Kim Wilson, - on 26/6/12
No matter how many times you tell me, I will continue to conjure up images of ski resorts but it is ‘net-sky’, the idea of capturing all your hopes and dreams in one tangible reality; a bit like being a DJ I would have thought. And so the story began, with a young lad in Belgium, giving it a go – fast forward a decade or so and he still lives in Belgium, producing what he likes to describe as drum & bass with ‘a 70s soul vibe’. We caught up to discuss the new album 2, his early influences and his opinion on other artists.
Can you start by explaining the ‘thought’ behind the new album? The first album came out about two year ago - this time round I had the choice of releasing EPs and singles first, which is easier to promote. On this album, I had alot more freedom to experiment with different styles and genres. Before I started making electronic music, I spent alot of time with my parents: my dad is really into soul and jazz and my mum really likes classical music - so I tried to implement what I had heard from them into my music - giving drum & bass a 70s soul vibe.
Can you tell me why the new album has such a lo-fi title? I didn't have a strong idea for the album before I started making it, I would record bits and pieces while touring - it's hard to build the story behind the album when you're forced to work like that - next time I might take some time off! We had discussions with Hospital [Records] over titles such as 'Like This', 'Chasing Shadows' but none of them really made sense - we probably had over a hundred options but none of them really stuck, without realising it, it has been a smart business move as people keep talking about the minimalist title.
Is there a great difference between your sound today and your earlier efforts like 'I Refuse'? Greater confidence - that is the main thing, I am now making music for myself! With the first album, I was really trying to please the drum & bass fan base, I'm not saying that was a bad thing or wrong in anyway but it gave me limitations. With "2", I have incorporated elements of hip-hop and electronic music. 'Wanna Die For You' featuring Diane Charlemagne is dubstep orientated. Even the drum & bass is different, more varied: 'Jetlag Funk' starts with a funky intro. I'm really pleased with the way the album sounds.
How much time and effort went it to making it? Hmmm, I have been very busy with touring: DJing and travelling, often I would find myself working on a Sunday evening, after I had just got back from a hectic weekend, which wasn't really that much fun! The basic track IDs were made on the computer with instrumentals and vocals recorded in a studio close to where I live - I was aiming for that acoustic, organic sound.
What do you think of current Drum & Bass scene? The bass music scene more generally is evolving - Skrillex won 3 Grammies, this is probably the biggest success we have had as a scene, it's great to see that progression, to see bass music appreciated at such levels. For me, bass music is like the new era of punk music - taking time to be accepted, slowly getting established. I am really a big fan of indie rock music and music that isn't owned by a big label and given more independence in their production. At the moment, Disclosure, from the UK is coming with a fresh kinda sound that I'm really standing behind.
What was it like growing up in Belgium? The music scene has grown so fast, especially drum & bass and dubstep - there has been massive media support, they have helped me with getting airplay and making new contacts. Brussels is seen as more underground but supports electronic music in its own way. Antwerp has big shows, for 6000-7000 drum & bass fans. 90% of clubs in Belgium are open to all ages, or at least 16+, it is such a different culture to the UK. We are used to spending the night with the young and the old and learning to get along together - it is the same for drinking: from 16 you can drink beer and spirits from 18!
What are you working on at the moment? I have just started a live band project, we played at Brixton Academy in April - we're called Netsky Live. We played Lovebox on Saturday and Beachbreak on Sunday, we are very busy. The idea around it is the quell the boredom - when I DJ I always think of the wasted space on stage, so the band utilises that space and shows that drum & bass can be accessible to everyone!
What plans do you have for the future? We have a few things in Belgium - we are closing the main stage at Pukklepop, which is a major deal, as we'll be playing in front of audience of sixty to seventy THOUSAND fans. We're also playing Global Gathering, Bestival, Exit, I think we have around 27 shows this summer but we're not back in London until September. I have never really counted but I think I’m only home for four or five days every month - it's incredibly hectic but amazing!
And lastly - if you could have written and produced a particular tune, what would it be? Burial, Archangel - it's so next level, I don't think I'm alone in saying that, I'm sure alot of other producers would say the same!
Netsky 2, is out this week on iTunes. Purchase here.
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