THE EARLY YEARS:
Where did you grow up? What was your musical influence? What did you listen to as a little Magician?
I grew up in the French speaking south of Belgium called “Wallonia”.
My musical influences are all the pop, disco and house music from 1976 until 1999. The little Magician listened to what his dad listened to which was Supertramp, Abba, Queen, Michael Jackson and some Italo Disco.
Was there a moment when you thought… “Right, I’m gonna make music for a career!”
Yes, I even stopped going to school to put all my energy into music. I wanted to live my passion to the fullest.
I started to work for companies at a very young age so I could buy records and a get a good set up to start DJing.
How did you learn English? Can you speak any other languages?
I only speak French and understand some words in Italian.
About English, I learnt the basics at school but only 2 hours a week for 4 years with a bad teacher. But to be honest, I wasn’t very motivated to learn languages.
I have some regrets now when I have to answer interviews in English!
I’ve learnt English mostly on the road the last 2 years.. it’s still not good enough.
What are your interests besides music?
Art, fashion, cooking, wine, photography, architecture, airplanes (not a joke)
Can you actually perform magic?
Of course, when I play music you can see it and feel it…
THE BREAK UP:
What made you choose the Magician stage persona after the split from Aeroplane?
It’s actually my girlfriend, Julie, who found the name. At the beginning I wasn’t sure because it could be a bit pretentious being called “The Magician” after the Aeroplane split… On reflection, my second level of humor approved it! Then all the story came out of our heads, we made the character live!
Are you going to develop what you wear on stage? Can we suggest a cape and maybe a hat and mask? Dont you get too hot at the moment in a full tuxedo?
I know that you were in London at XOYO and it was really hot! But it’s ok most of the time, the outfit has been made to be resistant to the hottest vibes!
Julie and I have designed the first tuxedo. Now we’re thinking about the summer, the cape is already in our minds… The hat is too much, I could lose the dandy part of my outfit.
Your artwork is amazing… who does it all?
It’s a collaboration between a Belgian illustrator called Sara and us.
She went to the same art school in Brussels as Julie. Now she’s doing an internship with Matthew Williamson in London.
Her specialization : precise drawings. I believe in her and would love to try something exceptional but it’s going to take time…
Would you consider collaborating with anyone again?
A proper collaboration 50/50 for The Magician music, no. But I’m working with another guy for the final production, he knows everything about old synths, how to find a good reverb, the best drums,…
For the side project I have with Yuksek, we put our ideas together 50/50.
What are you working on? Are you still making lots of remixes? Are you making your own productions at the moment?
As I experienced with Aeroplane, I think we made too many remixes in the first 2 years. Making 4-5 remixes a year is just ok.
I want to focus on my own stuff more even if I have to refuse good opportunities to remix.
So for the moment, I’m working on my new EP, there will be 2 tracks and one of them with a singer.
In parrallel, I’m working with Yuksek to do an EP together, that will be something like “The Magician and Yuksek presents…”
About remixes, “The Aikiu – The Red Kiss” is done now, I made a vocal and a dub. It’s gonna be released in January on Abracada recordings.
Can you tell us some more about how you make them?
Each month I’m doing a music selection between new and unreleased tunes. I try to listen to everything I find on sites, blogs and also to promos I get… it takes a lot of time!
Then it’s about classifying them by bpm. The most difficult work comes when I have to choose 10 favorites between 100-150 tracks!
So, these mixtapes are more a selection of what I love, it’s a sort of “chart” but in no particular order. They are not 100% representative of what i’m playing in clubs, I mean, for example I’m not playing an original Twin Shadow song in clubs.
What speed or BPM do you feel most comfortable with on your music?
From 110 to 122 BPM.
When I DJ in a club, the dj who plays before me is VERY important! I’m always trying to talk to him. At the last show in Leeds, Riton was playing before me and he ends up with a dubstep track, he turned the bpm down from 135 to 110. It was funny. I was even thinking that I could like dubstep if it would be played at 110bpm.
Have you thought about doing some more artwork for the mixes?
I’m thinking about asking people to do it. I’m curious to see what they have in mind while listening to the tapes.
Even a representative picture would be cool.
THE DISCO SCENE NOW:
It is getting more and more popular! At the beginning of this disco revival, it was more instrumental and psychedelic.
Nowadays, everything is merging… disco, pop, house, electro… That’s actually what we did with Aeroplane.
About the “nu-disco” term, for me it was 5 years ago with Lindstrom & Prins Thomas. Now it’s a category where people put everything in when they don’t know how to classify it.
In 2010 we could call it Discopop or Indie-Disco! … or “Indiesco”.
How did you first get involved and what was your big break?
First time I got involved with disco was around 1988 when I got Disco records from my uncle. To be honest I didn’t like them, it sounded so cheesy compared to the acid house music or new beat at that time! But as I wasn’t making any money yet to buy lots of records, I had no choice.. to do a mixtape of 2×45 min, I had to mix them with some house and new beat tracks I bought.
I had a big “disco” break between the time I could buy more techno and house records in 1990 and the disco house revival in 1995/1996 with Dimitri from Paris, DJ Sneak or Cassius. Then I started to recognize the original samples used in those tracks that I had in my disco record collection. From that moment, I never stopped playing disco music and looking to find THE rare disco record.
Where do you think it’s most popular in the world?
It changes so quickly! Eastern Europe, Australia and the UK react quite well!
Where has been your most favourite place to play?
I’ve got so many good memories in lots of countries and cities… It’s hard to choose! When the sound is good, the warm up is good, the lights are good, the people are excited… it ‘s great!
What other artists are you really feeling at the moment (within disco and more in general)?
I love what Herr Styler are doing, it’s hybrid and funny which I love. You cannot give a definition of their unique style.
Herr Styler – Snow in Paris by Herr Styler
The new Yuksek album (released sometime next year) is outstanding! Trust me, that will be something exceptional…
Would you consider setting up your own label to support up and coming artists?
I would love to… but I will try to finish my EP first, then i’ll see how things are going.
Would you be interested in headlining a SlothBoogie party next year when you come back to London?
How much would you charge us? ;)
Please contact my booking agent <:-)