‘Our first show was one big chaos’

Natasja Bökkerink (26) is guitarist and vocalist in the Rotterdam band Poodle. Although the band only started as a band in 2020, they already travel all over the Netherlands for their shows.

A separate EP and a show in Red Riding Hood are planned for the end of this summer. Their sound can best be described as “fluffy garage rock” and their songs have funny titles, she says: “Our most popular song, Labracadabrador, was inspired by a joke about a dog!”

First of all: How did you end up here in Rotterdam?

“In 2015, I moved from Eindhoven to Rotterdam North to do an internship. Then I went to study Graphic Design at Willem de Kooning. At that time I had only one friend in Rotterdam, with whom I often shared: drinking coffee at Man met Bril, eating at Burgertut, cycling and walking. I got to know the city through him.”

“Eindhoven is an industrial city, so it immediately created a connection. It’s nice that the city is so big here, I can get lost in the anonymity. Here I can be myself more; if I dress differently, no one will notice. There are people on the street who are even more extravagant.”

How did you get started in music?

“At Willem de Koning I learned a lot about women in punk music and feminism. It inspired me to make my own music and start a band. I believed for a long time that you had to be a professional musician if you wanted to play in a band. That’s not the case, you can also just try it!”

Since when do poodles exist?

“In 2019, my previous band stopped. The drummer and I then went on together. More and more people joined: Next to Wies (26, drummer and vocalist) and myself (guitar and vocalist), Nelleke (27, bass and vocalist), Paul (30, lead guitar) and Jette (26, percussion). At the end of 2020 we started releasing songs. The songs became more and more layered with all the people who came along, all songs have a part of all of us. After that we wanted more: in early 2022 we started songs for our first EP.”

How would you describe yourself as a band and the music?

“We always say ourselves”fluffy garage rock’: close to punk, but less hard, stubborn and cheerful compared to the melody. No one is the front person, and we really like that, because everyone is equally important. The most important thing is that we do it because we like it. We are very ambitious, but we also like not to always take ourselves seriously as artists. For example, our song ‘Labracadabrador’ was written about a joke (what do you call a dog that does magic tricks).”

How was the first live performance?

“Our very first show was one big chaos! It was at Buurland in October 2021. It’s a neighborhood in Utrecht Overvecht with all anti-squat homes, many musicians and artists live there. It was raining and there were moshpits. At one point so I saw the marquee being moved and people started crowdsurfing. Really bizarre! It gave us a huge boost.”

What’s the funnest thing you’ve been through together?

“During a rehearsal, Jette played percussion on a wine bottle. She hit so hard during a song that the bottle broke. The shards flew over the drum set, right past Wies. Jette was then very dazed with only the spout from the wine bottle. We were lucky no one was hurt! Now we are sometimes afraid that it will happen during a performance.”

What are the highlights for you this year?

At the beginning of May, one of our dreams has already come true: we have been selected for Popronde, a traveling showcase festival for small bands. It is already a dream come true. We travel all over the Netherlands to play. We were already at Prilpop, Amsterdam Occii, Welcome to the village of Leeuwarden, and I Club 3voor12, Blauwalg and Goudriaan. And the show we’re most looking forward to: on 17 September we’ll be in Little Red Riding Hood!

Poodle is releasing an EP soon and will be crowdfunding for this. Will you support them? It is possible here.

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