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When the eighties near, Arno Hintjens of the group Tjens Couter decides to give his R&B-music a more modern sound. He teams up with Jean-Marie Aerts (who had been playing with Johan Verminnen, Big Bill, Bert de Coninck and Raymond van het Groenewoud in the seventies) and changes the name of the group Tjens Couter to T.C. Matic. The groupname supposedly is also the name of a Yugoslav writer.


"O la la la (c'est magnifique)"
53,9 sec. - 106 Kb.
song : Hintjens, Cloet, Baelen.
Year : 1981
Produced : Jean-Marie Aerts
Record co. : Parsley

"Le Java"
48,4 sec. - 105 Kb.
song: Hintjens, Aerts
Produced : Jean-Marie Aerts.
Year : 1982
Record co. : EMI

"Middle class and blue eyes"
52,1 sec. - 102 Kb.
song: Hintjens, Aerts
Produced : Jean-Marie Aerts.
Year : 1983
Record co. : EMI

"Elle adore le noir (pour sortir le soir)"
53,7 sec. - 95 Kb.
song: Hintjens, Aerts
Produced : Howard J. Gray
Year : 1985
Record co. : EMI


Although Tjens Couter had been a well-known group, TC Matic got off on a difficult start. They were looking for a record company and only Marcel Vanthilt (see Arbeid Adelt!) who was looking for bands to fill a record for the ASLK (a Belgian Bank) showed some interest in their demo-tape. With the 75.000 fr sponsor money from the bank they headed of to London and recorded five songs. "Bazooka Joe" was released on the compilation album "Get Sprouts", the other four were released as a double single, without a record company.


Still no-one was interested, so Paul Evrard, former manager for Raymond van het Groenewoud, founded his own record company Parsley. The single "O la la la" was released and the group was on it's way. "O la la la" becomes an evergreen (still to this day, a party in Belgium isn't complete without it) and sells over 15.000 copies, an enormous amount for a Belgian single at the time.

The debut album "T.C.Matic" that follows soon afterwards gets equally well received. Marc Mijlemans wrote in Humo : "The debut album of T.C.Matic is filled with interesting, intriguing and at times even impressive music. Factory funk, this is. Brutal city noises from a hard world somewhere in between A Certain Ratio and Simple Minds .. Export-ready Flemish Rock, 'cause most of the songs can easily survive the comparison with new things coming from England. ... Never has a group from Belgium showed so much soul as T.C.Matic on this existential cry from the rhythmic jungle. I love T.C.Matic, but I wonder if that means I also have to love the voice of Arno Hintjens. Yes? Well, OK then."


They also prove to be a very impressive band on stage : in 1981 they go on tour together with Lavvi Ebbel (Tourmalaise) and get to play on the famous Torhout-Werchter festival. Their stage act soon becomes a living legend. From Oxygène in 1983 : "On stage, T.C.Matic really makes the impression of having fallen into the barrel of magic potion when they were little. A noise level that tenfold the power of the songs and then there's Arno, the showman, a class of its own, a Presence, a strong magnet, hip-movements that would make Elvis blush. .. Last month, they were supposed to go on a tour together with P.I.L. John Lydon was right : T.C.Matic would've been so much better than his own group."


Belgium soon becomes too small. They try to make a break to abroad with "L'apache" their second album. From Humo : "Wherever you went along Flemish roads during the past year, you met T.C.Matic. With their white-hot western soul they made tracks around the country that still haven't been erased but - and there always this sickening but inevitable "but" - you can't get higher in Belgium than a place at Torhout-Werchter and a very well received debut album. Et maintenant ? There's no way back, no road ahead. There only the possibility of a big leap, hoping to land somewhere where a people live, a lot of people. "L'Apache" is that leap. It is a very well executed leap, and if they don't make a soft landing with this one, that can mean only one thing : that the thesis of the VMO (an extreme right and racist action group) that "all foreigners are stupid and too lazy to listen" is correct. With "A different smell from the same perfume" (Luna Twist), "Er sterft een beer in de Taïga" (Kreuners) and "Promises" (Allez Allez), "L'apache" is the fourth album of international standards to come out of Belgium this year. And it's probably the best. Better in any case, better balanced than they were on their already impressive debut".

The passage across the boundaries becomes a fact (they tour all around Europe and play Pinkpop, Roskilde, France, Germany ...) but never becomes a huge success. Only in Scandinavia the group develops a following, much to the delight of Arno : "the ladies over there are wild! They go after the men just like the men in Rome go after the women." Even a third and fourth album can't change that. Herman Schueremans (the organizer of Torhout/Werchter) in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws in 1984 : "the Belgian branch of EMI has 100 percent faith in the group. They invest a lot in them. Unfortunately, they don't seem to get that message through to the international headquarters. When TC.Matic began in Belgium they said "there will be no audience for that kind of music". The group has made that audience. Then came Holland. The first time they shouted "stupid Belgian", but the next time they were silenced by the music. In Scandinavia the same thing happens. The weird thing is that this group can really move things around, but that the record company does so little with it."


So, continues to battle with the world : "Choco" of 1983 and"Yé Yé" of 1985 (the only T.C.Matic record not produced by Jean-Marie Aerts) still show a group that's growing. On occasions, the elements that would be much more obvious in Arno's later music (accordion, barroom music, waltz ...) and other influences (world music) creep in. But the story remains the same : although they survive a two years longer than the majority of the Belgian bands, even this group ultimately has to face the fact that without a major breakthrough abroad, the Benelux is too small to continue to evolve and make a living.

After a huge tour with the Simple Minds in 1986 that turns out to be a waste of effort, the group gives up. The creativity was gone. Belgium's finest band was no more.

Still, the musical saga that went from Freckle Face to Tjens Couter and to T.C.Matic isn't finished: there's still Arno's solo career to come!

Members :
- Arno Hintjens (vocals)
- Jean-Marie Aerts (guitar)
- Serge Feys (synthesizer)
- Ferre Baelen / Michael Peet (bass)
- Rudy Cloet (drums)

Buy CD's of this band at proxis

Albums :
- T.C.Matic (Parsley/Statik - 1981)
- L'Apache (EMI - 1982)
- Choco (EMI - 1983)
- Yé Yé (EMI - 1985)
Compilations :
- The best of T.C.Matic (Ça vient, change pas demain) (EMI - 1987)
- Compil Complèt (EMI, 2000)
Singles and 12'':
- Modern Noise / White Rhythm / Take it easy / Femme Femme (TC Matic 1980)
- O la la la / Still on the loose (Parsley 1980)
- Willie / I'm not like that (Parsley 1981)
- Le java / Mummy (EMI 1982)
- Middle Class and Blue Eyes / Touch me (EMI 1983)
- If you wanna dance, dance / Attack Anna (EMI 1983)
- Ugh ugh / Ugh ugh (instr.) (EMI 1984)
- Putain Putain / Living on my instinct (EMI, 1984)
- Elle adore le noir / Act like a dog (EMI 1985)
- Who's that girl / Let Me Out (EMI 1986)
- Chi Boem / Pauvre con (EMI 1986)

Websites :
- some more information about, and a lot more audio from TC Matic can be found on the Arno-website.
- review of "Choco" by Marc Mijlemans in Highway Humo Revisited
- Jean-Marie Aerts also has a website, at

Forum :
- Read the messages/questions about TC Matic
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview ... about TC Matic


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