Brussels in the house! Belgian techno man Peter Van Hoesen mixes it up on this week's RA podcast.
Buzzing, blurting and bleeping techno. It's what makes the world go round for Peter Van Hoesen. The Brussels-based DJ/producer has been listening to the stuff for years in the city, in and among stints as the bass player for a band and a fan of the New Beat records that defined the city's clubbing landscapes in the late '80s and early '90s. Van Hoesen takes influence from those experiences, as well as his current work as a sound design for theater, and plugs into his passion for techno and has come away with some of the most vital work in the genre over the past few years.
Eschewing the minimal sound for something a bit funkier, and a bit closer to what he calls "mental body music," Van Hoesen's tunes have seen the light of day on his Time To Express imprint, Berlin's Lan Muzic, Morse and Komisch. We have no doubt there'll be plenty more to add to that list in the future—if Van Hoesen wants it to be so. But today we're more interested in his DJing. PVH has put together a podcast for RA which is a perfectly example of his ethos behind the decks, pushing the BPMs faster and faster as the mix goes along, leading up to a sublime climax and denouement.
What have you been working on recently?
I just finished two new tracks for Lan Muzic and a remix for Samuli Kemppi. This week I have also started working on a new EP for Time To Express which should be out in November. And then there's the Sendai project together with Yves De Mey. We have been spending time in the studio producing new music, enjoying the pleasures of the experiment.
Where and how was the mix recorded?
It was recorded at my studio in Brussels sometime in June, using two decks, two CD players and a mixer.
Can you tell us a little about the mix?
The idea behind it was to recreate the ideal DJ set, which for me means starting with a slower tempo and working my way up from there. For me, the ideal DJ set is one that starts when the crowd is warmed up and ready to party hard but also up for a little bit of a trip. Techno music is so rich, I feel it's a waste to just stick to one style, tempo or taste. The tracks you hear in the mix are the ones that are in my bag at the moment, new techno combined with the odd oldie, like the Alter Ego one. Mixing up old and new is fun. Also, I feel it gives the mix a bit of a perspective.
Does Time To Express have any particular ethos?
The music on the label needs to evoke a kind of mental body music. For me, techno and house are at their best when the full physical impact of the music is clearly present, while at the same time the sounds are playing with your senses, with your feeling of space and time. That said, I also think that the label's profile will change over time, alongside my personal musical journey. These two things are strongly connected, and they evolve constantly. Honestly, I'm curious to see where it all ends up, it's an interesting adventure. And last but certainly not least, it's important for me to work with people who have an honest view on music, but not necessarily the same taste or approach as me. Since the start of the label I have met many motivated, inspiring and uplifting people, some of which have become friends.
Will we ever see your Object of Vanno projects again?
Hm, there is not really a place for them at the moment. My more experimental alter ego has found a welcome home in the form of Sendai, that's more than enough for now. Now and then I feel the need to make other music besides techno, but there's just not enough time to do it all. I wish I had nine lives and a spare set of ears to get all the music that's in my head out there, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. ;)
Do you ever see yourself using your sound design knowledge to host a larger scale surround sound techno event?
It's funny that you should ask this, because I have done several surround projects in the past and there has always been this urge to push it further towards a dance floor-oriented setting. We have done events in Brussels where we used multi-point speaker setups and such, but I feel that it's possible to take it to a whole other level. With the right approach and the right setting it could really have an impact. Imagine a club that hosts artists producing techno in surround format, with a decent sound system that can truthfully reproduce spatialized sound. Or even better would be to have all this at an outside location. I think that about sums it up as far as my personal sound utopia is concerned.
What are you up to next?
The next two months bring gigs in Berlin and Tokyo, I look forward to meeting my friends in those cities again. I'll also be spending some time working on my album. There's also my sound design work with contemporary dance company Zoo/Thomas Hauert. We will be touring Europe in the coming months. It's all about music basically.