Locked Groove: honouring Belgian heritage in his debut album.

Pictures by Frankie Casillo

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Belgium’s classic dance genres like New Beat, rave, techno and EBM have been getting their fair share of attention recently. Yet no one really took their reinterpretation of this heritage to the next level quite like Tim Van De Meutter aka Locked Groove did. The Berlin-based (but raised in Antwerp) house and techno producer-DJ is proud to present the extended 35-track version of his debut album ‘Sunset Service’, which came out on the established Hotflush Recordings today. On it, Van De Meutter digs deep for his roots and delivers a rich, versatile and refreshing take on that ‘classic Belgian sound’.

Hi Tim! How is life in Berlin? Are you a regular at Berghain, or?

Life is pretty good to be honest. Having just finished the album, I can take a step back from the studio and focus on other things. And about Berghain, I try to keep my visits to a minimum (laughs).

Now that you’ve been in Berlin for a few years, what’s your take on the current Belgian house and techno scene?

I think we’ve got a lot of new talent that’s doing interesting stuff at the moment. I have a feeling the scene is going through a revival again, so I’m stoked to see what the future brings. Pelace for instance is doing some cool stuff, I really like what they are doing.

You’ve always had a fascination for Belgian heritage like New Beat and EBM. You even have an Yves Deruyter remix on your album. What is it about those genres that keeps you coming back for inspiration?

It’s an endless source of inspiration for me. Sadly, most people only know the hits, but if you dig a bit deeper, there’s an enormous amount of material to be inspired by. When I find a hidden gem, it still gets me really excited. For me, it’s the music that represents Belgium so well. Nothing like waiting for a delayed train in the rain while listening to some New Beat and feeling miserable. Now that’s Belgium for me (laughs).

Tell us a little something about your debut album. Why did it take you so long?

It took me a while to get the concept together. I didn’t want it to be a simple rehash of old sounds. Coming up with the idea of a 90’s inspired album wasn’t the difficult part. The challenge was to bring something new to the table. A lot of projects didn’t make the final cut. Out of all the tracks I made over the course of this year (a number that has to be something around 70) only these final 12 ended up on the album.

So what’s the idea behind the music on this album?

As I said before, it was my idea to create an ode to Belgian heritage, while bringing something new to the table. The most difficult part for me was using these legendary sounds, like a hoover for instance, without making it sound too cheesy. I wanted the whole project to be strictly Belgian, so we had Paul Boudens do the artwork. I really love his work and I think he did a fantastic job with transferring the vibe of the album into the artwork.

Does this mean you won’t be releasing stuff on your own Locked Groove label anymore?

For now, I’m taking a step back and opening the platform to new talent. But I’ll definitely make another appearance at some point!

Back in 2012, Hotflush Recordings gave you your debut release. Now, they are releasing your album. Seems like you still feel right at home there. Has it come full circle now?

Absolutely, Scuba (the Hotflush label owner, ed.) always gave me the freedom to do what whatever I wanted and release any kind of music I wanted. In my mind, there was no other way than to release my debut album on this record label.

One of the tracks on your album is called Zillion (a legendary discotheque from the 90’s that closed its doors in 2003). Did you ever have the chance to go there?

My grandmother used to live right around the corner of Zillion and I remember driving past there on a Sunday morning. It always fascinated me. Unfortunately, I never made it before it closed down. I was just too young at the time. However, I did sneak out of bed on Saturday’s to watch this TMF show called ‘At the Club’. They would visit a particular nightclub every weekend and film what was going on in there. Sometimes they visited Zillion, so that’s about as far as my experience with that club goes (laughs).