dutch girl group whose most successful records
("Shine Up", "Dance On",
"The Marvellous Marionettes", "Jamaica"...)
were produced by Piet Souer and Martin Duiser.
They were popular in the Netherlands
and Flanders and to a lesser extent
in the German speaking countries. They never reached the success of Luv'.
(4): In addition to the pop duo "Maywood",
Pim Koopman produced Josť's biggest
hits in 1982 ("I Will Follow Him" and "Secret
(5): Ilse DeLange
is a Dutch country and pop singer who's been popular for the past ten years in Holland.
Her latest album "Incredible" hit the number one spot and went platinum
in late 2008.
(6): Sabrina Starke
is a R&B/Jazz/Soul artist (signed to the prestigious label "Blue Note"). Her single "Do
For Love" was a Top 10 hit and her first album (Yellow Brick Road)
peaked at #9 and went gold in Holland in 2008.