Recent years have seen the landscape of techno and house change considerably. The influence of dubstep and the wider notion of ‘bass music’ have played an enormous role in shifting and developing the established aesthetics, speeds and vibes of modern dance music. These new perspectives and changes have thoroughly diversified these sounds; opening up their trajectories for considerable development by fresh-faced artists with groundbreaking visions. Every now and then, a new artist emerges as a leader of these consequential developments.
Locked Groove (aka Tim Van de Meutter) is one such talent. This young Belgian producer, who is yet to have a release to his name, is already causing serious murmurs and whispers across the board. Despite having only been producing in this vein since the beginning of the year, his hyper-realised concepts of heavy techno and deep house demonstrate a startling balance and natural ingenuity well beyond his years – at a level not seen for quite some time.
Locked Groove’s strength lies in his uncanny ability to shift between the industrial jams of Berghain and the lighter, deeper tones of sprightly Chicago house with real guile and finesse. Both sides of his coin carry strong currency, and effectively showcase his strong natural potential as a long-term artist with a bold, ongoing influence – a true crossover threat.
It’s therefore no surprise that none other than Scuba has picked up on Locked Groove’s vision and ability, having recently signed him to Hotflush for his debut release, and prominently featuring ‘Drowning’ in his recent instalment of the DJ Kicks series.
Scuba’s role as an inadvertent architect of the recent movement towards a wider form of unadulterated techno and house; what Van de Meutter describes as ‘100%’ techno and house’, is as evident as ever. Hotflush’s steady transition as a label has seen it evolve from foundational breakstep and techno-infused dubstep through to pivotal future-garage; and it’s more recent relocation towards all-out techno and house (through SCB, Scuba and Sigha) has been equally game-changing.
The scouting of Locked Groove proves no different, as the addition of Van de Meutter as its latest breakthrough artist personifies this sonic transition, and spells another new dawn for Hotflush; continuing its legacy as one of the most forward-thinking labels of its time.
IA has been lucky enough to track this mysterious producer down for a lengthy discussion about all things Locked Groove – from his musical education and ethos to his methodology, insights into the revitalisation of techno and house, and his perspectives on sound in general.
Of immediate note was Van de Meutter’s industrious workflow and understated modesty – both potent ingredients of his certain success. Many thanks must go out Locked Groove for his insights and dedication to our extensive conversation, as well as for the excellent mix he’s laid down for IA.
Locked Groove’s contribution to our ongoing mix series, IA MIX 41, is also one of the finest we’ve heard this year; an all-out techno assault which features crushingly deep cuts from Vainqueur, Basic Soul Unit (via Shed), Conforce, Paul Woolford & Psycatron, Audionite, 2562 and Four Tet, as well as some fresh Locked Groove dubs in the form of ‘cmd’ and ‘Structure’. It shows us where Locked Groove is at conceptually, and confidently cements his status as a serious dancefloor menace.
We eagerly look forward to tracking Locked Groove’s ongoing development, and strongly anticipate his forthcoming debut release. As should you – consider yourselves on ready notice!
COULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO US – WHO ARE YOU, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO AND HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
My name is Tim, I’m 23 years old and at the moment I reside in Antwerp, Belgium. It all began pretty standard. I started making music about 3 years ago, mostly dubstep. It wasn’t until I think about 7-8 months ago that I started producing house and techno. It’s actually strange because I was into house and techno before I ever heard dubstep existed, yet it never crossed my mind to actually produce it myself. Eventually I gave it a go and if felt as if a big weight fell off my shoulders. Suddenly all these ideas flowed out of me really easily. House and techno feels natural to me, both producing it and also playing it.
YOU’VE MENTIONED THEO PARRISH AND CARL CRAIG AS SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCERS. WHO ELSE HAS BEEN IMPORTANT IN YOUR EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT?
Those two have my respect because they’ve managed to build a sound and keep at it for over two decades. However, there’s loads more artists that have influenced me and keep on influencing me.
Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir is another big influence; to me he’s one of the founding fathers of what we call bass music today. His music will never go out of style and to me every piece he’s made is timeless.
I used to work in a record store in Antwerp called Wally’s Grooveworld. The owner, Koenie, is an old house DJ. He’s one of the first ones to play house in Belgium and was there from the start as a DJ and producer. My view is that he’s made some important tunes for house music. He passed on a lot of his knowledge about house and techno music onto me. But there’s also, and maybe this is the thing I’m forever indebted to him for – he knows so, so much about experimental, avant garde and new wave etc. If it’s rare and amazing you can put your money on it that he has it.
He’s been a big influence on me in terms to what I listen and appreciate, but also made me understand more about music and how something conceptual can be as important to modern music as something commercial. He also taught me how to party – I can easily say the parties and after parties I attended in his presence are something I will remember forever. I met a lot of interesting people and saw some mind-boggling stuff. Possibly some of the greatest times of my life so far!
YOU SEEM TO WEAVE BETWEEN HEAVY HARD WAX TECHNO AND MOODY DEEP HOUSE WITH STARTLING PROFICIENCY. EVEN AT THIS EARLY STAGE, YOUR TUNES ALREADY DEMONSTRATE AN IMPRESSIVE BALANCE, VERSATILITY AND DEEP KNOWLEDGE OF THESE SOUNDS. WHERE WOULD YOU PLOT LOCKED GROOVE ON THE MAP?
As I stated earlier, making these beats for me feels natural; for me the definition of soul is really broad. Something raw and industrial can be as soulful as or possibly more soulful than something really melodic. To me it doesn’t feel any different producing a hard industrial beat then a soft deep house tune. I always make music with my heart and gut so for me it’s all the same.
As far as putting Locked Groove on the map I dunno – maybe outer space? Haha. It’s hard to label my own music; somewhere between early house and stylistic deep techno? I don’t know. If someone has a good label for my music, please get in touch.
THERE ARE ALSO EXPERIMENTAL ELEMENTS OF ACTRESS, SCB AND SIGHA, AS WELL AS THE ACCESSIBILITY OF JOY ORBISON, IN YOUR SOUND. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE REVITALISATION OF TECHNO AND HOUSE IN RECENT YEARS THROUGH THE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM AND CROSSOVER WITH, UK BASS MUSIC?
That’s flattering to put my name amongst all those names whom I respect and love musically.
As far as the revitalization of techno and house goes I couldn’t be happier to be honest. For me it never left my life. But it’s interesting to see people like Actress and Joy O making something that’s actually really true to the essence of house and or techno but at the same time can be so innovative. But at the same time I feel people are getting less attached to the UK bass label and are feeling more confident to go for house or techno 100%.
I think we live in a great time, music is something that’s accessible to everyone and ideas can be shared, you can collab really easily via the internet. And let’s be honest – that’s what music is all about – bringing like-minded people together and sharing your music and creating exciting stuff.
THE LOCKED GROOVE SOUNDCLOUD HAS BEEN RECENTLY STOCKED UP WITH SOME NEW BITS. COULD YOU TAKE US THROUGH A COUPLE OF THESE TRACKS?
I like to switch up the tracks, delete everything and put new ones up really often for obvious reasons.
At the moment I have got 3 tunes on there. The newest one is ‘Moods’. It’s a 7 minute long house workout with some cheeky sampling. I really love to incorporate something old in my tunes be it really upfront or more hidden. To me sampling is more than just taking a piece of someone else work and using it in your own music. It’s paying tribute to the music that is the closest to your heart. It evolves throughout the track from a smooth after-hours roller to a heavy-house Juno work out inspired by Mr Fingers and Chicago house in general.
‘Different Paths’ is a really minimal techno work out. Sometimes I like to make tunes that can be worked to the max in a set. ‘Different Paths’ on itself might sound a bit boring to some, but it unfolds when you use it in a set, I like the feeling of really working with a tune and having loads of space to fill up with chords from another tune.
‘Nacht’ is a collaboration with one of my dear friends from Berlin, Kobosil. We made it in I think two days over the internet, sending the project file back and forth. It’s a stomper, simple as that; dub-infused stabs, big reverbed kick and hi-hats flying everywhere. I love it because in a way its something I wouldn’t have made on my own, but working with Kobosil went so smoothly, and the beat is a good combination of what we both represent music-wise.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR VERY EXCITING DEBUT RELEASE – WHAT’S ON IT, WHO’S PUTTING IT OUT AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM IT?
My debut release is gonna be a 12 inch on Scuba’s label Hotflush. There will be 3 tracks on there. Basically there’s something on it for everyone. Tempo wise it will range from 115 to 130; music-wise from smooth house to Berghain-inspired techno. I’m anxious to see how people will receive it, but I’m really happy with the way it turned out and the home it got with Hotflush. I’ve been a big fan of Hotflush since the start and I’m happy to be part of the Hotflush camp.
SCUBA’S ALSO PICKED ‘DROWNING’ FOR INCLUSION ON HIS FORTHCOMING DJ KICKS COMPILATION. IT’S DEFINITELY A BLINDING 6AM BERGHAIN NUMBER, AND THERE’S NO DOUBT IT’S AN EXCELLENT INTRODUCTION FOR YOU TO THE WIDER WORLD. TELL US ABOUT THIS TUNE – AND HOW DID YOU GUYS ORIGINALLY LINK UP?
We got introduced through a mutual friend, Roko. He has a show on Sub.fm. He sent Scuba some of my beats and we just got in touch from there. After I sent him a couple of beats he decided to sign them.
When I made ‘Drowning’ I was listening to a lot of Mike Dehnert and Planetary Assault Systems, so it’s definitely influenced by those two. I like to make techno tunes that hypnotize you, like you can get into it and totally lose yourself. You don’t have to consciously listen to what’s going on but just let the tune take you on a mental voyage.
It’s pretty raw – a lot of the drum and ambience samples I used in ‘Drowning’ are field recordings. I really enjoy using my own samples as it gives me the feeling that I’m adding something that is personal and made only by me.
SCUBA’S INFLUENCE OVER BASS MUSIC AND ITS RECENT MOVEMENT TOWARDS ‘100% HOUSE AND TECHNO’ IS UNDENIABLE. HIS TASTE, FORESIGHT AND CHOICES (AS A PRODUCER, DJ AND LABEL HEAD) ALL INADVERTENTLY FORM A HUGE SPHERE OF INFLUENCE . WHAT TYPE OF INSIGHT HAVE YOU HAD INTO SCUBA’S PROCESSES, CHOICES AND IDEOLOGY SINCE YOU’VE BEEN ON BOARD WITH HOTFLUSH?
I’m really happy I’m part of the Hotflush camp because the label has been about quality sounds since the start. Back in the early days when it just to be more about dubstep I loved all the releases because they had something timeless. Every Hotflush release is something that can withstand the test of time – and I hope mine can also stand the test of time.
To me Scuba is someone who is really in touch with techno music, but also someone who can combine modern UK bass music – be it more techno or dubstep-orientated with the things that are going on in Berlin.
There’s some really nice stuff forthcoming on Hotflush; stuff I will support for sure in my DJ sets.
HOTFLUSH PLAYS A HUGE ROLE IN SHAPING THE CURRENT CLIMATE OF DANCE MUSIC EACH YEAR – AND THE LABEL’S DIRECTION HAS OFTEN FORECASTED THESE SHIFTING MOVEMENTS WELL IN ADVANCE. WHERE DO YOU THINK THINGS ARE HEADING – IN TERMS OF BOTH YOUR OWN INVOLVEMENT WITH HOTFLUSH AND IT’S FUTURE DIRECTION IN GENERAL?
In terms of my own music I will continue down the path I am now. I’ll continue to make techno and house music. As far as the evolution of my own style, I don’t know – let’s see what the future brings. But for the time being, I feel really comfortable and happy with the things I’m doing. There’s also some interesting collaborations happening at the moment with my friends and Berlin based producers, Audionite (Boys Noize) and Kobosil (Lineal).
As far as the direction Hotflush is taking, I’m sure whatever it evolves into will be quality as always.
I GET THE FEELING LOCKED GROOVE ISN’T YOUR FIRST FORAY INTO PRODUCTION. DO YOU MAKE ANY OTHER TUNES?
I do make other tunes under the moniker of Subreachers, it’s a project I started up way before Locked Groove with my friend Matthias. I think we’ve been doing it 3 years now and we’re still going strong. We’ve been getting some recent support from the likes of Youngsta, J:Kenzo, Jay 5ive etc.
I also produce under the moniker of Lush84, with Aline. Lush84 is something we started in January. It focuses on the deeper, more melodic side of garage; house influenced stuff. It’s really nice to be able to work on all this different music because this keeps me on point and forces me to not get stuck in one particular sound. It’s also good because Aline helps me keep both feet on the ground.
I also make instrumental stuff in my ‘down’ time haha. I’ve played the piano since well… it feels like forever! So sometimes I’ll record something and make something experimental and drone-y with it, but for now that work will be confined to the comfort of my hard drive. Maybe I’ll put it out one day – on a CDR with some crazy artwork, I dunno.
WHO ELSE’S TUNES ARE YOU FEELING AT THE MOMENT?
There’s some really exciting stuff going on in the Boysnoize camp. Guys like SCTNST, Audionite, and also Maelstrom. They have a really original view on House and Techno music. I’m really feeling the direction they’re taking it. My man J Tijn from London, he has his own style. He makes 140 BPM techno – heavy bass music with a lot of swing and groove; amazing productions and one of a kind. Other than that; Mike Dehnert, Skudge, Marcellus Pittmann, Kobosil, Scuba, Gerry Read, and so much more. To everyone I forgot I’m sorry, but you know who you are.
PLEASE FILL US IN ON THIS MIX OF YOURS. WHAT HAS INFLUENCED IT AND WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO CONVEY?
I tried to show off the techno side of Locked Groove. I was in the mood for making a techno mix the day I recorded it so that’s how it went. Music is very much a mood thing for me. Some days I just don’t feel like going through 2 hours of hard hitting techno. But that day I was feeling it.
The inspiration behind this mix was that I wanted to show the darker edge of Locked Groove, but I was also trying to prove that soul can come in many forms. I also wanted it to be slightly hypnotic, the music that you envision being played in dark big rooms with only one strobe light. I like the idea of getting totally lost in music and just let the music do the talking and allow it to take you to places.
WHERE DO YOU SEE LOCKED GROOVE IN 2012?
Making music, spending time with the people I love and care for. Meeting a lot of interesting people and getting to know more music!
AND FINALLY, ANY SHOUT-OUTS?
Matthias for being there from the start and getting me into producing; my parents for always supporting me; Scuba for believing in me and signing me; Roko for getting me out there; J Tijn for being a good friend and kindred spirit; Bardeya for getting me in touch with Inverted Audio; Aline for being there; and everyone else I’ve forgotten who plays an important role in my life be it personal or musical – you all know I appreciate and respect you a lot.Locked GrooveHotflush RecordingsHouseTechno