Interviews

A while ago I decided to ask five questions to someone I share the line-up with. The goal is to get an insight into an artist’s habitat, personal taste and history. Afterwards each guest will be drawn by my favorite street artist: Dzia. Enjoy.

#4 – NATUREBOY FLAKO

Listen! Festival – Brussels

  1. What would you be doing if you didn’t do music?

    F: I’m pretty sure I would be working as a gardener or do some sort of landscaping. Anything with plants, really. It’s really nice to see something grow. Same with music really. Maybe that’s the connection between those things: to see something grow is just a beautiful thing. Whether it’s a plant that grows or music that’s being built and grown into something, that’s the same thing to me really.

  2. What’s your favorite spot to go crate digging?

    F: There’s a couple of really good hidden places. I can’t tell you where my favorite spot is because it is so crazy. It’s located in a little village by Lyon, France.

    I randomly went to a tiny village and there was a flea market. At the market, there was one dude I met who was selling records. After sharing some thoughts around music, he invited me to come to his garage the next day. I was like “okay, cool”, so I met him at a plaza downtown the next day. I just followed his car for about ten minutes, and he took me to this garage (warehouse) filled with crazy records, and mad cheap too. There were all kinds of records all over the place. But I definitely like to go out digging everywhere, really.

  3. What would be a great side project for you?

    F: I am actually thinking about painting, although I have no skills or am I really talented. But for some reason I am interested, because again I feel like that kind of art can bring something out of you from the very subconscious. I tried a little bit though. Also, everywhere I go, I always try to check out some art galleries or some contemporary art pieces as well. Visual inspiration is important to me.

  4. Who do you think is the most underrated producer or musician at the moment?

    F: Oh man, I have an all-time favorite, completely underrated producer: Dimlite. It’s always the musicmakers themselves who love him for what he does, but the general wide audience doesn’t get what he does because it’s too experimental. I think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. To me he is some sort of mad genius. He is crazy in the most beautiful way.

  5. What music did you listen to when you were sixteen years old?

    F: Sixteen, well, that was probably like my rock – grunge – punk phase. I played guitar in bands, and I was totally into rock, guitar music, and funk. But anything from classic Nirvana to Rage Against The Machine to even Body Count, and then some real punk shit as well. Very diverse. Later, I got into hip hop. My first hip hop record that I bought and that really had an impact on me was Company Flow from Funcrusher Plus.

    Hip hop music is what kind of made me do what I do today. It made me interested in how instrumental music of all those rap records is made, I was more interested in the music than the rap. That was probably the root of why I got into production. It developed and now I’m totally somewhere else. But maybe you can still hear the core today.

    Today, I always use the guitar in my music. Sometimes it is not obvious, but it is always there in some form. Same as bass – I play a lot of bass guitar, guitar, synthesizers, … 

  6. What about your alter ego Dirg Gerner? Do you have any new plans with him? Or is it just like when it happens, it happens?

    F: Pretty much, that project was born out of a necessity to do something of that sort, it was just a feeling and the only reason it was released under a different name really is because I was feeling uncomfortable with the project. If you are turning yourself inside out and you expose pretty personal stuff to the public. For some reason I didn’t feel comfortable connecting it directly to the stuff that I was already doing.

    I thought releasing the project via Dirg Gerner was a nice idea. I felt more comfortable, more at ease to release the music that way. But now I really do like to sing to be honest, but I don’t know what is going to happen. There’s no plan. I don’t know if I am going to do something like that again, you know, a dedicated project.

 

#3 – LANDER GYSELINCK

Beraadgeslagen – Leuven

  1. Who do you think is the most underrated producer/musician at the moment?

LG: Well I think that a lot of things like Oneohtrix Point Never are underrated, but that is probably because those projects are really alternative.
If I had to give a better example, I would choose Adriaan from Pomrad. His potential is enormous. I have been following him from the start and we even did some rehearsals together, but due to a lack of time it didn’t really work out, sadly enough.

  1. What would you be doing if you didn’t do music?

LG: Then I would have a big problem I think, good question though.
I think I would do something with sports, or dancing. I was heavily into breakdancing in the past.
Currently I’m working on a play with my sister in which I’ll be dancing and also be playing some music. The play will premier in May.
If I didn’t go to study at the conservatoire I would have probably been to P.A.R.T.S, which is a dance school in Brussels. But I can’t even imagine what I would be doing without music. Music has so many layers for me. I’m doing a little bit of dj-work right now so that brings me to another side of music.

I’m also teaching at the KASK conservatorium and started on a doctorate about electronic music and improvisation.This project is another great way to look at music from a different angle. It can go anywhere, I’ll probably be doing some interviews, make a documentary/album and have a sit-down with people I think will have something interesting to say about what improvisation means in electronic music.
I’ve already contacted a couple of producers I follow and would like to see what happens if we exchange some music. It’s like a big irregular disorganised mess (laughs).

  1. What would be a great side project for you?

LG: A B2B set with Moodprint (laughs)
Oh and drummer of a metalband, or maybe playing the keys in a really cheesy popband!

  1. Has there ever been a moment you wanted to quit music?

LG: Not really, it’s not a choice, it’s just what I want to do.
That said, music can also make you really unhappy…

You’re away from home a lot. At moments when society takes a rest during the vacation periods you actually feel the opposite of what everyone else feels.
During August for example, I always feel a bit strange, because everything lies still, and I can’t really sit still. It’s kind of a trap, but I know how to avoid this emptiness and finding new inspiration by studying my drum techniques or going out cycling often for example.

Being away from home too long, like last year for example, makes you feel like you’re not really grounded anymore. You don’t really know what you’re doing besides just playing and not creating music anymore.

Sometimes your agenda gets so full that you start doing things in a practical way, but without really experiencing the moment. You’re chasing yourself because things are going so fast and then you get sort of frustrated.

  1. What music did you listen to when you were 16 years old?

LG: Oh ok, then we’re talking about the craziest playlist in the world.
I think, Miles Davis, his records dating from the end of the sixties: In A Silent Way, Miles In The Sky, Nefertiti, Filles De Kilimanjaro. But those records are pretty dark. Or the Chick Corea Elektrik Band, which sounds a little bit more 80’s.
That was because the pianist of that band played with Miles in the 70’s.

Also breakdance music: Midnight Star, Connie and a lot of Zappa.
In general a lot of music which wasn’t from that time.

My parents had a feeling for music. At home they always played a lot of great music, so that was my period of record digging. Also Menno was like my big brother, I always came to his house and he learned me a lot by showing me his records. He had a lot of old school electro hip-hop stuff.

 

 

#2 – YUSSEF KAMAAL

(Yussef Dayes & Henry Wu)

4 YEARS TNGRM w/ Yussef Kamaal & Samiyam – Leuven

Yussef Kamaal

  1. What would you be doing if you didn’t do music?

HW: Euhm if I didn’t do music I would probably be driving a car around London, delivering stuff. Or a van, I like driving you know.
YD: I would probably be having a fruit stand man, Ital food.

  1. I don’t know if you guys are into digging, but if you would look for cool instruments or great records where would you go?

HW: Digging for me, I would have it anywhere in the world, LA for example.
YD: Africa
HW: Yeah Africa, LA, I mean like everywhere, everyone’s got good records. You can find good records in every city.

  1. What moment in your life made you choose music?

HW: Euhm I chose music when I was at school, but I’ve been on and off with music. Music is just a hobby, it’s not my whole life. For example, I like to cook among other things.
YD: When I was in the womb, my dad was already playing music to me. So music is in my DNA. That’s how we talk. It’s cliché but I was born with music, as long as I can remember. I didn’t go to music school, but my dad was a musician, a bass player. So we always had music in the house. I had my drumkit when I was four and my brother was playing bass.

  1. Who do you think is the most underrated producer or musician?

HW: The most underrated producer, you know what, I don’t know about underrated, but I would say Hardhouse Banton… He’s a UK producer.
YD: Underrated producer or musician, that’s hard man. I would say Tenderlonious, he just released an ep. He’s next level, he’s wicked man. It’s more dance vibes, but the productions, he’s taking it to another place you know what I’m saying, I like it, I like it a lot. So Tenderlonious and then you got mad man Mansur Brown (Bass player Yussef Kamaal). Listen, this guy is 19 years old, the music he’s making… Give him 2 years time, he’s coming man. We’re taking him and he’s gonna do some great stuff in a couple of years time. You know what he’s Britains best young talent. That’s a statement right there!

  1. What music did you listen to when you were 16 years old?

HW: When I was 16 years old I was listening to UK hip hop, Roots Manuva, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal and all that.
YD: I’m not gonna lie, I was listening to The Headhunters. But I was listening to it at home, so my dad would pay the records. My dad was Jamaican so I had a lot of Studio One reggae and 70’s New York jazz fusion kind of things, like Mahavishnu Orchestra. But I didn’t told anyone at school because they were all listening to that grimey thing. I liked grime as well, but at home I was listening more to jazz.


#1 – LEFTO 

Free Your Funk & Lefto présentent: Bruxelles arrive! – Paris

LEFTO DZIA PROFILE

  1. What would you be doing if you didn’t do music?

My father worked for a travel agency and for some kind of reason I was always attracted to airports. Airports give me a feeling of vacation. I always wanted to be the guy who is waving with two orange sticks on the tarmac. Ramp attendant I guess.

  1. Was there a specific moment in your life that defined your choice to do music in the form you’re doing at the moment?

Probably somewhere during my school period when I was hanging out with Akro from Starflam. He used to have two turntables without pitch in his room which he used to mix records to which I felt a certain attraction to. Thanks to my father I was able to get one Technics mk2 turntable which I used in combination with a tapedeck to train my mixing and skratching skills. I tried everything from breakdancing to rapping. I think that was the period I found out what I wanted to do.

  1. If you could choose one place in the world to go digging, where would it be?

In Japan, next week (laughs). No I think Japan for sure! It’s the place where you can find everything you’re looking for. Sometimes a bit overpriced, but they will probably have what you’re looking for. Next to Discogs of course. At Discogs you never know for sure what condition your record is in though, so it’s always nice to physically check out certain records. Japan, together with Cosmos records in Toronto, is definitely the holy grail for everything, not only records by the way.

  1. Who do you think is the most underrated producer?

I think Dibia$e is severely underrated. This guy deserves more chances.

  1. What music did you listen to when you were about 16 years old?

There was a balance between hip hop, that appeared on the tv show of Benny B (10 Qu’on Aime), and new beat. At that time I was in a phase of searching for what kind of music I felt the most, but I didn’t really had a preference between these two. You could find more new beat at clubs like Extreme in Affligem. Yes, I did buy new beat records which I don’t play anymore…