Davy made a name for himself as DJ and founder of Down Under at Fuse Brussels. Today he continues to lead the way with Futurepast, a project started in 2016 with a series at Fuse and now as well in Berlin. 2018 saw the party evolve into a label too.
Could you tell us about what first inspired you to get into electronic music? And what was it that you liked about the electronic scene when you discovered it?
As a teenager I got introduced to electronic music in a bar in my hometowm called “The Sphere”. I was fascinated to see dj’s play there with vinyl records. It was a little bar but with a great sound system that the owner took very good care of. He also owned a club so I had the chance already to listen to very good dj’s play including Kevin Jee, who was a magician when it came to mixing records. He was and still is known for his typical Belgian afterhour club sound. He was probably my first biggest inspiration. I listened to his tapes that he recorded at the Belgian clubs over and over again.
My first club experiences made my excitement even bigger and so at a very young age I convinced my mother to buy myself 2 (crappy) JB Systems belt drive turntables and a mixer, and started playing at home.
You’re the founder of Futurepast, your own label. Can you tell us a little about the label’s history? When and how was it born?
It was born as a series of club nights at club Fuse in Brussels. In that time I was involved in a scene of vinyl diggers playing mostly old records. The idea was to invite dj’s that played those records (often from nineties), but with a futuristic sound to them. 2 years later (in 2018) the party grew into a record label. By then my taste was growing also towards more recent techno and I had a stronger urge to look forward in terms of electronic music rather than backwards. Listening to all those old records in the past gave me a good understanding of the genre though. There has been some amazing techno created in the early days.
In 2017, you moved to Berlin after living in Brussels and London. That seems to be the destination for most techno artists. How would you say your sound has changed since leaving Brussels and moving to Berlin? What elements of Berlin have you retained?
I must say it has been great to experience the vibe of 3 cities, that have all 3 been very important for electronic music, techno and dance culture. They have all been very different but every place gave me a certain input, inspiration and added to my knowledge and understanding of electronic music and the culture around it. The last 5 years in Berlin were very It definitely still feels like the center of electronic music as it’s one of the only places where dance culture is supported and not stigmatised. I checked out many different types of events, from experimental to techno, small clubs, big clubs, sound & light installations. It’s been amazing and a huge inspiration. I experienced musical moments I had never experienced anywhere else before. Some truly mind blowing experiences that will stay in my memory forever.
The last 5 years in Berlin were very It definitely still feels like the center of electronic music as it’s one of the only places where dance culture is supported and not stigmatised.
The Belgian scene knows you as Futurepast label owner but also as founder of Down Under parties at Fuse (2009-2016). Can you tell us more about your implication in the Brussels and Belgian electronic scene?
At an early age I started throwing the “Down Under” parties at Club Silo, in Leuven (I lived very close to that city). It was a really great club with an underground feel. After a short while our party became successful and at the peak the club unfortunately had to close its doors. So then we moved our party to Fuse in Brussels. There the party continued for a year or two and then I felt that it was time for something new. I then started the Futurepast nights. I was also often invited by C12, a promising new techno club in Brussels and daytime summer events as Bruxsel Jardin.
I was traveling from London and afterwards from Berlin to Belgium on a regular basis. I found it important also to keep the connection to my roots.
You’ve been working in the music industry for a long time now, and sure have a lot of experience to share. What would be some of your most important pieces of advice to people beginning their journey?
Keep an open mind and listen to lots and lots of different music. Even if you don’t like a genre at first give it another chance, be curious about it and try to go and experience it in the right setting, with the right sound system. To give an extreme example; don’t judge a techno track from a laptop or a mobile phone speaker, you will most likely be missing out on a lot of information.
Another thing I would like to mention is the aspect of social media. I would advise to keep your priority to the actual music, for the sake and quality of the scene now but also for the coming 10 or 20 years and even further ahead. There is too much focus on the image and less on the actual music. So I strongly advise to get experience with your music; if you want to be a dj, play music as much as possible and learn how to mix your tracks together. If you want to be a producer get into your studio and make as much music as possible. Experiment and have fun with it! Also follow your feelings when listening to music. I suggest not to follow hypes, they are only temporary. Find out what drives you and what doesn’t and follow that path. Let the music be the light.
I would advise to keep your priority to the actual music, for the sake and quality of the scene now but also for the coming 10 or 20 years and even further ahead. There is too much focus on the image and less on the actual music.
Since you launched Futurepast in 2016, you have released records by creative and rising artists from our local scene (Dardenne, Kato De Vidts,…). When looking to find a new release for the label, do you have certain parameters that the music must meet?
I have to feel something first of all when listening. In the end we are talking about music. The music also has to have a certain level of originality. (If people send me tracks that I have listened to many similar ones, even if the tracks are very well produced I will most probably not sign them).
Another thing I would like to mention is that I don’t need to always see the music fitting with my taste of djing. Again I try to keep the scope wide and just think if it’s good electronic music. If I think it is then I am hoping that some people out there will enjoy it too.
For me music also does not always have to please or make us dance, it can also challenge us or even be disturbing and make us feel uncomfortable.
We run 2 parallel series on the label. The vinyl releases are more club orientated whilst there is space for proper experimentation on the digital series.
I want to help young producers with their path and if I hear potential from them at a young age then I will try to release them and help to make their path more enjoyable, giving them confidence to grow, even if technical skills can still improve.
I prefer the soul of a track over technical perfection. I see lots of electronic music that is technically perfect but I am sometimes missing a proper vibe or soul in the tracks. They are very robotic and I like to still notice a human feel to them, a feel of live recording, with some imperfection perhaps.
I want to help young producers with their path and if I hear potential (tracks with soul) from them at a young age then I will try to release them and help to make their path more enjoyable, giving them confidence to grow, even if technical skills can still improve.
With the fifth release on the catalogue’s main series, you continue to care about rising talents and extend to new musical borders. You introduce Siwei, an Antwerp based producer who made his specialty to blend ambient and techno with moody waves of distortion and fidgeting modular patterns. Can you talk to us about this new release ?SIWEI is one of those young producers that I immediately heard a lot of soul in his music. After getting to know him he told me that he had many years of music background playing in bands, etc, which I actually immediately sensed when listening to his first tracks. He is 23 years old but started with music at the age of 7. I see a lot of potential and know that he will become a really great producer / musician.
We chose tracks with a good variety in between them, a club track on the A-side and the flipside brings 2 more experimental type of techno tracks [more info here], maybe a bit more challenging but as mentioned before I do want to make space for those kind of tracks on the label too, as these are the tracks that say a lot about the artist. From my point of view that’s usually the best music, as then they are really expressing themselves and describing things that we could not say with words.
There are a few more younger producers who I am talking to at the moment where I see a lot of talent in them which gives me a lot of hope for the future of electronic music.
You recorded a long podcast for InDepth. The mix goes through different techno moods and intensities, old and new stuff. Did you have a certain concept in mind prior to making the mix?
During “corona times” I spent most of my time in the studio and some months passed where I didn’t really dj at home. (I rarely do lately as I’m investing most of my energy in the studio and the label.) I mostly just listen to records at home, rather than dj. And then there was this evening that I really felt like playing properly so I took my recorder and the first record and just improvised and recorded this 2.5 hour techno set with my records, 2 1210 Technics turntables and a (allen&heath Xone92) mixer. It wasn’t planned!
It’s perhaps difficult to plan too far ahead at the moment – but can you tell us what plans you have for the last days of the year and 2021?
The last release of the year came out on Friday so after this I will allow myself a bit of rest. I will continue working on the label trying to put out good releases and focus on studio work in 2021, hopefully collaborate on some interesting projects with likeminded people, which makes me happy!