2 Many DJs in Dubai

What connects The Beatles, Van Morrison and a kids’ TV puppet? Mashup master David Dewaele of 2 Many DJs fame explains

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear
Roland Rat Superstar
Roland Rat Superstar

Nobody knows music quite like 2 Many DJs do. Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele, also of alternative band Soulwax, have spent the best part of the past decade mixing and remixing music from pretty much every popular genre (and a couple of unpopular ones, too); artists that have had the 2 Many DJs treatment include Gorillaz, Daft Punk, Robbie Williams, MGMT, Kylie Minogue and The Rolling Stones. So when we discovered that the duo would be playing at Chi’s birthday on March 4, we got in touch with David to find out where his musical mind is at right now. But the process wasn’t quite as quick as we’d imagined it would be – ever the consummate DJ, each scenario was followed by a flurry of queries about the audience, the location and the atmosphere. This, we discovered, is a man who takes having fun seriously. Here are the edited highlights.

Which tune would you listen to…

…if you’re feeling down?
‘A lot of people would listen to sad music, but I’d look for something to lift my spirits, which would probably be a Beatles album, like Revolver or Let it Be. They have some kind of chemistry that’s always cheered me, ever since I was a kid. If you watch the film about Let it Be, which was the last album The Beatles [left] released, you can see how horrible things were in the studio, the difficult relationships. That they made something uplifting from a bad situation proves how strong they were. We can learn so much from them.’

…roaring down the highway?
‘Which country am I in? [We suggest Germany, where there is no speed limit on motorways.] Oh, cool – well, it should be rocky and guitary. Hmm, I’ll say Kyuss – they’re the band that became Queens of the Stone Age. When Stephen and I were about 16 or 17, we were obsessed with Kyuss and would go to every gig. They’re the band we’d listen to on a fast road.’

…to show off your collection?
‘A lot of people are eager to show off their record collections, but I do that all the time professionally, so at a party I’m happy to have other people put on music. But if you forced me to play something. it would be whatever crazy thing I picked up that week – the latest is ‘Silver Balls’ by Safety First, a ’70s band. It’s a space-disco-ish thing, but all the musicians are so bad that it sounds really punky. Most people would go, “Wow, I’ve never heard this before,” and I’d say “Yeah, there’s a reason for that…” I genuinely like it though.’

…for a romantic evening?
‘I’d probably play something safe, like ‘Moondance’ by Van Morrison, something that won’t offend people. I’m always aware of people not liking what I put on – it’s a constant danger – so I’d definitely put on something that I enjoy, but that is inoffensive.’

…to psych up and calm down?
‘To perk me up, I’d play Robert Palmer’s ‘Clues’, which is great. It’s high-tempo, rhythmical and folky, with great vocals and great melody. I’m a big fan. And to calm down, I’d listen to ‘Colorado’ by Grizzly Bear [left]. I found it on iTunes once and it did the trick, and now I keep sticking it on whenever I want to mellow out.’

…to remember your childhood?
‘That would be ‘Rat Rapping’ by Roland Rat Superstar [a UK kids’ TV puppet from the 1980s, left]. I‘ve got it on 12-inch, man. I’m from Belgium, but when we went on holiday to the Belgian coast we could watch UK TV. And I loved that character, so when we went to London I bought the Roland Rat 12-inch from HMV on Oxford Street. I’m not that embarrassed by it, although when I think about it, I probably should be.’

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