The crosshairs of our mix series land this time on the Brussels-based DJ and producer, Cleveland. In the past couple of years he’s put out a bunch of acclaimed releases on esteemed labels like Talabot’s Hivern Discs and ESP Institute. We’re also massive fans of his notoriously smooth and playful DJ sets. Enjoy his hour of deconstructed and leftfield house finds, as well as some forthcoming heaters from a big bunch of reputable associates. There’s a ton of gold in there. Happy digging.
First of all, thank you for having me. In production and in my DJ sets, I tend to search for the more interesting, or weird (in a good way) sounds than particular styles, or genres. Let's say that you could englobe it into a house-y leftfield area, where the sounds are colorful, rhythmic, synthetic sounding or technological in a modern way, but with naive percussive organic sounding elements.
I like bleeps a lot, as you can hear in the mix. If you listen to this mix and compare it with my latest release on ESP Institute you can find similarities in the moods. I like to think of this in the most abstract way to be free to pick what I like.
The second track is part of the debut album of my friend Manuel Fischer on Lobster Theremin, one of the last tracks is an upcoming gem on my other dude Rey Colino's Kalahari Oyster Cult label. Very refreshing stuff.
I like to build and deconstruct radical vibes and then rebuild or continue them during my sets. Being experimental on the dancefloor is my way of testing new ways of building those specific vibes. I prefer rollercoaster rides than a constant ascent to climax, this gives you a way to have lots of smaller climaxes. If I succeed it makes sense, sometimes you have to take the risk to empty the room, but this makes space for something more exciting, in my eyes. Of course, with practice, you learn when the moments are right to go more experimental.
Yes, of course, as said before, you need to feel when the moment is right to take those risks. In the end, people go out to just have fun, so being too complicated is not the solution. If you start a set with 30 minutes of weirdo stuff you'll empty the room for sure. It's like cooking, I want to create harmony in the dish, but I like to not follow the recipes on the letter; so I have to be careful with dosing the spices.
I basically try to find or create a maximum of interesting sounds textures. By that, I mean playing around with knobs or VST, not soundscaping in particular. Then I save those recordings, put them aside. That's my toolbox. Then when I'm in the process of doing something more specific like a track, I take samples out of those recordings and try them out together like playing with LEGO. And then if I'm lucky enough, I like it and finish it into something structured.
In the beginning, I never played them out, either because I had heard them hundreds of times and I was fed up with them or because it just didn't fit the rest. But in the past two years, my mixing and production have evolved into something more coherent. Nowadays I play upcoming releases or demos every now and then which is also a way to put a bit of signature into a mix since it's your own music.
Yes and no, there is a track of mine, but the release is to be confirmed.
I believe that you can switch between genres and keep homogeneity in the mood or vibe that you want to express. Radical decisions can make sense in the bigger picture of the mix.
It could suit a car or train ride which is minimum 1h and 6 minutes long. It could also suit an after-hour at an apartment, with some daylight shining into the room.