Even in a country that seems to nurture house and techno artists like few others, it’s telling that Pole Folder is still one of Belgium’s most exciting new artists. Yet in spite of the fact that it seems like he’s just arrived, he’s actually played a focal role in his country’s scene for some time now, most recently as a result of his work at Electronical Reeds; a label that clearly maintains a similar agenda to his own. His latest EP is a truly great listen in that regard, as Folder teams up with Simon Latham for the Human EP; an effort that is laden with the sort of emotion its title suggests. If you’re looking for mundane, loopy electronica, then you might want to look elsewhere, for this is an EP of some character – and one that comes with lovely remixes too. We nabbed Pole for a quick chat recently, and here’s what he had to say…
How long have you been DJing and producing? What made you want to start in the first place?
I started to produce professionally at the end of the 90’s but was already spending time in the studio a few years before. With regard to the DJing, despite doing a bit as a radio DJ previously and performing live keyboards and guitars in rock bands, I launched my career as DJ and live club performer around 2003, mainly after the success of the first releases on Bedrock.
You’re from Belgium. What’s it like for electronic music these days? What’s your involvement like in the local scene?
The scene is big, I would say. There are a lot of DJs and electronic music is very popular. For years I wasn’t heavily involved with the local scene as my career was more international but since 2009, more connections have been made with domestic partners.
How has hooking up with the Electronical Reeds guys changed your involvement then? Or has it?
The thing I like a lot with Electronical Reeds beside the very cool human connection is the fact that the guys accomplish what they have in mind. When I met Laurent, one of the founders, a few years ago, it was a pleasure to meet in the same city a label owner with a plan and giving all his energy to fulfill it.
And what do you reckon the label has brought to Brussels then? Have you had many great times partying with them before?
Well Brussels is a city with lots of talent but the connections are not obvious. So to be in touch first as professionals in the same field is definitely a good thing but we have also a great time together. We forget work sometimes to go to things more basic … but also important… like partying and having a glass in clubs and bars … or 2 … or 3 … or…
Your latest EP has a series of genres running through it, with house, techno and progressive all demonstrated. Are you generally a pretty eclectic chap then?
Yes. I can’t even understand how this became an interesting point. I guess some guys really love to rely on one genre. I enjoy any styles of music as long as it’s good for me and connecting with something in me. That spirit and attitude is of course reflecting on my production and DJ sets.
Can you talk us through how you made the track? What was Simon Latham’s involvement like?
Well, I originally started some tracks with Simon a year ago after we spoke via email. He liked my work and it was very interesting for me to exchange ideas with him. One of the tracks we were working on became quickly an evident option for the 3 years album of Electronical Reeds. It was supposed to be released after as a single with some remixes. However as I was working on that project at end of February, I went back on one of the tracks we started a bit before and “Bitter Memory” appeared finally as a second track on the release. We then changed the concept of the single into an EP. Simon wrote the lyrics on both tracks. I was in charge of the music writing and production.
And how did your music end up getting signed to the label then?
I’m in touch with Electronical Reeds often so it was easy to showcase the new track. Skype makes our life easier. :)
And how did you end up with people like GusGus remixing it?
Simon is a friend of the group. When he said that they were interested to do a remix, it was a dream coming true for me. I’ve been a big fan of GusGus for ages. It’s a honor for me to be on their impressive list of artists they have remixed, such as Bjork, Depeche Mode and Moloko.
And what producers have played a massive role in your career thus far?
A lot of artists (I guess we are speaking about electronic music producers) do a great job for me and these are, of course, a source of inspiration at various points. Like Moderat, DJ Koze, Guy Gerber, Ame, Prins Thomas…
Yes, I noticed that John Digweed took you under his wing a bit. Can you talk us through that experience?
It’s hard to find a better label than Bedrock and a DJ like John to promote your music worldwide. It was undoubtedly a great signature for me.
How did working with John inspire make you look at music differently? Or did it?
I didn’t know John that much at the beginning, although was blown away by his fantastic compilation with Sasha, Nothern Exposure. My studio partner at that time, CP, was more aware of his selection and work. We often went to the Bedrock parties after I signed the first single with them and it was of course a source of inspiration. I’m still amazed today by the way John plays. He is definitely one of the best DJs I’ve ever heard … and I have heard many.
You’re playing at Extrema Outdoor soon. Looking forward to that one?
Sure, the festival has a very nice line up. Lots of friends will come so we will have a great time for sure.
How’s your Reworck label coming along?
The label is good. We have a constant release schedule, although it has been a bit quieter recently. The support is great and versatile. It seems that the label is synonym of quality music and I like that.
And your live show – is that progressing like you’d hoped? Is it difficult to keep things fresh when you play live?
Honestly, I like a lot my setup these days and the way I can combine the DJing and the live session in a gig. The concept works well and I even managed a 7-hour set a few weeks ago on the fantastic Woodstock69 beach in Netherlands. Of course if I have the chance to push it and make it more ambitious I will do, but so far I can’t complain with the way in which things work.
What’s the biggest challenge facing you musically at the moment then?
To finalise my second album. Tortuous project but I’m on it.
And what more should we look out for from you soon?
I just mixed a compilation for the label Sudbeat of Hernan Cattaneo, did some remixes for Tribal Pulse (Glasgow) and I’m on a few singles, instrumentals and vocals. I have some nice festivals on the agenda for the summer … Perfect spots to test the new tracks.
Be sure to check Pole Folder & Simon Latham’s Human EP out at beatport