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our work > news > Interview: Ruud Borgers
Interview: Ruud Borgers
February 4, 2019   West Balkans

We interviewed Ruud Borgers, guitarist, lead singer of ‘De Sjit’ and Mitrovica Rock School trainer from RockCity Institute about authenticity in music and keeping it real.

When did you first pick up an instrument?

I started playing the trumpet when I was four years old. My dad played the trumpet, but my brother Peter, who was seven years older than me, got a guitar when he was fifteen. So there was always this guitar around, and eventually, I picked it up. I started playing when I was twelve years old.

Your band is called ‘De Sjit’ (‘The Shit’); why ‘De Sjit’?

Why not?! Besides, it’s the best band name I’ve ever had 😉 we have a lot of plans and only just started, our release party will be at the end of March.

Some people would argue that music nowadays has become too commercial. Do you see a ‘revival’ in rock/blues music?

I think this is an ongoing thing in music, in 1980 when I started my first band we had the same discussion and in 40 years from now, kids will also be saying the same. It’s a cycle that never stops, and just when you think you have an idea of where you stand as a musician on this issue, it has already changed. “’Taste” is a living moving thing. As for revivals, well, revivals are for all times. Right now we are having a new wave revival somehow – The Cure & The Smyths have never been so popular.

How did you get involved with the Mitrovica Rock School?

My brother Bertus was the founder and director of theRockacademiein Tilburg and I was the guitar player in my brother’s band back then (2008). After one of our shows, he told us some people would join us for dinner to talk about a project; that’s when I met Laura and Wendy. I listened to the plan and loved it. Three months later I was in Skopje for the first summer school.

What was your biggest impression of working in Mitrovica?

When I got to Mitrovica I immediately recognized that same vibe I had at the beginning of the ’80s, not music-wise but commitment-wise. Making music wasn’t about becoming famous, but about expressing yourself, making sure what you have to say comes out. Often when I teach in The Netherlands, I refer back to the urgency I felt with the musicians in Mitrovica. More important than being perfect, live music is about telling a story, getting your audience to believe in what you’re saying. Mitrovica’s ‘realness’ is what makes them so credible.

*Check out De Sjit’s Newest Release, ‘Door’

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

Back in 1987, I played a sold-out show at Paradiso; it doesn’t get any better than that when it comes to venues. Of course, I’ve played in pretty rough places, and what I enjoyed the most, was my first Balkan tour with R.O.T.S. For two weeks we were on the road, playing different venues every day, meeting new people, running on little sleep and basically having a great time. It’s the people that make the shows, not the facilities.

As for today, I’m doing shows with Bertus in small theaters and preparing for De Sjit’s album release in Eindhoven on the 24th of March. I hope it is the beginning of another wonderful journey.

What are you currently listening to?

Well, I almost never play music I already know, so it’s great that you can find whatever you want on YouTube. This week I found some songs online that I hadn’t ever heard from Curtis Mayfield. I also love “good” pop music from time to time and listen to local musicians that I coached in the past.