Listen Festival and Red Bull Belgium proudly present ‘The Vinyl Frontier live’: a series of 6 live interviews with vinyl lovers conducted during the Pre-Listen evenings at the ING Art Center in Brussels between March 16 and March 25 2017.
Interview Koen Galle/Bianca Boselli
Photographs Clotilde Peeters
Renaat Vandepapeliere is the R in R&S, the label he founded in 1984 together with his wife Sabine, the S in R&S. The label released music by the likes of Aphex Twin, Jaydee, C.J Bolland, Ken Ishii, Model 500/Juan Atkins among others in the 80’s and 90’s. After a short break in the first half of the new millennium releases appeared of artists such as James Blake, Pariah, Untold & Blawan. Renaat is also a dj, enthusiastically playing his favourite records all over the world.
I started R&S because I didn’t want to work, I was a music fan and I wanted to be involved in music ever since I was a young child. I come from a family of nine children, I wanted to be a drummer. My father didn’t allow me to buy drums as a kid though. He was playing a lot of classical music, which I really liked, and some jazz. When he was working late, I was crawling out of my bed, especially when there was some jazz program playing. Something really intrigued me. I adore jazz mostly because of the complexity of the rhythm. And then on television you saw early big bands in shows and drummers like Gene Krupa, he blew my mind as a young kid and he’s still in my mind.
Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe
When I was young we had a huge culture program on Wednesday afternoons called ‘Nonkel Bob’. He invited Jimi Hendrix, which was the first Jimi Hendrix appearance on Belgian television, where he played “Hey Joe”. And this is where I was like “I want to be that guy”. Because on the radio, you hear all the shit pop music and then you see this rebel, you see this amazing musician. And I knew this is where I wanted to be, close to those guys.
Ravel - Bolero
Among my young stars are Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Vangelis and many early electronica producers. And of course there is Marvin Gaye, the greatest soul singer ever on this planet. This is no other one today like Marvin Gaye. He was also a drummer, and you can hear it. And I also relate often to classical tracks, such as the Bolero by Ravel. It’s so beautiful, the whole build-up, the intensity.
Rhythim Is Rhythim - It Is What It Is
Suddenly new-beat came. We jumped into that scene, which musically didn’t really grab me 100%, because it was very linear and cold. The whole movement really triggered me though, I knew something was happening. People were waiting at 8 AM at Boccaccio. It was in 1983-1984. Then came this track out of the blue, this American track from Detroit. Where for the first time I realized “ok, electronica is back in its pure, soulful way”. Compared to this whole cold wave and new-beat thing, this is funky. This has rhythm, this has a base, this has everything.
How I got my hands on it? I had my contacts, there was a young guy from London who I was working with. He was 16 and called me and he said “Renaat you should check this out”. And then I said “ok, I’m in the game”. This is what I wanted to hear, this is what I wanted to explore and wanted to work with.
If you look back at three or four generations now, people like Derrick May, Burial, James Blake, Mala ... Those are producers who really inspire complete generations. Some of these guys are writing the pages from zero. With R&S we are still looking for those guys. Most of the demos I get though, and I get many, are total crap. People contact me, and 99% I’m writing back telling them to get a job.
Talaboman - The Nightland
Back in the days we did more than thousand releases, but today we limit ourselves to one 12 inch a month and three albums per year. We start with three hundred copies for 12 inches and for big albums, like the new Talaboman, we’re making like two thousand copies. But I think the big days of vinyl are over. I can understand it’s a sentimental thing, it smells and looks good. To be really honest, I don’t really care about it. What matters to me is that music sounds good when it comes out of the speaker. The format is not at all important. It’s 2017, we should embrace technology. I used to carry boxes with more then 500 records to the DJ Booth to play and then I had to carry them back home. Now I travel with my computer, I have all the music with me, it’s simple, it’s easy, it sounds better on a big sound system. Digital sounds so much better.
Why do we still produce vinyl with R&S? Because we have to please certain clients. But I’ve said it so many times, I wish I could stop it right now. Because we’re all so green and eco-friendly but we pollute to produce vinyl, it’s expensive, we need logistics to get it around the world. We need paper, we need covers, so we’re cutting the rainforest to make a cover. So for me it’s time to say goodbye to vinyl. I hope R&S will stop making and selling vinyl as soon as possible. The sooner the better.
Paula Temple - Ful
During my DJ sets I play everything from drum&bass to dark techno or to more eclectic things. Most of the DJs stay very linear, they play very conceptual. I can understand it for some DJs, like Paula Temple, she plays very hybrid, you see her working, you see her basically remixing a track on the spot and creating new music on the spot. And this is what I find interesting. Abdulla Rachim, one of my favourite artists of the moment, is another good example. He’s incredible, I just love seeing this guy playing. You have so many great electronic artists. They know exactly what they’re doing. I love to listen to a DJ or go to a night where I can discover, where a DJ can create a sort of harmony in the room. A DJ is proud of his collection and of what he buys, so he wants to play it, he wants to show it.
Floating Points - Elenia
I’m turning 60 soon, but I’m still all over the scene and the music, listening non-stop, 10 hours a day, every day. I go to three parties a week worldwide, and then I start surfing the net and see where I end up. You have to filter, you have to listen to understand. One of my favourite platforms is bandcamp, i really adore it. 80% of the music that I buy comes from there. I found insane music on there. But it’s not so user-friendly, that’s the only problem. It’s so interesting for jazz, rock, reggae, psychedelic and it’s all there to grab. One of my favourite artists who I would love to sign on R&S is Floating Points. His album last year is one of the best I’ve heard in the last couple of years. It simply is amazing.
Vtothed - NYE Space Sessions PT. I
I really like this one, it’s a weird track. I found it on bandcamp, I have no idea who the producer is. It’s a total accident that I found this track. Its psychedelic, it’s trippy. It has all different parts in it. The track is long and keeps changing. This has soul like The Machines from Detroit.