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.
Us Belgians may be proud of our music; we can’t deny that there’s something irresistible about that “UK sound”. One organisation that understands this better than anyone else is Under My Garage, a solid eyes-down, lights-out party frequently held across different venues in Brussels that isn’t afraid to put the experimental side of techno music in the spotlights. Amongst its enthusiastic residents, Cabasa is probably the artist with the most ‘UK’ in him. As a young Brusseleir living in London, he has perfected his own signature sound, not afraid to draw elements from jungle, breakbeat and ambient into his hard-to-define productions. With a stunning new EP on No Suit Records, he caught our attention – so we just had to pose this upcoming talent some questions we were dying to ask.
Your new record came out a few weeks ago. How has the response been so far?
"I think we’ve had quite a good response so far. I gave away some test presses a while ago to artists I love and respect (like for example: Simo Cell, Laksa and ΚΕΜΑΛ from Berceuse Heroique) and they all gave me great feedback! The video for ‘Aquaris Monopole’ had a great impact as well; people love it and I reckon that was the best possible teaser we could get for the release."
Is producing the next step you want to develop more?
"I’ve actually started producing as I started DJ-ing. I’ve always done both at the same time, but the last couple of years have been the most productive ones."
We’ve read that your father was a huge New Beat fan. Is that where you found your love for electronic music?
"Not exactly. I’ve been hearing all sorts of electronic music since I was born, but never properly listened to any of it by myself until I was around 17 years old, even though my dad used to burn 90s electronica compilation CDs for me and my sister when we were kids. At one point, I realized I enjoyed it quite well and so I started digging more into the matter. It always feels great when I randomly bump into a tune I used to hear when I was a kid that I had completely forgotten about!"
Where did you find your artist name?
"It’s basically just the name of a music instrument (it’s some kind of shaker). I picked this name simply because I used to work a lot with these things in my music a while ago. Additionally, it sounded nice, short, and easy to pronounce in any language."
You seem to have a whole load of radio sets online. You’re a resident at both 199radio and the newly formed The Word Radio + additional sets on Radar and Balamii to name a few. Can’t have enough of radio shows?
"I love playing on radios because it’s something completely new for me. I only just started doing them since June 2017. It get to play all the stuff I wouldn’t play in the club, and it’s just a genuinely different way to mix music. As you might have noticed, I try to do divide my airtime between ambient and rhythmic stuff."
You are part of the UMG collective - one of the few crews in Belgium that book artists that have a more distinct “UK sound” in techno. Do you feel like the market in Belgium is big enough for events like these?
"I’m not quite sure, and that is part of the reasons why I moved to the UK. However, I think the UMG guys do an amazing job and I really appreciate their will to bring the ‘UK sound’ to Belgium. They always book top-notch line ups like no other promoters."
In which ways is it different to play out as a DJ in London, compared to Brussels or Belgium in general?
"From what I’ve experienced so far, I think people in London are more curious and open minded. They are not afraid to dance to music they haven’t heard before; they have less preconceived ideas and are less judgmental. Therefore, you can afford to play whatever you feel like, since people have less expectations in a way. Most of the Belgian crowds tend to stick to what they’re used to and reject everything else. You have to be careful sometimes if you want a good response to your set. For instance, I’ve noticed it’s quite common for any DJ to play some jungle at the end of the night in London, and people seem to love it! I dare DJs to do the same in Belgium! But again, I’m talking about my own experience; I’m not saying it’s the case everywhere."
Anything that'll happen this year are you most looking forward to?
"I will have a few records out with different labels I love, and my first international gigs as well!"