Ask your favourite DJ which DJ they like most and chances are the answer will one of these two guys. Even though they come from different scenes and backgrounds, both have proven themselves to be top shelf selectors for maximum turn-up vibes on any dancefloor. So it goes without saying this duo was on top of Full Circle’s wishlist for November 10, when you will be able to wander from club to club – all with one ticket – each of which offering the highest possible quality in Belgian DJs that master their own craft and style.
It’s not the first time these two Studio Brussel DJs join forces in a booth for an all-night rollercoaster ride. After last year’s striking success at Ampere, it only made perfect sense to get this golden combo back in action for an exclusive B2B sesh. But before we stretch our legs and put on our dancing shoes, we got both gentlemen to take a fifteen-minute break from their bombastic weekly schedule and have a lil conversation about long-ass sets and sharing the DJ booth with other artists. This should be good…
Are you happy with the current state of nightlife in Antwerp?
Faisal: "Happy is a big word to throw around when talking about nightlife pretty much anywhere in Belgium. But Antwerp is definitely on its way back up from being down for a while. I feel it’s all thanks to a few ballsy people who risk their own money trying to set up new concepts or venues and therefore injecting a new kind of ‘there-is-always-something-going-on-in-the-city'-feeling, that has been missing for a while. The newer clubs in the city are doing a good job at programming too. And I feel people are kind of getting excited again to check what’s coming up next."
Lefto: "There is a boost in the Antwerp nightlife right now. It has been so for a few years, with pop-up clubs, venues and music temples - without a doubt a good thing. Ampere always had my back, even when I did the first B2B with Faisal, I called Ampere to ask if they could open the club for us as the other venue had to cancel last minute. That night, I don’t think another venue could’ve handled that many people, so I have a lot of respect for what these guys try to build. But there are more great venues in the city, and it’s smart thinking by the city council, who understand nightlife is important for a community. It creates jobs, boosts the local economy, brings in extra tourism income and gives the city a vibrant image to the outside world. Now, it’s up to the people to make it work, to support the concepts, understand the culture and live the nightlife experience a 100%, because it’s not enough to have forward thinking promoters and city councils, you also need an open-minded crowd to close the circle."
What kind of music trip can we expect when you go all-night?
Lefto: "You know me, I like to shock and surprise people in general with the unexpected. I get bored easily playing the same genre of music for too long - it’s just not me. I need to be able to share my creative freedom with the crowd, that’s what makes a night unforgettable. But the crowd needs to understand it and it needs to feel what’s happening; if people don’t, it will be a long and boring night for all of us. I chose the difficult path in my career, I could’ve played the hits my entire life but that’s just not me. There’s more out there and not knowing what you’re missing is not a bad thing. So, if you come to one of my all-nighters, free your mind and let me take you on a journey."
Faisal: "To me it all depends on the vibe of the venue or the people. I’ve done all kinds of all-nighters. But usually it’s just like Lefto said: a music trip. I just go and hit play on my first record and have no idea where I’ll end up. So it’s as much a surprise for me as for the crowd, the only difference being that I know what the next track will be, obviously. In the end, I have no idea if we’ll stay in that same vibe or dance to something completely different 15 minutes from then."
How do you prepare yourself for these long hours behind the decks?
Faisal: "If you’re talking musically, I don’t. I start a long set just like I would any other 90 minutes set. I just make sure I’m not hungry or tired before I start and pray for a nice crowd that’s down for whatever and likes to dance. Additionally, I hope there won’t be a group of girls that want me to play ‘Despacito’ or some shit because it’s “their song”, but they’re not really into the song,it’s, like, more of an ironic thing and they have this funny little dance that they came up with on vacation in Portugal or whatever and one of them just broke up with her boyfriend and it would really cheer her up and they all look and talk the same but the one with the most confidence comes up to the DJ to ask for the song and the other ones are like “oh my god she’s so crazy” and she does this dumb hair flip thinking she’s cute while requesting the song and I just hope someone spills their beer on her for disrespecting everyone at the party because she feels that the DJ has to play whatever makes them dance and doesn’t give a fuck about the rest of the party. This never happened, but I’m sure: somewhere they exist. I just hope they don’t exist while I’m playing. On topic: wear comfortable shoes."
Lefto: "There is no secret for long hours behind the decks. You hope the sound will be great, bring enough of your favourite drink and snacks with you, maybe you have a bunch of friends on the dancefloor (which really helps to keep a certain vibe in the middle) and we’re good to go! Drop the needle!"
What’s the difference between doing an all-nighter solo or B2B?
Lefto: "I’m usually not a big fan of B2B sets as it’s really difficult to find the perfect DJ to do that with. I found him though, I had an amazing time playing with Benji B for 3 hours at Listen Festival last year. An all-nighter is more like a story you’re writing on the spot, a B2B is when someone else comes in and tries to re-write the story you were writing. Sometimes he understands where you want to take your story, but most of the time not really (laughs)."
Faisal: "I don’t do a lot of B2B sets, unless it’s a spontaneous thing on the spot, like with Jarreau Vandal at Trillers last summer. We both had a 2 hour set and we ended up playing almost the entire thing B2B. You can only do that if you’re in the same vibe and know where you want to take it together. It’s a lot easier solo because you can decide to take it somewhere else if you’re tired of what you’re playing - but if your partner still wants to ride that wave, you’re basically going to have to wait it out or find something in the middle. So the bottom line is: B2B’s are cool, but only if you feel the other DJ."
What’s the longest DJ set you’ve ever played?
Lefto: "I remember a 10 hour set at HORST in 2014 or 2015. An unforgettable set, as I had a setup on the back of a truck that was completely open; the metal part that lifts up was almost touching ground, so many people were dancing on this, which made the truck go up and down all the time. I still see Le Motel dance in front of me on some jungle music with a huge plant he found on the festival site, good times!"
Faisal: "I’ve done some long-ass sets in Charlatan in my days, but the longest one to date (I think) was at the closing of Klub Goud in Antwerp. I started at 4 in the morning and it went on until somewhere in the afternoon. It was such a great trip. The cool thing is that I didn’t even notice how tired I was (my legs felt like mom’s spaghetti) until I got off stage, because I was just so into it."
Also, read up on what Bar Helder is up to on November 10 for Full Circle by clicking here.