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Walrus is a quixotic DJ and producer hailing from Brussels that revels in idiosyncratic club music. His record label Basic Moves is an adventurous journey through the outer limits of house, techno and electro with an outsider’s spirit at heart. Recently he launched two sublabels: a chill-out division called 'Gems Under The Horizon', and 'For Playful Manners', co-curated with Adi. He is also the curator of the second-hand section at Crevette Records and heavily involved in promoting underground club culture in Brussels and beyond.
You named your podcast ‘Open Spaces’. Can you explain why and what mood you tried to capture?
These two words represent a couple of different things I've been feeling recently. I imagine playing a long warm up set for at an outdoor space with a good sound system and me, as a deejay, transporting feelings over long distances. Feelings that people capture and slowly make them come closer, that make them start to dance to the music I'm playing and project this unknown energy back to me, kicking off the ceremony. « Open Spaces » also carries a more personal meaning for me as an artist. I'm really trying not to block myself (anymore) in a particular musical direction, sound, style or scene. I want to tell a story for you as a listener or dancer in the most open minded way possible. Not paying attention to how rare, unknown (let alone expensive) records are. Just me and my collection, pure, an open space.
Any tracks you want to highlight, a personal favorite ?
The Portable/Bodycode track in the middle of the podcast with the vocal « don't don't don't give up », because it perfectly reflects the spirit of this mix and my personal attitude towards dance music. In a way this track was a lesson. It's been in my collection for 15 years, but only recently I'm able to play it out and completely get it. Some music needs the time to grow on you. The understanding of giving time to things is something I try to portray in this mix, but also in my daily life. Sometimes it's fine to just waste some time together, or by yourself, it will come back one way or another. Let things go (on).
A pure personal intuition, a pair of wide open ears and a big heart full of respect for the past, present and future of music is the only thing you need to make your own sunshine.
Can you talk a bit about your digging routine when looking for new records? Where did you find the records in this mix?
There is no specific routine, plan, tactic or technique when it comes to finding the records I love. I'm very fortunate to have the position of curating and managing the second hand selection in Crevette Records. During my working hours I'm categorizing and quality checking tons of records, but the ones I take home at the end of the day are usually unexpected ones, and most of the time I only realize this later when I play them at a gig or for friends. DJ Deg aka Circadian Rhythms is definitely the guy who taught me this attitude towards digging and collecting. A pure personal intuition, a pair of wide open ears and a big heart full of respect for the past, present and future of music is the only thing you need to make your own sunshine.
Recently I started attacking my own record collection and I finally figured out a way to get an overview and hopefully create a structure for it. I ordered a load of fresh inner sleeves, outer sleeves and protective plastic sleeves and I play them one by one, asking them "who are you?". Then I classify them into four categories: the archive, the present, the future and the sales. The sales category are the ones I'm letting go off, very tough decisions! The archived ones are classified in a few main categories. The ones filed under "present" are the ones I know very well, they are ready to be played out. The "future" category holds a combination of new and old music, possibly from the archives, that I want to re-discover. The records in this mix are a direct result of this new approach to my collection.
Basic Moves just announced their 16th release. Congratulations! Three years and 16 releases deep, the catalogue is looking quite impressive. What are the upcoming plans for the label?
First of all, big thanks to Crevette Records & Distribution, without them the label would not have been where it is today. Also massive respect for all the people supporting and buying the music since day one, and of course to all artists for sharing their amazing music and trust! It makes me happy to see the catalog grow this way. There is definitely no rush, but there is a plan and a general idea. One thing I can tell you is that after the 20th release, I'll move away from the solo artist 2x12" format and start a new chapter of 10 compilation LP's. Every edition will be curated by another artist who is closely connected to the label. Until then Basic Moves will continue to put out music from the past and the future, telling a story that deserves to be archived on wax.
A while ago you launched 'Gems Under The Horizon', the chill-out division of Basic Moves. Can you tell us a bit about why you started it and what the vision behind this label is?
The title and subtitle explain it all, it's an open platform for music that could be played in a horizontal context. No boundaries and no fixed agenda but definitely a global unity. For this label we will for the first time offer digital versions and re-issues of music that was not previously available on vinyl. The second release will again be a four track compilation. My old school buddy &apos contributes a special track dedicated to the birth of a mutual friend's first daughter. Then we have South Korean duo Salamandar, whom's track I discovered in the catalog of Tonal Unity, which has been on repeat at my house since I discovered it. On the flip side we have a track by Adi's Manta Ray alias mixed by Slow Life's Sergio Moreira, and the first track ever put out by Lithuanian-born, Brussels-based duo Ugné & Maria. They recorded the track last year during their artist residency at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels. A very tasty sandwich of chill-out gems!
You recently announced a sublabel 'For Playful Manners', co-curated with Adi who delivered the 14th Basic Moves release. Can you tell us what we can expect from this project?
We dreamt up this project very spontaneously, during an afternoon of listening to music in Berlin. The label's manners centre around the feelings of friendship and fun in music. Its feet are always itching for the dance floor, but the head is firmly directed towards the future. Crisp music is the message! Each release will be a split EP, thoughtfully balanced between male/female, machine/soul, robot/alien, flower/tree,... The artwork has the form of a puzzle, which the listener has to to solve to discover the track titles and their makers. let's play!
Sometimes it's fine to just waste some time together, or by yourself, it will come back one way or another. Let things go (on).
You once shared to us an interesting view on the comparison between vinyl and flippo's. Except that they are 2 round objects you have the personal opinion that they have more in common. Can you explain ?
When I was five yours old, in kindergarten, there was a hype in Belgium and Holland, and maybe in other countries, called "Flippo's" (www.flippos.info). They're small round objects that came for free with a pack of potato chips and the goal was to collect them all, play games with them and show off your collection. Some of these Flippo's were more valuable than others, and some kids had bigger folders than others, with super rare Flippo's and even doubles or triples! But... they would not want to share them with anyone else. This was something I never understood. Today I see the same thing going on in the world of obsessive (online) digging & speculation on rare electronic dance music records. When I was a little kid it clear very quickly that this Flippo's game was not for me, I was climbing trees somewhere else on the playground, falling out of them and trying to climb back up, haha!
You curate the second hand selection here at Crevette Records. For a lot of people our basement is a mysterious space from which you appear out of nowhere with a bunch of crazy records. Tell us a bit more about what goes on 'under the ground'? How is it influencing your musical style and taste?
We have a part of our second hand back-stock in that basement, our webshop stock and a part the distribution titles are also stored there. It’s a rather small place, but for now we manage to make it work "underground". Having access to this much music most definitely influenced how I DJ now and what I overal collect as a music lover. Though I have to say that working as the second hand curator for the shop is not always digging-heaven during a working day. While working I think with a mind for the shop, and not especially for myself. I listen to the music differently and ask myself which new second hand records are relevant in every genre that we have available at Crevette. I don’t really have time to ‘dig’ for myself, but I put a lot of records on the side that I might like and once a month I stay a night at the shop and I take some personal digging time and go through the records I put aside and listen to them carefully. Most of the time it's music up my alley but sometimes it’s not what I thought it would be. The ears get tired, you know. Especially when you use them 9hours intense during a working day.
And at last, If not a Walrus, what animal would you be?
Maybe a beaver? The aquatic architect! They unite in a very special way.