An interview with Michael Midnight.
Pukkelpop 2015 is approaching. The organization had a special action planned, in which you as a resident of the festival helped out. This action was focused towards youth clubs in our country to announce the very first artists and the winner was Youth Club XL in Herk-de-Stad. How was the evening?
Michael: This was on a Wednesday afternoon. Eppo (Janssen) played first afterwards the very first names for Pukkelpop were announced in presence of Chokri (Mahassine), followed by a DJ set of me. It was a successful concept, a calm afternoon in a very cozy Youth House. Youth House XL is also known as one of the friendliest Youth Clubs in Limburg and Pukkelpop has its origins in the world of Youth Clubs, and therefore this action was organized.
As an artist you have the honor to experience the festival close. In which points does Pukkelpop differentiates itself from other underground music festivals?
Michael: There are many points in which the festival stands out. Pukkelpop was the 1st festival which launched a dance hall, they were early. I was 15, 16 years when I saw Underworld play and this was a revelation to me. Back then, I was already interested in electronic music, but this Underworld gig has meant a lot to me. Pukkelpop is actually a pioneer to program in the field of electronic music. Back then, I Love Techno was out of the question. After them, many other festivals followed such as Rock Werchter. And currently, the Boiler Room is an understatement. Another point, is the mix of alternative music with an eye and ear for Future Beats they are currently programming. Their quality and innovative look on music is more than valuable. Another point is how the alternative music scene worldwide loops up to them and organization is excellent. This also due to the good cooperation with local volunteers and youth clubs.
Not all artists are known for Pukkelpop 2015, but to which one are you already looking forward to?
Michael: Too much to mention though. But I do look forward to Hudson Mohawke, Boys Noize, Four Tet, Todd Terje & The Olsens Live and Underworld. What Boys Noize does is pure quality and the live act of Todd Terje & The Olsens will have synths, percussion and strings featured. But this is just a small part of the programming and there are still many artists to be announced. Eppo Janssen delivers an excellent job and follows everything on the foot wherein there’s always an innovative look included for the programming.
You also used to be known for the duo Ed & Kim. Were the sets at Pukkelpop one of your career highlights?
Michael: Yes, we have a total of 8 times that we played together on Pukkelpop and of course this was a highlight for us each and every time. But also the gigs in club Zazou for example were a highlight. This time, I’m playing for the 10th time at Pukkelpop and it will be a special edition. I can’t say much about it yet, but it will be a surprise for everyone. The focus for a performance at Pukkelpop is always large with all friends from Limburg being present. A performance at Pukkelpop is always a wonderful moment.
Nowadays you started a new project, The Whatevers. In addition you also have the Whatever events in the popular Forty Five club in Hasselt. As a driving force, how would you describe a Whatever night?
Michael: A Whatever night offers 50 years of music history for the visitors. Everything is possible, so from hip hop, reggae, funk to disco towards pop, rock and new dance music. Or in short words, a good mix of good music.
Can we state that Forty Five is the best underground electronic music club of Limburg?
Michael: Of Limburg? Absolutely. What they have put down in recent years is just impressive. The hand of Kristof Claes (Goldfox) and the Muziekodroom team have brought the Forty Five to the Belgian top in a short period. It’s a perfect location for our Whatever events and alternative music.
Why is it a must for every electronic music lover to visit the Forty Five club?
Michael: There is a clear line towards house, techno and alternative music. Those who Fuse or Café d’Anvers, should definitely pass by Forty Five. Just take a look at the agenda of Forty Five and come along.
Thé news of last week was that Tomorrowland is elected once again as Best Festival in the world during the IDMA’s. Would their impressive marketing be responsible for this result?
Michael: The marketing of Tomorrowland is very well handled. A good marketing team makes sure that there’s a Belgian stamp dropped worldwide. Tomorrowland is impressive, especially when you are viewing the live streaming of, for example, Ultra Music Festival, you can see that Tomorrowland has a major step forward. In the beginning, you could compare Tomorrowland to the Dutch festivals, but nowadays the festival is unique in the world. The number of international visitors, experience, atmosphere and the festival’s size, is wonderful. And if you look at the adventure that Dimitri Vegas Like Mike are taking it’s very well planned. It’s also properly organized for the festival that their residents are representing the name Tomorrowland worldwide.
Thank you for the fine conversation. (JL)