For our next instalment in our Future Stars mix series we invited 2 enthousiastic guys from Antwerp, Belgium. We sat around the table with some beers, discussing music and some ins & outs of the music industry. We decided to send them some questions for an interview and they accepted and made us a the mix on top.
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Hey Mathias, Ruben, I hope all is well?
Hi Claudio, we’re fine! We’ve had some busy couple of days with new things that are coming our way but we were absolutely thrilled to receive your invitation for this interview and guest mix. For that, we want to thank you. Always a pleasure to meet a fellow Antwerp citizen in the techno scene.
For fans who don’t know much about you, could you tell us a bit about your music background? How did you fall down the music rabbit hole?
Ruben: My love for music started many years ago when I was just a kid, my father had a habit to play some of his favourite music on Friday night. Back in the days, tracks from Sash, Faithless, Snap!, Fleetwood Mac, were played on a huge installation (in the days)… You get the picture, right? So I was always kind of ‘into’ music and he taught me the essence and importance of music in your life. He had a huge collection of vinyl records which he was always showing of. Even nowadays he still has those ‘throwback’ evenings which are very amusing!
Mathias: I also can rely on a musical childhood. My father was constantly testing equipment from a HiFi store in our neighbourhood. Things like amplifiers, speakers, etc. As a kid, it really fascinated me how he set up the speakers correctly, inch-perfect to get the perfect sound quality. He even made some speakers of his own from scratch. Even now we sometimes ask him for his expertise concerning the soundscape in our tracks. I used his cd and cassette players quite a lot to make my own mixtapes, spending hours making the perfect playlists of all kind of genres. But what really caught me the most, based on my emotions and picturing myself standing behind the decks, was electronic music. Going from ’90s classics to “A state of Trance” to even “Thunderdome”, haha!
Who is who and who does what?
Adjust (BE) actually consists of 3 members, we have Mathias who is constantly making music when he has a laptop or a Mac with Ableton in his hands. It’s like a disease. Always learning and constantly improving our production process. How we can develop our signature style, what’s the best strategy to make the process as easy yet sophisticated as possible. Anything you want to know about the complete spectrum of our music productions, he’s your guy…
Secondly, we have Lauranne, Mathias’ sister, who’s in charge of all the graphical things a producer/DJ needs. Artwork, covers, pictures,… You name it. She’s an insane graphical designer so really someone we need. She’s been there from day one and has always been a huge support!!
Lastly, we have Ruben, making sure to update our social channels, keeping the contact between colleagues and labels. Always keeping us up to date with new releases, exclusive tracks from our friends and overall communication. Making the DJ sets is also a part of his tasks withing Adjust (BE). But his main focus is taking a huge part in the productions together with Mathias.
Together we make a great team who’s got the same vision, same dream and most importantly, the same feeling about what we are trying to do… To Adjust your mind…
How did you guys meet up?
We go way back, we think we’ve been best friends for over a decade. We can’t remember exactly how long ago but we had some mutual friends back in the days.
We got talking and realized we had the same interests, especially about music in general. We’ve started our musical journey together on a completely different genre… At that time we were really into the ‘early hardstyle’ scene, but never took the real step to produce it. We made quite some DJ sets but nothing came out of it. A gig or 2 and some dj contests but that really was it unfortunately.
It was about 6-7 years ago that we got in contact with the techno genre. The music, the scene, the emotions, it just got us hooked from day one. We started making DJ sets again, only this time we wanted to do more, we wanted to achieve something!
In 2018 we decided to take the MUSICASA producers education so that we could finally take our first steps into the world of techno production. The fact that we really are on the same level and eager to improve made that we had our first release in March of this year on the Belgian label “ArpKord Records“.
Adjust’s “An Alterante Reality” is out on Beatport.
Where does your passion for electronic music come from?
We think it’s because we both had a father who was really into electronic music and from a very young age that music became important, it became a passion – not just a hobby. Something we were busy and confronted with every single day. We all know the feeling when you’re sad or happy, music can lift you up from that emotion or even enhance it – that truly is something.
When we were at a festival or a party we realized that this was something we want to achieve… WE want to play our own tracks in front of a full crowd and hopefully receiving positive reactions. We really can’t think of anything to be more proud of. That certain passion, however, grew year after year, the idea started to grow and now we can’t think of anything else we would rather do.
Getting to know the colleagues (national and international), inviting them to our podcast “Adjust (BE) Invites“, sharing and supporting their music is something we treasure a lot because for us there’s still so much to discover!
What is one thing that would make your musical career more successful? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Getting yourself out there and let the people know who you are is one of the most important things at the moment. Releasing an E.P. on a bigger label is our second step. But getting recognized by other artists that can boost your career just that little more, that’s also a huge part of being successful.
That’s why we set up a podcast called “Adjust (BE) Invites“. Basically we went out on our socials to look for Belgian and international ‘starting’ DJ’s/producers who were struggling in these difficult times of total lockdown. The main idea was ‘a signature guest set that’s a perfect representation and reflection of how they see, feel and what their genre means to them’.
It’s not the point or objective to make their set ‘fit in the program’, every dj is different, with their own temperament that can also be heard in their sets. This all in a variation of all the different styles within the dance genre. We even had a psytrance and progressive trance mix from our buddy Roscoe Deem aka R’Deem, just to give you an example.
So far the reactions were absolutely crazy! So many positive feedback from our colleagues which results that the podcast is fully booked every week until August. Besides that, we’ve got to know some really nice and crazy-ass colleagues like Uvilak, Lando Riské, Inez Akker, Manezz… who really are giving us huge support!
In 5 years we hope to see ourselves playing at local festivals and clubs where we can play our signature ‘no-nonsense’ set to show the people what we’ve got and hopefully getting recognized on an international level. That’s the dream…
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
In our opinion, there’s a big line between copying a sound or sample and making it your own. Like we said we’ve started our journey at the MUSICASA education, but after that we had NO clue how to make a certain techno sound or kick, let aside finish a full track… We’ve studied and practised a lot, which resulted in countless hours in our studio, and we’re not exaggerating when we say ‘countless hours’… We were practically living in the studio.
Sometimes we hear a sound, a lead, a percussion, which we really like. Immediately Mathias is already ‘calculating’ in his head how we can make that sound, yet make it our own because that’s what it’s all about. Making a sound that’s typically ‘you’, that represents you, so people know it’s you. You’d be surprised how easy you can make a sound as complex and yet easy to remember with a bit of knowledge.
Blind copy-pasting is something we will never do, where’s the fun in that? Where’s the fun and excitement when your creating your own sound from basically nothing, or finding a sample and transform it into something completely different? That feeling, that vibe, that’s what producing is all about… Getting your track out there and see the positive reaction of the crowd, well isn’t that something?
How would you describe your sound and style?
Since we’re still early in our production journey, we try every kind of techno. Usually, one of us has some sort of idea and starts jamming the midi keyboard, after we set up some sort of groove to get the vibe going, but usually, we end up with something melodic, yet with a firm and powerful vibe. I guess that’s how you can describe it. Energetic, powerful yet melodic.
But still we feel the rougher melodic work is more suited for us as you can hear on our first E.P. With “An Alternate Realty” we went more melodic with a really interesting lead which we created from scratch, yet with a phat kick, bass and drive. As for the track “Dreamstate” we showed our love for braams and stabs. We just can’t get enough of a deep stab and thundering braam throughout the track.
What can we expect from the mix you made?
Let’s say, for anyone who’s up for 90 minutes of pure Adjust (BE) madness with a non-stop powerful, energetic and dark vibe – you’re in for a treat. We start up with some melodic techno, something we really like to do in our sets. Building up the set, creating the tension and emotion knowing that the melodic beginning is just a warming up of what’s really coming.
We can surely say we’ve put our signature on this one, and this is how we want to be recognized. You won’t have 5 minutes of rest during our mix, THAT we promise you.
You live in Antwerp, Belgium. For people who want to visit the city and surroundings, what would be 3 things that you would suggest to do or see?
Well, that’s a hard question because there’s SO much to see in Antwerp. We can suggest visiting the brewery of a typical Antwerp beer called “De Koninck“. It’s a must-see and a must-do knowing it all ends at the bar where you can taste a perfectly drafted beer.
You can visit a museum called ‘MAS’. It’s a tour of art and cultural traditions from all over the world and about the history of the city. The top of the building has an amazing panoramic view over the city. Really a MUST DO.
The central station of Antwerp for us is also a must see with its great hall and platforms that go up to 3 levels. Amazing!
What places could you recommend for a night out starting with dinner, followed by a drink at a bar, and then some dancing at a nightclub?
We love a place called ‘De Dageraad plaats’ located in a residential area in the southeast of Antwerp.
It’s a public place with lots of restaurants and bars which is a pleasant environment to spend an evening with friends, and most importantly with a club nearby called “Ampere“. A club that has booked some of the biggest names like Pan-Pot, Mind Against, Marco Bailey, Amelie Lens, you name it.
Antwerp city itself has loads of bars and restaurants, the list is endless. Really! One of the most famous nightclubs in the heart of Antwerp is “Club Vaag”. It’s an underground club that organizes resident nights with Antwerp’s’ finest resident DJ’s and also invites a lot of international artists. One of our favourite places to go to for a proper rave!