Find out about all our releases on Bandcamp. Have a listen, click here.
Interview with Belgian DJ & producer Naethan

In conversation with Naethan

Time moves in cycles and the past keeps on reinventing itself. Naethan is the musical reincarnation of a Belgian/Greek artist with more than a decade of experience.

Under his former alter ego, Naethan performed multiple times at several prestigious festivals in Belgium and got to showcase his sound in several European countries including events like ADE and Sonar OFF. While releasing music on Suara, Rockets & Ponies, Rawthentic, Memoria and Inmotion Music to name a few.

2019 marked the year that he returned to his first love: emotional and ethereal melodic music. His debut release as Naethan on Nico Morano’s Atmosphere Records was already heavily supported by Eelke Kleijn, Jonas Saalbach and many others followed up by a series of strong releases including the launch of his own label ‘Kanvas’.

Fast forward to now, the versatile music obsessive has come good, constructing his own philosophy on the dancefloor.

Let’s dive in and try to get to know a bit more about what drives this talent. Find all about this Belgian talent in the interview below.

Connect with Naethan on Spotify | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram

For our readers who don’t know much about you, could you tell us a bit about your music background? How did it all start out for you?

As a child, I grew up with a broad taste in music, fueled by my mother who used to be a DJ at a local radio station called RMC here in Limburg. Accompanying her to the studio as a little kid and discovering all these new singles on a weekly basis made me do what I’m doing today.  Before I knew it I was writing my own fictional radio shows on paper, making playlists and recording mixtapes on cassette with cuts from the radio.

Music has always been a huge part of my life and it’s still my biggest passion to date. As a teenager, I would spend my whole allowance on all the latest compilation CDs from Belgian clubs as discovering new music was such a thrill to me and more exciting than anything else!

And to fund my music addiction back then, at some point (I must have been 15 or so) I even had a small side business selling CDs with my own personal selection of music I had discovered to other teenagers from school or around the neighbourhood :-).

And to go even further, it was NEVER EVER the same tracklist! I compiled every cd exclusively for that person with tracks I liked myself and thought they would like too. As I think about it, that last part pretty much sums up the essence of what I actually do today as a DJ, doesn’t it? 🙂 I still get super excited when I discover great music and even more excited if I get to share it with the world.

When it comes to producing electronic music, you could say it started out with a computer game called ‘Dance Machine’ on the PC which was similar to the better known ‘E-Jay’. After that came ‘Madtracker’ which went a step further and was a bit more complex. During this time, at the age of 17, a friend and I even took a shot at forming a commercial dance project with a female singer. This was my first experience with a recording studio as we urgently needed to record vocals on our tracks as this friend had already arranged a local gig in the near future… Yes indeed, let’s do a gig without any tracks finished hahaha. 🙂 It was at a local flea market btw, but it was a huge deal for us inexperienced, unknowing boys. 🙂

So, things changed and a few years passed by without any attempt on making music but in the meantime, I bought my first pair of Technics and after 1 year of practising I got my first shot in Antwerp’s notorious after club ‘Space’ where I eventually became a resident. I played the opening slot every Sunday morning from 6 till 9 am and that’s where I learned how to build a proper set and read a dancefloor.

The days before I would always visit other clubs and it was there where I met a friend who was a resident DJ at a local club nearby. You might know him today as the super talented ‘Biesmans’ who is conquering the world with his 80’s influenced sound!  He told me he just bought Cubase and invited me to his parent’s basement to take a shot at making some tracks together. Even if we were still inexperienced in this field, we kept learning and had so much fun making music every week!

After a few months, I bought my own copy of Cubase and produced my first solo track on a cheap laptop with 2 small crappy speakers. I started playing this one out on a weekly basis at my resident club and to my surprise the reactions were incredible. It even became a well sought after track amongst other young DJs in that scene as I never wanted to share it because I thought it was to unprofessionally produced to be released! 🙂

But hey, it worked every single time and because of this track, I even started to get more gigs than before in a lot of Belgian clubs at that time… It’s crazy how things can turn out. 🙂

The years after that things got more professional of course and under my former alter ego I started playing more serious clubs and festivals in Belgium, with occasional gigs in other European countries while releasing music on Coyu’s Suara, Carlo Lio’ Rawthentic, Timo Maas’s Rockets & Ponies or Ramon Tapia and Hermanez their label ‘Aella’ back in the early and mid 10’s.

During these years I was mainly releasing minimal and tech-house orientated stuff but as I had a broad taste, I also made progressive and melodic house music in between as a hobby. The love I always had for this sound slowly started to take over again which led to the decision of starting a new project and here we are today. 🙂

Is there a track you want to share from the past you are most proud of? Maybe tell us the reason why you are still proud of this older work.

My first release as Naethan called “South To Lima’” I made this track after returning home from backpacking a month through Peru. I got so inspired by witnessing the surrealistic scenery during a 700km trip on the Pan American highway from Arequipa to Huacachina. Twelve hours of impressive, almost postapocalyptic landscapes and the astonishing Peruvian coast were simply amazing to see.

After an already intense and mind-blowing journey through Manu Jungle and my retreat with a well-respected Shaman in the region, I could remember myself sitting there on the top floor of the bus, right in front of the window with a superb view, a smile on my face, my feet in the air, reminiscing and truly enjoying life at that moment. When I got back home I’ve tried to translate that warm moment into music which resulted in this track.

And what kind of music did you listen to growing up, and does it have any influence on your current sound? If not, what or who are your inspirations?

The music I listened to was really diverse. I was fascinated by a lot of music my mum used to play at home. From Pink Floyd to Deep Purple to Nirvana to Front 242… And, of course, the ones that triggered me the most: Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis. That’s where my fascination for electronic music started as a kid. Later on, I discovered old school 90’s trance through my uncle who used to be a heavy clubber in those days and that’s when shit started to get real for me.

Who are your musical heroes and why?

Where do I start? A new hero is added to the list every 2 months… So naming a few would only do injustice to all the rest.

And when it comes to your field, producing, are there any particular ideas or pioneers that you go back to frequently or who really influence your thinking about the work you do?

Actually never. But when you listen to a lot of music daily, as I do, subconsciously you will always get influenced by what you hear. And unconsciously some of that will find its way into your productions.

If I could share a tip with fellow artists, to me it’s all about mindset. Getting into flow during studio sessions is not always a certainty as stress, tiredness or bad stuff that is going on in your life can easily create a bad connotation with your studio. As these are the moments where you’ll probably get stuck in the everlasting loophole or think that you’re not good enough and easily throw one project after the other in the bin.

But, I’ve learned that when these feelings occur, you should always give them a place and accept them for what they are at that moment, just feelings, and nothing more. Don’t let them frustrate you or control your mindset and move on. And also know that your perception of a piece of music can differ after a while  

So, if you’re stuck on something, stop adjusting it day after day until it’s ruined. But bounce the idea,  leave it in a folder for a month (more is even better) and do not listen anymore. I know it’s tempting but just don’t! And get back to it when you actually forgot how it went…

And more often than you think, when you have an uninspired day and you go through these older ideas, you can hear their potential again, creating a new unexpected sparkle and magic may just start to occur…

How do you want people to describe you as an artist?

I know I’ll always stay true to myself, humble and helpful whenever I can. And I hope that my music can add some positivity or value to someone else’s day.

How would you describe your sound and style?

I love the whole spectrum of melodic house and techno. As long as the music speaks to me. It can go from catchy feel-good melodies to dark and more experimental music.

What are some of your most memorable professional collaborations?

All the genuine people I’ve ever collaborated with. It’s very important to be around people who you can trust and want the best for you. Magic only happens when people start supporting each other.

Magic only happens when people start supporting each other.

In the studio, I tend to work on my own but also had some great collaborations throughout my career, more recently with Biesmans again and in the past under my former alter ego with wizards like Hermanez and Ilario Liburni.

Give us an insight into what we can expect from Naethan over the next few months.

I just had a new EP released on Atmosphere Records last week with an incredible Several Definitions remix so the focus is on this one at the moment.

I’ve also got some great bookings confirmed for this summer and a lot of new music ready to see the light of day pretty soon!

Thank you.

It matters little whether you are an artist or a visitor, the love for music is the unifying factor.

We are a magazine & record label dedicated to quality underground electronic music. We do not look for just any music or anyone, we are looking for music, and people who create memorable experiences, that inspires and invokes emotion. Let’s create timeless music.