NETSKY’s rise up the ranks has been a sight to beho ld. He first made his name with Hospital Records in 2009 with a series of blistering releases including single ‘Memory Lane’ and his infamous sel f-titled debut album ‘Netsky’ propelling the talented young producer fro m Antwerp into the premiere league. Starting out with an undergrou nd drum ‘n’ bass label like Chase & Status did before him, Hospital Record s ended up being the perfect springboard for Boris Daenen to get to wher e he is today. Hailing from Antwerp Belgium, in a few short years, Netsky has built a reputation for consistently delivering hard-hitting drum & bass anthems. As comfortable onstage at festivals and club shows as he is behind the studio mixing desk, (Netsky’s live show, unveiled in 2012 at London’s Brixton Academy, was also something of a game-changer), he effortlessly blurs the lines between artist and superstar DJ/producer, wit h a slew of A-list artist remixes under his belt, including Swedish House Maf ia ‘One’, Rusko’s ‘Everyday’, and more recently he len t his magical touch to remixes for Madeon, Ed Sheeran and Jack U. Fans, of course, have heard these tracks at some of the world’s biggest festiva ls: from Ultra Music Festival in Miami and Coachella to Future Music Festival in Australia and Wireless in London, not to mention more rock-focused festivals like Reading & Leeds and Pukkelpop. And at every show, the reaction is t he same: complete carnage. Netksy is a bona fide superstar and the re action to his shows has been akin to legendary rock concerts of days gone b y. So far, so good. Having signed to Epic Records for his first major r elease, ‘Rio’ is the first taste of the forthcoming new album from Netsky in 2015. W e assume you’ve been to Rio at some point? ““I went to Sao Paolo a coupl e of months ago but I’ve never visited actually!” he laughs. “What happened was I was working with Digital Farm Animals and the whole track had a sunn y samba vibe and the vocals were about having relationships but not sett ling. Not thinking about tomorrow, thinking about today. It’s about travelin g and having fun and staying young.” Of course, Netsky himself is doing a lot of these t hings already. In person, he is super-chilled, calm and collected, with his fort hcoming and third artist album now in the finishing touches stage. So is the rest of the album like ‘Rio’ in spirit? “Production-wise, it’s much more about song s and much less about production – every song regardless of whether it wa s a ‘pop’ song or drum ‘n’ bass, we would write on piano. ‘Thunder’ is a track with Emili Sandé which we just performed at Wireless together – she wrote the song and I produced it but it was quite organic in the end as we wrote the ver ses in the studio together.” Sandé is a big deal in the Netsky househ old, “For me, it’s a big deal,” he nods. “Emeli is the first big UK singer t hat I’ve worked with and she just happens to be my number 1 new singer of the pa st 5 years! I introduced her to the band and she was amazing.”
As well as Beth Ditto and Emeli, the album also fea tures one track called ‘TNT’ (“it’s called ‘TNT’ because it’s a very explo sive funk pop song!”) with US funk-soul brothers Chromeo which has an 80s Prince vibe and sees Netsky “going back to my roots before I knew electr onic music.” He reckons the album will ultimately be ten songs and also “…qu ite diverse. It’s a much more live sounding album. There are lots of strings and live guitars and it’s an organic album, not one made with 10 producers and e ngineers. A lot of it is just me in my studio at home.” With additional stri ngs by the Brussells Philharmonic, for the record. He’s especially aware that some artist albums are w eighed down with too many guest collaborations. “I didn’t want to go th at way at all but I enjoyed working with Digital Farm Animals and we wrote a lo t from scratch. There will be a few songs on the album together. It felt alrig ht doing it that way rather than getting massive vocalists at the start. I woul d love to sing myself but I cant sing and that’s not what people want to hear !” The final piece of the puzzle is performing the new music live. “Saturday at Wireless was fantastic. We’ve already been touring for two-and-a-half years. We just did a 40 date tour in the US which was incr edible and now is the beginning of Version 2.0. I’m thinking of having ca rtoon imagery onstage – the ‘Rio’ video is made up of some very cool animation so I’m trying to incorporate more visuals as well as more instruments onstage! ‘ Rio’ is starting to do well in America so I may get a second base in LA soon. A merica has been inspirational, one of the best tours I’ve done in m y life. “And finally, are there any other surprises you can tell us about? “I want to focus on all the different cities in Europe as well as the UK and Belgium. We’ re thinking about doing a show for each city in Europe. With the new single ‘ Rio’ showing a more unusual side to Netsky’s musical palette, it’s clea r that he’s only just getting started. For the record, the name Netsky is based o n a particularly icky computer virus: clearly, resistance to this Belgian superstar DJ/producer is futile.