#RBEA17 Lifetime Achievement Award: Yves Deruyter

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Every year, the Red Bull Elektropedia Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to people who have made an enormous contribution to Belgian electronic music. We can gladly announce that one of this year's awards will go to someone who has made his mark on the genuine retro sound, Mr. Yves Deruyter.

Deruyter started his career as a DJ in 1985, playing legendary clubs such as Globe, Cherry Moon, Extreme and La Rocca. But it’s especially as a producer that he started to make waves. Through the Bonzai Records powerhouse he released tracks such as Animals, Rave City and The Rebel, which all became classic dance anthems in just a matter of time. But also as Cherry Moon Trax, the musical outlet of the Cherry Moon, he succeeded in creating iconic singles. As Deruyter’s influence is not to be underestimated, we gladly hand him this award.  

So, Yves, first of all: congratulations!

"Thank you so much! I’ve been part of the scene for some time now, but receiving this kind of praise still means a big deal to me. It’s moving to see that the things I’ve been doing in Belgium and beyond are being recognized, and I’m very grateful for that. It’s not an audience with the King of Belgium, but it still makes me very proud (laughs)."

2017 promises to be a very festive year: next to receiving the award, there’s also the 25th birthday of Bonzai Records. How does it feel to be part of such an institute?

"Well, the fact that both Bonzai Records and me are still doing our thing, is fantastic. It’s no easy task to run a label or to build a career for such a long time, but now people are still talking about us and that’s incredible. Even after all the ups-and-downs, we’re still going strong. Just like a good relationship."

The Sound of Belgium, the return of Cherry Moon and now the Bonzai Records celebration: It seems there’s a proper retro revival going on. How would you explain that?

"Maybe there’s no decent music being released at the moment (laughs)? All jokes aside, I’ve been doing this for quite a while, and the last three, four years, things are really picking up again. For almost all of my bookings, I get asked to play a classics set. To a lot of people a set full of classic tracks can serve nostalgia, but to a younger audience those same tracks can be a revelation, something new. Besides, when you look at the stages at several festivals and events, retro stages have become a fixture. It shows that old school music still has its place in the current music landscape. Hypes will come and go, but I think people will always respect the retro aspect and its classic tracks."

Do you never feel the urge to play out some new music?

"Not really to be honest. Playing classic sets is something I grew accustomed to and it’s what I love to do. After a certain amount of time people expect you to play that kind of music, but it never feels like a rut. I still put a lot of work in the process. It’s important to keep looking for ‘forgotten’ tracks or hidden gems to play out. Things people might not expect, but that fit a set perfectly. Within the context of retro there’s also plenty of genres to take into consideration; techno, house, trance and more. Observing all those genres keeps you on edge and keep your sets fresh. Also, recently I’ve decided to renew my old work. To produce completely new tracks wouldn’t feel right, therefore I wanted to fresh up my old tracks. That way I’ll have some exclusive tracks to play out and it will bring a lot of alternation to my sets too. So, I don’t really feel I have to play ‘new’ music. Even within the retro spectrum, I feel there’s enough you can do to keep things ‘vivid’. I'm proud of the course I've taken and I’m still very happy to play this kind of music."

Receiving this award might involve some nostalgia. Do you sometimes catch yourself saying “ah, those good old days”?

"No, not at all. It’s impossible to compare the present to the past, so why bother? I’m delighted I experienced all those special moments, but what is done, is done. You can’t relive the past. I’m not a very nostalgic person."

Even though you already have a stuffed record of achievements, are there still things on your bucket list as an artist?

"Frankly: just keep on doing what I love, while I’m still enjoying myself. I don’t have any specific milestones that I want to accomplish. I’ve seen many places and played a lot of shows thanks to my music and I’m very grateful for that. There are still a lot of shows and festivals that lie ahead and as long as I’m doing okay and I’m enjoying it, I will keep on doing this!"

The 2017 Red Bull Elektropedia Awards will be held at Flagey (Brussels) on Wednesday, November 15.