In the run-up to this year’s edition of the ever-expanding Red Bull Elektropedia Awards – which take place in Brussels for the first time – we’ve asked Antwerp-based DJ-producer Oaktree (1990) to take on mixing duties and deliver the 49th instalment in our ongoing series of exclusive mixes. It starts slow and ambient, then picks up the pace to get you going.
Can you describe yourself in a few words? Your sound, approach to making music, your influences, how it all started, etc…
My name is Adriaan, I’m 25 years old, I live in Antwerp & I make music. Although I’ve played trumpet for more than 10 years, learning it at the local music school, I never got any good at it. It was only when I was around 15 or 16 years old that I got to know electronic music through my older brother (and his Soulseek folders). That’s when I got into DJing, and after, into making my own music. There is no general approach I have when it comes to making music, I’m always experimenting, looking for new ideas & trying different ways of working.
How did you first start making music? How does it fit into your life?
It just happened pretty organically. Even when I started to study music production, I never thought this would actually become such a big part of what I do & who I am.
Is music a full-time thing for you at the moment? If not, what are your other occupations?
I’m definitely working more than 40 hours a week on Oaktree related stuff, so you could call that a full time thing, but I also have a part time job. I work in a youth house where I help out a group of young people who are working on 3D-mapping stuff, videos, graphic design, installations, photography… It’s nice to do something else than music once in a while. It helps to put my mind at ease. On top of that, they are really nice & fun guys, :).
Can you describe the mix in a few words? What is its overriding influence, where would it best be enjoyed, what makes it special?
This mixtape is based on the the stuff I played at PROJECTOR in Het Bos last week. It was an audio visual thing I did with Thomas from Nacht Collectief. The fact that there was so much focus on the visual side liberated me from the idea that I had to keep the people dancing. I don’t find it easy, to find the right balance between slow stuff and stuff that you can actually move to. I’m still trying to find out my own way of doing that. This was one of the attempts. I guess listening to this with headphones on and walking through a city would be my favourite way to listen to this mixtape.
Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix? Why did you chose to include this one? If it isn’t one of your own productions, how did you come across the artist?
The first track of the mix is a remix I did for Polynation which is forthcoming on Atomnation, a very nice label from Amsterdam. I also included two parts of the soundscape I made for Dwaallicht, another project I did with Nacht Collectief last year. These excerpts were released on vinyl only, so I guess it’s the first time most people will hear these.
When and where did you record it? Describe the room, the furniture, the walls, the view from the room, the neighbourhood, the weather at the time, etc
It was recorded on Monday, 9th of November with two cd-players and a mixer that I borrowed from one of my housemates. It was recorded in my bedroom (quite a mess at the moment) which is also the place where I work on my music. I only have a rooftop window and can’t look outside. The weather was really nice: it’s November now and it’s warm outside!
What’s your favourite track on the mix?
That must be the Brian Eno track. It was Stef Van Alsenoy, the studio guy at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, who introduced me to that track, when we were checking some music on these amazing speakers. It really opened my ears.
What do you have coming up in the next few weeks?
Working on sound for a new art installation with Nacht Collectief, planning the release and new live shows for the EP I just finished, rehearsing and playing with the live band and hopefully some time to work on fresh ideas.The Red Bull Elektropedia Awards take place on 16th December at Wild Gallery, Brussels. Vote here.