Ever heard of Den Haag? Neither had I. But it just happens to have to coolest studio & club ever…
I’ve been fortunate enough with my band Sixfthick to be able to tour Europe a few times. It’s a lot of sleeping on floors, wearing the same undies for days at a time, eating no vegetables and lots of meat, drinking only red wine & beer and meeting amazing people. One of the most coolest places is Den Haag (aka. ‘The Hague’) in the Netherlands. All I knew of Den Haag is this is where they had all the WWII trials after the war, and that the last show of our ’06 tour was there… in some sort of squat.
We’d managed to drive around Europe for 3 weeks using only maps printed from the internet, using NO gps… amazing yes? We’d also managed to get lost every 5 minutes… BURN IN HELL MAPPY.COM!!! After driving around Den Haag for a few hours, we turned up to an imposing looking building, obviously ancient and covered in vines.
We were met by our future best buddy in the whole world, Fast Mike. Mike runs ‘Morlock Gallery’ which is a music venue inside the squat. He instantly made us feel at home… helping us lug our gear, showing us our beds and more importantly where the showers and laundry were! We then met Romy, Mike’s Morlock partner and kick ass chef. After a few ales we tucked into Romy’s awesome dinner…
…and then I caught up on some sleep before our gig… IN A BED!!!
After a few hours rest, we made our way downstairs to Morlocks Gallery. Our support band was ‘Orange Sunshine’, a local band who were pretty much the loudest band ever. They were using amazing looking amps that I’d never seen in Australia… beautiful looking Kustom amps, with Sunn amp heads. The bass player was using a monster bass amp called a Guild Thunderbass. I think my brain changed shape listening to them… man they were frikken’ loud! At some gigs they actually hand out earplugs to the crowd before the show.
It was then our turn. We plugged into their amazing amps and blasted away… it was hot, sweaty, loud and exactly what we needed after 10 hours driving.
Mike was everywhere at once. He was taking photos from the ceiling…
Then, when the bar ran out of beer (I said it was hot), he ran upstairs to his room, grabbed his fridge and BROUGHT IT DOWNSTAIRS… ON HIS BACK!!! Have you seen the staircases in Holland?! The man is obviously part robot.
The next day, we met up with Orange Sunshine’s drummer, Guy. He’s kind of like a punk Stanley Kubrick… and he mentioned he had a studio downstairs. We all followed him to have a look… and my little mind was blown apart.
It was the single greatest collection of vintage amps I have ever seen in my life. And not just the usual Marshall’s etc. There were vintage Matamps, Ampegs, Guilds, Fenders… and Guy loved Sunn amps. LOVED them. He had more than I could count. And rows upon rows of Kustom amps. Guy explained in the 80′s no-one in Holland wanted Kustom amps, so the music shops were basically throwing them out. He bought bucket loads of them dirt cheap… I had never seen anything so beautiful. Instead of being covered in regular tolex, they’re covered in tuck & rolled vinyl… sort of like a Chesterfield couch with 15 inch speakers.
Being a guitar nerd, I went into a slight coma and I think I might of had a small stroke. Everywhere I looked there were amps piled on top of each other. It was too much for me to take in…
Guy showed me his rarest amps… custom made for Leslie West from Mountain.
He then showed me an amp that was unique to the Netherlands punk scene… the Londoncity amp.
Basically they were a Dutch built Marshall clone using VERY cheap parts. As they were affordable, the dutch punk bands bought them and the raspy, tinny sound became the sound of 80′s Dutch punk. Guy had a few of them as local bands still insisted on using them in his studio for authenticity, but he hated them. I thought they looked amazing. I want one… I don’t care what they sound like!
Guy’s studio has NOTHING in it made after 1982 (apart from the CD burner)… we recorded a few tracks there in ’07 and if you’re looking for that sub-atomic sound, this is the place to get it.
Dan getting his sound at the Motor Wolf recording session.
Unfortunately, Morlock Gallery & Motorwolf’s time is nearing an end. After 30 years of being a government supported squat, housing thousands of artists, musicians and generally cool people over the years, the Dutch government has sold the building to a local university. The occupents had until this September to vacate the premises… until a family of bats were found living in the ceiling. Luckily these bats are a protected species, so the occupants have another year before they’re turfed out. Funny that 6 bats have more rights than 80 human beings…
Long live Morlocks Gallery, Motor Wolf, Fast Mike, Guy, Romy and all that have made Den Haag our home away from home.
We love you. xxx