M: 1970. In Ghent, Belgium.
B: 1969. In Ghent, Belgium.
M: There was a bit of music in the house, a bit of African music, Arabic music and Michael Jackson. But we had a lot of radio and recording tapes from the radio when I was 10-years-old or something. The jukebox in my parents’ bar was owned by a company that delivered 7 inches, whenever they replaced the selection we got to keep what they took out..They were all scratched and had played on the jukebox 100-times already. But it was still cool to have those to play around with and listen to.
B: My parents used to have Clubs and DJ Bars in the late 70s in Ghent. My father was the DJ, he played a lot of Rock and Seventies stuff. I remember at the age of 8 I saw him playing records. I wanted to do that as well! My love for music and dj-ing definitely started there.
M: The first 7-inch I bought with my own money was Tainted Love by Soft Cell, we still have it in our record collection.
By the age of 11, I frequently visited my Aunt in Amsterdam and I remember the music on the radio was brilliant.. I recorded a lot of tapes there and on one of those tapes there is a track, that to this day, I still haven’t found out what it is – I only know that at that time I had a great feeling about it and I hope that one day I’ll bump into it so I will finally be able to rest.
B: Mostly popular music, the stuff that the local radio was playing. I remember buying my first 7-inches in the early 80s, Rockwell for example . Then the Break Dance and Electro Boogie hype came over from New York. Movies like Beat Street and Wild Style were available on VHS and I saw them maybe a hundred times. My friends were into the breakdancing, but I was more interested in the musical part. I started buying the records and started imitating the scratches by DST or Flash. From those days on, you could say that I was really bitten by the music bug.
M: We have been DJing for about 20-years now. Early November 1987 was really our professional nightlife debut. We started playing in a club for 300-people, called Fifty Five. A small, dark, medieval basement with a HUGE soundsystem. We played there every Saturday from 10pm till 8/9am. Throughout the night we had to play really different sorts of music because at 10 o’clock all the youngsters came in and wanted to hear the new beat and pop stuff, but then a couple of hours later the audience changed – the more experienced clubbers came so we had to change the music – and then at the end it was the old rockers coming in, sipping whiskeys at the bar having us playing the Rolling Stones.
B: It was an extremely good learning school and I think that is really the foundation of how we play now and how Ghent got its sound. We were so focussed on covering the whole musical landscape as much as possible, pleasing everybody who came in, however we had 10-11 hours to prove ourselves, compared to having only one-and-a-half - two-hours sets nowadays.
M: Eskimo started out organizing parties in an old underwear factory. The parties were very successful, attracting more than 7000 people at its peak! There were five different rooms; a ragga/RnB room, another more housy room, a drum and bass room, an all-weird-cocktailmusic-60s–stuff-with–everything-mingled-in room. It was very diverse and you had a lot of different styles of people coming in. Everybody could go to their favourite room or could bounce from one room to another. It was a very successful approach, especially in a small city like Ghent. It had a good vibe.
B: NEWS then approached us to make a compilation, an Eskimo compilation. We thought that was great idea and in 2000 we did our first. It was quite successful, even getting great reviews in UK magazines. Then we did the second one, third one, fourth one.. We did 8 Eskimo compilations in total. We then started inviting different artists to do compilations and soon afterwards singles started to be released as well and by then Eskimo had become a label, releasing artist singles and albums.
When did you guys start seeing music as a profession?
B: We don’t see it as a profession. We don’t work.
M: We are unemployed. We just play music.
LABELS & PRODUCTION
M: We started remixing a few years ago. Something that has built up very nicely over the years. The last ones we did were Freddy Mercury and Roxy Music, and currently we are doing Snow Patrol.
B: The last compilation we did was DJ Kicks which was released in April 2005. In the meantime we started to produce our own music. We’ve been working and jamming with different musicians, different producers and we are releasing all those jams on our own label called Diskimo.
M: We’re indies now! But we work really lo-fi. The records look like bootlegs. It’s good fun to release your own music. We don’t do promotion, we don’t even send CDR’s out.
B: We’ve had great times at Eskimo, and it was amazing being part of it. Now Dirk is doing a great job with the label and we will be doing a new thing on Eskimo somewhere in Spring 2007.
M: It is very nice to play on something very underground for 150-people on a Friday, and then be playing for a crowd of 10,000 on a Saturday. We will play totally different sets. The set for 150 people will be much more intimate whereas the other one will be much more energetic. Playing at all these different kinds of gigs and different audiences keeps us alert musically and it keeps us sounding fresh. If we always had to play the same kind of music, the same kind of sound, we would be bored.
B: We like to change and play for different crowds. We really don’t know what we are going to do beforehand, we just arrive with our recordings and we see who else is playing and what the vibe is like and we’ll create our set so that fits in there. It’s the audience which decides how far we can go.
M: The first time we played at Fabric was on my birthday, 13 December 2003. Almost three years ago. It was a great atmosphere.
B: We had played at The End and Plastic People and a number different clubs and venues in London but not Fabric, and it was great to be there on a Friday night. FabricLive. We fitted in there. It was working.
M: It is always very nice to be able to play on the best equipment around. It is so well organised it suits the name – Fabric.
B: If you’re playing Spain or France or wherever, everybody knows Fabric and everybody looks at the website to see who is playing, who is on the CDs, whatever. So I think that it is an institution that a lot of people in Europe and beyond look at.
M: But also the way they approach a night, it is amazing to see such a big club every week, Friday and Saturday, with such an underground line-up… and it works. People know what to expect and I think that Fabric has enough power to promote the different acts that they like. They present to the people “look, this is what we like, this is what we have at Fabric, have a listen.” People come and they accept that. I don’t think there is a club anywhere else in the world who is doing this week after week after week.
B: Well, FabricLive is another step into our future. We’ll continue DJing all over the world, which is nice. Meanwhile we’ll be releasing a lot of stuff on our own label and seeing how that goes.
M: Every month, every five-weeks, we will have a 12-inch coming out on Diskimo We have loads of stuff lined up already. So that‘s a lot of music being put available. And somewhere early next year, we’ll do something new on Eskimo.
Bio courtesy of fabric