Stef Kamil Carlens - Vocals, guitar, piano, synths
Tomas de Smet - Upright bass, bass, percussion, vocals
Bjorn Eriksson - Guitar, vocals
Tom Pintens - Guitar, vocals, synths, piano, clarinet, sampling
Aarich Jespers - drums, percussion

The Sanctuary Team would like to give their congratulations to Stef and Laurence on the birth of their son, Uriel-Bee, earlier in September 2002, and wish them the very best of the luck in the future! Anybody wishing to contribute a congratulatory message to Marie Man's collection of messages that will be sent to Stef, please visit and mail her your message to the proud parents!

Arguably the most popular Belgian band in Europe  (even overtaking the venerable masters dEUS themselves) has to be Zita Swoon. Ex-bassist and founder member of dEUS along with Tom Barman, Stef Kamil Carlens and company have gone from strength to strength, with a no 1 album ("I Paint Pictures on a Wedding Dress"), several hit singles and an increasing international profile. Gifted with an incredibly striking, inventive, charismatic and talented frontman in Carlens, Zita Swoon look destined to take over dEUS' crown worldwide over the next year.

Formed from the ashes of two earlier Carlens incarnations (A Beatband and Moondog Jr), Zita Swoon's music cannot easily be defined, just as most music coming from Antwerp in the last few years cannot be pigeonholed. It appears to change its nature on every single track produced, encompassing an eclectic, energetic and chaotic fusion of musical styles, including rock, pop, folk and blues (in particular, early Dylan springs to mind on hearing much of the Moondog Jr output), but also now taking on more funky and 70's-inspired influences.

Whilst the first incarnation of this astonishing band, namely SKC and A Beatband, is revered throughout Belgium, it remains difficult for anyone outside the country to find any records produced by them, although one does in fact exist - the acclaimed 'Jintro Travels the Word in a Skirt'. Even before Carlens became a international household name for his work in dEUS, he was already fast becoming a star in the Lowlands.


During his five year sojourn with dEUS, Carlens was still writing and producing his own material, some of which was released on Island in 1995 to a great reception, namely the Moondog Jr album 'Everyday I Wear A Greasy Black Feather On My Hat'. The single from this extraordinary record, 'TV Song', would actually give Stef his first real solo success, internationally charting well, and getting heavy rotation play on Belgian radio. However, in 1997 Moondog Jr were legally forced to change their name after a complaint was made by the American blues singer Louis Moondog Harding. The new name, Zita Swoon, allegedly means intense desire, or a restless traveller, both of which seem quite appropriate to describe Carlens' philosophy of life.

Critics have said that Zita Swoon's music is awkward and yet still beautiful, as is shown on the curious silent film soundtrack 'Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans' which Zita toured extensively throughout 1997 playing live in small theatres against the showing of the original 1923 film by F W Murnau, Carlens here abandoning all notion of pop/rock influences and sensibilities, and drawing almost exclusively on the use of classical and acoustic instruments combined with synthesisers, to create an atmospheric and aesthetic, occasionally difficult album. 'Sunrise' would appear to have achieved something, if not quite impossible, then certainly remarkable - a success across the board with art critics, music journalists and young fans alike sharing their enthusiasm for the work. Indeed, 'Sunrise' would later inspire Carlens to write and produce an all-encompassing piece for the theatre, including music, dance and drama, namely 'Plage Tattoo/Circumstances', which Zita Swoon toured throughout 1999. The soundtrack album of this work could at the time only be bought at the shows.

However, the real international breakthrough happened on the release of their second album under the new name, 'I Paint Pictures on a Wedding Dress'. This album appears to have set out in a completely new set of directions compared to past work by Carlens; whilst still retaining his love of , and feel for, blues, here he included new elements, such as 70's soul-funk (as on 'Stamina'), disco ('My Bond with You and Your Planet: DISCO!') and also including a tribute song to the late Jeff Buckley, one of Stef's musical influences ('Song for a Dead Singer').

Three singles were released from the album, and all charted extremely highly across Europe - 'My Bond... (which also boasts a complete remix CD including 7 new mixes by various artists, including Rudy Trouve and Soulwax, namely 'Disco Adventures'), 'Maria  and 'Our Daily Reminders'. Zita Swoon toured widely throughout 1998/9 and sold out all of their shows across Europe, adding extra dates in Belgium due to popular demand and unavailability of tickets.

At this moment in time (April 2001), the band are touring extensively promoting their brand-new album, 'Life = A Sexy Sanctuary', playing sell-out gigs throughout Europe. The first single taken from the album, titled 'Hot, Hotter, Hottest' is charting well in the Lowlands (as to be expected!) and the band are enjoying as much critical and public success as ever. The new album, very much in the same vein as 'I Paint Pictures...', with its eclectic and chaotic indie mix of 70's funk, glam rock, math rock, space-rock and disco theatrics with the odd folky acoustic number thrown into the mix, is already selling in quantities... there are videos and sound-clips from the new album now on the official (and somewhat fantastic) Zita Swoon website, located at watch this space for news!

If you would care to see some of our Zita Swoon live pictures (including the set-list from the Ancienne Belgique gig on 25/03/1999 swiped by Mandi!), please visit our Zita Gallery; and visit our (desperately incomplete) Discography and Links section for excellent sites including Zita Swoon as well as many other fantastic Belgian bands. As ever, if anything appears here which should not appear here for copyright/ownership reasons, or if there are any dead links or mistakes, please e-mail and she will vaporise them from the castle immediately!


Zita Swoon Gallery Pages:

Here you can find an EXCLUSIVE interview with SKC by Elise and her brother Dude.
Zita Gallery One has a few live pictures taken by Mandi in Belgium.
Zita Gallery Two has a set list from Ancienne Belgique in 1999.
Zita Gallery Three has Elissa's pictures from Nancy in March 2001.
Zita Gallery Four has Elissa's pictures from Paris also in March 2001.
Zita Gallery Five has archival scans from the Apple Archives
Zita Gallery Six has La Elissa's shots of the den Atelier, Luxembourg show in late 2001

Zita Gallery Seven has Mandi's photos of the Zita gig in London 28/2/02, and the setlist.

Also check out dEUS Gallery 5 for pictures of Stef Kamil Carlens's guest appearance at the Tom Barman solo acoustic gig in London in February 2002, and Mandi's Zita Swoon Paintings page.