The Bony King of Nowhere's new album 'Everybody Knows' is out today and it's his strongest to date.

Posted on 02 Feb 2024

For The Bony King of Nowhere, each record responds to its predecessor. Artistic evolution and the urge to create are crucial in the world of The Bony King, inspired by the likes of Nick Cave, Mark Hollis, and especially PJ Harvey. Each of these artists translates an urgency in their own lives into a collection of songs. No two of their albums sound the same. Vanparys also learned from Mark Hollis, the legendary frontman of Talk Talk who remained silent forever after his self-titled solo album, that a musical career can reach an ending point naturally. More than five years passed between Silent Days (2018) and Everybody Knows (2024). The uninspiring COVID period is part of the reason, but it wasn’t just that. Vanparys was stuck. A creative drought of almost two years made him seriously doubt whether he still had anything to say as a writer and musician. A difficult point in the career of an artist who never wants to repeat himself. The need to reinvent himself after the success of 'Silent Days' was greater than ever, but the road to a new sound was long and at times taxing.

The Bony King of Nowhere eventually managed to break the impasse, resulting in 'Everybody Knows', his sixth album. Musically, ‘Everybody Knows’ builds on the break with the past that Silent Days already was. Some songs were composed on piano rather than guitar, shying away from the familiar chords. After the first recording session with Koen Gisen, Vanparys stayed at home rewriting and tinkering. 'Everybody Knows' has thus become a return to the modus operandi of his early work, to coloring songs with quirky arrangements and one-off happy accidents.

The Bony King of Nowhere used to tell stories that were, as it were, outside of time. Lyrics were literally 'timeless' and described Love and Life with a capital letter, they could theoretically appeal to listeners in 1855 as well as 2015. 'Silent Days' was a deeply personal and at the same time very recognizable account of an intense relationship breakdown. 'Everybody Knows' is just as personal, but Vanparys focuses his gaze outward, to society here and now. From newspaper articles to the images on TV and online, and to social media that have quickly come to dominate our lives. However, Vanparys did not become a preacher. He wants to share his personal view of society, fully aware that it is just an opinion in a world that is incredibly busy, complex, and layered.

The opening track and first single 'Are You Still Alive' precedes an Instagram post where Vanparys announced his retirement from the medium). The constant self-promotion inherent to this medium caused Vanparys too much stress and simply did not work for him. Above all, it kept him away from the true essence of making music. The outward look yields topics and lyrics that listeners probably did not expect from The Bony King of Nowhere. Vanparys wrote 'Everybody Knows' in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, but it refers to all conflicts in which we as a society often watch from the sidelines without really taking action. Other songs deal with the constant rat race that our lives have become. While we are encouraged to spend our days as usefully as possible, our beautiful dreams and big ideas often remain little more than sales slogans on a whiteboard. We seem to be stuck in it, even if we don't want to participate. 'Change ways and they will push you right into the swamp', Vanparys sings unusually sharply on 'Almost Invisible'.

Nowadays, The Bony King of Nowhere operates in a world filled with both familiar faces and new, young talent. Jasper Hautekiet, who has been in the world of The Bony King of Nowhere for more than a decade, has remained a stronghold both musically and personally. Hendrik Lasure (SCHNTZL, Warm Bad, Tamino, the beautiful and inspiring Het Wiel) already appeared on ‘Silent Days’. His influence on the arrangements on ‘Everybody Knows’ can’t be overestimated. Guitarist Vitja Pauwels (Naima Joris) was given complete freedom to provide the songs with extra layers and small interpretations with his intuitive playing. Drummer Simon Segers (Sylvie Kreusch, Stadt) is also the kind of open and creative musician that Vanparys likes to surround himself with. The live band of The Bony King of Nowhere consists of five musicians, with Jasper Hautekiet, Simon Segers, Thijs Troch (Nordmann), Gertjan Van Hellemont (Douglas Firs). They present Everybody Knows on March 6 in Ekko in Utrecht and on March 8 in the AB in Brussels.