Student - May 12, 2011

From punk to purist

After many years a dream has come true for Master's student Tim Breur, who published his own CD two weeks ago, with the title 'All that is given.' The singer-songwriter is inspired by his passion for nature. 'Loneliness was exactly what I needed.'

Master's student of Forest and Nature Policy Tim Breur looks tense as his sits slowly squashing his round coffee cup into a square shape and reflects: 'I want to say so much in this CD; you can only get an idea of that if you listen to it'. He is quiet for a moment. The idea of the CD had been on Tim's mind for years, and he has practised for hours to get a single guitar riff right, and yet he find this the most difficult moment of all. 'My fellow students asked if I would let them hear a bit of my CD and I said no. I sometimes feel uncomfortable being there when people listen to my CD. I would rather play the songs live that listen to them myself.'
After some hesitation, he reveals that his CD is intended to express his 'passion for nature'. 'Without being new-agey about it', he quickly adds. The songs are gentle, soft and acoustic. The contrast with his early work could not be greater. 'At secondary school I was inspired by punk and bands like Rammstein.' He has not spurned this kind of music, however. 'I often still listen to punk and I also play in a band, The Birdwatching Bandits, and we play a wide range of covers. But that is more café work and this CD is about me. I did not consider what would sell best. There are songs on the CD that no one has ever been enthusiastic about, but which I just thought are part of the story.'

Concern for his neighbour
Everything on the CD is by Tim himself: the singing, the guitar playing and the mixing. It was not easy. 'You cannot be at lectures all day and then knock up a CD after supper.' So he decided to keep the fourth period of the year course-free. This was exactly when the government announced the penalty for students taking extra time for their degrees. 'I was pretty fed up, but I didn't regret it. That CD is my dream.'
Friends were not surprised by Tim's decision. 'Everyone thought it was supercool that I finally went ahead with this, and that lonely month was exactly what I needed. Although I did feel for my neighbour, who heard me playing the same thing hundreds of times over.'
Now that the CD is out, the singer-songwriter is back at his studies fulltime. He does not see himself becoming a professional musician. 'On Queen's Day I thought, actually I should go and stand somewhere and promote my work. But the thought of it made me feel awful.' His dream is to combine music with other work. 'If you were dependent on it, I am afraid it would lose its integrity. And anyway: if your whole life consists of music, where do you get your inspiration from?'