Bart Skils remains one of the label’s most consistent achievers going back to his debut in 2012. Eight original EPs, a stellar remix of Moby ‘Go’ and his now-classic collaboration with Adam Beyer ‘Your Mind’ have entrenched him as a DC treasure. All the while the Dutchman plays a nurturing role with the label’s nu-skool brigade, regularly playing B2B with Layton Giordani and teaming up with Weska for last summer’s ‘Polarize’ two-tracker.
His ninth Drumcode EP ‘Settle In The Sun’ delivers the first productions from his new studio after six months of preparation. The title track was inspired by an extended stay in LA over New Years, channelling the energy of Venice Beach’s vibrant skate culture to create an uplifting, big riff weapon. ‘Tropical Heat’ took influence from Bart’s experiences touring South America, as an evocative vocal sample and rave-kissed melody line run alongside a wicked rolling groove. ‘Shiva Says’ is a peak-time, brain- mangler in the best of ways, driven by a monster synth line that grows and contorts as the track progresses.
You can now listen to the full premiere of the title track ‘Settle In The Sun’ exclusively on When We Dip while reading the great interview Bart gave us. Enjoy!
WWD: How are you going? What’s the lockdown situation in Holland like at the moment?
Things are pretty easy-going and relaxed at the moment. A lot of days I spent in and around my house and studio. Life in the Netherlands is slowly picking up again and it feels great with the first steps of socializing. I missed it a lot.
WWD: What’s been filling your days during lockdown? Have you felt creative during this time and been busy in the studio? Or has it been a time for reflection and family?
In January I did a whole month tour in North & South America and in February I finished the last things in my newly-built studio that I built up from scratch in the garden. Suddenly in beginning of March life stopped with the whole covid crisis and the first few weeks I didn’t mind because I spent so many days enjoying the new studio and having days off with my family. In general, this whole crisis has brought loads of reflection and makes you think about the current situation but almost three months later, I miss DJing and being at clubs and festivals a lot.
WWD: Your ‘Settle In The Sun’ EP is terrific. Yet, what’s the experience of releasing a dance music EP when it can’t be played out at clubs and festivals?
Releasing on EP that has not been road tested feels kind of strange. The first ideas for the tracks came in January during my tour and from February onwards I wrote all material. The great thing with the Drumcode family is that we give each other good feedback with our music.
WWD: Speaking to other producers, they’ve struggled not being able to test their music out in the club as part of their whole productions process, giving them a chance to refine the track. What’s has your experience been like?
I usually do a lot of road testing and refine them after playing a few times. But after all these years I also feel very confident about my productions. The biggest challenge for this EP was the new studio, but I spent countless hours building, measuring and doing sessions with an acoustic engineer. My room sounds amazing now and it feels so good to be in there.
WWD: What’s the vibe been like amongst your Drumcode colleagues during this ‘strange time’? Are you talking a lot?
Yes, we talk a lot in our group app. Although we live in different countries, we see each other a lot during “normal touring life”. The chat we use to discuss stuff like new music and production, but also lots of family things and general chitchat. At the end of the day, they are my techno family and we’ve known each other for so many years.
WWD: The revenue structures that govern dance music are under heavy scrutiny at the moment. Namely producers should be earning more when their music is not only played on streaming services, but there’s also talk that DJs should play a percentage of their DJ fee to (separate to royalty associations) to the producers whose music features in there sets, making it more possible for producers to make a better income from their music. Do you believe significant changes like this should take place?
For me its not necessary to change things the way they go at the moment. It’s already a very cool thing that producers are getting paid when their music is being played on the various platforms. To make and play music is an essential part of life for me. Even without events happening, I keep on digging and searching for new music besides working on my own productions.
WWD: Some artists are looking at giving masterclasses or consulting to give themselves other revenue streams during this time. Is this something you’ve considered?
I haven’t been doing this, but in general it’s a good things to share your knowledge. I feel its important to keep investing in our scene and feel happy when new talent steps up. It’s amazing to see all new producers and hear fresh sounding artists.
WWD: There’s been talk of events starting up in Spain this summer, which some may argue is premature. How do you see things? Would you like to get back to playing ASAP or are you more cautious?
It almost feels like a utopia to have events on again, but I am confident they will happen sooner or later. I am so ready to go out and play again. The moment events start happening again, I’ll dive in full force.
WWD: Finally, do you have any arts, culture or music tips for us to devour during these quieter times?
I don’t watch or have a television at home, but I a around music most of the day. The extra time I had during the covid crisis I used to organize my vinyl collection properly. Most of my collection is still in the attic and I pick up parts of it and take my time to listen in the studio. It’s a great trip down memory lane to hear all the tracks that remind me for example of early Awakenings editions. So much good techno has been made and the new productions are just as exciting!
Release Date: June 8th. Buy Here