We’ve waited and waited and waited.
Two and a half years after Netsky kicked seven shades of sonic shizzle out of the ‘difficult second album’ cliché with II, the young Belgian artist is ready to confirm details on what he has in store this year.
What’s more, there’s a strong chance he’ll be dropping some of it this Thursday at Building Six when he headlines our massive Easter Bank Holiday blow-out! Read on to find out exactly where Netsky is at right now… Then grab tickets to join us for our first London show of 2015!
Hey Boris. It’s just been your birthday recently, hasn’t it?
Yes, it was my birthday the other weekend. I was playing in Zurich with the band and they set up a little surprise party. It was great!
It’s probably good someone’s organised that… I’m guessing you’re too busy to set up something like that yourself?
Absolutely. I hate birthdays! I do like to organise stuff on the special dates… I did something last year for my 25th. I’ll do something big on my 30th but 26 isn’t a particularly special age is it?
Every age is special man. But let’s talk about you being busy… How hectic is life for Netsky on a scale of 1 to 10?
It’s actually really nicely balanced at the moment. I’d say a five. Lots of studio time at home and I’ve held back on the touring… I’ve been enjoying the quietness and getting on with the album without disruption.
Where are you at with the album? Are you ready to talk about it, or too soon?
No it’s about time I started talking about the album. I’ve been working on it for two and a half years now. It feels like forever. It’s been really interesting as most of it has been done in Antwerp but I’ve been flying to London for sessions with writers and singers. I’ve been enjoying that side of the travel – it’s a nice feeling to fly to a place and not play in the evening. It’s starting to feel a bit like a proper job!
You teased us with a post on Facebook about working with an incredible singer recently. I’m guessing you’re keeping tight-lipped about who is actually going to appear on the album?
I wish I could tell you! That singer I mentioned on Facebook is just so talented. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say it was the most amazing voice I’ve ever recorded in the studio. Trust me. We’ll be releasing that particular track after the summer and I can’t wait for people to hear it!
Getting radio play will get more fans into drum & bass full stop. Once they’ve heard the tracks on the radio they dig deeper and hear more. It’s amazing for the whole scene.
There’ll be another single before then, right?
Yeah, I think something is coming out very soon. I’m hoping by the end of April or start of May. Sooner rather than later to be honest.
Cool. Then what?
Hopefully another single and then the album but you know how these things change. What’s important for me is to not have everything focus around singles. I want to keep people excited and not talk about one single for three months. I really want to give away stuff for free and have a really healthy flow of things to keep people happy.
Is that indicative of how the industry has changed, or more just how you want to do things?
A bit of both I think. But I’ve made so much music that the album will make more sense with the other material I want to give away. It gives me more freedom then too – I can pick the right songs for the album and be creative with giveaways.
So basically you’re sitting on TOO MUCH new music right now?
Yes! But right now I want to get this next single out then finish the final touches of the album – just making sure it’s perfect and all the additional elements are in place like live strings and the best possible vocals. Plus it’s nice to have everyone focusing on one thing instead of loads of singles and the album at the same time.
So the last new thing we had on the channel was the collab with Metrik, let’s go back to that for a second.
Yes. I LOVED Stealth’s voice and wanted to give his vocal the right treatment. That kind of grainy feel, you know? Metrik was a perfect man to work with on this. I don’t think this will be on the album but it’s the type of flow I mean when I say about dropping tracks between big releases.
Have you checked the comments on this one? How do you feel about the whole old Netsky / new Netsky debate?
Well it’s been two and a half years since my last album. In that time I’ve released one single and one co-lab. I don’t know how people can forecast what my new stuff will sound like from those releases? For me it’s about focussing on making the best music I can. I hope it sits between both worlds… And I hope I surprise some of those older fans!
Calyx described it well last month explaining how people who get into an artist at a certain stage will always want to go back to that chapter because that’s their personal favourite moment of an artist’s career. Would you agree?
Yeah I think so. You can’t please everyone all the time. If you’re constantly trying to please people who got into you three years ago then you’re stopping your own evolution. The real commercial side of dance music comes into play then; when you’re only trying to please fans you already have. Making music you really like yourself is anti-commercial because you’re not trying to fit a market, you’re being true to yourself and evolving.
The very concept of commercial drum & bass is more of a reality than ever now. Has the success of acts like Wilkinson and Sigma changed your perspective or approach?
I find it all very interesting and it’s amazing acts like Sigma have opened doors to new fanbases. So yes, I do think about radio play when we consider which tracks might be singles. Getting radio play will get more fans into drum & bass full stop. Once they’ve heard the tracks on the radio they dig deeper and hear more. It’s amazing for the whole scene. It hasn’t changed how I write, but it’s changed my goals a little; I want to reach as many people as possible with my music and radio is a great way to do that. I’ve always liked pop music and I’ve always loved sticky melodies and good hooks so, for me, this new chapter of drum & bass is very exciting for me…
So a number one single isn’t particularly an ambition for you, then?
A number one isn’t an ambition, no. But having a single that works well in different countries and not just one country or territory is much more of an ambition. I want to keep touring in Australia and America a lot more. That’s an ambition for me; having people all over the world relate to my music. I’m sure achieving a number one is incredible but it’s not my goal. I’d rather make an album that people really relate to and can tell me stories about… That’s a lot more personal for me.
Have you been told stories by fans about your music that have blown your mind?
Yeah loads! There have been some great videos of kids doing their first ever dance to tracks like Puppy. That’s so touching – to have my music play that type of role with families and young kids. I’ve also had some very humbling stories from fans who’ve told me how their music has helped them through some really sad times like depression and thoughts of suicide. Hearing stuff like that blows my mind. It’s not why I write my music, or a perspective I can even imagine, but it’s very empowering and complementary when I hear these stories.
Yeah sure, that must be very touching. You mentioned the universal aspect of your music… Where in the world haven’t you connected with? As a band, perhaps. I’m assuming you’ve DJ’d everywhere?
I haven’t DJ’d everywhere! There are still many places I’d like to explore. I actually enjoy DJing somewhere before I take the band so I have an idea of what they might like to hear. I’m DJing in Brazil for the first time soon, which is amazing. I haven’t played in Asia much or India, which is getting huge with electronic music right now.
I’ve got 80 per cent of the album ready to play and try out. UKF nights are the best for that; the crowd know their shit and react well to new stuff.
I like the idea of doing a reconnaissance mission as a DJ before taking the band out there!
Yeah, DJ sets are great way of dipping my toe into a territory and experiencing a small picture of their vibe. Of course you can’t tell that from just one show but it’s always an interesting exercise. To be honest I’m not sure we’re ready to take the band to all the different countries yet… We only play my songs and I don’t know if people in the countries know my music! So with DJ sets you can really tailor things for the crowd and make sure they’re getting music that they love and relate to.
You’ll be playing music we can love and relate to this weekend at UKF, Building Six, I’m sure… Any new stuff?
Without a doubt. I’m bringing as much new stuff as I can. I’ve got 80 per cent of the album ready to play and try out. UKF nights are the best for that; the crowd know their shit and react well to new stuff. UKF parties are one of the best places to try new stuff and I’m really looking forward to it!