Charlotte de Witte is taking the techno world by storm. The 25 year old Belgian DJ and producer has gained prominence in recent years for her KNTXT residency at Fuse club, her Saturday night show on Studio Brussels radio, non-stop touring that has taken her to mega festivals like Awakenings and Tomorrowland, not to mention her award-winning, no-nonsense productions.
Amidst travelling the world to deliver her melancholic grooves, de Witte found time last year to release a whopping three EPs, with no signs of stopping anytime soon. Her latest Brussels EP set to drop February 9.
“Control” is one of its three menacing and moody techno cuts, featuring distorted speech and rumbling bass. Listen to our exclusive premiere of “Control” and find out more about the Belgian techno star rising from the underground in our Q&A with Charlotte de Witte below.
How did growing up in Belgium influence your musical development?
It actually didn’t influence me on a direct level until quite recently. I was always aware of the impact Belgium has had on music and musical history thanks to certain documentaries, but I started digging deeper into our culture only a couple of years ago. So the influence of New Beat and Rave Culture started showing in a later stage in my career.
Belgium’s nightlife, on the other hand, has had a massive impact on my life. Going out in my hometown Ghent has seduced me into becoming a DJ myself in the first place. We have many things to offer, from underground clubs to many, many high quality festivals.
What inspired you to get into producing your own tracks?
After DJing for a while I simply realised I wanted to dig deeper into knowing tracks, how they were created and what exactly makes it work on the dance floor. There’s no better way to get to the essence of something than to break it down and start building yourself. It must’ve been about five years ago when I started producing myself.
How do you come up with track names?
When it comes to finding track names, I either focus on the main vocal hook of the track, the word that gets repeated the most, or on the feeling it brings. The title track of my first EP is called Weltschmerz, which is a German word for “the kind of feeling experienced by someone who believes that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind.” The track gave me a very melancholic feeling, which resulted in me choosing that particular title.
What kind of headspace were you in while you were writing your ‘Brussels’ EP?
It’s always very tough to say what it is exactly that inspires me while making a track. I guess that your experiences make you who you are, and the same applies to inspiration. I find that especially conversations between people can be very inspiring. They get stored in your memories and come out again while sitting in the studio. It’s part of who you are. This applies especially to “Brussels”. The reason why it’s called “Brussels” is because years ago, I overheard a conversation while sitting in a noodle bar in the city. A woman was talking about her boyfriend who was completely gone on a night out. The vocal in my track are her exact words. “And I looked into his eyes and he was gone. I didn’t know what to do.” Those words stuck with me for a long time and eventually found a home in that track.
Where’s the craziest place you’ve DJ’d?
Safe to say that after all these years, I’ve seen some crazy, beautiful places already. I’ll never forget my first time in South Africa. I was playing at a warehouse party in Cape Town and I didn’t only completely lose my heart to that city but the vibe in that place was also absolutely beautiful. It was very intense and intimate. The people were amazing. Those are moments that’ll last a lifetime.
We’ve heard you’re into melancholic music. What are some of your all-time favorite melancholic tracks?
I love listening to tracks that contain breakable, fragile voices. Think of James Blake, Bob Moses, Dillon, Lera Lynn, Julia Stone, Rhye… Those are people I’d love to collaborate with. Fingers crossed that one day something like that would be possible. It would be the perfect fit to have those voices on techno beats.
What do you to relax when you’re on the road?
I travel alone 95% of the time so I try to catch up on some sleep most of the time. Or watch Netflix. I’m actually trying to compensate the lack of sleep by drinking a lot of water and trying to eat healthy, since most of the time airport food is rather disappointing. The lack of sleep can be very heavy on your body to I’m trying to take care of it and be slightly more responsible.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Too many things! Last year was absolutely mental but looking at the agenda and all the other things in store for me this year, it leaves me kind of speechless, to be honest. I definitely look forward to touring again. I’ve made some friends all over the world during my last travels so it would be lovely to meet them again. I love travelling, it’s something I always wanted to do, even as a kid. Doing so, combined with playing (my own) music is my most precious gift in the world.
For more of our premieres, check out a bangin’ remix of Craig David’s “I Know You” right here.
- Cover Image: c/o Charlotte de Witte