EDM artist walks to his own beat

by Jack Haworth , Staff Writer

Belgian drum-and-bass producer Netsky performed at House of Blues, San Diego on Nov. 24. The Daily Aztec got to talk to the producer about his recent success, live band and more.

The Daily Aztec: How’s the U.S. Tour going so far?

It’s going alright. We started off in Canada and now this is the fourth date in the states and it’s been really good so far.

TDA: This year you got to play main stage at your home country’s festival, Tomorrowland. What was that experience like?

It was fun. I played there quite a lot actually when I was younger at the small drum-and-bass stage up the hill. Just playing the main stage though and having a drum-and-bass act on the main stage was a really cool thing to do.

TDA: You signed with Hospital Records and a year later won awards for Best DnB Newcomer Producer and also Best Album. What was that year like for you personally?

It was amazing. At the time I was still studying at university and I told my family I needed to do something else other than studying. It was a dream come true to be able to do something I loved, rather than sticking to study that I wasn’t good at or wanted to do. It was an amazing year for me with all the traveling and all the friends I’ve made. However, those guys at Hospital Records are like family to me. I’ve changed labels now but they were there for me since the very beginning.

TDA: What would you attribute your success to?

It was lots of luck and being in the right place at the right time. I think it is important to have a bit of a personality in your project rather than just being another DJ like anyone else. I like to make shocking singles where people hated it and I loved it. I did not want to stay in the same bubble; experimenting and trusting yourself is critical and not just following the masses.

TDA: What are some of the different artists that influenced your style?

I grew up back home with lots of ‘70s and ‘80s music. Lots of soul, funk and Motown from my dad’s side. The first electronic music I got into was Detroit house and Chicago house, really deep and melodic house. When I was younger, I really wanted to get the soulfulness, house side and energetic side of drum-and-bass all together. Now I’m more interested in writing songs and working with people to play with. It’s a bit more organic now.

TDA: What drew you to drum-and bass as opposed to house or dubstep?

I think it was really the energy. House music was lacking a bit of the energy and randomness to it. I like shuffles and a more jazzy-kind of sound. Drum-and-bass also has the real impact and energy that sometimes you miss in house music. I still love house music though and make some house music now.

TDA: You started playing with a full band in 2012. Is that something you wanted to do all along or something that just kind of happened?

It was always in the back of my head. When I made music I always imagined people playing it live on stage like a rock band, so it kind of made sense that I do this. I met up with Michael (Schack), our drummer, and we started jamming together in his basement and it started to take shape after a couple months.

TDA: Were there challenges at first with the band?

I think the biggest challenge was to trust someone else to play for you. I’m so used to producing everything and compressing the song to get it ready for a club. But realizing music can be played with a band like this actually took me about a whole year to get used to.

TDA: How’s your mindset different when you go out there for a DJ set as opposed to the full band?

A: My mindset with the band is that you have good days and bad days. You have to put a lot of effort into it to not make any mistakes and have the timing right. You can really feel when you are having a good day or a bad day. With a DJ set there is much more freedom; you can play whatever you want and your emotions come into your set. I love doing both and couldn’t stop doing either of them.

TDA: Any other big plans for you?

Yeah I’m in the middle of finishing my album now. There should be a single in April or May. It is super busy for us but after that I can finally get some sleep again. We will probably be touring in America again from April to June and try to do some festivals here.