10 Dec 2019

Read all about his upcoming set, new album and hopes for 2020

De Sluwe Vos will play Gashouder alongside ANNA, Amelie Lens, Chris Liebing and more on December 30th. Fresh from the release of his brand new live LP ‘Live at Lowlands’, here we catch up with the Dutchman ahead of the show to talk Awakenings, hardware and hopes for 2020.

How was 2019 for you, what were some highlights?

This has been a very good year and it hit off by playing my new live set for an audience of music professionals at the showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag in January, while simultaneously I released an EP with a track by Sjamsoedin and myself called ‘Never Know’ that started to live a life on it’s own when Dixon, Âme and Job Jobse played it in their sets quite often. I think the combination of these things led the way for me to play at various other amazing spots throughout the rest of the year. The highlight of last year was definitely playing the live sets in front of these amazing crowds. We chose to do only a limited amount of live shows, which made performing the work I’ve been working on for two years very special to me.

At the end of the summer I was ready to bring it all to Lowlands and I was enjoying myself up there instead of being overly nervous.

But 2019 is not over yet, I still have to play this live set at Awakenings in the notorious Gashouder, so who knows what my highlight of 2019 will be after that, haha.

What does Awakenings mean to you? When did you first become aware of it? What did it stand for?

The first time I played, I was opening in the X tent at the festival. A milestone in my career so my parents came and sat there an hour and a half early with sandwiches and a flask of coffee. They sent me a photo captioned, “we’re ready!”. They loved being a part of it. They come to quite a few gigs, but generally smaller-scale ones. Maybe they will join me on the 30th. Let’s hope so.

What have you got planned for Awakenings on December 30th? How much do you prep for sets?

It’s a bit too early now to plan but the experience of two former live tours made it so I know now what I really want. But at the same time improvisation is definitely a big part of this show. Although I’ve played the set before a couple of times, I’m a total control freak and don’t like to take risks, especially when I’m playing in front of thousands of people haha.

Do you tailor them to the size of the crowd and the venue at all? Does that change how you play?

Playing in front of a huge audience the bigger moments in a set work really well, like: snare rolls, bigger breaks and lots of reverb. These moments feel less necessary with intimate crowds and I can go a bit deeper I guess. I have played big stages mainly, as we kept the A/V show quite exclusive because we thought it worked especially well at festivals.

When did you decide to put together an album, and why?

The VJ’s from Deframe are improvising with the images that come out two cameras in my booth. At a certain point we were brainstorming about the recording of the show in a meeting with them and this was when I decided to make a live album while doing this show, since there were already so many live aspects about it anyways.

What are the challenges of playing live vs DJing? How hard is it mentally and physically?

I really need to play dynamically and this is kind of hard with a completely
modular system.

When I play as a DJ like to play dynamic sets, and I like to blend different
genres but always with the crowd in mind. This was the main idea of the live set. I wanted to put together a live set in which I’m free to adapt to the crowd. But this is a lot more easier said then done. After some years of preparation I came to a setup with
which this is possible for me to do. I think that was the biggest challenge.

What gear do you use? Does that gear define your sound?

My modular system, the Roland TR8S and Acidlab Miami for drums, the Octatrack for sampling and sequencing and the Waldof Blofeld for an extra polyphone touch. The latter really functions as the glue of the set-up. My modular system is as mono as can be and because of this polysynth the set really came to life. The modules I picked for the modular system that I bring on stage definitely shape my sound. I picked some oscillators that I also use in my productions. Besides that I’ve put my own samples in the TR8S.

What hopes, goals and dreams do you have for 2020?

I’m curious what the 2020 festival season is going to bring, I’m definitely looking forward to that already.
There are also some new releases coming up; solo but some nice collaborations too. And I would love to tour internationally with this live show.