Hello Swingers, i discovered a really original producer a few weeks ago : Mr Boogie Belgique from Belgium. He produces a really nice blend of hiphop-trip-hop with swing and jazz samples. It sounds really different from what we used to have in the electro-swing scene.
So Boogie Belgique, it is obvious you are a native of the Country of Fries, but can you tell me more about yourself and your artistic project ?
My name is Oswald Cromheecke and I’m 22 years old. I study Illustration at Sint Lucas, Ghent Belgium. When I’m not busy drawing or animating I’m producing as Boogie Belgique. Before Boogie Belgique I used to play in a reggaeband with some friends named Jahfar but when the band unfortunately split I’ve focused more on producing myself.I’ve really started Boogie Belgique last summer with the release of my free debut album “Blueberry Hill” with Dusted Wax Kingdom records. After the release everything went really fast and now my second album “Time for a boogie” is coming out in January 2013 with Cold Busted.
What drove you in to Abstract Hiphop and electro swing music ?
I’ve always liked swingjazz, hiphop, triphop, funk & soul. After a while I came across electroswing and liked it immediately. But most electroswing missed a touch of (how do I say this) “nostalgic soul”. (With a lot of exceptions of course : Odjbox, Proleter, Parov Stelar,…) In my opinion something very important since you’re working with old samples that have a whole history behind them and have to be ‘respected’ in a way. I wanted to make music that people could dance to but also music that could be played in your living room or in your car. After experimenting for a long time I started to make a kind of mixture between Abstract Hiphop and electroswing music. I try to produce music that has modern beats but still has that delicate/vintage touch that you can hear in the originals.
What’s in your studio ? How do you make music ? You see yourself more as a musician, a beatmaker ? Do you work with musicians or only with samples ?
To be honest I really don’t have an actual studio. I have to travel a lot by train and always take my laptop with me. This is a great placeto listen to a lot of old and new music and choose the samples I’m going to need. This is probably the most time-consuming part. Afterwards I start producing in Ableton 8. Most producers work and experiment in session view but I always work directly in the arrangement view. This maybe isn’t the right way but it works out better for me. I think you can cut and manipulate samples more precise ( and faster ) working this way, than using all kinds of sample-devices that make it more complicated. Most of the time I play my synths and basses myself and try to avoid samples from databases. I already worked with a great singer that you can hear on the track “The Getaway” (Blueberry Hill LP) and I’m planning on working with more musicians in the future. I hope to find a good mixture of samples and real musicians in my upcoming albums.
You are giving away your album “Blueberry Hill” for FREE on the internet, can you explain why ? and the name of Blueberry Hill is it a reference to the western comic Blueberry ?
When I became a part of the Dusted Wax Kingdom I immediately liked their ideals concerning free music. I think it’s so much easier to get your name out there when everybody can download the debut album for free. Certainly now, when the music industry is changing so fast. Now it’s more important for musicians to earn their money with live-shows and donations than selling albums (which you can download illegally for free anyway). But then again it’s also important that when you start to get more fans, they can support you by buying the next albums. That’s why my next album “Time for a boogie” is not going to be free. I’m going to need the money to build on my liveshows and the next albums. The name Blueberry Hill came from the lyrics of the sample that I used in the last track. So not from the cowboy Blueberry, although I like the comic a lot.
Your next album will be release on the 23th January on Cold Busted records. Can you tell us more about this ?
It’s going to be funkier and more uptempo but still with the atmosphere of my previous album “Blueberry Hill”. I’ve made some of the tracks when “Blueberry Hill” wasn’t even released so I think it’s going to be a good sequel. Like I mentioned earlier in this interview the album is going to be named “Time for a boogie” and it will come out on January 23 2013 with Cold Busted. Will be available on both digital and CD !
Your music is interesting because the most of the productions is more house swing or swing-step, i don’t know a lot of artists who produces hop-swing, to name a few Smokey Joe & the Kid, Odjbox… What do you think about the electro swing scene ?
I really like the good vibe around electro swing. Certainly in France, the UK and America. I really like the ” White Mink Black Cotton” series and would love to be part of a next project in the future. Where I live in Belgium the electro swing scene is still very small but that’s changing very fast. I think it’s a genre that’s underrated but it has a bright future.
How do you transpose your studio work on stage ?
Now I’m playing a dj-set with my great trumpet-player, Cedric Van Overstraeten. We have 2 gigs coming up in Greece at the start of december and afterwards I’m planning on working on something new. I’m going to focus more on the live performance and we’ll start working with a live drummer. Coming soon!
For the end do you have a good memory of your artistic life you want to share with us ?
I want to say to all upcoming producers that it’s so important to use blogs and sites like Soundcloud and Bandcamp. It’s a great way to release your tracks yourself or get picked up by a label. In my case everything went really fast this way and now I’m already playing abroad 5 months after the release of my debut album. So in these times everything is possible I guess, certainly when you love the stuff you do.