Posts Tagged ‘soulwax’

Wot I did in my summer holidays Part 4

September 7th, 2017

Lost Village

 

 

I was only at Lost Village for one night but also thought it was a great lil festival, great crowd, perfect size, good vibes. Like Houghton, it was a small boutiquey event with a focus on delivering an enjoyable hassle free experience. Had been a bit gutted about not making Glasto this year but having been to a few smaller festivals this summer instead rather than one big monster event I have come to realise that you get most of the fun you woulda and not that much aggro. Whenever I go to Glastonbury I generally miss most of the bands on the line-up anyway so its not like being at a smaller event is much different. Generally speaking you get wasted and dance in a field to amplified music with like-minded people. All components need to be of top quality for maximum enjoyment but there is not necessarily an increase in pleasure the bigger the festival. Often the opposite…

Why smaller festivals work is that it is much easier to mingle and interact with the other punters which is half the fun and if you lose the people you are with, it isn’t insanely hard to find them again. This is a big bonus. The people at Lost Village were great and very friendly and laid back and definitely up for the craic. (irish speak for ‘avin it large). Not that I am done with big festivals completely, I just really enjoyed all the little ‘uns I did this year…and weirdly I did not miss hiking in the mud for an hour only to arrive for the last song of the act I had traipsed halfway across site to see…

All the photographs above are of crowds joyfully rocking out to the Dewaele brothers, first as Soulwax and then as 2manydjs.

#MYSNR17 (05)

June 30th, 2017

Me and my camera in someone else’s town, my barcelona, my sonar festival

to see the full Sonar Gallery please click here

Sonar is a gi-normous beast of an electronic music festival that takes place predominantly in an insanely large aircraft hangar on the outskirts of Barcelona. It has grown and grown since I was first there in 2006 and it was pretty massive then. It has built on its great rep and now attracts tons of thousands of dance music aficionados & partygoers from all over the world. As its name and success have grown it has inevitably attracted a more mainstream audience, especially a lot of Brit blokes and birds that might once have gone to Megaluf and Ibiza now also come here too for a bit of sunshine raving.

It has over time become a very well-oiled machine and together with its vastness and corporate tie-ins has resulted in the loss of some of its coolness. Everything is now contained within the area 51 style location and all the satellite parties around it (anti-sonar etc) have been shut down. Its still a magnificent weekend with a fantastic line-up showcasing the best dance music around and Barcelona as a festival destination is second to none. Disco nights  and beach/pool side days are a glorious combination.

I will undoubtedly be there again, even if its just to see our friend Mary who will seemingly only be met on this weekend at this festival which she has been attending to for a whopping 13 years in a row….as darth would say, impressive, most impressive.

#MYLDN (949)

June 16th, 2017

Me and my camera in my home town, my capital city, my london

This is Victoria Smith, one of the three drummers in Soulwax. She is an incredible drummer and as you can see has the best drummer faces in the business.

If you wish to see the full gallery of Soulwax from their gig at Meltdown, please click here

 

#SLWXONTOUR (04)

April 21st, 2017

Me and my camera on tour with Soulwax

to see the full gallery please click here

Soulwax are back after a hiatus of 12 years no less & they have returned all guns & drums blazing with both a magnificent album and a jaw-dropping live show. It is very rare for a band to come back after such a long period and not be remerging into the limelight for either the cash and/or to take a trip on the nostalgia train. It is even rarer for them to arrive back with new material this good. You know when you go back to see a fav band live after they’ve been away a long time, you normally have to ‘endure’ the underwhelming new tunes and wait for the old classics to be performed? This is most definitely not one of those occasions. Not even close.

But the reason Soulwax’s latest incarnation is so spot on is probably because the reality is that the Dewaele brothers have never really been away. They have instead been continuously evolving through a variety of different mediums. In the last decade or so they’ve been producing & presenting incredibly innovative and amazing sound & vision experiences in a variety of different guises and formats. Whether it was as the sound system Despacio, the 24hr audio/visual app Radio Soulwax, creating 15 fictional bands for the soundtrack Belgica, launching their own Deewee label and studio or jetting round the world playing to thousands of fans as 2manydjs they have been pretty flat out. And now they are back with a new version of their band Soulwax, featuring themselves, original band member Stefaan Van Leuven, Laima layton (mixhell)  and no less than three drummers, Blake Davies, Victoria Smith and Iggor Cavilera from Sepultura.

The album ‘From Deewee’ is an epic voyage with a beautiful arc taking you on the most satisfying and mesmeric journey through a world of plush analogue synths and pounding beats, guided by the velvet vocals of Stephen Dewaele who draws you in and brings a human touch to this machine world. This is not cold electronic music. It is warm and emotional and wraps around you like a disco duvet. This is primarily because it is performed by people on instruments together in a room not on a computer with the flick of a mouse. In some ways it has a retro feel because of the instruments used and the way it was recorded but it has a very modern sound and sensibility and makes every system it plays on sound better than it should.

The album was in fact recorded in a single take in their Deewee studio in Gent and you can feel and hear the combined energy captured on the record. We live in a world of presets where we are essentially listening to the same drum beats over and over again and when we hear, as in this instant, something different, something real and organic and original and live, your ears naturally prick up. To hear non-computer generated electronic dance music is a rare and unusual beast in this day and age and Soulwax deliver this unique experience with extreme skill and also love. It is truly joyful. Musicians and instruments in a room together – who’d have thought it? (to get a glimpse into the making of the album check out this great trailer shot by Kurt Augustyns here )

For the live show they pretty much took the whole set-up from their studio and re-created it in entirety on tour. The amount of equipment on stage is quite staggering and not only looks highly impressive (resembling more a set from a 50s sci-fi b movie than a gig set-up) it creates a depth and quality of sound far superior to anything you would normally hear at a music show. As a live sonic experience it is breathtaking and you are utterly transported from start to finish. The crowd at all the gigs I attended veered from mesmerised to joyous to bat shit crazy and back again. Older tunes such as Miserable Girl, E talking and NY excuse got ’em going wild yet delivered due to the pulsating build up of the new tracks. In fact, its the seamless blend of the old and new that works quite so well as they enhance each other rather than clash, no mean feat considering the time gap between them. Yet for me, it is really the incendary performance of the new songs that lift you up and into the stratosphere. They just blow you away and have an even greater impact than on the record.

The new Soulwax feel like they are very much just getting started and it looks like there is a lot more to come. It will also be fascinating to see where they take this and it will definitely be a journey worth going on. Electronic music always needs a kick up the arse every now and again to stop it drifting into repetitive behaviour and somehow the Dewaele brothers are always there to do the kicking.

These photographs were taken in Paris, Brixton and Brussels and each time I saw them perform they got better and better. By the last gig of the tour on their home turf in Belgium they took the proverbial roof off. All the human members had synched up to become a machine in their own right, locked in to each other and meticulously jamming the shit out of every number. It is deeply satisfying to watch the 3 drummers in action as you seem them work seamlessly together yet with their own inimitable style and delivery. Going back to seeing bands with one drummer will probably now seem a bit lame by comparison and in  fact gigs as a whole are going to seem a tad dull in contrast to this captivating creation.

You can listen to ‘From Deewee’ here on Spotify and Soulwax have just announced they are performing at Meltdown on June 10th in London. If you can get a ticket, get one.

#SLWXONTOUR (03)

April 20th, 2017

Me and my camera on tour with Soulwax