Ambitious may be an understatement in describing Belgian producer Boris Daenen, better known as Netsky. By the age of 23, he had released two innovative drum ‘n bass albums showcasing his brilliant brand of liquid funk and placing himself in electronic music’s elite as part of Hospital Records. Taking advantage of the energetic percussion and wobbling bass of DnB, Netsky layers cross-genre melodies that draw influence from soul, jazz, hip-hop and funk making for an undeniably infectious sound and living up to the origins of his moniker.
In 2012, shortly before releasing his second album, Boris turned his attention towards performance assembling a band of talented musicians capable of keeping up with his fast-paced productions. Dubbed Netsky LIVE, the band consists of Netsky, keyboardist BABL, drummer Michael Schack, London’s Script MC and vocalist Billie. Not only is playing EDM live a tall feat from a technical perspective, but logistically it is a much more costly and risky endeavor. Nevertheless, Netsky, who could easily sell out shows worldwide as a solo DJ, takes this risk because he believes that it is the most powerful way to convey his music.
We caught Netsky LIVE at the intimate 1015 Folsom in San Francisco last weekend and it was without a doubt one of the most electrifying, energetic performance we have seen all year. The band seems fit for a stadium, which made seeing them in a smaller venue a special experience for the crowd whose feet were off the ground more often than not. With over two years of experience under their belt, every part of Netsky LIVE feels polished–Netsky takes on the overarching melodies, BABL absolutely shreds on the keyboard, Schnack keeps up with seemingly impossible breakbeats and Script gets the crowd amped as the musicians focus on their respective roles. Although Billie marvelously took on most of the vocals, at one point Boris even busted out the vocoder breaking his mostly quiet on-stage demeanor. We were honored to have the opportunity to sit down with Netsky, one of EDM’s most genuine stars, before the performance to talk about Netsky LIVE, his musical influences and his upcoming album. Check out the interview below and Netsky LIVE’s upcoming US tour dates here–it’s not a show you want to miss.
TMN: How’s the tour life treating you?
Netsky: It’s the first time with the band that we do a full 30-day tour with the bus, which is fucking mental. Because it means 30 days of no privacy and sleeping in a bunk. But it’s fucking amazing, I’ve got to say. You need the right team for it but once you have the right people for it, it’s amazing.
TMN: So, this is your third stop in the US after a couple shows in Canada. How’s the reception been so far? Anything different you’ve noticed in the crowd?
Netsky: Yeah, I think so. We started in Canada with Victoria and Vancouver and the day after we did Seattle. Even that was a bit of a change from Canada. It’s been fun. The crowd in Seattle was amazing and Portland was really good. Portland was a bit strange because they had to block off half the club for 21 over folks. It was funny because the left side was jumping the whole time with all the younger crowd and the right side was just getting wasted basically. It’s really cool to see the difference between those two.
TMN: Can you talk a bit about your musical background?
Netsky: I got into music at quite a young age. My dad is a massive record collector. He just loved showing me music that I hated back then. He just wanted to be the cool dad that showed me good music while I was listening to just pop music when I was young. After a while it worked because he got me into 70s, Motown and Marvin Gaye to 80s music and Prince and some reggae even. He just got me really interested in music. I started researching music and actually becoming a fan of bands. I started watching bands play. And then for some reason I started getting into electronic music, which was a fucking revelation. I loved the idea of being able to make music on your own on a computer. I was really obsessed with that when I was younger. I got into drum ’n bass then because I love the energy and how you can combine it with different sounds. I was listening to a lot of hip-hop back then and soul. Some producers would take those samples and make them into dance floor versions of them. I love that.