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DJ Xanto

DJ Xanto’s Healer is out via Deep In Your Soul

To Belgian DJ/producer Rutger, performing under the moniker Xanto, it’s the universality in music that resonates with him. It’s the connection it brings that fuels his fire and drives the urge to create sounds of his own that do so. Through the Xanto sound – deep, melodic, and tech, swirling in bits of tribal, Afro and Latin, he loves to take everyone on a musical journey in which time, place and genre don’t matter.

With a unique style that takes a crowd into a journey of deep and organic melodies, inspired by music and sounds from around the globe, he believes that music connects people across all borders.

Time for a chat with this talent about his latest release “Healer” and more.

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Hi Xanto! Thanks for joining us today. What’s been on your mind lately? 

Exciting times! Just released a new track on the first real Belgian Afrohouse label Deep in your soul, and I’m really looking forward to hearing the track at various summer festivals in the coming weeks. In addition, I’ve been quite busy creating guest mixes that will be available for listening worldwide in the upcoming weeks. I’m also fully immersed in working on a new track.

Congrats on the release of your latest EP “Healer” on Deep In Your Soul. What was your inspiration behind this project? 

Thank you. “Healer” goes way back now. Last year, I underwent a medical procedure that had a lengthy recovery process. I had just finished a new track (my previous release, “Nikumbatie”), and suddenly, I couldn’t produce anything for months. This gave me time to reflect on the direction I want to take with my music.

Many ideas crossed my path, but I also spent a lot of time in nature, which slowly gave rise to the concept for this track. I’ve always been a big fan of unique voices from world music, and that’s how I came across Creole vocals that inspired the idea of “Healer.” The vocals made such a deep impression on me that I used them as the foundation for the track. They truly had a healing effect, and I genuinely hope they evoke that feeling in the listeners of my music.

How did you first get into music production and DJ’ing? 

To understand that, I actually have to go way back in time. My parents always told me that I was born with headphones on. At the age of 14, I already had my own radio program, and by the time I was 16, I was a resident DJ at several local clubs in the area. After my college years, I stayed in Leuven and worked as a DJ for a few more years. Eventually, due to a busy job, I stopped DJing and producing until just after the entire Covid period. I kept following it all those years, but it wasn’t until 2022 that I truly became active again in producing and DJing.

Can you mention some musical influences that you believe have shaped your taste in music? 

As a teenager, I grew up with New Beat, a genre that really put Belgium on the map in terms of electronic music. I believe that our influence still holds true in the world of electronic music to this day. Although my genre may be a bit different, the roots are definitely there. It was later in life that I started discovering organic and Afrohouse music. I strongly believe in bringing together world music with a good beat and vibe on the dance floor. Some of my great inspirations are Enzo Siffredi, Francis Mercier, and Flo Dosh.

What does your studio setup look like?  

My studio setup is actually quite limited. I’ve always had a minimalist approach in that regard. I initially produced using the Groovebox MC-303 and MC-505. Nowadays, I do almost 100% of my work in FL Studio (of course, FL Studio—I’m very proud of this software from Belgian soil!).

Could you go through some of the instruments and/or plugins that you think define your sound? 

You’ll always find tribal influences in my tracks. Congas, djembe, you name it—I love the mixture of exotic and Eastern sounds.  I always take a lot of time to finish a track, it could be weeks or months before I am happy with the final result.

What are your plans for the summer? Any upcoming gigs people should keep an eye on? 

The summer is actually relatively calm for me. I’m at the beginning of my second DJ career, which also requires time to grow, and I’m not in the mainstream genre (I might be getting too old for that, haha), but I strongly believe that Afrohouse is gaining more popularity in Belgium. That’s why I’m so grateful to be releasing on Deep in your Soul. Aytiwan has been incredibly supportive, and if you look at the quality they’re releasing today, there’s a lot of great things to come.

Now that the Healer EP is out, what is next for DJ Xanto? 

I’m fully engaged in creating new music. Here’s a little teaser: the next track will have a Slavic touch. It will once again be a deep Afro/melodic house track, but please be patient! Apart from that, I’m looking forward to DJing at a popular summer bar!

Thanks for joining us today. What message would you like to spread to the world? 

Believe in yourself and be grateful for what others teach and give you. Music knows no boundaries and brings people together, no matter where they are in the world. And a little “healing” is all we need.

Thank you!

Thank you for this interview!

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