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DJ and producer The Magician is a renowned European musician, famous for his capacity to mix major hits out of the likes of Lykke Li’s ‘I Follow Rivers’ and ‘Sunlight’ by Years & Years. KEIN magazine caught up with The Magician to talk performance, travel and cub scenes around the world.
interview by India Doyle2 / 6
How did you get started in music?
When I was very young I would always ask my dad if I could listen to his record collection. Later on, around 9 - 10 I saw my uncle DJing at a wedding party and I found it so interesting to mix records and make people dance. When he stopped DJing, I was 12 years old, my uncle gave me his record collection, 2 turntables and a mixer.
How has your sound developed over time? And how has travelling shape the evolution of it?
As a DJ, I think I have experienced all genres of music. I have bought a lot of records over the past 25 years and always tried to cross genres by mixing them together. For example a New Wave record pitched down to a Hip Hop track, or Latino music to Techno. Between 12 and 22 years old I used to spend 8 hours per day in my bedroom by mixing track with turntables trying to make a mash up. Around 1995 was when I did my first DJ set in a small bar in Belgium. That is where I learnt how to make people dance with different difference. It was the early 2000’s when I decided to just focus on one genre, which is House music.
Production really started in 2003 when I bought a sampler, I made Disco House tracks but nothing serious. Then when the nu disco arrived with Lindstrom and Prins Thomas I wanted to do the same music so I created a new project called Aeroplane. We tried to emulate a bit of the Nu Disco genre. The difference was actually Vito’s Italian pop influences which made Aeroplane and unique and we almost created a new genre that British called ‘Nu Disco Balearic’. In 2010, we spilt up and that’s when I started The Magician.
You started off in Aeroplane, how does playing solo compare to working as a duo?
When you know exactly what you want to do, it’s easier to work solo. With Aeroplane our ideas were different, even our vision of life. So it was always a compromise. It worked for 3 years but then it exploded.
What is it about a song that suggests it’s ripe for a remix? Is it instinctive or do you have core things you always need to hear in the original sound?
I always need to hear the original song and I need to love it to remix it. Then comes the timing and details. I would prefer it if I was asked to remix someone but this rarely happens.
You’ve recently released a track with TCTS - it sounds great! How did the collaboration come about?
I really like TCTS music so firstly I have supported him through my mixtape called 'Magic Tape’ then I thought it would be cool to maybe make music together. We did some studio sessions in London and finished ‘Slow Motion’ separately, sending the stems to each other.3 / 6
You’ve travelled across the world and played with so many great people, can you share some of your favourite memories / weirdest experiences?
There’s a 2-week festival in Australia where you tour around all big cities and it’s the same line up, timings, flights etc. It’s great, you meet all these incredible artists whilst travelling together. The first time I played in Japan was very exciting because I love the country and their culture. In the club there was hot towels to wash your hands before starting. Also they have holes in the table to put your drinks in so no accidents happen. I love those little details. A tour in Mexico is also very intense, especially when you play smaller cities, I remember in one city they had my face painted on a huge wall that was like 10 meters high! It was like Jesus was coming to the club and people were trying to touch me. It was really weird.
You recently came to Turkey, what did you enjoy most on your recent trip here?
I really like Istanbul, but I don’t know the rest of the country to be honest. I love the vibe in Istanbul, it’s very unique. The food is also very good! Unfortunately, I don’t stay longer than 1 night so it’s difficult to see a lot. But 5 years ago I came here for 4 days and I got to experience so much of the city.4 / 6
How does fashion fit into your performance? Do you have ‘stage’ outfits?
I used to have a stage outfit. It was a costume designed by my girlfriend and a tailor in Belgium. I have had 4 different ones but then I started to play around with designer outfits.
Who are your favourite brands to play in, and why?
I wore St Laurent jacket with musical notes, also another glitzier one with red and silver stripes.
What designers are you excited by right now?
Balenciaga, Martine Rose, Acne, Calvin Klein, Loewe
What’s in store for the rest of the year?
I’ve got a really exciting new track coming out soon. It’s very different from what I usually release it’s not club-orientated. It’s more mid-tempo, feel good track with a Dancehall beat, R’n’B/Rap lyrics and a Disco/Funk bassline. Then early 2018 I plan to release another mid-tempo track in the same genre and another club track like ‘Slow Motion’.5 / 6