2manydjs: “We’d be sh*t at anything else”
To say the Dewaele brothers have a lot going on would be quite the understatement. The duo have had a countless number of monikers through their career, and it all gets a bit muddled. First up, there’s their DJ and production work under 2manydjs and remixes through Soulwax. But Soulwax is also a band, which they form one half of…and there is also Radio Soulwax: a 24-hour radio station with collections of their mixes set to visuals. As we said, it all gets a bit confusing.
What is clear, however, is that the two Belgians have had a massive impact on electronic music ever since the release of the seminal 2manydjs release: As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2. Ten years on, they still seem to keep finding new ways to keep us – and themselves – hooked on everything they do. In the lead-up to their visit for Harbourlife, inthemix spoke to David Dewale about the differences between the guises, the creative process and what to when the brother touch down in Australia later this month.
You recently released Dave, an audio-visual homage to David Bowie. When you’re working on films, are you Soulwax or 2manydjs?
I don’t know – it’s hard to tell sometimes. I suppose we’re 2manydjs because we’re taking other people’s music, not making our own.
Do you find your mindset changes a lot when you fluctuate between your various monikers?
We do a lot of DJ stuff on the weekends which is always fun, but during the week we try and create music for Soulwax. For us it’s all pretty much all the same; it’s all just music. I guess the biggest difference is when we play live – when we DJ, we don’t have to think about whether the next chord changes to an ‘F#’ or an ‘Am’. Whether we’re working on a film, making a remix or creating a song, it’s all coming from the same part of the brain – it’s just changes depending on which outlet you choose to use it for.
Do you find that there’s a crossover between the two – does playing in a band help your DJing in any way?
Yeah, definitely. It all feeds into each other; it helps to figure everything out. Because we have to know how to make a song in the first place, it is easier to deconstruct it.
So should all DJs learn to play the guitar?
[Laughs] They shouldn’t but it sure helps. It helps you come up with more interesting parts I guess.
You guys are famous for your remix style, but how do you approach the process?
I really don’t know what thought process we go through. Some remixes will take us three mixes to get it right, and others will just flow. It’s hard to tell what it is that we do. Maybe the reason we keep doing it, or it is interesting for us, is because we just don’t know what we’re doing.
Do artists usually approach you, or do you wait to hear something you think would make a particularly good remix?
With remixes in the past five years, we haven’t really accepted any requests from people. We say no to almost everything. That’s other than the times we hear a song and think “ok, that’s great, but when we play it live, it needs a little bit extra.” That little bit ‘extra’ is usually not quite defined in our heads, but it’s like “oh shit, we need this to be more functional for our set”.