21 March 2011
His name comes from the A-Team's wacko but being the entrepreneur he is, Hans Machiels should've named himself "Murdoch", after the Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Since James Brown is dead, Antwerp based dj, label boss and party promoter Murdock can easily apply for the title of hardest working man in showbizz. His dj activities ask for a 5-day weekend and his parties attract more people than the venues in Antwerp, Genk and Hasselt can hold. This Friday the centipede is celebrating the third anniversary of his Rampage concept but before that he's guest speaker at the Red Bull Music Academy at Trix. In between all of that he took time out for extended Q&A.
Q: You’ve probably been asked this question a million times before but how did drum & bass become this huge (again)?
A: The "d&b revival" started about two or three years ago when producers such as Sub Focus, Chase&Status, Camo&Krooked, Danny Byrd and Brookes Brothers injected the genre with electro and house sounds. Also adding vocals became cool again. The refreshed d&b sound instantly became more accessible to people who were generally used to Booka Shade, Crookers and 2ManyDJ’s. On top of that, dubstep came along and since the two styles appeal to the same crowd it didn’t take long before the spotlight was set firmly on both.
Q: Let's talk about you. How and when did you roll into music?
A: I started buying records when I was 18. At university I met Edwin (part of Ed&Kim) who already had a huge stack of vinyl and I used his records to play out, mainly mixing techno, house and breakbeat. Meanwhile I was primarily buying hiphop and funk and mixing that as well. I bought a raggajungle track once in a while but I wasn’t entirely convinced right away.
Q: So when did the jungle fever got a hold on you?
A: I remember being all shook up after a jungle night at the Brussels PK venue, it must’ve been around 1994. A shitload of London based soundsystems, dj’s, mc’s and dancers came down to Brussels for a big Jungle showcase. Back then people in Belgium couldn't care less about that style of music and the attendance at the party were amazingly low, maybe 60 or 70 people. But the vibe and the music were amazing. I was sold.
Q: Being well respected and well connected in the scene you have been vital for pushing Netsky to the top. Are you working with any other protégés at the moment?
A: Anyone that is serious about making music and in whom I can detect a hint of real talent, can count on my full support, even if his or her style isn't really up my alley. At the moment, I am really down with Belgians such as Atmospherix, Syndaesia, Grimelock and Science and UK producers AMC, Dubba Jonny and Stanza.
Q: Netsky's buzz has been good for your career too since the last year you’re going at a dazzling speed.
A: The Netsky buzz has been really good to everyone who is involved in drum&bass. It has opened people's eyes to see the possibilities of the music and it has made the genre acceptable as the new peaktime music, even at non-dnb parties.
Q: Along with the rise of Netsky and the re-establishment of d&b came a new label, your very own Radar Records. A lot of work?
A: Not at all. Radar Records is... thinking of crazy ideas and turning them into reality, great fun! All you have to be is patient and be able to wait for the right track, which you can discover on SoundCloud, in a dj set, at a party or in your mailbox. And when you find it you got to set the wheels in motion to put it on the market. I have a deal with a distribution company that does most of the practical work for me, so I'm on easy street with the record label.
Q: Since the last couple of years you also spend some time in the studio, how's producing and remixing working out for you?
A: To be honest, I hate sitting behind the computer for long stretches of time on my own, so I'll never be the sound scientist that breaks the barriers and sets the new standards. But when I'm joined by someone that I can have fun with, I like studio time a lot. Working with Netsky, Ramon Tapia and Atmospherix, for example, has been a lot of laughs and good times.
Q: Ramon Tapia and Murdock… Bit of an odd couple at first sight...
A: Ramon has a background in tech-house and in hardcore as well. Next to that his influences work well in a d&b environment. I guess you could say that it sounds pretty old school, but with new school production values. Apart from that, he makes a mean cup of coffee! When can we expect to hear one of those collabs? The tracks I made with Netsky will probabaly remain on the shelf forever, due to his exclusive deal with his British label Hospital, but they have started to live their own life online and people are chanting the lyrics at gigs, as far as South Africa! I'm working on a few things now that should see the light of day in the next six months, and those are starting to come together nicely.
Q: Label managing, DJ’ing, producing,… As if that isn’t enough on your plate you push four (!) different party concepts. Let’s start with the longest running one.
A: That’s Breakdown: for over 7 years, Ed&Kim and I run the biggest night in Limburg. We have had editions that drew 2.500 people and we've pretty much sold out every party and every venue we ever set foot in. We now reside at Ritzbuilding Hasselt four times a year, at Rondpunt26 Genk once a year and we host stages at GenkOnStage and Houza-Palooza Bree.
Q: Drum&bass is also hot at midweek. Judging from Starlight, your most recent party concept.
A: That’s right! Starlight is the newest addtion to the list. It started out as a launch party for the second Radar Records release but in the meanwhile it became a firmly established midweek d&b party that takes place every first Wednesday of the month. The next one is on April 6 with Tantrum Desire, Netsky, Trei and myself.
Q: Then there's the twin: Radar and Rampage.
A:Radar and Rampage started off at the same time, respectively at Silo and Trix in Antwerp. The concept for both parties is the same: quality d&b and sometimes dubstep acts and preferably the new-bred heroes, not just the usual big names. Radar spawned the Radar Records label and Rampage went on to host the drum&bass room at Wasted, which drew 4.000 people at ICC in Ghent last February.
Q: You’re celebrating Rampage’s third anniversary this Friday. What do you have in store for the visitors?
A: We take over two rooms at Trix. For the very first time we have an all-dubstep room added to the program. Dubstep has always been a small part of the Rampage formula, whether it was Sub Focus or Bassline Smith dropping their own dubstep tunes, or inviting Flux Pavilion and Funtcase for slammin’ dubstep sets. Therefore the d&b room will be 100% drum&bass. Both styles perfectly separated.
Q: Before Rampage’s birthday bash you’re participating in the Red Bull Music Academy lecture as a guest speaker. The main subject will probably be dubstep. D’you think it will soon fade out the same way recent hypes such as “fidget” and “new rave” did?
A: My contribution to the lecture will mainly be about d&b, Syndaesia is stepping up as the dubstep expert. But in answer to your question: the dubstep hype will die, because hypes always do. Dubstep has gone many different directions since it first came out: filth, pop, post dubstep and so on... It's atracting different people, that is the first requirement for the surival of any genre, so I'd say the future is bright. Which way, shape or form dubstep will grow into over the next years is anyone's guess though.
(Click here for more info about the Red Bull Music Academy lecture)
Q: You've achieved quite some things: played at the coolest spots, share friendships with some of the scene's biggest names. What's still on your to-do-list?
A: I've never really tried to achieve any of those things, to be honest. Most often the best things happen because somebody steps up with a proposal and everything else comes naturally after that. Right now, I'm focussing on getting the remixes in for my Radar Remixes project, getting the tracks with Atmospherix done and making sure my parties and dj sets are the best they can be.
Murdock on the web:
Murdock on Facebook
Radar / Rampage on Facebook
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