Simon Corthouts

Mounzer Sarraf and Simon Corthouts

Mounzer Sarraf and Simon Corthouts

From an early age Simon Corthouts was spoon-fed an interest in music. His mom sang children’s songs incessantly, his sister exposed him to Eighties radio music, while his dad sang in a local choir and is strongly of the opinion that musicality died alongside John Lennon. Consequently, Simon spent many mornings in front of the tape recorder, listening to anything from Glen Miller to Arthur Brown, songs from the Flemish folk revival, country & western, musicals, classical and choir music, rock, disco, and pop. There seems to be no end to what music can be and for a while, he loves it all. 

As the Eighties slowly progress and his own musical taste develops, the door to an unexplored and more extreme range of music opens up.  Around age eight Simon enrolls in the local conservatory and chooses to become a drummer. From the start, the obligatory music lessons confuse him. He understands the building blocks, but the classical approach fails to clarify how the building is constructed using them. Being a drummer, his instrument classes are not hampered by this lack of understanding. Whenever he has to play pieces for marimba or vibraphone, he simply deciphers, then memorizes the entire piece and gets away with not having to read the sheet-music at all. As a result, he graduates ten years later, possessing only the most basic understanding of musical theory. 

In his early teens Simon joins a band, led by his friend Mounzer Sarraf. Gradually he becomes more serious about practice and after a while he finds himself rehearsing several hours every day. In doing so he discovers that he is good at paying close attention to what other band members are doing. He discovers that his strength lays in playing with a band and not with being a soloist. He does however struggle with keeping a constant pace, as he tends to rhythmically accommodate the band, rather than to keep it in check. Because of differences in musical taste, Simon leaves the band in 1997, but continues his rigorous practice by playing along with recordings of his favorite bands. 

In 1999 Simon leaves to study in Ghent and is for practical reasons forced to abandon his musical training. During this time his friendship with Mounzer rekindles and they further expand their musical interests. After graduating Simon returns to his hometown, tired of silence, but excited to reawaken his playing skills. One fateful evening, Simon confesses being frustrated with his lack of musical understanding to his good friend Mounzer. Being the inspirational type, Mounzer immediately sets out to sum it all up for him in one gigantic speech, with lots of gestures and vivid imagery. For the first time Simon gets a glimpse of the system behind all of it and he can’t wait to start unravelling the mystery of music. With Mounzer as his guide, they start on their quest for the most easily understandable and scientific method of musical theory. A path that would lead them through many practical and theoretical musical experiments.