Poésie Noire - Het Belang Van Limburg (28/10/1998)

English translation of the article:

Interview by "Christof Rutten" for "Het Belang Van
Limburg", Wednesday 28th.October 1998.

Belgian Bleeps Big In Japan

Ex-NewBeatproducer makes popular music filterbank.

Question. What have The Prodigy, Björk, U2, David Bowie,
Chemical Brothers, Madonna, Pete Towsend, Ken Ishii,
Depeche Mode, Lenny Kravitz, Stonesproducer Nick Lowe
and Dead Man Ray in common?
That's at least what we think.
But one thing we know for sure, they all use the Sherman
Filterbank in their music.
The what?
The Sherman Filterbank, boys and girls, is a clever
machine that can a hoarsely buffalo make sound like
a bird.
It can transform all kinds of sound.
Herman Gillis is the proud father of this machine.

Herman (35) does more then inventing alone. In a
previous life he became the second in Humo's Rock
Rally (a rock contest) with the band "The Primitifs",
later he played in bands like "Running Cow", "Volt"
and "Poesie Noire".
In the 80's he was 1/3 of the producerstrio Morton,
Sherman and Bellucci, who made a lot of New Beat
records which brought Belgium for the first time
on the international musicmap.
"Every week we played in Flemish discothèques where
we playbacked our hits "Move your ass and feel the
beat", laughs Herman.
It was fun in the beginning, but it became borgin
after a while. I also didn't like the music, it had
all to do with money.
Money that went to the record company. But I am proud
of the fact that Belgian music finally got some
international recognition."

After the NewBeatboom Herman kept busy in the
"When I played with Running Cow, Marc De Wijngaert,
the keyboardplayer, asked me to make an "handy
machine" that could make soundeffects.
After one year and a half the filterbank was born.
And because it was too expensive to make one, I make
immediatly 40 of them."
The Chemical Brothers got one of the first specimen.
After a successuful introduction in the underground
scene, it became available in music stores.
The Shermanfilter bank is already sole in 18
countries and Herman has got contacts in Paris,
London, the USA and Japan.
"Especially in Japan is the filterbank very
popular. I get about 20 orders every 3 weeks.
Only the USA are the sales not so good, musicians
think too conservative overthere. They ask
themselves what's the point of changing a sound."
The reason why the Sherman filterbank is so popular
is its unique sound.
Herman: "I like a rough sound, because I always
played the guitar. I tried to put that aggressive
sound in the filterbank.
There is hardly no competition, so I keep the price
deliberately low, only 28.000 Belgian francs."
There is almost no contact with the artists using
the filterbank.
Salesmen sometimes tell him or he hears it on the
radio or he sees it in a videoclip.
But not so long ago he got a phonecall from William
Orbit who was producing "Ray of ligh", the latest
Herman: "There was a little lamp broken in the
filterbank and he asked me where he could buy some
new parts. But it was not necessary, we solved the
problem through the phone."

by Patrik Kruse & David Hulet, translation by Jürgen Vanvlasselaer.



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