The Dewaele brothers address whether a club night like Trash could ever exist again as well as 20 years of “As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt.2,” the 2002 collision of dance and indie music, the secrets of their remixes, and more.
The renowned 2002 mash-up album was rereleased last week by Soulwax members David and Stephen Dewaele, brothers who also own the DEEWEE record label. It brought together artists like the Velvet Underground, Destiny’s Child, Felix Da Housecat, New Order, Peaches, Sly & The Family Stone, and more, making it a hugely important mashup of the time.
This, along with their later mixes, releases, and famous DJ sets, would influence the dance-punk scene and indie nightlife of the decade. One supporter was Bowie, who frequently praised them in the media and referred to their mixes as “dynamite combinations.” Later, as Radio Soulwax, the two would create a Bowie mix and the accompanying movie, DAVE.
Stephen told NME, “It’s still strange that we talk about Bowie as if we knew him although we only met him once. Even now, it’s fairly crazy. Even though he was asking us questions in the forum on our tiny website under the name “David Bowie,” we mistook him for someone else.
“Dave asked him how much time he spent online, and he responded, “Don’t you see I’m on your forum all the time,” when we first met him. The world we live in now feels so strange.
Belgian indie rock band Soulwax was founded by David and Stephen in 1995. Their albums “Leave The Story Untold” and “Much Against Everyone’s Advice” brought them recognition and success. The boredom they had while on tour led them to start DJing and remixing during this time. Their work was quickly widely bootlegged online and they entered the dance music industry.
The brothers admitted that when their label PIAS asked them to put together a collection in 2002, they had “no notion” that it would have such an impact.
Sincerely, David remarked, “We only believed it would buy us a few months to start the next Soulwax record.”
“It could only have been made by two guys in an indie rock band who were starting to do NME tours,” Stephen further explained. On those tours, we were DJing because we were bored. Although it was ingrained in our DNA, we were looking for others who shared our passion for fusing indie music with Daft Punk and other genres. We discovered Trash, the notorious London club night where Erol Alkan launched a complete community.
After that, it changed into a whole different creature.
Stephen commented, “It occurred so fast but we were enjoying it,” when asked to describe the flurry of activity at the time.
We intended to resume our band status, but instead, he continued, “we ended up headlining festivals as 2ManyDJs.” “Reading & Leeds or playing after Depeche Mode, not dance festivals. James [Righton, formerly of The Klaxons and currently signed to the DeeWee label], occasionally claims that we’re to blame for the DJ phenomenon at rock festivals. Hey, I could have the same impact with just two guys and some albums, promotional agents began to claim.
“In our minds, we’re still indie kids, but you have to accept it and realize it’s evolving into something greater at some point.”
The two acknowledge that while their cross-genre strategy may seem “very clear now, it was unique back then.”
David stated, “This idea of merely performing one genre, like deep house or drum’n’bass or whatever, felt outdated to us. It appeared formulaic. Today, it’s common for a DJ to play all kinds of music.
It was considered modern by us to listen to a wide variety of music, therefore that is what you should play. Strangely, everything arrives in waves. People are still fairly rigid in their classifications even though everything is now really eclectic and it’s very typical for someone to listen to Beyonce, Arca, and Fela Kuti at the same time.