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Breakfest Interview: Netsky

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The term 'wunderkind' gets bandied around a bit these days, but it can most definitely be used to describe 22 year old drum and bass producer Netsky (aka Boris Daenen). The Belgian-raised star released his debut album on Hospital Recordings in 2009 and now produces exclusively for London Elektricity’s label. His skills on the decks are also in demand, DJing at many of the world’s biggest clubs and festivals. Boomtick’s Ben Swan catches up with him in the midst of putting the final touches on his second LP.

Hi Boris, what are you up to today?
I’m going in to the studio in the afternoon so looking forward to that.

What are you doing in the studio?
I’m just in the studio in the next two weeks trying to finish my album. I’m trying to get together with some vocalists and some other musicians. It will be my second album and I’m hoping it will be released in May. The first single will be coming out in February and the second one in April, so I’ve got to get everything finished in the next couple of months.

Have you been road-testing any of your new songs on the dance floor while you have been DJing?
Not that much actually as there is a lot of people that record stuff in clubs and they’re really good at it and they’ve got really high quality recorders and they paste songs together and when they’ve got a full track they put it on the internet. So you’ve got to be a little bit careful in the nightclubs. Though I think I’m going to try out all my new tunes in Australia and I’m really looking forward to that, seeing how the feedback is.

So this is your second time to Australia?
Yeah I did a similar type tour last year with Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Gisborne in New Zealand which were all really cool cities so looking forward to getting back.

How were the crowds for that tour?
Really good actually; really, really good. I played on New Year’s Eve in Gisborne which I think was the best gig I’ve ever done in my life. I played on the second stage from 4-6 in the morning and the sun was coming up behind me and Gisborne is apparently the first place to see the sun on the New Year so that was a really special feeling. The crowds were really good on the whole tour, lots of beautiful girls (laughs) so it was great.

How are you feeling about your first album now that it’s been out for a couple of years and you’ve started to get your second album together?
Well it’s kind of a love/hate relationship with all the tunes I’ve ever made, like everyone, even the ones I made last week. The tune is never finished for me or any other producer I think. Every time you play it out you feel like there is something missing which is a bit frustrating as you always want to work on it a bit more and make it better and when you learn something new you want to work on a tune again. It’s still really fun to play all the tracks from my first album because those are the ones that the crowd really knows well and get the best feedback, but it’s time to move forward to new tunes and news sounds. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past two years, well during the week anyway, between gigs and on airplanes.

What’s going to be different on the new album?
I think the big difference for me is that it will be compatible with a live show. I’m working on a live band show for next year in Belgium and in England with a drummer, a keys player and possibly strings. That’s probably going to be the big difference from my first album is that it’s going to be live playable. Sounding wise there is going to be a wide variety of drum and bass tracks, like there is going to be an old school track on there. I’ve made some kind of trancey but underground stuff and I’ve made one dubstep tune, which I shouldn’t really say I have (laughs), and I’m working with some really cool vocalists for that. I can’t really name any of the collaborators yet because we’re still putting everything together and still finishing stuff. But it’s definitely going to sound different from the first album.

What do you think typifies a Netsky track?
I guess the only way I can describe my sound is to look at what inspired me in the first place. I grew up with a lot of seventies music, a lot of reggae and classical music from my parents. And blend that with high energy dance floor vibes you get my sound a little bit. I would just call it high energy, melodic drum and bass.

What made you love drum and bass?
Well I started producing when I was around 14 and I was really into my house, kind of loungey, Chicago-American house. Then a couple of years later I went to a drum and bass night with a few of my friends and they actually took me with them and pushed me into it as I wasn’t really into it, I never had heard anything I was really into. But we got to the club and the first tune I heard was Kanye West’s Gold Digger and I thought ‘Oh yeah this is just a normal club’ and then it started to go double tempo and turned over into drum and bass and I’d never heard anything like that before and it made a big impression on me. It was the High Contrast remix of Gold Digger and that moment really caught me and changed my point of view on drum and bass and I really got interested in it from that. Then I started researching drum and bass the next day and looking for more melodic, more musical drum and bass and I found loads of stuff and that’s how I got into it.

What sort of show are you going to be bringing to Breakfest?
Well lately I’ve been experimenting with, actually I shouldn’t really be saying this as it should be a surprise, but I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different stuff in my sets like double dropping with some old hip hop and that sort of thing. The one thing I am looking forward to the most is playing my new tunes out and seeing people’s reactions to that. There is going to be a lot of new music in my sets and I’m coming to play a proper party set! I think Perth is my first stop on the tour so it’ll be the first DJ set I’ve done in a while as I’m stopping DJing for the next two months so you’ll probably see me smiling a lot behind the decks, because I’m going to be really happy to be back.

You’ll love playing at Breakfest, the venue Belvoir Amphitheatre is amazing.
Oh wow, yeah I think I’ve seen some videos from last year and I’ve heard a lot of good things from other artists. It looks very cool!

Any final messages for your Australian and Perth fans?
Yeah I can’t wait to come back to Perth, I played two shows and those two shows were definitely the highlight club shows of the tour. Perth definitely the biggest city for drum and bass in Australia and I’m really glad to be coming back this year.

Thanks for speaking to Boomtick and we can’t wait to see you on Boxing Day!

Netsky on the web and Facebook.
Hospital Recordings.