Who the hell is Waeys?

Waeys has means: since his first proper D&B debut last year on Overview, the young Dutchman has yet to make a wrong move, notching up releases on the likes of Delta9, Overview, Differential and now Skankandbass with last week’s powerful double-header: The Run / Routine

His debut on the label, and given away for free, it’s the next in a growing slew of sounds he’s been sculpting during lockdown and we’re promised there’s plenty more to come. There’s plenty to his past, too. Including a schooling from his father on the bass guitar and a serious foundation of metal. We called him up to find out more….

 What’s the meaning behind your name?

I was looking for one that was non-existent by spelling words differently, without altering the way you actually say the words. It basically came from ‘ways’ – roads, possibilities, that’s it. I wondered how I could add to that by making it a new word but still having the same pronunciation.

How would you describe your own style?

I really love the modern style drum-wise: clean and techy. But I’m not afraid of a little foghorn every now and then (laughs). I like so many things and I’ve done a lot of things in terms of music. Dubstep for example, and also halftime beats. Even though I have a certain sound, my style is everywhere. One moment I feel like pulling out the biggest foghorn I can think of and the next I want to make this really soulful liquid tune. In the end the music that gets released is on the heavier side.

How are doing right now during these strange times?

Waeys is doing fine. I’m in the risk group because of my asthma, so I’m taking it fairly seriously. My roommates too, which is good. I’m making a lot of music and having a lot of free time. Also doing some school stuff where possible of course.

I’m in my third year at the University of Arts in Utrecht, where I study audio design. There are a lot of subjects regarding music, but it’s more the technical side, and a bit of live audio, relating to being the mixing engineer at a live venue, or being the sound technician, as well as studio engineer during recording and such.

It’s clear you are benefiting from this as an artist, but how does this go together?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, more than usual. Waeys is going somewhere. Doing stuff with music as a study and being able to do that all day; during the first three years of my study I really loved it, but it reduced the time to work on my music obviously.

Now I’m starting to go somewhere and I want more time to do it. The recent lockdown is perfect for that actually. It shows, I’m getting a lot of music done and it ends up being signed or played. But the further I’ll get with Waeys, the harder it will be for me to actually finish my study. I will, but it’s getting harder to stay motivated.

When did you realise Waeys is becoming a thing?

Being released by these bigger labels and getting decent plays on Spotify, around 2016. I started to feel like it got me somewhere and it got me a bit of name and money, so I concluded I could focus a bit more on this and that’s what I did.

Tell us more about your newest release….

For The Run / Routine this one I went to a more Sofa Sound kind of vibe to it, a more modern UK jump up-ish – that’s the best I can describe it. I’m really happy about those tunes. You can still hear me trying out a lot of different things and new styles, while implementing certain things that I do in terms of sound design.

I’ve been making music every day since quarantine, so it has been paying off. I have an EP planned on Overview in June and a single on another cool label in July. There are more releases later on in the year, but these don’t have a date yet.

When looking back at your first steps as a musician, who or what got you hooked initially?

I started with my dad being a musician. He plays jazz, upright bass, and regular bass guitar in a lot of jazz bands, big bands etc. I got the musician part from my dad. He taught me how to play bass guitar. I was about seven and thought it would be cool to play an instrument. The easiest thing to grab was one of my dad’s basses, he had a ton of them. I would just pick one and start to play. I got to the point I becoming better at it involved someone and obviously my dad could teach me.

Has he always been your mentor?

In the early years he taught me a lot about music in general, music theory and reading notes. He was my mentor until I moved to piano lessons with someone else. I did this for another three years. It was at the point I’ve got into the heavier side of music; rock and metal-ish. I dropped piano lessons and wanted to learn rock guitar, I wanted to be the metal guy.

Which artists inspired you?

Bands like Breaking Benjamin, Rise Against – bands who were favorites of people of the same age and scene. A lot of my friends listened to the same bands that I did. Eventually I got myself a guitar and started to learn. I never took lessons for that, but taught myself and played it actively for about seven years.

You’ve never joined a band despite your background as a musician. How come?

It was in the period when I started to buy guitars and went crazy with that, buying a seven strings guitar and so on – stuff that’s really suited metal. I also programmed my own drums and made it sound good together, while being inspired be the bands I listened to at the time: the progressive side of metal. Yet I always felt that I wasn’t good enough as a guitar player to actually be in a band that makes music which I think is actually good. My standards for good metal music were up there with bands that could play ridiculously good – stuff that I could never play. I thought I could get to that level, but it would take me so many years and it wasn’t a road I would like to take, because I got to make money somehow.

I’d rather make money doing something that I love, than doing something that I love on the side and trying making a living. The metal scene, I don’t know man, I still have friends who play in bands that are pretty known and get decent plays on Spotify –  do a lot of shows. The profit is still minimal. They go home with basically nothing, because all the costs they have to make. The financials of it are horrible. They say there’s no money in drum ‘n bass, but metal is even worse.

When reflecting on the tough times in terms of improving as a musician; what kept you going?

I’ve had moments when I thought I didn’t want to do music anymore. At one point during high school I was really focused on doing IT stuff. I worked at a store where I did all the repairs – it almost become my study at the university. Then I found out I needed to have really high grades in math and I was hardly passing the subject and I thought: ‘Maybe this isn’t for me, even if I really like it, I like the practical side like repairing stuff and fixing problems, but not the programming side’. Music was still on my mind and I decided to do music and see where I will end up. My parents supported me none the less, so it was fine and not a hard decision.

I figured that if I keep going, I will probably do something I love and make a living from it. I really need to do something I’m really interested in or love doing, otherwise I will not have the discipline or motivation to keep doing it and end up quitting.

All I dream about right now is being able to do this for a living, then I wouldn’t need anything else and be happy.

Fast forward: where do you see yourself in five years?

It’s funny, because I always saw a couple of labels as an endgame. I’m working with those labels right now. Honestly, all that I wanted to accomplish are things that are pretty much happening. I mainly hope that I can keep doing those things. And yeah, I want to become bigger and do more shows as well. Music is always evolving, so I won’t get bored. Even if I would get bored with drum ‘n bass, I’ll find something else to write. I might do some beats or deep dubstep 140(BPM) stuff, but for now I’m fine where I’m at and want to keep doing this. I feel like the scene is healthy enough to do this for at least the next five years.

Anything you would like to add to conclude?

Keep your eyes peeled on my facebook page and Spotify, there are a lot of releases coming in the upcoming months. Shoutouts to Peter and Oli from Overview, Diego from Delta9 and Kasra!

Waeys – The Run / Routine is out now on Skankandbass

Follow Waeys: Facebook / Soundcloud / Patreon