Some have already spent years in the shadows, waiting for the right moment - others have barely left their bedroom studios. Some aim for headlining festival stages, others aim for nothing in particular – but all of them have developed a sound with the potential to turn a lot of heads. With this feature we shine a light on some of the most interesting emerging new talents our tiny country has to offer.
This guy has been going around under a few DJ-aliases over the last decade, but it’s with his latest Beatsforbeaches production moniker Baptist Bosmans found his true calling. This friendly Brussels resident makes his tracks balance so effortlessly between different genres and moods, it’s only a matter of time before he reaches the big league. With a selective set of past performances, clever collaborations and a healthy dose of patience and humility, this 54Kolaktiv associate is one to watch. He might be slightly overqualified for this series, but there’s a lot we don’t know about him yet. Time to change that…
Imagine you had to describe what Beatsforbeaches is to your unsuspecting mother-in-law, how would you explain?
"I would say that I make electronic music using a computer and a set of old synthesizers. My songs can sound spacy, ambient or dubby with deep basslines or sometimes even more trappy or grime-like. But, then again, I also make funky and tropical tracks as well, so I would advise her to come to a show so she can hear for herself."
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your kind of versatile music - that’s clearly not looking for labels?
"I listen to quite a lot of different styles of music. I think that keeps me relaxed and healthy in my mind. When I was younger, I could get stuck in the same genre for too long. I've learned that - for my general mood - it’s better to listen to all kinds of music. For example: today I listened to SCHNTZL and to Le 77. Very different styles, but both give me energy in a different way. Another example of not thinking in labels is Brikabrak, a party I organise together with Yooth. A while back we had Audri and Swissbank on the same lineup, so, yeah... I definitely draw inspiration from music that can make me want to drop what I'm doing, music that just makes me want to listen and dream away, start dancing or singing along to it, like stuff by Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, James Blake, Kanye West, Chance The Rapper to name a few. Experiencing a really good live show gives me a lot of inspiration too. In this regard I want to thank Bon Iver, Brihang and Flying Lotus for giving me lots of energy in the studio."
It does sound like this music is made to be brought live on stage. Is that what you are planning to do?
"I've been a solo producer since I started making music. I used to be very protective about my production process. Like, when I made a track, I would not put it online. I would just play it in my DJ sets only. I wasn’t really open to feedback or collaborations because I wanted to do my own thing. Since I moved to a bigger studio 2 years ago and got more available place to make music with other people, my workflow has changed - and I have found a good balance between working on music by myself and collaborating with friends. So now there are 'Beatsforbeaches' tracks on which 2 or 3 people worked on besides me. My goal is to perform a 100% live show with my friends one day. Right now, I use a MPD on stage to play loops, create live drum hits and control different effects and plug-ins during the show."
You work with a couple of guest singers. Who are they and what do they have that others don't?
"Léon and Dhazed provided live vocals during almost all my shows last year. The first time I heard Léon sing was when he had a performance with his former funk band called 'Nature Heaten'. I never heard a local guy at his age sing with such a mature soul and R&B voice. Not much later, I sent him some beats of mine and a few days after that we were already recording demos in my studio. Now, we have about 10 tracks together. On some of these tracks he also plays keys. Other than his magical voice and being a funky keyboard player, he’s also a chill and very motivated guy, which is why it’s really easy to work with him.
As for Dhazed: he got in touch with me after a mutual friend (shout out to Shabba) introduced him to my music. I already knew him as part of the Raggaravane Soundsystem crew and I was quite amazed with his MC skills. He does really sound like a MC straight out of Kingston, but really he’s just a very sweet and positive guy from Brussels with a voice you don’t hear that often in our city. One day, he sent me some videos on which he was singing on my beats and I immediately thought it sounded cool. That same night I had a show at VK Concerts (being the support act for Clams Casino) and I asked him to join me on stage. He took the mic and went with it, complete freestyled. That was exciting!
Lately, I have also been working with Agneskena. We go way back, but I never knew she had such a beautiful voice until I saw an Instagram video of her sitting at a piano and singing. Not much later we were recording music together. Her voice is very pure and honest - and she fits perfectly on the more ambient and indie beats I make."
Before this project, you were active as a DJ for quite a long time. Do you feel like that was necessary to become the producer you are now?
"By DJ-ing under the aliases Mezzdub and Baptist for more than 10 years, you could say I made a journey to discover the sounds I really like. This helped me to pinpoint the direction I wanted to go towards as a producer. Nowadays, I can say that I have my own sound - and that's very important to me."
Are you still part of 54Kolaktiv (‘Saint-Kat Collectif’, cleverly named after Place Sainte Catherine in Brussels, where this large crew of creatives would hang around, ed.)? Can you explain what this collective is to people who might not have heard about it?
"Yes, of course. We started with 54kolaktiv more than 10 years ago. We were a group of friends that were making all kinds of art (like music, video, photo, design, etc.). So we decided to take this to the next level by throwing parties, expo’s, events and whatnot in and around Brussels, our city. Our next party, ‘Exit 54’, takes place in Recyclart on December 15 (click here for the Facebook event link). You can expect some live hip hop by Frontal, some doom from Youff or some classic gabber by Phonetics and Nalish (who are both co-founders of 54kolaktiv).
'54' is still a special place for me and a lot of other people. Other crews like Perron 6, Jhmj Dar, STIKSTOF, Frontal and Toestand started here and I’m sure I'm forgetting a lot more. For me, the 54 square will always be a place to chill, dream and just be myself. I believe that everybody who is 54 will stay 54 for the rest of her or his life. When I’m on the metro and I hear a 15-year-old kid talk about meeting at ‘54’ instead of 'Sint Katelijne' or 'Sainte Catherine', I’m pretty sure it will never die."
How did you come up with the name ‘Beatsforbeaches’?
"Whenever I want to find rest in my head, I escape to an empty beach. I just think about about a place like this, the sand, the sea – and making music is another sort of escape. When I suggested this name to my mother, her response was: “that’s typical you. You always had this weird connection with the beach”. She didn’t really elaborate on that, but my mom is always right. Additionally, I’ve always liked the letter B a lot. Maybe my first name has to do something with that."
You’ve already released some EP’s and tracks over the last two years. What’s the plan from here?
"I don’t really set deadlines for myself. I just kind of ‘feel it’ when a project is ready for mastering. At the moment, I’m working with some people I really look up to (sorry, I can’t give any names yet, it’s still top secret). The tracks with Dhazed, Léon and Agneskena will be released in the near future. I hope 2018 is going to be a year in which we can surprise and ‘move’ a lot of people."
You made an exclusive track for us. Could you tell us a little more about it?
"I’m really proud of this track. It’s one of my favourites at the moment, to be honest. I made it in just one studio session, so I was really in a vibe while I made this one. This track reflects the sound I’ve been playing with during these last few months. Nowadays, I'm really into spacy raw synths and heavy basslines, so there are no vocals, because I didn't feel like it was necessary. It’s an emotional track for me. I don't really know why, but after listening to it for so many times, it still gives me goosebumps. And that right there is why I do it. It's all about them goosebumps!"