Part 2

You were recently on an episode of B-Sides. Is there something in general that you like about B-sides or the less “obvious” tracks?

Yes I love it because sometimes you have the more obscure tracks on the B sides. Or stuff that you would maybe not expect from an artist. At least that's how I put EPs together.

The first track is the best track, the sure shot and then B2 is always the one no one would expect, just to show a slightly wider range of your production skills.

With the move towards digital releases, this might have gone lost a bit because there are no B sides anymore.

The inner photo for your DJ Kicks was interestingly taken in front of your equipment in the studio. Can you talk a bit about how production and DJing mutually inspire each other in your own work?

Yes, for the DJ Kicks I kind of wanted to show everything I do. So myself on the cover, studio inside and on the sleeves for the records, you'll find the shop.

DJing has always inspired me to create my own music. It's just the vibes you catch after a gig which I'm trying to recreate. Or I produce something and look a bit more for tracks in the same kind of vibe.

Actually I just realised that everything goes hand in hand with me. From digging to shop to my record back to playing in clubs to producing music to selling in the shop or playing in the clubs etc.

As mentioned, your production work is outstanding, and your DJ Kicks exclusive track “Organ” very cool. Just out of curiousity, why aren't you interested in adding instruments or more effects to your DJ sets?

It's funny that you ask this question because I just talked about it to my long time friend Anil Aras whom I also featured on the DJ Kicks because he used to play records and brought his 909 here and there to slam a beat on top of it. I was asking him to get a few tips on how to set it up as I might want to give it a try myself. He suggested that once I'm confident doing it in the club, I should add a device for a bassline for example. Could be fun and I'll definitely try it soon.

In terms of effects I'm not a really big fan of that as todays music already has so many effects in, there is no need to add even more and go nuts with it. Sometimes you just need to let people dance and get lost and not wake them up with weird effects all the time.

Is this also the reason why you never made the transition to something like Serato oder Final Scratch? After all, you were there when these technologies made their first appearance.

Actually, during my studies, I was part of a small team and we tested Final Scratch. It crashed pretty often. So I didn't feel like going into it deeper. All this computer work seemed like stress to me.

Plus, I really prefer to drop by a record store and meet a few friends instead of searching for tracks on websites by myself at home. Playing vinyl has a diferent vibe to it. It's more open and in between tracks, it gives me the chance to chat with people.

It's an extension of your work with Elevate in a way, which is also more of a living room rather than a traditional record store.

Yes, and it means a lot to me. I love communicating with people. It's really sweet that some fans or customers really enjoy meeting me at the store. They'll take a picture with me or ask me to sign their record. I'm not a pop star, after all! Ultimately, what matters is that people take home a nice memory. Be it at a gig or at the store.

I've always wondered: How is it possible for DJs to memorise so many tracks? On your B-Sides feature, the labels of your 12inches simply contained a few words like “jazzy” … Is that really enough for you to remember the track by?

I have no idea either … (laughs) I believe for my humble self it only works in combination with the cover of a record. Otherwise I'm lost. Or if the two labels on the record look the same, I put a sticker on or leave a little note there. Like the “jazzy” record in the B Sides feature by the amazing DJ HMC. That's usually enough for me to recognise it.

I recently put recordbox on my USB key, just to have a back up, cause out of 50 gigs there is always one, maybe two, where it's impossible to play records. Hence I thought maybe it's time to become a tiny bit more “professional” and have a proper back up.

But once I had it, I wasn't able to find the tracks or remember track names. For the super famous ones, I could still do it of course, but when I not had my usual order, I was totally lost. I guess it'll be a new form of memorising tracks.

Kode9, who of course also contributed a DJ Kicks, once said: "I prefer to hear tracks in the mix together for extended periods of time, and I like to hear the tension between two tracks." What's your take on that?

Uh I love it. Especially when two tracks correspond to each other with vocals of chord . Ouff … that's the best I had it with a few records which I then played always together after the little “accident” happened.

Also, sometimes you can create something new, almost like a new track or edit which then inspires you to go to the studio.

One of the standout features of your sets to me is that you build a very dense and deep mood, but you're never afraid to break it and switch things up again. What's the perfect balance for you personally?

For me personally the best set happen when I'm able or allowed to start slowly. I'll start with groovy, reduced tracks and then gradually build things up, until I reach dirty Chicago house or even techno tracks.

I'm not a big fan of keeping on banging the tunes out. I always try to create a nice journey and add a little more with each track I'm playing. This works always best in clubs [as opposed to festivals] because you also get allowed more time to express yourself and play records. My focus is on groove and rhythm, it's very primal, like dancing yourself into a trance.

Sometimes I like to surprise people with some tracks beause overall music and clubbing should be an enjoyable experience. I want the people to get lost in music or be hedonistic on the dancefloor, so a god mixture of deep stuff and a few bangers is key for my sets.

And keeping things moving along is important, too. You should never wait for a track to peter out, until you only have a kick and clap. You risk losing momentum that way. Which means you need to know your records inside out.

Pieces can sound entirely different as part of a DJ set compared to playing them on their own. How do you explain this?

Oh my god, I had this so many times. I checked out some new tunes at my recordstore and thought, wow they'll absolutely kill it this weekend. And then they sounded like a wet fart on a big club system or simply did not do the job I expected them to do. Or it absolutely kills it at one party and at the second party at the weekend it does absolutely nohing.

Not sure why that is. Different records sound different on different sound symstems or for different crowds. It's almost as mysterious as the missing socks in the washing maschine thing.

Someone please should investigate this further for us!

Add to that the fact that the transition between two tracks can totally change their feeling.

True, that's intriguing as well.

I prefer it if you have two elements in those tracks which mutually complement each other. It could be a vocal snippet from record 1 and a chord from record 2. That way, I've often created transitions where people will ask me: Hey, what remix of that track did you just play? And all I could tell them was: None, I just blended two different pieces together!

Let's imagine you lost all your music for one night and all there is left at the venue is a crate of records containing a random selection of music. How would you approach this set?

Ha, guess what? I had to do it twice already!

This happened the last time I checked in my records. Nowadays I only bring a small bag in hand luggage which is plenty of stuff for a 2 or even 3 hours set. Anyway, I had a gig in Nantes, in the North of France and the next day in Milan. So far, so good. I had to check in my bag because I took the big one and we had a little delay, so I almost did not catch my connecting flight in Paris to go to Nantes. So you can imagine that if I almost missed it, my records definitely missed the connection. So I was waiting at the luggage belt for ages and then was there all alone and my records did not arrive and it was the last plane for the day.

Boo, I was so pissed and sad but either way, I was booked for a back 2 back with my dear DJ Steaw. So it was okay to use his records and it was quite fun to discover a few new ones. I just randomly picked records and played them and it worked really well.

Same thing the next day in Milan because of course my bag also did not make it to Milan. So I went record shopping, tried to rebuy a few records I already had, but at the end I ended up playing the records from the guys that booked me. And I loved it! It was a nice surprise package. I mean, there is nothing you can do, just flick through them and make the best out of it.

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