Charlotte de Witte’s ascent to the big time has been nothing short of remarkable. 2017 will see the talented Belgian playing a summer of major European festivals plus dates in Ibiza; then touring Australia, New Zealand, Central America, South America and Asia. We chart the amazing story behind one of techno’s most promising new talents.
You were 17 when you first started DJing. I’m guessing you must have felt deep down this was more your real destiny after you abandoned your studies completely once your DJ career started to take off? Were your parents supportive of this?
Charlotte de Witte: Well, yes, I sort of got more and more into music by growing older and by digging deeper and discovering more and more about this entire underground scene. When I was a kid, I never expected this would become my life and full time job. I guess I’m quite surprised myself sometimes on the impact it has had on my life and how it completely swept me off my feet. I suppose my parents saw it coming and they’ve been very supportive since the start. When my mom noticed how unsupportive people were at school that time, I remember her telling me that she would always have my back, even if I decided to drop out. So I eventually quit school when I was 21 and so far, no regrets.
Where was your first ever gig?
Charlotte de Witte: The youth center in Evergem, a small town next to Ghent where I lived for about 11 years. I knew the guys who ran it through some friends and they gave me my first gig ever, which was, at the same time, the first time I ever pushed play on a CDJ. The date was 22nd of January 2010. Needless to say my performance was horrible and my mixing completely off beat. Luckily for me, the only people present were the bar staff and some friends. I feel very fortunate that I got the chance to practice there.
What was your first ever release? How long did it take you make it? And it something you could ever play in a set these days?
Charlotte de Witte: That must have been back in 2014, a remix release for Crux Records if I’m not mistaken. It took me ages to make it. Producing back then wasn’t exactly fun. It took me so incredibly long to find something I could actually use. I was in a learning process, I still am, but now I know my way around and I know what to look for. Back in those days, I was playing Electro music so it’s not really something I would still play now. It’s actually quite embarrassing to listen to it after all those years. Funny and nostalgic, but also a bit embarrassing. I was very young and inexperienced.
What was the real break through point in your career?
Charlotte de Witte: There were several moments were my career truly hit a changing point. The first one was back in 2011, when I won the Tomorrowland DJ Contest curated by Studio Brussel and Poppunt. It gave me a spot on the festival and turned me into a Studio Brussel resident. The second one was when I dropped my old name “Raving George” and changed it to my real name “Charlotte de Witte” and had my first release on Turbo Recordings. I think that was probably the biggest break through point so far.
Which one of your productions would you say you’re most proud of and why?
Charlotte de Witte: Tough question. In general, I like the underdog ones. I’ve once made a remix for Ben Long’s track called The Solver and it’s one of the best things I’ve done so far, in my opinion. I also love Varpulis, a track that got released on a Suara VVAA, but that has more to do with the captivating Gregorian singing than my producing skills. I’m also quite proud of I’ll See You Tonight, a track that’ll get released soon on Sleaze Records. I combined both analog and digital sounds and it works very well on the floor.
You’re a resident at KNTXT @ Fuse in Brussels and shared the decks alongside some industry heavyweights. What have you learned from your experiences there and how has it made you a better DJ?
Charlotte de Witte: I always play closing sets at KNTXT so depending on who is playing before you, it can be quite challenging to take over from whoever is playing. I think you just learn more and more every time you play and to me, it’s very inspiring to be surrounded by people who share the love for techno music, both crowd and other DJs. By playing more, you learn how to read a crowd and built your own story.
You’ve got a big summer of festivals coming up with Awakenings, Tomorrowland and Exit Festival. How does it feel to finally be at this point in your career?
Charlotte de Witte: It feels extremely good. I’ve never had such a good, international summer in sight so I’m obviously quite excited to experience it all. It’s not the final destination yet, but we’re definitely on the right road!
You’ve got an EP coming up on Hans Bouffmyhre’s Sleeze Records. What was the inspiration behind it? And is this the sound you’re playing in your sets right now?
Charlotte de Witte: I’ve been playing all of them in my sets these last couple of months but especially I’ll See You Tonight, Wisdom and recently also Sending Them. It’s hard to say what the inspiration behind them was. Most of the time, I just start working in the studio and I get inspired by simply doing it. I do love working with vocals, my own or samples, to create a loopy, stripped techno track that’s repetitive but functional.
C-U is a platform for showcasing new talent. Could you share your top 5 up and coming female artists/DJs?
Charlotte de Witte: I don’t want to be an ass here but it’s quite hard to only focus on female artists since the ones I’m listening to and following the most at the moment are by coincidence guys. I’m in love with Avgusto and Cosmin TRG and also Perc his latest album is the bomb, even though he’s already quite established, I think he’s still worth mentioning here. I never got the chance yet but I would also love to check out Clara 3000.
Can you tell us your go to labels right now?
Charlotte de Witte: I have a remix release coming on Turbo Recordings in June but besides that and the upcoming EP on Sleaze Records I’m afraid I can’t tell much of my future release plans yet. I can say that I already have two other EPs planned for after summer. I’m counting down the days until I can announce what I’ve been up to. When I’m thinking of other labels, I would love to one day have a release on Soma Records, Figure, Arts, maybe even Flash or Afterlife if the tracks would fit the label, for the simple reason that I buy all their tracks anyway and I can really relate to them.
Do you have any plans to release an album? And what do you have coming next plus how can fans keep in touch?
Charlotte de Witte: I’m definitely interested in releasing an album one day but the timing and especially the tracks have to be right. It shouldn’t be a collection of just tracks but it should be something much more personal and emotional. For an album, I believe you have to dig deeper and tell a story through sub styles or genres and BPM.
In general, I’m looking forward to the festival season. It’s always such a unique atmosphere to be outdoors. I’ll be making my Ibiza debut as well early July and I’m bringing lots of friends with me so I’ve got a lot to look forward to!
People can follow me on my socials. I try to be quite active on Facebook and Instagram. My Twitter is sometimes running a bit behind but I’m working on maintaining that one too!