“[The first album was done] really quickly and we didn’t have much time; there was a bit of time pressure on that,” he explains. “Now we want to try and get more energy into working together with them and actually getting to know them. Especially because I’m thinking about doing a live show next year too; I want to get some people on the album who would be up to get on a stage with me and put on a live show together.”
Daenen adds that he’s planning to release his first two singles between February and April, to build anticipation for a May release date. Best of all for Aussie punters is that we’ll get a preview of his new material. “I’m going to try them out in Australia and play all my new tracks and see how they go down. I’m actually really looking forward to that; just getting some feedback for my new tracks,” he says.
“It’s kind of weird, because I feel I’m not going to be busy,” he says of temporarily leaving the stage for the studio. “I’m sure I will be, but it feels a bit weird because I’ve been busy DJing for a while now. I’m not sure how my body’s going to react to that, because I’m pretty used to DJing and partying the weekends, and I’m about to be at home and bored, I suppose.”
Daenen’s liquid drum and bass style has its roots in his upbringing. “My dad always used to be a big ’70s Motown fan; lots of black music, and I used to love that. I was really into Motown, which is a big step away from drum and bass I guess, but it inspired me to make my melodies,” he says. “My parents really loved classical music, so I’m really into strings and stuff because of that.”
He first started dabbling in production at 14, trying his hand at deep house. However, Daenen’s ears and mind were opened when, at the age of 16, his friends took him to his first drum and bass party. “I just love the energy in drum and bass; I love how you can get people moving as if it’s like a rock concert,” he says.
Combining this with the musical influences from his youth, he developed his acclaimed sound and, four years later, found himself signed by acclaimed British label Hospital Records. For an artist who has named himself after a computer worm, it seems fitting that his initial popularity spread virally online. Daenen says he has social media to thank for his quick accession to the top of drum and bass.
“Facebook and MySpace, back in the day, helped me out really, really well,” he says. “Because I live in Belgium, I’m pretty far away from all the big drum and bass labels…The internet has been really good to me for my music, and, it’s just been really good to get a good fan base before I got signed. People started talking about me; I had some releases coming out, and I just kept sending new tunes to Hospital Records, and they started talking to me and I guess that’s how it all happened.”
The buzz was generated by a number of singles he released in 2009 and early 2010, including Starlight on Allsorts and Every Day on Liq-weed Ganja Recordings. His highly anticipated full-length debut, Netsky, lived up to expectations when it was released in May last year.
On the back of the album’s almost universal acclaim, Daenen claimed the title of Best Newcomer Producer and Best Album at last year’s Drum + Bass Arena Awards. Despite his young age, he’s now in a position to keep shaping the genre’s evolution. “It’s really interesting how drum and bass turns the last couple of years, or even months. It keeps evolving so, so fast and there’s so much new cool music around,” he says. “That’s what it’s all about; just keeping it fresh and adding new sounds and styles to drum and bass.”
“The scene in Europe is getting so big right now,” he adds. “I played a Belgian gig in early September with a live drummer, he’s part of my live project, and we played at three o’clock in the afternoon and there was 40,000 people in front of us; people from all kinds of backgrounds, musically, and everybody’s really enjoying drum and bass right now.”
BY JOSHUA HAYES