The Culture: 5 Mag interviews with DJs on DJing – the culture of it, the craft of it, the technique, style and importance of the art of DJing. Often with an exclusive mix.
Belgian label Melodymathics first came to our attention with a mix of eclectic records on wax – a strange 10″ series featuring artists like Demuir, Terrence Parker, Dan Curtin, Gari Romalis, Alex Agore and Melodymann himself.
These 10″ records, some 12″ records and digital tracks have since become a fixture in 5 Mag’s review section and the sets of discriminating DJs worldwide.
Listen: Melodymann – A 5 Mag Mix 75
Can you tell me something about the music scene you grew up in? What was your exposure to electronic music, and what made you become the DJ that you are today?
I grew up in the ’90s, so there was a musical boom in the electronic scene. The first glimpse I caught of proper electronic dance music was through a cassette tape of Dave Clarke’s Technology radio show. Dave played stuff like Drexciya, Anthony “Shake” Shakir or even Radiohead and David Bowie. His show introduced me to genres I now recognize as Electro or Detroit House which were new to me at the age of ten.
Dave Clarke’s style of DJing and perfectionism are still the fundamentals I strive to achieve every gig.
Is there another person, place or event that inspired you when you were young?
My father used to drive us around while listening to music by Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre and Ultravox. It must have left a mark somehow, because I keep bringing it up every time people ask me about early influences. My brother and I used to call it “The Space Cassette” but recently discovered it’s actually called Synthesizer Volume II.
I’ve heard people say that the Internet has flattened down local flavor and in some people’s opinion has made everything somewhat same-y in the years since then. Do you agree? Is there something that sets aside DJs or dance music artists from Belgium?
I live in a small humble village where there are no parties at all. Therefore I never had the experience of being surrounded by a local scene or involved in big city cliques, where you have a few artists circulating frequently.
Internet and digital distribution has blurred the stereotypes when it comes down to musical flavor for sure. People are closer to each other in this social era we’re living in today.
Producers mimic’d or emulated music they’re inspired by since dinosaurs existed. Today’s not really different. I just believe putting in your heart & soul helps to stand out. Don’t follow hype, just make music which sounds good to you.
How do you dig for new music and how much time per week do you spend doing it? Where do you get it from and how do you find it?
These days digging for music is way easier than it once was. I used to enter quietly and listen to my favorite labels in record stores all over Belgium and Holland in between my work shift hours. Today Beatport is my preferred platform to scout for fresh music that amazes me. It still occupies a few hours per month but is just super convenient on the road.
How is your music collection organized? Have you developed a tagging or filing system for digital files (and will we ever find one as easy as flipping through vinyl and organizing it on shelves)?
I sadly don’t have a waterproof system. I just memorize my playlists with the vibe I wanted to present that gig and use personal favorites that blend in like butter in every type of sets. Since the introduction of Rekordbox, every track you practically know by its first 2 letters are within hand’s reach (laughing, but it’s true!)
What sort of turntables or gear are you most comfortable with? If you have a rider, what’s on it?
I used to require 3 Technics SL1200s. That changed into 3 CDJ 1000s & 2 SL1200s. I actually desire the Pioneer DJM 800 or higher mixer above all.
Which came first – “Melodymann” or “Melodymathics”?
They actually came simultaneously. I used to produce and DJ under a different moniker called “Klaina.” I ran the Motorcitysounds label alongside my ex. When our relationship stopped, so did the label… This situation provided an opportunity to start over fresh. By then I discovered I had a gift for mixing melodies like nobody else. This led me to the artist name Melodymann.
What does it “melodymathics” mean?
Melodymathics is based on the mathematical calculation between instruments to achieve harmonies in a song.
I’m curious to know the connections between making music and playing music for you. How long were you playing before your first record came out? How does DJing influence the music that you make?
I’ve been DJing since the age of 15. My first release on Subject Detroit came out in 2009 when I was 21.
This looks like a huge gap, but it took me a while to find my sound. Meanwhile the pressure of playing music of my own kept me highly motivated.
And it still does… I’ve been striving to produce “the perfect track” of my own for ten years now. As my musical tastes gets redefined by age, so does producing. I still make music that sounds beautiful to me. But meanwhile think about how it could work in my DJ performances.
Do you think the best days of DJing are ahead or behind us?
I’m an optimist. So really love to think the best days are yet to come. I must admit I feel there’s some art of DJing lost when artists show up and hide behind their laptop.
There used to be a bonding between DJs who finally reached the stage, pouring sweat from carrying those 15 kilos of vinyl through the crowd (Hahaha…)
You have a bunch of new material on the production end coming out…
We’re really working on tons of new material and even a few new artists for the label to come out on vinyl and digital the first two quarters of 2019.
A brand-new Various Artists, five track EP on 12″ vinyl is coming around May. A new-found talent with remix by myself in April and our biggest achievement so far… a “20 track compilation featuring some of the finest producers of Belgium” called Belgian Chocolate. With Red D, Fabrice Lig, Trish Van Eynde, Sue Avenue, Bart Ricardo, myself as Melodymann and Klaina, but also upcoming talent that stands out far from what some old-timers are doing these days on March 29th.
Belgian Chocolate is out on March 29 2019 from Melodymathics.
1) Kevin Over – Lavender (Original Mix)
2) Kerri Chandler – Hallelujah (Angelo Ferreri Shatter Mix)
3) Joe T Vannelli, Thelma H. – Leave Me Baby (Qubiko Remix)
4) Qubiko – Cosmonauti (Original Mix)
5) Nick Holder – Wonderful (Original Mix)
6) Mella Dee – Techno Disco Tool (Todd Edwards Remix)
7) Iban Montoro, Jazzman Wax – We Got The House (Original)
8) Iban Montoro, Jazzman Wax – Funky Town (Original Mix)
9) Low Steppa – Heard It All Before (Earsling Extended Remix)
10) Demuir – Childish Games (Original Mix)
11) Michelle Weeks – A Purpose (Hudge Piano Bang Track)
12) Demuir – Brighter Days Are Comin’ (Original Mix)
13) Hatiras, Lee Wilson – I Just Can’t (Stacy Kidd House 4 Life Remix)
14) Todd Edwards – Catch My Breath feat. Tashi Condelee (Todd Edwards Give Me a Minute Dub)
15) Alex Agore – Sensitive (Original Mix)
16) Krewcial – 88 Keys [Forthcoming on Melodymathics]
17) Marius (BEL) – Extassy [Forthcoming on Melodymathics]
18) Kerri Chandler – Waterfall
19) Sue Avenue ft. Kunde – Midnight Boogie
20) Lucky Charmz – Buy Urself A Friend
21) Secret Value Orchestra – Someone Else (Original Mix)