Peter Van Hoesen’s been in the Belgian techno scene for years, but it’s really in the past few that he’s blown up on an international level, consistently producing unique and memorable 12″ releases that are charted and played out by top DJs worldwide. Peter’s also a highly sought DJ about to begin another tour, and this mix for D-Node demonstrates his appeal. Horizontal Ground, Cosmin TRG, Drumcell vs Audio Injection, Emptyset, and other bass-heavies are pulled into a densely-layered hour of driving dance music. Tracklist below.
After your New York show this weekend you’re in Chicago with Function (who performs at the Droid event PRIME on June 16). How is it performing with him, and what are your thoughts on the storied Windy City?
It’ll be my first time in Chicago so I’m very excited to come over and play. The influence of Chicago on electronic dance music is widely known, so for me it’s a big honour to play there. As for Function, Dave’s a good friend, we have played together a couple of times in the past two years so we know each other’s approach to dj’ing. Our musical past is quite similar in several ways, that’s one of the things that made the connection between us very easy. I’m sure the night at Smart Bar will be a lot of fun.
What do you think about the techno scene in the US in general? Where are your favorite places to play? You just made the move to Berlin, do you see techno in the US ever producing the same type of scene?
So far I have played in New York, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. One of the things that struck me is the quality of the sound systems and the involvement of the audience. The scene might not be as big as in Europe, but in the US people really know and understand the music. The crowd seems to react in a very positive, outgoing way to bass – that’s one very specific thing I noticed last year. I use this little drum machine during my dj sets, and every time I was playing around with the pitch of the kick drum the crowd went crazy when the low frequencies were hitting them. They know about bass. I’m quite bass-obsessed, so for me that was a big thrill to get that kind of reaction. As for the comparison with Berlin…. I think the scene in Berlin has grown because of specific elements that are present only here – socio-economical, cultural, things that go beyond the musical perspective. The way the scene has developed in Berlin is quite unique, so I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to any other place, as those other places don’t have the same context present. But that does not mean one can not develop a healthy scene anywhere else. I mean, people look up to Berlin, but I think you can develop a healthy scene anywhere, using whatever local means are available.
Tell us about the mix you’ve put together for us. What did you use to do it? What direction did you take?
When I record a mix for a podcast I approach it differently than when I mix for a crowd. You don’t have the energy of a room to feed off on, so you have to approach it from a different perspective. Usually my podcast mixes end up being a bit less rough than when I mix for a crowd. For the Droid podcast I wanted to showcase some of the tunes I’ll be bringing with me to the US.
Where do you find influence for your productions? Do you find inspiration from your work in theater?
My work in theatre only indirectly influences my techno productions. Mostly I am influenced by all the different music I expose myself to. That ranges from 80s New Wave to contemporary electronic music. It’s quite a wide range actually, I listen to a lot of different music. And there’s books, films, daily life… so much material for inspiration is just around the corner.
Getting into production specifics: are you mostly a digital producer? If so, what are your go-to’s in molding your signature bass-techno sound?
My ideal setup is one where machines and software are combined. I guess the bass sound mostly comes from the fact that I’m a bass player at heart. Bass is such an important aspect of sound for me – it really defines a lot of what I do and like. So I guess it is logical that this is present in my productions. I can’t say much more about it, most of the music I make is done very instinctively, it’s not a process I can describe or explain easily.
What are your plans for the rest of this year? More gigs? More productions? Balance of both?
There’s several gigs coming up after the US tour, leading up to Labyrinth in Japan next September. Yves De Mey and myself are also working on our upcoming Sendai album which will be released on Time To Express at the end of the year. I guess it’s safe to say I’m aiming for a balance between gigs and production. And there’s of course the label-related work, which takes up a fair bit of my time.
Speaking of Labyrinth, you’re lately described as a “Labyrinth resident.” How did you first get involved, and how would you describe the event?
The first time I played Labyrinth was in 2008. I have been back every year since. Labyrinth is a very unique event. A lot of different elements come together in a unique way: a truly special audience, a carefully organized event, the best outdoor sound system I’ve ever heard, beautiful surroundings and extremely motivated artists. In May I played at the official Labyrinth pre-party in Tokyo, and judging by the intensity of that event this year’s Labyrinth is going to be quite special. If I was to sum it up in one phrase: even if they would not invite me I would still go there. To be on the dancefloor, especialy during the closing set, is a unique experience.
Max Cavalerra: Wayfarer
Lucy: Bein – James Ruskin remix + Claudio PRC: Aphelion
Emika: Count Backwards – Marcel Dettmann remix + Untitled: C/H Signal Edit
Sigha: HF029 – A1
Peter Van Hoesen: Live Chord #1 + Kretipleti: Kontaminationen
Dino Sabatini: Step 3 + Jeff Mills: Zakir
Horizontal Ground: HG09 A1 + Jeff Mills: Cantazzo + Romboy & Bodzin: Mab – Speedy J remix
Marcel Dettmann: A Req – T++ remix + Mike Dehnert: MD2
Silent Servant: El Salvaje
Emptyset: Alltogether Lost – Ben Klock’s Glowing Clap mix
Spektre: Minds Eye – Drumcell_Audio Injection remix
Cosmin TRG: Izolat + Jeff Mills: Rich
Developer: Moving Forward in Reverse + Jack Master: Bang The Box Acapella
Peter Van Hoesen US Tour Dates:
Fri June 10 – The Bunker NYC with Peter Van Hoesen at Public Assembly / New York, USA