Belgian sensation Charlotte de Witte has proven herself a powerhouse in the techno game over the last two years, racking up impressive releases on the likes of Turbo Recordings, OFF, Suara and Extravaganza. Her most recent EP ‘Our Journey’ on UK imprint Sleaze shows she has no plans to slow things down in 2017 and it comes ahead a debut appearance at Awakenings Festival this coming Summer. We’re delighted to welcome her into the When We Dip hot-seat for the 78th episode of our central mix series. Charlotte provides an exclusive new mix (recorded live from Fuse, Brussels) as we talk shop!
WWD: Your track ‘Sehnsucht’ on Turbo Recordings had a massive reception. It just got nominated for the top 100 Awakenings Techno Tracks. When you made the track did you know it was going to have such a big impact?
Not at all! The track contains a long melodic break so it had the potential to reach more people (since that’s what melodies sometimes do) but I never expected it to receive so much support, even so long after the release. Joris Voorn also played it several times at Awakenings and he even included the track in his 2016 Year Mix, which is a great honor!
WWD: Can you tell us about how you first got connected with Turbo?
I first got in touch with Turbo Recordings June 2015, when Francis (Turbo’s A&R) e-mailed me to say they would like to do a record with me. That record turned out to be Weltschmerz, my first release as Charlotte de Witte. I remember that the moment I read this e-mail, I was sitting on a plane, returning from a short holiday in the south of France where I spent some time with one of my best friends. I had to return alone since I had a gig that evening in Belgium while she was staying for a couple of days longer. It was quite an emotional moment for me since I’ve been a big fan of Turbo Recordings since the beginning of my musical journey.
WWD: Will we see you returning to the imprint any time soon?
In several ways, you will…
WWD: A debut at Awakenings is coming this Summer. Another massive achievement. Has it been a big influence on you?
I think it’s safe to say that Awakenings has a big influence on the entire techno scene. And to be part of such a line up really does something with you as a human being. It feels like the cherry on top, even though – if everything goes well – it’s just the beginning. Needless to say I’m extremely looking forward to this one!
WWD: It’s a big one to check off the bucket list. Have you got any other goals you’d like to achieve this year?
The most important goal for this year is releasing music in a more frequent manner (both original tracks and remixes) and by doing so keep on improving my skills as a producer.
Besides that, a lot of great parties and festivals have been announced already, which will give me the opportunity to keep on exploring my musical tastes in techno music and translating this to the crowd.
WWD: Your travelling schedule is intense. How do you assure that you’re always at the top of your game? Any tips for those DJs just starting to tour?
I recently started paying attention to what I drink. Not that I’m that much of a drinker, but when for instance I had a gig in Turkey, I would have a couple of drinks during my set, which, combined only two hours of sleep, sometimes resulted in one bitch of a hangover. And I just hate to stand at the border control, sweating like crazy, because I didn’t hydrate enough the night (couple of hours) before. So although I still have some drinks, I now mostly drink water during a set.
I also try to eat something not too heavy on the stomach. I do love myself a good steak with fries, but stopped eating these kinds of things before a show. It’s an attack on your body if you don’t have the proper time to digest. I still eat a lot, and it’s a rule I often break, but I do think eating lighter food is a good thing to do.
WWD: There is a lot of upheaval going on internationally right now with the likes of Brexit and Trump in the US etc, do you think this in time could majorly affect the career of a touring DJ?
As an artist, discovering new cultures and people enriches and inspires me, so for me, open-mindedness should be encouraged rather than restrained. Also, I can’t imagine that the easy international mobility we are all so used to will be affected by politics in such a manner that it will significantly impact the careers of touring DJs.
However, when you look at the current situation with IS for example, we have inevitably become more conscious of what can always happen nowadays. But whether we like it or not, this is the kind of world we live in. It’s a sad truth, but I try not to worry about it too much and enjoy the good, positive things. Which are and always will be all around.
WWD: Looking inside the industry. For many artists in the modern era of dance music, it seems a constant flow of new music is crucial to consistent bookings. How do you approach how often you release?
You can’t deny the importance of releases for a DJ, but just like you have a lot of DJs nowadays, you also have lots of them who’re releasing tracks every 5 seconds. It’s hard to decide the amount of tracks you should release in a year. In 2017, I try to release 1 EP every two or three months. That doesn’t leave much space for remixes anymore, which is why I’m focusing on original tracks mainly. It all depends on the kind of track and how satisfied you are with it. I don’t think you should ever release for the sake of releasing.
WWD: Do you make many tracks that never see a release?
Yes. Lots of them… I even get most of them properly mixed and everything but sometimes, in the end, I’m not really satisfied anymore, or it doesn’t represent what I like anymore or no one simply wants to release it. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing since now, I only release what I think are the best tracks. I had to learn how to let go.
WWD: You have a very strong relationship with Fuse in Brussels. For those not familiar, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Fuse is the techno institute of Belgium. It’s been around for more than 20 years and it has put (and still puts) an undeniable stamp on Belgium’s nightlife scene. The asked me two years ago whether I would be interesting in hosting a night there. Two years later, my concept KNTXT is turning two which we’re celebrating on February 24th with Hans Bouffmyhre, Luigi Madonna and local up and comer Farrago.
WWD: You’ve supplied the latest edition of the WWD podcast, live from Fuse. What can you tell us about the set?
That has actually been my first proper warm up set I ever did. I’m used to doing closing sets in Fuse so reversing the night has been quite the experience. I actually didn’t think I would like it so much. I found it very rewarding to play the first track in an empty room and watch the people get into the mood for a proper, long night out. I played a two hour set in total, from 22h until midnight after which I did the countdown as well. It was New Year’s Eve so I have no doubt the crowd was extra appreciative but I absolutely loved it! I played some new and unreleased tracks in there as well.
Thanks for the interview!
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