Spinning the city

Related event

From the 30th of September until the 09th of October, the discovery festival AMOK will hijack the city centre of Bruges once again. With sound art, music, words and performance, this fourth edition aims more than ever for an internationally diverse programme. This year, Bruges-based DJ Elias Ywaska a.k.a Killjoy will close off an all-out party evening in Factor Club on the 08th of October. Join in as we chat about his musical influences, BPM (@bpm.mp3) and the underground scene in Bruges.

Can you tell us something about yourself, and how you got into music?  

Growing up in Assebroek, a suburb of Bruges, I was always interested in music: the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Korn, all those guys. I also wanted to be on a stage and do stuff like that. I tried many things: drumming and other instruments, but nothing suited me. However, when I was 16 years old, my dad, who often played at the Villa Bota radio station in Bruges, said I was old enough to spin records myself one evening. That's basically when it all started. I began to play weird deconstructed underground pop sounds, but techno joined in later on and that really shaped my sound.

When starting to mix and make music, what were your biggest influences?  

Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, anything that fits the subgenre of ‘intelligent dance music’, although I'm not a fan of the name myself. A lot of breakbeat and breakcore also. The record collection of my father likewise plays a big role in my discoveries; it's like an inventory from which I can always pick something.

The record collection of my father plays a big role in my discoveries

What do you think makes genres like techno, breakcore and melodic acid with high BPMs so popular right now? Do you see yourself evolving in another direction anytime soon?  

Well, a lot of people of our generation used to start listening to rather mainstream techno like Charlotte De Witte, for example, but nowadays with the explosion of the genre and the influence of social media everyone listens to the nastiest tek available [Laughs]. Yet it’s also something I try to separate from and I like to use other influences in the music I play, from violin melodies to breakcore. Of course, this is something that keeps evolving, and even the scene evolves with it: if I had only played heavy tek about eight months ago, few people would have probably appreciated it, but now it's appreciated. It always keeps evolving.

I like to use other influences in the music I play, from violin melodies to breakcore

What was the motivation for establishing BPM? Did you feel Bruges was in need of such a project?  

BPM started as a release party for an album I never actually finished; in the process of organising it, it evolved into a 'real party', in which friends of mine participated and played. This party also took place at Villa Bota and I was so impressed by the atmosphere and the people - we had gone over capacity - that I thought there was something to be done with this. Really, every budding DJ should be given a stage like this to experience this feeling for the first time. In Bruges, there are few opportunities for young artists - once in a while there is a random techno party, but that's it. We don't care if you have already played in a big club; we want to book young talent that is good. I also judge all the artists I book myself, preferably live.

We don't care if you have already played in a big club; we want to book young talent that is good

Is there potential in Bruges for an underground music and art scene? Or is there already one which we don’t know about?  

There is potential in Bruges anyway, but the potential is always in the people. I do know some projects founded by young people aged between 18 and 24 and I also know people who are starting to run and getting better every day. All in all, I do think Bruges will stand alongside Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent within a few years. That's something I believe in. Certainly, with BPM we want to give the emerging scene a push and our intention is to keep spinning in Bruges and always return here. Villa Bota is also in Bruges and for me, that remains the home ground where it all started.

For me, Villa Bota in Bruges remains the home ground where it all started

Can you give us a sneak peek into the future plans of BPM? 

On September 27, we will record two DJ showcases on the roof of Villa Bota; the artists will remain a surprise [Laughs]. After that, we will be closing at AMOK. That will be another busy day as I will first help build AMOK, then spin in Ghent, and then I have to return to Bruges for AMOK's BPM showcase. November 6 will also be BPM's one-year anniversary and from the night of 05 to 06 November, we will be throwing a party for that.

What do you see as the next step in your artistic development? Are there some aspirations you want to realise as soon as possible?  

Lately, I've started producing more and more, but for now, there is nothing concrete I want to release. I'm going to wait a bit before releasing anything because I haven't grown enough in production yet. These things take time. My personal passion project concerns getting into vinyl and experimenting with that medium; I've started learning it recently and it really is a craft. I like to say that a digital DJ mixer is easy to learn and hard to master, but vinyl is rather hard to learn and even harder to master [Laughs]. I feel like I'm at a point where I've also started to delve into the analogue medium. That being said, BPM stays the main project which I put most of my work into.



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