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.
There are many who like to live by the ‘less is more’-credo. Seeing too many musical influences as a curse, rather than a blessing. Willem Vanderstichele doesn’t belong too that group. Being a producer influenced and moved by tons of music genres, this has resulted in no less than 3 musical alter egos. With his neurofunk moniker Doctrine, Willem already received a lot of praise from the national - and international - drum‘n’bass scene, but it’s his new project Hush that is taking Belgium’s bass scene by storm. With releases on Monstercat, OWSLA and Ultra and having remixed Netsky, DJ Fresh and Diplo, it won’t take too long until he‘s Belgium’s next product for export.
Hi Willem, try to describe your music for people who don’t know you yet.
"As Hush I make future bass music. Think R&B meets LSD with trippy synths, hip hop rhythms and a lot of 808’s. It’s a relatively young genre in which there’s still so much room for innovation and originality. There are very few rules, anything goes, and that’s what appeals to me."
What’s your background? And how did it influence you as an artist?
"I grew up in Kortrijk, so I’m a proud West-Fleming. I started out playing guitar and singing in the post-rock / sludge band Blackboard. We made long, slow and atmospheric tunes, think Amenra, Isis and Cult of Luna. That band came to an end when I had my first serious relationship. I was really happy at that time, so I couldn’t keep on writing sad songs sincerely. A bit later our relationship ended and I felt the need to create music again, so I downloaded Reason and my alter-ego Doctrine was born."
What are your biggest musical influences?
"I’m still very much into post-rock and math metal. Next to that I listen to a lot of disco, classic hip hop, 90s R&B (like Brandy), techno and quality drum‘n’bass. Whenever I make music, I’m mainly inspired by people and experiences, rather than by other music. It’s hard to explain, but most of the time people and vibes are the core of a new track."
Tell us a bit about your musical journey: how did you end up at Hush?
"My adventure started as Doctrine - my neurofunk project. After a bunch of dubstep releases, I met Murdock, who eventually became my manager. Neurofunk drum‘n’bass is a difficult, tricky genre to make and since I’ve always had a broad musical taste, I didn’t want to limit myself to only one genre. Before I knew it, I made four Hush tracks that all had the same vibe. Those tracks ultimately formed my first EP - ‘Luchtledig’ - which was signed on Nest HQ, a daughter imprint of Skrillex’s OWSLA. The feedback I received was amazing, and since then I threat both projects with equal attention."
Apart from Hush and Doctrine, are there any other aliases we need to know about?
"Yes! Sous is a techno moniker I’m running together with my brother and a friend. I’m mainly on production duties, but recently we shared a lineup with Len Faki at Kompass Klub and Amelie Lens at Sondag. We’re working on a new EP, which is going to be sick! I think it’s great to express different emotions in music. Where future bass is very uplifting, techno and neurofunk are rather melancholic and aggressive. That way I can always express different personal thoughts in a song."
What has been your personal highlight in your career so far?
"Too much to sum up. The last two years have been crazy! Definitely playing Rampage in Sportpaleis Antwerp as Doctrine. I’ve been playing there for a few years now and every time I’m impressed. I also got to release on Noisa’s Invisible Recordings imprint and Andy C's RAM Records. Loved playing Hospitality in London too.
For Hush, it’s pretty safe to say that my signing on Monstercat - which is a great community - was a big highlight. I released my two most recent EPs over there and the response has been amazing. I was one of the headliners for their label night at ADE and played Tomorrowland last year. Next to that my remix for Netsky’s Rio on Ultra Music did really good and my most recent remix for DJ Fresh and Diplo just got out."
Yes! Tell us a bit about that last one. How did you end up with Mad Decent's head honcho?
"A few months ago, I got to know DJ Fresh through my manager. After he checked some new tracks of mine, he was very eager to meet me and he wanted to cooperate on his new project - ‘Fallen Angels’. After a dinner in Ghent, he asked me if I wanted to remix his upcoming single featuring Diplo. Obviously I didn't think twice about the proposal.
What other output can we expect from you in 2017?
" My new Doctrine EP is signed by RAM Records and will be released very soon, needless to say I'm PUMPED! I’m working on some Hush tracks for an epic label I can't mention right now, but it’s going to be very interesting! And some time this year there’s probably going to be a new Monstercat EP too. Furthermore, there’s a lot of stuff going I sadly can’t mention. Sorry! Either way, 2017 is going to be quite massive."
Anything you want to achieve in your career before you can die peacefully?
"I would love to play more foreign gigs. Big American festivals like Coachella look so dope! Besides that, I just want to make as many people as possible happy with my music. I know it sounds cheesy, but that's what it's all about. Oh yeah, and I would love to collaborate with vocalists like Drake and Rihanna. One can only dream!"