Rhythm Ave. is a 37-year-old Belgian producer from Antwerp. He is recognized as a DJ and artist with a distinctive ability to mold his tracks reminiscent of the 90s era.
Remaining faithful to the roots of house and techno music, Rhythm Ave has captured recognition from a spectrum of mid-sized to prominent labels in the European scene, including Imported Recordings, Soviett Records, Hustler Trax, and most recently, Epsilon Records.
In this interview, we explore artist’s unique perspectives into Techno House and the creative process behind Rhythm Ave’s tracks. From childhood violin lessons to the origins of the artist’s name in the avenues of Detroit, each rich element adds depth to Rhythm Ave’s musical identity.
As we anticipate the release of the upcoming album ‘Lost and Found,’ fans can expect a compilation that mirrors life’s diverse emotions, encapsulated in the timeless essence of techno-house.
Belgium is famous for its electronic music. In your experience, what makes Belgium’s music scene unique and special compared to other places you’ve been?
I have to say that in the other places I’ve been, my primary purpose has been to travel and discover whatever I want. While music is sometimes involved, in my opinion, Belgium is not perse more unique than any other country. I even got more inspiration from artists from Germany, the Netherlands and oversea to be honest. That said, I do like some Belgian artists. But most importantly, I think, music is a feeling. Everyone can bring out a feeling in music.
Can you share a bit about how you create your music? What’s your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part is when I put on my noise-canceling headphones in bed before I go to sleep. It’s like I can hear a song in my head. The tough part is deciding whether to write or create the basic idea in my DAW right then or wait until the next morning and work with it. I’ve had more success going with the first option, so that’s usually how I kick off a new track.
I make and arrange music primarily by feeling. But, you know, structure and mixing are necessary and essential to keep things interesting. I like to play my music live in session view, experimenting as I go. At times, it flows; other times, it’s less productive. Depending on the mood the track gives me, I either start with drums or just a bassline and build around that to my liking. I am sure there are tons of artists that can give a more specific answer, but for me, the secret is that house is a feeling. Not everyone understands house music; it’s a spiritual thing, body, and soul thing. That pretty much sums it up.
I heard you played the violin when you were younger. Are there any other instruments you enjoy playing?
Yes, I played the violin for 8 years. I learned a lot about music during my childhood. My father played the piano, and my mother played the accordion. All my brothers and sisters played a classical instrument, so having an ear for melodies, finding, and hearing corresponding notes was inherent. I regret not learning how to properly play the piano or any key instrument, but I play them by feeling now. Thanks to MIDI, the process is a lot easier.
Your artist’s name, Rhythm Ave., is quite catchy. And now there is a blue mask with the funky glasses. What’s the story or special meaning behind it?
As a child, I had a vivid imagination. Sometimes, we watched French movies together with the family. Fantômas was one of my favorites: A bad guy with style. I mean, the bad part was not so me, but the style, the finesse is what I like in life. So, why couldn’t I be my childhood hero? Just had to make him more like myself. Combining making techno with a sense of distinguished aesthetics is what truly resonates with me. This journey extends beyond personal expression; it’s a profound aspiration to personify the essence of someone I’ve long held in high regard.
As far as the artist p/k/a stage name, few years ago, my brother and I attempted to attend the Music Movement Festival, both sharing a profound love for Detroit techno.
Although we didn’t make it to Detroit, the idea promised an adventure into sound and a chance to feel close to where I discovered my inspiration for making music. As I surveyed the map of Detroit with its myriad avenues, I conceived the artist’s name, aiming for it to evoke a techno vibe when read or heard. I trust I made the right choice in selecting that name.
Who were some of your favorite artists to listen to during your childhood, and how have they influenced your music?
My oldest brother loved to party and had a taste for excellent music. Every month, he would invite his heroes from that time to spin records at JH Spiraal, the local youth house. People from all around the country and abroad came there. I mean, I saw Derrick May, Luke Slater, Kevin Saunderson, Ben Long… the list goes on. Despite the youth house facing serious debts, the bookings allowed us to enjoy these artists in a small basement with a strobe and all the locals. We came for the music, and we got more than we could wish for. After a few years, it was shut down, and nothing was the same after.
A lot of Detroit sounds, mechanical and hypnotizing grooves, initially drew me into DJ’ing. I was always curious about how to add or make an existing track different, so I incorporated samplers and synths and played live over the records I was mixing. I was obsessed with the idea that I could do what those guys behind the DJ booth were doing: I could make music myself! I must mention some of the most important artists who influenced me, and I am grateful to know their music.
Robert Hood opened my eyes to make techno groovy, soulful. Artists like Derrick May got me hooked with strings, keys, classical elements that fit what I was looking for. Abe Duque and Blake Baxter influenced my vocal and lyric approach; their almost poetic-sounding voices are hypnotizing. I can’t forget about Anthony Rother and Sven Vath either. I think I have to stop here and focus on the next question.
Your music has a great classic techno-house vibe. Can you share how you achieve this sound or any techniques you particularly enjoy using?
I do like to use what I know, so I can shape my ideas into sound. In my opinion, great music was made in times when people had less equipment and knowledge about technologies. It sounds more pure, with more emotion and feeling. The artists back then loved to make music. I think there has been a shift now towards creating music for platforms, for commercial success. The feeling is less important, or at least, that is what I hear in today’s music more and more.
As for the techniques, I love to chop samples of old soul and funk records. Combined with basic mixed elements, this gives a more ‘vintage’ sound. It is more organic.
If you could collaborate with any artist in the future, who would it be and why?
Steve Rachmad, no doubt. I love his music; I love his productions. There’s so much soul and Detroit in there. I was surprised to read that he is from Amsterdam. I appreciate how he brings his music with passion and focus. I look forward to seeing him staying true in the years to come, just as he has always been. It’s a spirit I aim to embody for myself too.
Your new album ‘Lost and Found’ is coming out soon. What are your hopes for this album, and what can your listeners expect from your future projects?
Like the album says, the tracks were lost and found. Epsilon Records brought them back to life, so thank you for that! ‘Lost and Found’ is a compilation of tracks, each different from the other, created in various moods. You will experience it when you listen to the tracks.
I feel nostalgia, energy, hope, and some kind of sadness in some of the tracks. I believe everyone encounters these emotions in life, and music should not be any different.