We’re taking a slightly refreshing route for our next artist feature. Hailing from Antwerp, Belgium, Laurens Driessen has been a devoted follower of the blog since the early days so naturally over time we’ve developed quite a rapport with one another. Apart from the usual talk regarding music, there’s an occasional exchange in another interest we share, and that’s film and photography. Those who have followed us for a while know that we like to push the photography angle and have published a number of photo features with some truly talented photographers. When Laurens informed me he had a small collection he felt comfortable with sharing, I of course wanted to support him. Coupled with his immense passion for bass music, the young Belgian native also had some fresh beats he wanted to share produced under his alias – Concave. The timing couldn’t be more right to include Concave to our exclusive ‘Featuring’ series and show some all round support for his various talents. Along with his interview he’s also contributed a brilliant mix, a small collection of street photography and a mesmerising free track entitled ‘Messiah’.
TRUSIK: Easy Laurens, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. How’s life?
CONCAVE: Easy Alastair, I’m all good cheers. Thanks for having me.
TRUSIK: For the readers who are not familiar, what is your music alias, how did you come up with the name, and how would you describe your sound?
CONCAVE: I produce and DJ under the name of ‘Concave’. It’s derived from the term used to describe the shape of a skateboard, as well as the way soundwaves can bend. I would describe my sound as moody and atmospheric. I don’t really care for the standard reese – filled club tracks anymore. Anything influenced by ethnical music or instruments really.
TRUSIK: When was your first contact with electronic music, and how has it shaped you as the person you are today?
CONCAVE: I’ve never really listened to electronic music up until I discovered Dubstep. This helped me to appreciate the use of analogue and acoustic sounds in electronic music. Depending on what mood I am in at the time, I will listen to electronic or acoustic music for a certain period of time. But never switch between the two while listening to tracks.
TRUSIK: You discovered Dubstep through a friend at your local venue, which naturally led to mixing. During this time you have also been producing. I’ve heard some 140 tunes but I’m more interested in your soundscape productions. Why the interest in this sound? When in the studio, how do you approach building a track?
CONCAVE: Producing is something I picked up about two years ago, but only have been serious about for a year or so. The past few years I feel like Dubstep has lost it’s ‘moody-ness’. Back when Kryptic Minds were bringing out albums like ‘One of Us’ and it was less about who built the heaviest snare or reese, but about the overall atmosphere of the track. That was the highlight of Dubstep for me.
Soundscapes are a great way to reclaim this way of building tracks. You’re less associated with a certain genre. And although there are no rules when it comes to producing music in a certain genre, you will get a stamp when you label your sound as Dubstep or any other genre. People will have certain expectations of what it will sound like. Soundscapes are a way around this, you’re free to do whatever you like. Having people like Distance support these productions on his Chestcast is a great motivation.
In contrary to when I produce 140, I don’t start of with a sample when building soundscapes. I start of with a mood, feeling of what kind of track I want to be making. They are often inspired by films and music, like the film ‘Take Shelter’ which was my inspiration for ‘Messiah’.
TRUSIK: We’ve had a little chat about your trip to South Africa next year and your ambition to write a soundscape album while out there. Can you tell us a little bit about it; what do you want to achieve with this venture, what challenges you foresee having to overcome, have you got a conceptual aesthetic in mind?
CONCAVE: I will be leaving early 2015 to start volunteering in a nature project in Pretoria, South Africa. This is something I need, to be able to sort out my life and future. South Africa being a country in which you are not always able to go out after dark, I reckoned I might as well turn this into something positive. So I’ve decided to use this time to write a soundscape album. This album will consist of a certain number of dark and abstract tracks influenced by local music and culture. I’ve been looking at some recording equipment and am planning to use this just as much as I will be using synths and samples.
TRUSIK: Your remix of ‘Samurai Movement’ (originally by VGB & Shiken) was recently played by Syte on Sub FM. Is this an angle of production you enjoy challenging yourself with? How do you typically approach the break down of a remix?
CONCAVE: I really enjoy doing remixes, it’s a great way of reviving an older and sometimes almost forgotten tune. And I’m sure that the fact that I’m often too lazy to start a new tune myself has got something to do with it as well. Depending on whether it’s a remix I personally asked to do, like the Samurai Movement one, or a remix for a competition etc. I will have a different approach when building the track. For the Samurai Movement remix I had a clear image of what the finished thing would sound like when I started it. In contrary to some remixes I do, where I honestly just start arranging elements in the DAW playlist and see what happens from there.
TRUSIK: In your interview with FKOF two years ago you announced the launch of your label, Therapy Recordings, unfortunately the project fell through. Have you had any thoughts on starting up a label again in the future, perhaps with your soundscape recordings, and possibly for other artists producing a similar sound?
CONCAVE: To my own dismay the project did fall through. This due to several financial and personal reasons. I have been looking at way to start up something to promote, and maybe later on, release tracks by other soundscape / ambient artists. Since there are so many upcoming producers (like Bristol’s Killing Sound, and Belgium’s Clearlight) I think it would be a shame not to do anything to help the scene.
TRUSIK: You also like to dabble in photography now and then. While your preferred subject is urban landscapes, would you say this is a reflection of your taste in music and versa versa? How often do you have the opportunity to shoot, what equipment do you use, and why?
CONCAVE: Much like my music, my photography has a moody vibe to it. I really enjoy shooting at night when the artificial light casts clearer shadows and there are less people around. I haven’t been out with my camera as much as I would like lately, but I hope this will change in the near future. I use a Nikon D300 with various prime lenses. Nikon is just the brand I started out it and stuck to really. As for the lenses, prime lenses are often a lot better in low-light situations. Which is ideal for night photography.
TRUSIK: And what was this you were telling me about starting a short film using your music? Could you tell me more about that?
CONCAVE: This probably won’t be for a while, but I have been talking to one of my mates who studies videography in Brussels about making a short film to go with one of my soundscapes. A sort of horror themed film without any conversations.
TRUSIK: What else can we expect from Concave in 2014, is there any other forthcoming material, or interesting projects you can inform the readers on?
CONCAVE: ‘Sumeria’ is forthcoming Abyssal Audio later this year. And the ‘Samurai Movement’ remix will be coming out on Indigo Movement, but this probably won’t be untll early 2015. Other than those I have been talking to Brett, head of Forward Sound Recordings about releasing an EP in the spring of 2015 and possibly a vinyl release later on. The tracks will be announced in a little while. Also be sure to check out Profilic around NYE, since there will be a track by myself and Eclipse released on there.
TRUSIK: Take us through the mix you put together for us.
CONCAVE: It starts of with Messiah, which is the free download featured alongside this mix. After that there’s a number of tribal influenced tracks by myself and other producers, both released and unreleased. Ending of with a few midrange filled tracks and a remix I did for Enhance.
TRUSIK: A track…
by your favourite new artist: Feonix – West
you wish you had produced: LSN – Digon
you think was slept on last year: Quantumsoul – Eshmuns Lament
you give the rewind treatment every time: Wayfarer – Zeg
which everyone is talking about in 2014: Skeptical – Echo Dub
Shoutouts: Big up to yourself and the whole TRUSIK crew for having me. I’d like to thank Jimmi, Dan & Tristan @ LSN for helping me out feedback – wise and sending me some wicked beats. To Brett for helping me push my sound, as well as Jim Syte for the SubFM support. And everyone else that has send me tunes and supports my sound. Salute.