Kr!z always had a strong sympathy for the more gloomy, dark, rawer sound of techno. Artists like Jeff Mills, Surgeon & James Ruskin had a major influence on him in the 90s. They helped to define his musical taste and develop his own identity in the Techno scene. Being a respected & established value in Belgium for a decade and a resident-DJ for Belgium’ s legendary techno night ‘Kozzmozz’, his DJ-schedule now takes him all over the world. The Belgium techno artist and Token Records owner, talks to SIX AM about his newest EP release "Marbles".
Today he sits downs and talks with SIX AM about his new EP, his label Token, and his inspiration for production.
Hi Kr!z, congrats on the new EP. Can you tell us a little bit about how this one came about?
Thanks. It came together quite fast and organically. I usually make music without any label or concept in mind. After testing tracks in my sets weekly, sometimes I sit down and find that some fit really well together and an EP idea starts to form.
The initial enthusiasm usually sparks from a party where a track goes down incredibly well and I start thinking ‘I need to put this out! What other tracks could fit with it?’
This is a solo EP on your label Token in a year where you have released some other incredible releases from heavyweights and newcomers alike. What have been some of your favorite tracks on Token in 2023?
Thanks again! One of my favorite tracks this year is definitely ‘Integrate The Shadow’ by Altinbas. Next to that ‘Evoke’ by Phara & ‘Lost In Darkness’ by Kike Pravda, both off the Fuga IV compilation, ‘Seraphic’ by Ignez, ‘Prism’ by Border one.. There’s been so many that never leave my sets. Can’t forget the Ruskin & Jeroen Search ep’s too! I’m very proud of every record.
What keeps inspiring you to produce your brand of techno in today's ever-changing musical landscape?
Deejaying, really. My first love is and will always be deejaying. I get inspired by the stuff I play, how it works in a set, how I can layer different tracks. I always take that DJ energy with me in the studio. When I finish a track in the studio I immediately know how & where I can use it in a set or layer it and I just get excited to play it out.
What do you look for in a track for a Token release?
I know it sounds cliché, but I’m looking for something ‘special’. A personal touch. Could be anything from a weird chord or note, fx, an interesting arrangement, a certain choice of percussion or synth sounds or even a specific way of mixing down track. I get a lot of music sent and what I hear most is people trying to sound like someone else or some current trend. I’m not mad at that – and might even play some of that in my sets – but for the label I want something that stands out and will stand the test of time. Find your own voice!
Could you share with us 5 up-and-coming producers and/or DJs we should be on the lookout for?
Always a tough question to answer off the top of my head, so I just had a peek at my last playlists. I will give you 10: Blanka, Dhaeur, Elias Garcia, Flaws, Forum, Hemka, Isabel Soto, Kameliia, Marcelo Antonio & Uväll
Can you share 2 valuable pieces of advice for aspiring producers looking to release their first tracks
The only right answer to this question is quite corny: find your own voice (see above) and never give up. I think if you really like what you do and you are not in it to make money or be famous, you won’t give up. If you want to make a living out of this (which is not necessarily a wrong ambition to have, let me state that clear) or be a star (not my kind of ambition at all, but hey..), prepare to face setbacks. But if you are passionate about the music and the craft, it really gives you an advantage.
In today's world what are the pros and cons of releasing on vinyl and how do you, as head of a label, view vinyl releases today?
I grew up with vinyl and still buy lots of it. Every track on Token since the beginning in 2007 has been released on vinyl,. I can’t see myself doing it any other way. Luckily it still works financially. If it wouldn’t (and I know it doesn’t work for a lot of labels), I wouldn’t know what to do, honestly. In the end it’s all about the music, not about the carrier. I’m just nostalgic and like to have a physical object. If you don’t care about that, there’s mostly just cons, as it takes time and money to produce them.
What else is in store for Token to finish up the year? Anything on the horizon for 2024 that you can share?
Not really.. We got 2 more records after mine this year, but I can’t spill the beans just yet. Slowly closing the pre-summer schedule for 2024: lots of exciting stuff. Can’t wait to share it with everyone, but it’s too early and people have such a short attention span these days, I’d rather focus on what’s out now.
As I have alluded to a bit, the word techno has taken a lot of different meanings through its existence but also in recent years. What does techno mean to you today?
In all honesty, these days the word means nothing to me. It’s become a hollow term used for so many different sounds. I know some people might be offended that some more commercial stuff is being labeled as techno, but I don’t care. It used to be an easy word to label a sound that I like. These days it’s kind of confusing when random people ask me what music I play or make and I reply ‘techno’. I could say I play Electronic Dance Music but that would be even more confusing, right? :)
Connect With KR!Z: Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp