Awesome soul, mate
Soulwax are brothers and avid club-goers David and Stephen Dewaele who, along with the odd turntablist buddy that likes to drop in on occasion, combine elements of rock, pop, soul and dance music to create the most memorable of live sets and studio albums. Pretty much responsible for the invention of ‘The Mashup’, you might otherwise know them as 2ManyDJs, and you only need to do a quick search of this moniker on YouTube to see dozens of excellent bastard-pop titles fill your screen.
Last year, the duo released a blissful slow jam in the form of Heaven Scent, featuring Chloë Sevigny on vocal, lending it a bit of a Chicks On Speed vibe.
Providing a blissful musical platform for guest vocalists is kinda new for Soulwax who in the past have dabbled more in sampling and mashing.
Here, David Dewaele chats lots about the art of sampling, the downside of legalities involved, and how refreshing it is to play the festival circuit.
Interview by Antonino Tati.
The full version of this interview will be published in the anthology ‘There, there’s your quote mate’, out in September.
Heya David. When you’re performing live, is there a lot of pre-recorded material involved?
Well, we do play our original compositions, but there’s plenty of sampling involved, of course.
For a one-time studio-based act, Soulwax tend to play festivals quite regularly now. What is it you most like about the festival scene?
The people are on drugs…
What, you mean festival-goers need drugs to enjoy themselves?
I don’t think they really need drugs but it is interesting to see so many people enjoying themselves on so many different levels. Some are on it but some are sober I’m sure.
Do you find illicit substances often help you with performance?
I don’t know, I’ve never tried it. I don’t drink or do drugs.
Is there anything you don’t like about the festival circuit?
Over in Europe, festivals can be a nightmare. It can be muddy, rainy, unhygienic, hard to get to, and there’s a lot of competition for food… But your festivals [in Australia] are a little different to ours; very well-organised, very user-friendly. Oh, and you’ve got good food!
It’s good to hear such great feedback. You guys, yourself and Stephen, are a renowned remixing duo, having delivered official and unofficial mixes for everyone from Daft Punk to Gorillaz, Gossip to Robbie Williams. Do you get positive responses from these artists?
I’ve never heard negative feedback, but then maybe people are just being too polite. Generally, when people give you a lot of cash, that’s a good sign that they like your work! The funny thing is we’re well-known as remixers, but really it’s something we don’t do often. Well, we’ll do maybe two a year and sometimes we’ll make our own mix tapes.
Are you a tight-knit team or are there plenty of arguments in the studio?
We’re a tight team but we have some arguments, usually about me being late…
Really it’s just because I have a house to sit, but Steve thinks of it as a massive disrespect to him.
Have you gotten into any legal dispute for using samples without clearance?
As 2ManyDJs we’ve only released one record and because it included a few mashups it became a bit of a legal precedence where a lot of major labels who had given us permission to use their music [initially] then started to change their minds.
Do you think the concept of mashing has gone too far when, for example, the cast of ‘Glee’ put on musicals that feature medleys they refer to as mashes?
I do think it went too far when Linkin Park and Jay-Z got together and did a mashup. When we started doing them, it was novel. We’d take really disparate music to put up against each other. Now it’s become like a sport; very quick, sometimes sloppy. Back in 1999 and 2000, we did maybe 10 of them, and for us it was about balancing the music scene: marrying Destiny’s Child with Nirvana, or what have you. Now people are just slapping an Eminem or Missy Elliott a capella over a track, and not being very creative.
Soulwax release a new album ‘From Deewee‘ on March 24th.
Interesting footnote: the album was recorded in just one take!