Photo: Marie Wynants (Charlotte de Witte)
Charlotte de Witte knows exactly when she fell for techno and which track it was that made her life turn around: Under the Raving George moniker, the Belgian had first made a name for herself as a DJ and producer for playing big room electro tracks until she heard Len Faki play his own “Podium” remix of Dustin Zahn’s “Stranger To Stability” at a festival. Ever since, her taste gravitated more and more towards techno, until she decided to drop the pseudonym and debut on Tiga’s Turbo in 2015 with the Weltschmerz EP and became one of the biggest names in contemporary time in seemingly no time at all. The KNTXT founder’s contribution to our Groove podcast comprises the type of fast-paced techno de Witte fell in love with on that fateful day.
As A DJ and producer, you have been active since the beginning of the decade. While glorious on the outside, the schedule of a highly demanded touring DJ can be quite trying. How do you deal with the stress and the pressure you’re faced with?
To be completely honest, I did seriously underestimate the impact touring would have on my life. These last 18 months have been extremely intense on a physical and mental level. I do genuinely still love touring a lot, I’m learning every day and traveling has always been very important to me, so I guess my love for what I’m doing is the main reason that keeps me sane. I also try be healthy by drinking a lot of water, eating fresh food and picking my fights when it comes to partying myself.
You’ve previously mentioned that you are hoping for techno not to become mainstream. What does it mean to be underground however, both for the scene and you personally as an artist?
I’ve come to understand that being underground means different things for different people. I personally think that even though I play at big stages, the music itself still be fairly underground. I often play a track from UVB called “Mixtion” that got released on Mord. It’s not the typical kind of big room techno so to me, to give one example, that is rather underground. I do realize my image isn’t the most underground, but in the end it should all come down to the music. If it’s good, it’s good. It’s not always worth labeling things.
One the main qualities you’re looking for in music and especially techno seems to be emotionality. What however is it that moves you as a music fan – and how do you try to create those moments as a producer?
It’s actually a super personal thing. I always look for something not so obvious in music. To me, it’s not enough to enjoy music that only makes you dance. It has to reach a deeper (emotional) level. That is what truly fascinates me in music. As a DJ and producer I try to convert those emotions too.
While you don’t sing in a classical sense, a lot of your productions feature some vocals. Which role does the voice play in your writing process?
I love working with vocals. I often use my own voice but with several effects on so you often won’t even know it’s me. They create a certain hook in the track and I love how you can have them very stripped and repetitive.
Your forthcoming The Healer EP is your second the for the newly relaunched NovaMute. What is your relationship with the label and how did the collaboration come about?
I got in touch with Daniel Miller in the end of 2017 thanks to my publisher at Strictly Confidential. We met a couple of times in London, went for a lovely sushi dinner and decided to start working together. To be able to release music on a label that has had such a massive impact on the history of dance music is truly something special to me. I’m forever grateful to them for believing in me and giving me such an opportunity.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove podcast?
It’s a mix that consists of a lot of my favorite tracks of this moment and some unreleased stuff. I tried to represent the kind of techno that I love so much and how it sounds like nowadays. Techno is getting faster, and so is the mix.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future, and what are your plans as a producer?
I’ll be all over the world actually! I’m playing at many festival in Europe this summer, some of which have been on my wish list since the very start, and I’ll be travelling to North America, South America, Australia and Asia as from September. I’m really looking forward to the following months to come. Release wise, there’s something coming during the course of the summer. Thanks for doing this interview with me! I do hope you enjoy the mix I made for you guys!
Stream: Charlotte de Witte – Groove Podcast 163
01. Monoloc – Tear Off
02. Matrixxman – Arrival
03. Christian Gerlach – Adhara
04. Cardao – Microgravity
05. Camea – NAF 97 (Markus Suckut Remix)
06. Non Reversible – Lemniscate
07. Amotik – Saat
08. Deadbeat – Mike & Judy
09. Charlotte de Witte – The Healer
10. Charlotte de Witte – Kuda
11. Nocow – Forgiven
12. SHDW & Obscure Shape – Die Augen Des Teufels
13. UVB – Mixtion
14. Benjamin Damage – Montreal