Fresh on the Scene

Danga

Pictures by Maxim Leurentop

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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.

For this instalment we return to the Diamond City (yes, indeed, Antwerp) for a coffee and a chat with a man that has been moving under way too many radars lately. Maxime Aerts, better known as Danga, has been low-key infiltrating clubs, festivals and radio stations across the country and beyond with his signature mix of hip hop, house and all things funky. After a superb set on Amsterdam’s Red Light Radio and his most recent international gig in Nantes, we felt like the time has come to shine a light on one of Antwerp’s most slept-on DJs in the game. Let’s get to know him a little better, shall we?

How would you describe your sound to people who have never heard of you?

"It's a mixture of different genres. I don't believe in sticking to 1 genre."

Where did your story start?

"I actually grew up listening to hardcore, metal and rock. My father and grandfather used to play instruments and my brother still does (shout out to Tanguy on the horn). So apart from being influenced by my direct familiar environment, I also learned a lot from playing in several bands. All of these factors contributed to my love for music. In my circle of friends, I was always the go-to guy when they needed music. At a certain point we couldn’t find the right spots in Belgium that match with our preferred styles of music, so that motivated me to start taking music to the next level."

What are the qualities a DJ should strive for?

"Skilled mixing is a crucial part of being a DJ for me. I also like it when a DJ can surprise the crowd with unexpected tracks. You have to be able to read the dancefloor and make sure everyone is enjoying the music."

Tell us your most extraordinary or craziest DJ story so far.

"I got to go to Paris Fashion Week with friends. I love the city and I’ve always been a big fan of the party scene over there. One night, I took an Uber to Le Carmen (a club in Paris, ed.) and on the way a friend of mine called me and asked me if I had my USB’s with me. I didn’t understand why he asked me, until I arrived. They pushed me towards the DJ booth and asked me to play instantly. I shut the place down and as soon as I finished, I had to DJ again the other room. Ever since, I’ve been booked for parties in Paris frequently."

Seems like you've teased your fans on Facebook with a short clip of your own beat. When can we hear some Danga productions?

"Yes, I started last year with productions and edits. It’s a very long and complex process. I’m working on some stuff, but I can’t say when it will be ready. So just keep your eyes peeled!"

Which DJ or producer is your main inspiration?

"I think the people around me inspire me the most. I don’t have one specific main source of inspiration, because there are a lot of things that inspire me. However, if I really have to pick one act, it would be Daft Punk."

What do you want to accomplish in your music career?

"I want to grow into something larger than 'just a DJ', developing myself in different skills like producing - which is the the main goal I’m striving for at the moment."

Keep an eye on the man's Facebook page for updates on more bangin' mixes, DJ sets or his progress in producing.