with Faetish

Who are you?
I'm Robbe and I’m 24 years old. I got into the groove of Drum & Bass when I was 15, and I've been avidly attending events ever since. James (sitting next to me) suggested at one point, "Why don't we go to a Techno party?". Initially, I wasn't keen on the idea; the genre seemed too repetitive for me. Eventually, I caved and went to see Amelie Lens. After that, I began to understand the power and magic behind Techno music. It's not repetitive at all; the power sits in all the small details. I soon became a huge fan of edgy music, where producers deviate from the norm; where obscure sounds, very playful or broken sounds are introduced. Sounds that give you goosebumps. Sounds that blow you out of your socks. Techno truly captivated me. 

Afterwards, I started delving deeper into niches, initially, driven by my love for the British side of D&B. Transitioning into Techno and then onto Breaks, UKG, all with a British influence. I recognized the D&B elements in these styles too. So, I really immersed myself in electronic music. Dubstep, for example, good Old-School Dubstep resonates with me. I also believe that vocals can add immense value. I don't enjoy "dry" sets; I love those moments when you can showcase a tough vocal or even a very sexy vocal. That's where the name Faetish came from. I try to explore the sinister, sexy, and seductive aspects. The dark, but also the groovy, sexual side. I think you get my point. I search for very alternative tracks with incredibly surprising elements. 

I've been DJing for six years now, and I feel like I've reached a point where I have the skills and the feel for music & track selection to transition seamlessly from one genre to the other in a set. It can get really deep at times, then much faster, eventually leading to a trance-like state where surprising elements emerge.                    

What moment sparked your interest in music?
It's not like I've been involved with music since childhood. You hear stories of DJs who have been into music since they were three; playing the piano, drumming, and so on. My parents aren't musicians. My mother does have a great taste in eighties and nineties records, though, so I've always heard really good music at home. It wasn't forced; it was just present. Then, from the moment I got my first iPod, I felt that I really wanted to collect tracks on it. It started with the typical tracks, but I got hooked by making playlists and all that.

There are people who don't listen to much music, but I literally do everything with music. I wake up with it, I have my first coffee with the radio on, I shower with my latest "finds" on Spotify blasting, and I drive to work with music on. So, it's really always present.

A real turning point was during my Drum & Bass phase. I had a friend, Rob, with whom I went to all those parties, literally every week or every two weeks. We were really into certain artists and went to events specifically for those artists. I always knew who was on the line-up. There came a moment when we found what those DJs were doing technically so damn cool. You start to notice that there's a new track every forty seconds, it's really fast-paced. Sometimes there's a double drop and other crazy stuff happening. As a young guy, I found that fantastic. My friend and I looked at each other on the dance floor and we said to one another: "We should start doing this too". We bought a controller together and started DJing D&B. We didn't just want to listen; we wanted to be able to do it ourselves.

You already talked about the meaning behind "Faetish", was it a difficult process to come up with that name? 
The name also reflects my own "naughty side". I believe that the whole rave scene has a naughty side to it. When I got into my Techno phase, the girls were always dressed a bit more provocatively , and the guys with their tough-looking chains and so on. What I want to play is also something that makes you pull a "bass face," but it can be very seductive with a "naughty" touch, or very tough with those Uk Grimey vocals. So, the rave world is already tinted with naughtiness, so it reflects my sentiment for the scene.

You founded Tanz Electrik, now rebranded as OVERLAP, how did this come about? What does OVERLAP stand for? 
Both collectives share a similar approach. Tanz Electrik was started years ago by me and a friend, Jonas. Tanz Electrik was really my brainchild. At that time, we had three concepts: a Hip-Hop concept, a House concept, and then a more alternative electronic concept. I proposed the name Tanz Electrik, which is a very full-fledged name for the concept, especially in the realm of electronic music. My mindset was mainly about throwing parties where genre wasn't the focus, but rather a mix of everything. I also think that's the most important thing about going out. Being a big party-goer myself, I prefer a party where I'm surprised and stimulated throughout the night. So, all genres had a place in our concept. We did some parties and involved some local artists. Then we eventually did a bigger party in Chinastraat, with UFO95, which I find cool underground techno. For that party, Techno and Trance were combined on that lineup with Electro, Breaks, and even someone who went full-on UKG.

OVERLAP consists of 4 other buddies. Each individual has their own preferences in terms of styles and genres, but everyone plays different genres in one set. We brought that together with the idea of "if we're going to throw parties, then we're also going to book artists, like for example, Neffa-T" - a huge inspiration by the way. He’s an artist that challenges himself to transition from UKG to Techno, and then throws in some UKG again, to eventually switch completely to Dubstep. So, you're constantly surprised during his set. Those are the type of artists we want to provide with a platform. We also do it for an open-minded audience without a certain mindset. Not people who come solely for Techno, but people who let the DJ play and just follow the vibe, open to discover new things. C12, for example, was a good example of this mindset for me. I was there and heard sounds and tracks that I had never heard before. That's a really cool feeling. I want people who crave that feeling on our dance floor, whether it's 5 of them on the dancefloor or a packed club.

Which DJ would you like to meet backstage? 
Let me think. I really admire Neffa-T for what he does. He's so strong technically, a true master at surprising you. He also comes with something very groovy, and he throws it in at moments when it’s not perceived as  "blend" at all. Lots of flow switches, but still so cool. When I check his sets, I notice that he's also a very "down-to-earth" DJ, which I also aspire to be. Those are DJs I appreciate, because of their love for the music and the art. Those who don't care how big or small they are, just super chill people. He's one of them. He's someone I'd like to grab a drink with. I would also like to ask him what his experience is in the "higher circles" of the sometimes dark world that the rave scene can be, and how he deals with it since he remains so cool about it.

What advice do you have for future DJs?
First and foremost, buy those decks if you feel the passion. Prepare yourself for the fact that it will be one big pile of chaos in the beginning, but drag yourself through it, that's also the fun part about it. The journey is the destination. For example, I've been DJing for six years now, and I still learn something new every day. 

Also, don't pin yourself down to a fixed style. If you like two different styles, don't think you have to make a choice. You can have it all, but at that point you also have to challenge yourself. Just make a real selection of your favorite tracks, download them, and then: trial & error. Figure it out at your own pace, and ask others for tips. Listen and try, and then you'll get there. You'll definitely enjoy spending hours at your desk in the evening with your controller, sometimes even thinking, "damn, it's not working." For all you know, it might suddenly work much better the next day and then the ball starts rolling. You just have to take the leap. On top of that,, I think you definitely shouldn't get stuck on certain trends, like for example Techno; certain styles became very popular through TikTok. Just because the big DJs play a whole Techno set, doesn't mean you have to pin yourself down to one style or genre. The world is definitely ready for DJs who have a broader view on this.

Interview by Tim Borlez

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