Drum and bass DJ and producer Netsky is set to bring his new ‘LIVE!’ show to the UK this year, reaching Leeds on the 28th February. Ahead of his anticipated performance at Leeds University Union, Leeds Student’s Sam Aki caught up with the Belgian musician for a chat.
LS: Your LIVE! show has been running for almost a year now and has had great success. Why did you decide to do it and how does it differ from a DJ set?
Netsky: Yeah, the live show has been great so far. I don’t really know what I prefer so far, but I love the lifestyle of touring as a band and the new possibilities, learning new instruments and getting to play them back on stage. It’s been really exciting to make new mistakes and learn from them, developing things I’ve just started with, which is the feeling I had when I first started DJing. I’ve become such good friends with my crew that it’s started to feel more like a holiday when we tour, so yeah, it’s been amazing.
LS: I find it hard to imagine what it must feel like when you’re up on stage and you drop one of your tunes and you look out and see everyone going crazy. What exactly do you feel at that particular moment in time?
Netsky: I’m sure there are loads of DJs and producers that will tell you they get used to it after a while and it’s ‘just another day in the office’ but I’m really not at that point yet. My career is still so young that I really just enjoy playing at any club, even the smaller venues. I just did a tour in Asia where I played lots of smaller clubs, in places like Bangkok and Singapore, and you end up playing in front of like 200 or 300 people, which was exciting because it reminded me of when I first started out.
LS: Would you say you prefer the smaller more intimate nights or the bigger ones like Brixton or some of the festivals you do?
Netsky: I really couldn’t choose between the two because I love them both. I love festivals because they’re so exciting and you see so many people enjoying themselves and they have a really happy summery vibe. But at the same time, there’s something amazing about playing a smaller club where it’s more intimate and you can feel the emotion and there’s kind of a connection between you and the crowd that you can feed off of.
LS: Your album “2” featured a variety of genres and tempos. What inspired you to move away from the liquid funk sound that you were so renowned for?
Netsky: (laughs) I’m so happy you actually noticed and asked this question and realized the different tempos. There are so many people that think I just make liquid drum and bass. The only way forward for any producer is to push the boundaries. It’s really risky, sometimes you crash and burn because sometimes you make a tune that you like but it doesn’t get a great reaction, but that’s how it works, you have to keep trying different things. And that’s what some dance albums lack, that kind of diversity. People sometimes don’t understand that you’re making a full album and people can get bored after a while.
LS: High Contrast had songs featured in the Olympic Ceremony and you’ve recently worked with Disney of the “Epic Mickey” game soundtrack. It appears drum and bass is becoming more accessible and popular in the mainstream community, moving away from the underground and people have had tracks in the Top 40. Where do you see it going?
Netsky: Yeah it’s really interesting what’s happening with bass music in general, it’s growing so much further than the underground club scene like it used to be about. It’s a really exciting time with it growing and it’s really hard to predict where it’s going to go because people have such a short attention span and people get bored so easily. There are new genres and sub-genres popping up everyday. But drum and bass is here to stay I think, its very raw. It’s all about the energy and the melodies and how it makes you feel. That’s why I see it sticking around for a long time, it brings such a high and unique energy to the music scene.
LS: Me and some friends are thinking of coming to Belgium for a holiday this Easter. Being a native, what things do you recommend doing?
Netsky: Well if you’re coming around April time, you should definitely come check out a big concert I’m doing on the 27th. It’s at a big venue called the Lotto Arena, which is kind of like the 02 of Antwerp. Apart from that Antwerp is a really cool city. I always compare it to Bristol. There’s loads of students around, loads of great music and it’s a really active city without being too hectic, like London can be sometimes.
LS: And obviously the famous Belgian beer.
Netsky: And chocolate. And waffles. You should try it all. It’s a pretty heavy combination for your stomach, but definitely very worth it.
LS: You must have a pretty hectic schedule touring with your LIVE! band all over the world. What helps you take your mind off of music and helps you relax and have fun?
Netsky: Whenever I have time off I like to come back to Belgium and hang out with my friends. It’s most fun doing the simple stuff like going to the pub. That’s the sort of stuff you miss the most when you’re away from home from a long period of time.
LS: Away from drum and bass, who are your favourite producers right now?
Netsky: Yeah, recently I haven’t been listening to a lot of new drum and bass artists, but I’ve really liked the stuff Disclosure and TNGHT have put out. I think they have really unique sounds.
LS: What’s your favourite snack?
Netsky: Right now, i snack loads on Brussels waffles which come fresh and hot and are delicious. But I’m addicted to mints and eat them all the time
LS: Finally, what 5 things can you not live without?
Netsky: My motorcycle, my dog, my fatboy sofa, my TV and my fireplace
Netsky LIVE! comes to Leeds University on Thursday 28th February with Syron supporting. Tickets £12.50
photo: Guillaume Kayacan