Soulwax to bring brand of rock'n'roll-fried dance music

By Rebecca Barry Hill

His name is David Dewaele and he's a workaholic. So don't expect to see the Soulwax musician at any Belgian beer cafes this week.

"I'm one of the few Belgians who doesn't drink beer," he says on the phone from Australia. "I don't like the taste. When I drink, it's a girly drink - Amaretto Sour."

Given that he's permanently jetlagged - a symptom of Soulwax's popularity on the touring circuit - we can forgive him for wanting to discuss the fruit Downunder instead of his preferred watering holes. When he's not touring with his brother, Stephen, he's working on remixes (they've done everyone from DJ Shadow to Kylie) or producing (at present it's tracks for Canadian DJ Tiga's album).

Tomorrow night they play the St James as Radio Soulwax presents: Soulwax Nite Versions.

If that sounds confusing, you may also know them for their turntable monikers: 2ManyDJs, the Flying Dewaele Brothers or the [expletive] Dewaele Brothers. Or for their live band Soulwax, for which David plays guitar and Stephen sings, alongside bass player Stefaan Van Leuven and drummer Steve Slingeneyer.

Radio Soulwax includes them all, plus whoever they feel like bringing along for the party, in this case local acts North Shore Pony Club and Pig Out.

Based on the Nite Versions album, their set will be based on remixes of the original Any Minute Now.

It's a similar principle to Duran Duran's extended dub versions, only this will be a floor-shuddering blast of techno performed with the grunt of guitar, bass and drums. Dance music, rock'n'roll style.

"It's one big party because there's no pauses between the songs, no 'thank you for coming'."

Soulwax are big names in Belgium, a country not exactly known for its music scene, and Dewaele isn't shy about fellow musos "enjoying the road that we paved".

But their popularity is broader than the stamps in their passports might suggest. There's always an overlap of rock and dance fans in the Soulwax crowd and it sways depending on which guise they take on.

"People talk about us being new rave and bringing indie to the clubs which to us is very, very normal. It's an obvious thing to do. I think it's because we have very little respect for things, very little respect for our own stuff and for other people's music."

He means they have no problems with bootlegging - cutting up familiar tracks or taking them out of context.

So they might drop part of a Dolly Parton or Velvet Underground track into the middle of something deep and techy.

"That deconstructive way of creating something is what we use in any remix. Even in the band, that's how we work."

They've been working as Soulwax for about eight years, long enough for Dewaele to have forgotten what he was doing beforehand.

Their dad was a radio host so it was no surprise when the brothers decided to co-host their own show, a one-hour music special on Belgium's national programme. That led to more radio shows, which led to them touring as 2ManyDJs.

Working with his brother - who is five years older - is like being married. "It's very hard, it's very safe, it's very easy. It's quite a complex thing but in the end on a creative level it's really easy but on a personal level it's not."


Who: Soulwax

What: Radio Soulwax Presents: Soulwax Nite Versions, a dance party but not as you know it.

Key albums: Much Against Everyone's Advice (1999), As Heard On Radio Soulwax Part 2 (2003), Any Minute Now, (2004) Nite Versions (2005)

Where: St James, Saturday with North Shore Pony Club and Pig Out

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