Belgium born producer Peter Van Hoesen is a stalwart of techno, his label Time To Express is an essential outlet for deep, physical electronic music and has released records from the likes of Donato Dozzy, Cio D’Or and Marco Shuttle. In the interview below Peter discusses forthcoming releases and what’s next for his label Time To Express. He also sheds light into his formative years growing up in Belgium and his collaborative project alongside Yves De Mey as Sendai.
Hi Peter, thanks for recording your mix for Inverted Audio. Please can you tell us a bit more about the mix, how it was made, the track selection and if it contains any special tracks?
The mix represents what I’m playing out during my DJ sets at the moment. Of course this mix is the condensed version, since it’s only 60 minutes long and I usually try to play sets that last at least two hours. Longer usually seems to be better.
I’d like to draw some attention to the opening track by Terrence Dixon aka Population One. He recently announced that he was quitting techno, and I think that’s a real shame. As far as I am concerned he’s someone with a very specific and inspiring sound, he’s always been true to that. I really respect him as an artist; he’s made some incredible music.
Music wise what have you been working on recently? Any new additions to the studio?
The last couple of months have been quite busy. I’ve finished nearly two hours of new material, mostly techno.
Right now the question is how to present everything properly. It could be in the shape of several EP’s, maybe even an album, who knows? It’s not clear to me at the moment so I’m taking some time to work this out.
Next to this I’ve started a new project, but I guess it’s still a bit too early to talk about that. What I can say is that people will be surprised as it’s a bit outside of the usual scope.
Lastly July will also see the release of my remix for Tobias on Ostgut Ton, I’m very happy with that one.
What’s happening with Time To Express, do you have any releases or new artists coming up?
At the end of August I will release an EP with four new tracks of mine. Then there’s a triple release by SP-X coming, probably in October. We’re ramping up the label’s activity again after a fairly calm 12 months.
What albums or EP’s are have you been continually listening to in 2014?
A lot of Jon Hassell, for sure. That’s been a constant element in the house for several months now. It’s an artist I can go back to time and time again.
Lately I’ve also been listening to Laurie Spiegel a lot. Besides that I listen to a lot of percussion music: African, Middle Eastern… right at this very moment I’m listening to Cüneyt Sepetci, amazing Turkish folk music.
You’re from Brussels in Belgium, a country that has a rich musical history, thanks to local radio stations, can you tell me about your early days of discovering new music and venturing out as a young producer.
You hit the nail on the head when talking about radio. That medium was very influential to me. I still have hour’s tape recordings of those shows, and I still listen to them once in a while. I did not bring much with me when I moved from Brussels to Berlin, but those tapes definitely had to come along.
I’m not into photographing, or keeping picture albums as a way to document or remember one’s life. Those tapes do that for me. These radio shows were really open-minded, and presented anything that was outside of the mainstream. This is how I discovered a lot of early new wave, EBM, industrial and even early house and techno.
Who is the person who has had the strongest influence on your approach to producing music?
Hmm, that’s a difficult question to answer. From a practical perspective I never had anybody who showed me how to do things, I learned everything myself. I attended several years of music academy, but that did not really do much for me. Same goes for DJing.
As for artistic influences, I guess it’s so wide that it’s difficult to name just one. One gets exposed to so much music; it’s impossible to pick just one influence.
What’s key for putting on a quality event?
The keyword here is devotion. Devotion to every aspect of what you are doing. You can have an event with the best hospitality towards the audience but if the sound system is not up to the job the event will fail. And vice versa. A quality event is such a complex process with so many factors to take into account. But if there were one element I would say sound. Sound quality is the most important.
You’re one half of Sendai, alongside Yves De Mey. Tell me about that project and how it came about? What’s your aim with this collaboration?
Yves and I are longtime friends, we met during a project organised by my former collective/label Foton. We invited him to take part in one of our sounds performances, and since then we became friends. It took a while for us to go into the studio together, and it took even longer to find our shared sound and approach to production. But since then we’ve been on a ride.
We’re very proud of the two albums we’ve released so far. Stroboscopic Artefacts will be releasing a new four-track EP in July, and I think that when you listen to that release you’ll understand what we are trying to do: to experiment without making any compromise.
We both like to see how far we can go with electronic sound and composition. At the same time we also like to drop a proper groove, so I guess it’s the combination of these two aspects that drives us forward. Obviously we are trying to channel all this into our new label Archives Interieures, which functions as the ideal outlet for our ideas.
How do you balance the workload, who’s responsible for what?
I’m not sure how I balance my workload; it just seems to happen in some kind of miraculous way. Luckily I have people around me who take care of certain aspects such a label management, bookings, finance, etc. Both labels, Time To Express and Archives Interieures benefit from having several passionate people involved. I would not be able to pull all this of by myself.
Which other producers do you tend to hang out with most?
I don’t really hang out that much with people from the techno scene, with a couple of notable exceptions who I consider friends, more than I consider them fellow producers.
I’m quite happy meeting people that have no professional connection to techno or music in general. Talking about music all the time can get pretty boring, especially if you’ve already been spending ten hours working in the studio.
What’s your experience of London for underground techno nights? Do you think there’s an opportunity for a new concept approach to hosting events in the capital?
My first reaction would be to say yes, since London is such a huge city. So there surely must be potential. However, my experience tells me that it’s not that easy to set up an underground, independent night in London. It strongly depends on the area and its local rules concerning closing times and licenses and what have you. So I guess it’s probably more complex than I can imagine.
What has been the most significant moment for you so far this year?
From a musical perspective I have to say I’ve been very happy with the releases we put out on Archives Interieures this year. A lot of work is involved, and it’s done purely out of love for the music. So once the final product is delivered and I can hold that CD in my hands I do feel a great sense of reward and satisfaction.Peter Van HoesenTime To ExpressTechno