Manezz, how did music shape you?
Music has definitely shaped who I am, what I do, where and with who I spend my time.
Everything what had to do with rhythm got my attention since I was little. I played rhythms on any object until I got my first drum… I played various styles with my father, mainly pop rock and metal. Later on, as a DJ I played music from the 70’s to modern, until I got introduced to techno and electronic music. I was amazed by how sounds can create something powerful that reaches up to your emotion and mind. I met more people in the electronic music scene, who became friends and even family. And I recently resigned my job to spend more time on music.
It is true, when you are connecting with music, music connects you with the scene around it.
How would you describe the Antwerp club scene to someone who doesn't know anything about it?
The Antwerp club scene is small and cozy, but very vibrant. I think everyone in the scene knows each other in some way. One organizes parties or is a DJ, the other runs a venue or equals the venue’s furniture as a frequent guest. It is a close group with the same mindset and similar lifestyle.
However there seems to be a shortage in possibilities for an event to take place. I think there are multiple reasons for it. One of them is the overload on motivated event organizations. Another one is the challenge to meet halfway between the clubbing scene and its neighborhood.
Although we are a relative small city, we are spoiled with the greatest artists in the electronic music industry. Every week we can count on big names in the scene, in clubs like Club Vaag and Ampère.
You are pushing a bit different sound, with your drums. How did you get in touch with this style and how is it received?
At first, I am a drummer since I was 6 years old and started to DJ since I was 10 years old. It is only at the age of 23 that I started to combine both worlds. I love to create and bring something from myself in the music I play. As a drummer I liked to jam with other musicians, nothing prepared, just create on the spot. It feels amazing when you are in that flow of finding each other in music. I guess this is the main reason that I started to add live drums on my DJ sets. In some way, I am connected with the artists of the tracks I am playing.
I must say it was not an easy start. I needed to find and program the right sounds for the right moment, pay attention to not ‘over’-do the drums. It needed to generate energy, adrenaline and connection between the crowds and myself.
By adding - rolling snares, claps and crash hits, uplifting rhythms on toms, off-beat intermezzo’s and even conga drums – to industrial sounded melodic techno… this is how you could best describe my style today. And what makes it even more interesting for me is that I can act and react upon the atmosphere by live improvisation. I think that this gives my sets a more unique experience for the audience, as well for myself… I really do enjoy it a lot, hope they do too!
More and more music is being digitalized, not just the production, but also the performance on stage. Which skills will a DJ need to have in order to be successful?
A DJ in 2020 will need a musical background combined with technical skills.
I strongly believe in the roots of music, being a musician, having the feeling with sounds, chords, rhythms. I think we should see technology as an enabler of our creative minds and still focus on what music is all about. With the today’s software, anyone could sync two records and mix them. It is more ‘how’ you technically mix the records and what you bring more as an artist in your DJ sets different than others. This can be by adding a remix deck, or an instrument, or effect paddles, or you name it!
If you use technology as an enabler, the possibilities on stage are huge. You can trigger lights with sounds, you can timecode multiple gear, and you can use visual projection and create a 3D experience. I would say, play around, find what works for you, stick with it and improve by learning.
Who do you want to reach with your music?
On stage or by listening to my music, I want to touch people emotionally and drive up their energy level. I want them to space away and dance like they never did before!
In the near future, I want to become more hybrid in my sets and work more with samples and sounds which I can tune on the go. Furthermore, I want to produce own music and ultimately bring a live set.
Besides working on the music production and performance, I would love to setup projects around music and events. These projects can be organizing events, collaboration with other musicians or artists, developing software to support the electronic music industry, … I can’t wait to move forward in music and eventually, make it a living.
Thank you Manezz!
Interested in hearing his tracks?