While some are still recovering from the holidays and the draining year that was 2020, The Magician is pushing forward with a very special, 100th release later this month. ‘Magic Tape 100’ drops January 27th, but for those who cannot wait – a new single will be out for fans on January 12th. We talked about all of the above and then some in this back and forth like creating hours of audible job, the rise of DJs, and more.
Kendra: Come the ‘00s, DJs were no longer just in the club scene. They were Grammy-winners, festival headliners, and household names. As someone who has been in the scene a decade, who do you attribute that shift to and how do you personally plan to continue building on it with your releases?
The Magician: That shift came in the early 2000s when some people realized there was a big opportunity to make money with DJs compared to bands, which are less easy to manage for touring, making decisions on music, etc. Also, a lot of DJs have been created to make easy money. That’s a sad reality.
I can’t attribute this to someone in particular but the whole EDM scene reflects that or looks at the DJ Mag Top 100 for example. I’m not saying those DJs are not talented but for most of them, it is a big business opportunity. From my side, I always made the music I wanted to do, freedom is so important. I make music with my heart.
Kendra: In late 2020 you released a very ambitious record, ‘Magic Tape 99,’ which was some three hours’ worth of music. Was it all the downtime from the lockdowns and quarantines that sparked such a lengthy release?
The Magician: I thought the number before 100 had to be something special and unexpected. So I decided to offer three hours of new music instead of the usual 50 minutes -1 hour mixtape. Also, as we were programming 100, the time between 97 & 98, 98 & 99, etc…was longer than once a month as we delayed them again and again because of the Covid situation. So I had more new music in three months than in one month. This set reflects also what would be my actual DJ set if I would play three hours in a club.
Kendra: Will your January 2021 follow up, ‘Magic Tape 100,’ be as long?
The Magician: Not that long but a different process, for this one I asked 14 producers to make their own track for Magic Tape 100. So it’s going to be only exclusive music. As you might know, ‘Magic Tapes’ is all about having a first play or brand new music, so the 100th becomes the big accomplishment after 99 mixtapes for which I could never get a fully exclusive tracklist.
Kendra: You worked with over a dozen producers, artists, and friends on ‘Magic Tape 100.’ What did they bring out in you creatively?
The Magician: Using more breakbeats in my music, a certain eq on a bassline, going back to a certain musical era…
Kendra: That record will feature a new track from you. Can you tell us more about that song and how it fits into the overall soundscape of the record?
The Magician: It’s a pulsating tune, the fastest track I ever made; I think! A never-ending chord loop, a bumpy bassline with a vocal on top that sounds a bit Afro-Brazilian. It’s sung in English though. A bit different than the overall soundscape of the record, perhaps the most indie-disco track of the record.
Kendra: 2020 pushed people in various directions personally, financially, creatively. For you, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
The Magician: 2020 was definitely the most creative year I ever had. I started the first lockdown by classifying my record collection, listening to a lot of old Italo disco, funk, new wave, Balearic, and house records and this inspired me to make new music that will come out in 2021-2022. I learned a lot on the production side as well. Before the lockdown, I used to tour so much and when I came back home I just wanted to spend time with my family, so the time in the studio was pretty poor. Since March I have spent almost six hours a day in the studio.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. So can you let us know what you have tentatively planned?
The Magician: I had planned to do a World Tour to support the release of ‘Magic Tape 100’ with some guests but this won’t happen. I miss touring because it’s fun and I miss friends from all around the world. I’ll be making music, I’m gonna start painting as well and definitely leaving Belgium for holiday. I haven’t left my country since March 2020.