Q+A: 5 Minutes with Stavroz
Meet Stavroz, the Belgium based quartet who are capturing the world’s attention one chilled single at a time. The team, made up of IJsbrand De Wilde, Gert Beazar, Maxim Helincks and Pieter De Meester, have been celebrating the return of live performances with style as they jump between the US, Europe and UK in an attempt to reunite with fans with tickets on sale and moving fast. Their latest single, ‘Wintergreen’ marks itself out from the crowd as quickly brings us back begging for more and holding our breath in anticipation for the next expected release.
Naturally, we were curious about the four who seamlessly meld organic elements with the electronic world. Join us as we chat with the quartet in the exclusive interview below
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
In the past, it happened more often that we’d have an idea first. For example with “robot street musicians”. Then we came up with the title before we came up with the song. That song has really been written how we think a robot street musician can sound. A street musician with 1 foot in the present/future – as the music is electronic, and with 1 foot in the past – as he performs on the street and there are the acoustic instruments joining an electronic bed.
In other moments, we’ll let the sound of a person blowing a sea shell form the basis of an entire song. Yet more often than not, we sit together in the studio and start jamming. Many ideas have already come about like this.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
There are no collaborations on the album, yet every now and again you’ll find a remix of us, or a collab. We’re even working on some as we speak.
What’s on your current playlist?
Darkside – Ecdysis
Dope Lemon – Hey You
Connan Mockasin – Charlotte’s Thong
Daniel Norgren – Going to the city
The Smile – Skrting on the surface
Stromae – Fils de joie
Alex Ebert – Truth
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
It’s a symbiosis of energy between us and the crowd, a connection that is very important. Seeing people nodding their heads or dancing and screaming it away really gives us a boost when we are playing live. That circle of energy becomes a virtuous spiral, accelerating the entire show.
As your world tour is in the process, what have you missed the most about live performances?
Making connections with people is by far the most missed. It’s about seeing how what we have created is impacting someone else. A fan showing us the vinyl he just bought, tasting and experiencing the many different cultures on the planet or even posing for selfies. The brotherhood amongst the four of us also becomes very apparent as we travel and spend time together.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
It’s not really a technique, it’s more of a “let’s figure out how to combine the different influences of 4 band members into 1 song”. We have 4 different musical backgrounds. This brings flavour and a rich dish, but that also means we have to dig quite deep to find a compromise. Perhaps the technique is “learn to compromise” 🙂
What has been the driving factor behind adding some form of jazz textures to your sound?
The single driving factor is that we like it… We’ll always be inspired by music we love and draw inspiration from there. The freedom of jazz is also something very enticing and also very much applies to electronic music. Anything goes. Rules don’t (have to) apply.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Usually, it will have the 4 of us gathered in the studio, each with their own “working station” and instruments. We will then throw ideas and make suggestions on how to proceed with a song. We’ll converse on what is required for the song and then we’ll try ideas that are offered. Whichever idea sparks with most of us, will most likely get adopted.
We also spend much of our time in our separate home studios to make ideas and send them around to each other. Eventually, all the ideas are gathered in the main studio where those ideas will be finished (or parked).
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I believe those moments are different for everyone in the band.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Tijn Driessen is doing great things at this moment. He’s a buddy from Gent emerging with a distinct feel in his sound. His groovy warm-toned songs are a great break from electronic music that often punches you in the face. This is electronic stuff that feel more like a good pat on the back.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
The fact that we travel a lot and see many parts of the world, gives a lot of inspiration.
Hearing different new sounds and instruments, tasting new and exotic food, meeting a lot of people, it gets under your skin.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Ableton, Midas, chaos pad, synths, trumpet, saxophone, guitar, bass, piano, drums…
Any side projects you’re working on?
Beazar, Shady, Mosley Jr.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
By doing it a LOT. And by listening to other people’s music, but not too much.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
There’s quite a few things on the horizon. First of all, we’re dropping our debut album
‘MINDIBU’ in May. Be on the lookout for one of our live performances, as we have shows planned in the EU, the Americas, and the middle east.
Famous last words?
Image credit: Clara Hanssens
By Sarah Britton