It took Antwerp-based Hiele little more than a year and two EPs to introduce and confirm himself as one of the most intriguing Belgian producers of quirky, hard to pinpoint electronica. Building a fan base that extends far beyond the country’s borders, he’s been gaining more followers with every live gig he plays, keeping the long-standing tradition of wayward music made with synthesizers in Belgium strong.
This Hiele interview is part of a larger series on Beat Music in Belgium. Check it in our Fourth Quarter Edition.
Here’s the relaxing Exclusive mix Hiele sent us some time ago.
On how it began.
The first record I was able to play on our turntable as a kid was Kraftwerk’s Computer World. So electronic music has always been a part of my life. When I went to secondary school to study contrabass I also started listening to Ricardo Villalobos, Felix Kubin and a wide array of other electronic music. This led to buying my first synth, a Micromoog, and from that point I kept on expanding. I decided to go for that instead of buying records. Making music for myself. At a certain moment Victor (Ekster) asked me if I wanted to release what I was performing. Which became the first release on his label. This gave me the energy and focus to finish more music.
On being hard to categorize.
I don’t see it as a problem. Maybe it hurts the commercial potential but it’s not a concern while making music. I don’t have to keep a certain tempo. I love rates around 160bpm which allow you to easily switch to a halftime 80bpm without it being too slow. Something I’ve learned while studying jazz, playing contrabass. Through drummers that challenge you to do things differently rhythmically. Going crazy on subdivisions. The improvisation is important for my music. Keeping the “ugly” bits. Keeping the instant moments as they are. Something you see in footwork now. Something raw. Snare drums that are off. I like that.
On hardware vs software.
I work with Ableton to mix but for everything that produces music, the instruments, I use analog gear. That’s personal. My brain needs to drift off into infinity and that isn’t possible for me staring at a screen. If software is the way for creation, fine. I am absolutely not an only-analogue-fetishist. It just happens to be the way I work.
On performing live.
I give myself completely on stage. I think it’s important that people see you’re in full concentration, that you are going for it 100%. Sweating on stage is a plus. People should primarily have a good time and enjoy the music. Sweat drops on your gear ads to that.
Playing live with a Roland TR-808 on a system with a decent sub bass. It’s a moment of pleasure when you turn the decay open and your dry kick becomes a heavy boom. If it sounds great, makes your eyeballs turn to the back and you get that satisfying feeling, it’s perfect.
On the internet.
I’m a perfectionist and highly critical of my work. So I don’t put just anything on Soundcloud. I don’t want to be part of the abundance of music that people see passing by on their screen every day. The best promo is to keep coming up with new music. Let it grow. Through people who really like your music and start to follow you.
On the future.
I’m making new tracks but without a clear view on a confirmed release. Could be this year or the next one. There is an interest from labels so I can send around tracks but if nobody likes them while I believe in them maybe I’ll release them on my own. Even digital. Even though I like vinyl because it’s tangible and lasting. It’s more interesting than it being stored at a 128kbps bitrate on a hard disc which can easily be destroyed.