2 MANY DJS, NITE VERSIONS LIVE at the Opera House (735 Queen East), Friday (April 20), 9:30 pm doors. $20 advance. www.ticketweb.ca. Rating: NNNNN
David Dewaele is choosing his words carefully. OK, maybe that's partly because he's from Belgium, but it's less about the quality of his English than the result of his being painfully aware of how much the typical journalist wants to put the music he and his brother make into a tidy little box.
Take, for example, how closely they've been tied to the mashup movement through their genre-bending DJ sets as 2 Many DJs. Their compilations may have helped popularize the term, but they hardly invented the technique of throwing a cappella vocals over unrelated instrumentals, nor have they centred their work around it.
"We never really considered ourselves part of that, just because that's only a small fraction of what we've done. I think people mistook that mashup thing for something technical, whereas for us it was an aesthetic," he tries to clarify from a Washington, DC hotel room.
However, when it comes to describing that aesthetic without getting into the technique, it's a little tougher. Dewaele keeps accidentally saying it's about a certain "edge," but then quickly corrects himself, saying he hates the word, but is unable to come up with a better way of saying what connects Missy Elliott to Iggy Pop.
He's reluctant to associate himself with the greater mashup movement, which he feels didn't quite get what they've been trying to say with their anything-goes approach.
"It's like there are people who only eat Japanese food, people who only eat French food, people who only eat Spanish, and then someone comes along and invents fusion. And then you get people saying, 'I only eat fusion food.' To be fanatical about one thing that's a blend of things is missing the point, it's meant to be about opening yourself up to everything."
In an effort to better organize and present their own wide-ranging tastes, David and Stephen Dewaele are currently thinking about putting together a label to release all their various projects, so that their band material as Soulwax comes under the same umbrella as their remixes as 2 Many DJs, their live dance tracks as band Nite Versions Live and their brand new Krautrock-inspired project Die Verboten - not to mention all the other pseudonyms the brothers have recorded under over the years.
Additional Interview Audio Clips
David Dewaele discusses upcoming material