Decoded Magazine Presents Madloch

Dominique Heyninck aka Madloch is based in Tongeren, Belgium. He first discovered house music in the early 90s and his passion quickly developed, as he began to get into DJing. Dominique soon began to get gigs at local events and eventually began to get offers for residencies shortly before he decided to take his sound across Europe where he found himself playing gigs in countries such as Holland, Germany, Spain and Greece.

After DJing for many years Dominique decided to explore the world of production. A pivotal moment came in 2010 when Dominique along with close friend Dimitri Chantzis formed the production duo ‘Mitrinique’. The duo was quickly burst into the electronic music spotlight when their first single entitled ‘Saturday’ earned support from international DJ Hernan Cattaneo. The then unreleased Eelke Kleijn remix of ‘Saturday’ was played by Hernan in his live sets for many months and was also featured in one of Hernan’s highly influential monthly charts.

In the summer of 2011 Dominique and Dimitri established their first label imprint together with Christophe & Erik from Yunta entitled “Sound Avenue”. The label had five releases that year which included the likes of Deepfunk, dPen, Martin Garcia, Nikko.Z, Luis Bondio, Sound Process, Simon Firth, Soulfire, Liz Cirelli, Andy Arias, Overtone Watson and of course Mitrinique.. The final quarter of 2011 saw the label quickly grow into one of the most hyped new imprints of the year. Although only five releases into their catalogue by year’s end Sound Avenue had already achieved the illustrious number 1 position in Release Promo’s overall Hype Charts several times and had secured several Beatport features.

Since the first release Sound Avenue almost acts like a who’s who of names in regards to releases. Their artists include artists like Eelke Kleijn, Deepfunk, Luis Junior, Marc Poppcke, Petar Dundov, Paul Hazendonk, Marcelo Vasami, Chris Fortier, Martin Garcia, Nikko Z, Luis Bondio, Mehmet Akar, Juan Deminicis, Mauro Norti, Travis MacDonald and Dale Middleton. Off the back of the success of the label, Dominique decided to launch the ‘Sound Avenue with Madloch’ radio show which has gone from strength to strength.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Dominique then decided to launch the label Crossfade Sounds in 2012 due to the sheer number of quality demos that he was receiving at the time. The label made its mark early on with the first release from Noa Romana & Deersky. The track ‘Metamorphosis’ was featured in Beatport’s Must Hear Progressive House records for the week of its release.

A new chapter in Dominque’s musical journey came in September of 2012 when he debuted his new solo studio alias ‘Madloch’. His first single under the Madloch guise was entitled ‘Colorshock’ and it was accompanied with remixes from Manual Music’s Paul Hazendonk and the hotly tipped Argentinean producer Marcelo Vasami. The single proved to be one of Sound Avenue’s most hyped releases of the year, as both the Marcelo Vasami and Paul Hazendonk remixes appeared in Hernan Cattaneo’s September and October charts.

As 2014 continues the story of Dominique and Madloch looks to go from strength to strength, as does the story of Sound Avenue. With a long list of releases due in 2014 including a rather nice release from Kastis Torrau things look very positive for everyone involved in the Sound Avenue camp. We caught up with Dominique to chat about his label and his ever tireless work in the industry.

Hi Dominique, many thanks for spending the time to talk to us today. What have you been up to with your day so far?

Thanks for having me! It’s still early morning, so I always start my day with a good breakfast and reading several online newspapers. Then it’s time to check the social media, emails, promos etc.

I believe your home town of Tongeren is the oldest town in Belgium and is also the only Roman administrative capital within the country’s border. I am guessing the music scene is not huge in Tongeren, so how did you first come to get into electronic music?

Tongeren has a rich historical background but has no music scene anymore. We have around 30000 habitants, a lot of pubs with the usual predictable music. I discovered the ‘house’ scene around 1991 through a local radioshow which I recorded every week on tape (I still have hundreds of cassette-tapes in my archive). I made my own mixes with a double tape-recorder before I started buying & playing vinyl some years later.

I played everything from house to techno, disco to hardcore. Everything was possible back then! In the early 2000s I had a residency for a few years in a big club in… my hometown! It was and still is one of the oldest clubs of our country. In the 90s and early 2000s they had some really nice guest DJs every month with names such as Adam Beyer, Anthony Pappa, Claude Young, Umek, Funk D’Void, Gayle San to name a few. I was lucky to warm-up for some of them! The club still exists but unfortunately they’ve stepped on the EDM bandwagon.

Can you talk us through some of your biggest musical influences over the years?

It sounds like a cliché but also for me the Global Underground series had a big impact on the music I’m playing. My absolute favorite is Nick Warren’s GU024 Reykjavik CD. Another big influence for me are the marathon-sets of guys such as Hernan Cattaneo & Francois Kevorkian.

You started collecting vinyl from a young age. Can you tell us which is your most precious piece of vinyl and why?

Maybe my first ever bought vinyl which is Cosmic Baby’s “Loops Of Infinity”. A real trance-classic from the early nineties. I wouldn’t play it anymore but its pure nostalgia for me. I also have a lot of LP’s which became all-time favorites from labels such as Soma, NRK, GU, and Bedrock. Another LP I want to mention that will surprise some people is “Paradise” from Bob Sinclar. I always had a weak spot for disco & filter house in my early career.

Belgium appears to have a strong scene at present with the likes of Pole Folder and the fabulous venue, Café D’Anvers coming to mind straight away. What are your thoughts on the scene in Belgium at present?

We can’t complain at the moment. Especially in Café D’Anvers you’ll find big names every week thanks to promoters such as Ugur from Labyrinth Productions. There are also many new guys & organisations trying to bring back the good old days with some nice events such as Eran Aviners “Edge” who had party’s with Nick Warren, Petar Dundov, BP, Guy J, Guy Mantzur & Sahar Z, Lee Burridge to name a few. So the future looks bright in our little country :)

Your label, “Sound Avenue” is currently on its 38th release and approaching its third year, which is a very impressive. How do you select music for the label?

If I look back after 3 years Sound Avenue most of the tracks we signed were demos. We are not a pure progressive label by sound but I think more forward thinking by releasing tracks which have influences from various genres. The label is a passion so I don’t care so much about sales or genres, good creative music is priority. That’s why we also give young talent & more unknown names a chance to be involved in many releases with more established names.

When selecting an artist for release on your label, what sort of things do you look for in a track?

It’s pretty simple; it has to be a nice original produced track which doesn’t sound like all the rest out there. I think we’ve created a nice versatility on the label with so many tracks over the last years.

We recently had the new Kastis Torrau and Arnas D release on your label on repeat in the office. This producer has been causing waves in the scene for a while now. How did you first come across this track?

I’ve heard this on the Soundcloud page of Kastis at the end of last year and thought it would fit nice on our label. He got many requests from other labels so I’m really glad he has chosen our label!

Your radio show, “Sound Avenue with Madloch” has a big following and is currently on its 28th show. Why did you decide to create your own radio show, as it does seem a very popular choice these days for DJs and labels?

Before the SA radio show I already had a monthly radio show for many years which was called “Innovation”. To give the label some more exposure I’ve renamed the show into Sound Avenue with Madloch. It’s also a nice opportunity to support new music from the labels, friends & upcoming producers. The premiere is each first Monday of the month on Proton Radio. It also airs on stations such as Goldwingsmusic and InsomniaFM. The complete archive is available on my Soundcloud page.

How do you select music for your radio show? Is there a process you go through for track selection?

Well, I think I get around 400 to 500 promo tracks every month from so many labels. I mostly download around 100 to 150 of them which could be interesting for the radio show. Beside this I still spend many hours on Beatport every month to be sure I don’t miss those special tracks. Some months I find 50 tracks, other months more than 100… There’s always enough good music for everyone in ALL genres. There has never beenso much good music but also never been so much crap. For the radio show I mostly have a shortlist of 60 to 70 tracks. I never prepare a playlist, everything is always pure improvisation.

One of your three labels, “Crossfade Sounds” was created in 2012 due to the volume of good demos you were receiving for “Sound Avenue”. It looks like the label is used for more up and coming artists. Is this something you intended?

I can say CS has grown a lot since the first releases. Initially it was meant to be a sort of Sound Avenue 2 because in the first year we had so many people who want to see their tracks released on the main label. Because we didn’t want to do too many releases every month on SA I thought it would be interesting to create a sub label for all that music. After a while we got more & more interesting demos in genres such as electronica, techno and deep house as well.

Your third label, 3rd Avenue was created in 2013 and this focuses mainly on the more progressive sounds. The latest release for the lable is by Lautaro Varela and is a firm favourite here in the office. Why did you decided to create a third label and why is there a need for two sublabels of Sound Avenue (Crossfade Sounds and 3rd Avenue)?

After 2 years SA we just got too many good demos every day it was time for another sub label which focused on the real old-school progressive sound. The start of 3AV was an immediate success with support from so many A-list DJs and also from Beatport with 43 features, banners & must hear charts in a row.

In recent interviews some artists have had some strong opinions on exclusives on Beatport, promos and the possibility that all music should be free. What are your thoughts on any of the aforementioned?

It’s a fact no one can make a living anymore from sales only, so for a lot of guys there would be no difference, especially if you know that around 90% of the music on Itunes and other shops will never get sold! Times have really changed over the past few years. Even for big names it’s really hard to sell a descent amount of copies from their tracks. What should change is the jungle of some genres on Beatport. Many genres are so mixed & messed up with music that should be in there. The nicest example is the Progressive section. I really don’t understand why it’s so hard to split the real progressive stuff from the EDM-shit. With splitting these 2 everyone would be a winner. The real underground labels with the progressive sound would have their own section where people would discover & buy much more music then they do now. It’s frustrating to see us sometimes in the charts between a David Guetta and an Afrojack release.

Besides running three labels, running a radio show, and of course touring, you also produce music under the name “Madloch”. What made you move into production and why the name “Madloch”?

Nowadays it’s simply impossible to have an international career without your own productions. I started around 5 years ago producing together with my friend Dimitri. DJing will always be my biggest passion. The name Madloch comes from a ski-slope in my favorite ski-resort Lech am Arlberg.

What new material and collaborations can we expect from you which are due for release soon?

The next Madloch release is a track called “Walls” which is getting remixed by the legendary “King Unique” on Sound Avenue. There will be also a remix EP of “Reading Souls”, my collab track with Matias Vila. This track will be remixed by James Teej from My Favorite Robot and also a remix from Nikko Z. I just finished another collab with Matias and also another collab track with a very talented friend from Finland, Antti Rasi. I also started on a mix-album for Sound Avenue which is scheduled for the end of this year.

Can you talk us through your current studio set up and some of the kit you simply could not live without?

My studio set-up is very basic. An iMac, external Focusrite soundcard, Mackie HR624monitors & a MIDI-keyboard. I’ve worked some years with Logic 9 as DAW and recently changed to Ableton Live9 Suite. I did a course with Point Blank Online to get the basics of Ableton, the workflow is so much quicker than in Logic or Cubase. My favorite VST’s are the Omnisphere from Native Instruments and the Trillian from Spectrasonics.

What do you feel is the most important element to a good progressive house track?

There should be some kind of story in the track. I’m a fan of long deep tracks which keep you interested from the first till the last minute by holding your attention with several great hypnotic elements.

Many of your productions are what I would describe as “proper progressive house”, as they are filled with emotion and a dark edge. When creating a track from scratch do you have an idea from the start or is it a very organic process?

Mostly when I have an idea a track gets too complicated. I get the best results when I jam around with sounds. Then it’s possible that I have the foundation of a track in a very short time. The longer you search the more difficult you make it for yourself I think.

There does appear to be quite a few DJs/producers griping at each other on an almost constant basis. What are your thoughts on this constant bitching between DJs of different genres and how would you change things for the better?

I would change nothing, for me it’s like watching a soap-series.

I have to ask you this question. With the three labels, radio show, gigs and productions how do you find time for yourself?

Very good question! I also combine this with my lovely girlfriend Deborah and a part-time day job so I don’t have a lot of free time. I recently start running & cycling again to be away from my screen. Being a professional in the music scene means working 7/7 all year around, even on holiday! But it’s the best job in the world so I don’t complain!

Everyone who works as hard as you needs an escape and yours appears to be cycling, as I always notice pictures of bike rides on your Facebook wall. Is this something you enjoy and do to escape the crazy music business?

I live in a nice area with a lot of nature so I really enjoy my bike rides. It’s also something I do to get in shape for the winter. I’m a passionate free ride skier. In order to enjoy my downhill decent I need to be in top shape. The last 2 winters I had no condition and it was really hard for me so I promised myself to live like a sportsman to have the best time next winter in the mountains!

Finally, is there anything you can tell us about that you have planned in terms of gigs and/or the labels you manage?

The next release on Sound Avenue is from Nevee with a great remix from Andre Sobota who returns to our label after remixing “Rendro” from Daraspa earlier this year. Mid-august there will be a great 3-track EP from Matias Vila which is really worth checking out!

Track list

01 Tanner Ross – Pressure Feat Aquarius Heaven (Original Mix)
02 Lancaster – Discologic (Original Mix)
03 Peter Makto – Glass House  (Original Mix)
04 Igor Vicente – The Knight  (Original Mix)
05 Inxec, Julia Govor – Ai Need You  (Original Mix)
06 Piek – TSalk to you (Original Mix)
07 Sandrino, Frankey – Save  (Original Mix)
08 Chymera – Trapped In Amber (King Britt Remix)
09 DJ Yellow, Flowers And Sea Creatures – No One Gets Left Behind (Tiago Fragateiro Remix)
10 Hunter Game – Blue Earth  (Original Mix)
11 Body Tight Florian Kalt rmx
12 Daniel Bortz, Sasha Subler – Young world   (Original Mix)
13 Bob Moses – All I Want  (Original Mix)
14 Ataxia, E Speece – Loves To Party (Inxec After Party dub)
15 Androma – Open The Door (One Of Them)
16 Alex Niggeman – Materium   (Original Mix)
17 Inxec_Julia Govor – Ai Need You (Meandisco Version)
18 Laura Jones – Bright Lights (Cassy Rmx)
19 Tim Maas, santos – Z Panorama  (Original Mix)
20 Sebastian Fleischer – Your Arms (Frank Mueller aka Beroshima Rmx)
21 Tom Glass – Dark Side Of The moon  (Original Mix)

About the Author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about every genre of music from Breakbeat, to Drum & Bass, to Techno and House. A man that lives in a world of beats and bass, and total confusion about life!