We introduce you to one of the techno and house producers with the most solid start to his career so far this year. He’s Belgian, answers to the artistic name of Locked Groove and he’s already put out three excellent releases on labels like Hotflush and Turbo. We talked to him and went over his releases.
Scuba put him on the map, including his huge “Drowning” on his “DJ-Kicks”, and since then the young Belgian Locked Groove (whose real name is Tim Van de Meutter) has confirmed himself as one of the emerging names to be watched on the new map of underground techno and house. His recipe doesn’t hide many secrets, but nevertheless, manufacturing it in such a refined way isn’t something that just anyone can do. Starting from classic influences and simple forms, he has reached what should be the real desire of any producer: achieving a sound that is all his own. So far, he has put out two EPs on Hotflush and another one on Turbo, all of them equally succulent. Even so, one has the feeling that the best is yet to come. All signs seem to indicate that, once again, Scuba is right.
Hi, Tim. As an up-and-coming producer, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m 23, living near Antwerp, Belgium. I make house and techno (I try to) and I’m a fan of a fine single malt from time to time.
What is your musical background? When and how did you first start making your own tracks?
I studied the piano from a young age; it was around puberty when I got into my dad’s extensive record collection and started to dabble with some tapes and basically not knowing what I was doing but just having a blast.
I've read that at first you were making dubstep. What pushed you to start making more house and techno material?
I can’t really remember what pushed me to totally abandon dubstep; I’ve always made house and techno, but never really finished anything because I felt like my music could never match the image I had about all these classics. It was about a year ago that I thought “fuck this” and took it seriously.
"When I start I a track I never think about whether I’m gonna make a techno or house tune. I just make one. I don’t see myself making one or the other"
Is Locked Groove your first project? Your sound seems very well-built for a newcomer.
It’s not my first project; it is, however, my first project that I have taken 100 % seriously. Serious isn’t the right word maybe, but it is the first project I have actually felt 100 % comfortable with.
As we saw in your debut EP, your sound is quite diverse, swinging between smooth and kind of moody deep-house and the hypnotic banging techno of, for example, “ Drowning”. Do you plan to keep it this way in future releases, or will you focus on one determined branch of your sound? In other words, what direction do you see Locked Groove's sound evolving in?
When I start I a track I never think about whether I’m gonna make a techno or house tune. I just make one. I don’t see myself making one or the other, because I love both and I think that’s also part of my sound. I love diversity both in production and sets.
Where does that diversity come from? Is it a reflection of your tastes? You seem influenced by both American house and German techno. Is this right? Do you have any reference artists that you consider to be a big influence?
I think it is because I love a lot of music and listen to a lot of different stuff. I’m influenced by all kinds of music, not specifically techno or house music. Terrence Dixon, Theo Parrish, Regis, François K, Ron Hardy, Giorgio Moroder, Danielle Baldelli, etc. Too many to mention!
What other current artists do you find inspiring nowadays?
There’s so much good music around that I don’t really think it’s fair to name five artists, for instance. A lot of people inspire me in different ways.
How did you first make contact with Scuba? Hotflush seems like a great starting point for a new producer; do you feel it has been an important push for your career? If so, in what sense?
We had mutual friends, and a friend of mine played him one of my tracks, and from there we got in contact. It’s been super-important in terms of bookings and basically getting out there. I’m really happy I’m a part of Hotflush and grateful Scuba gave me the chance to be a part of it.
You recently signed with Turbo. Although at first it might come as a bit of a surprise because of the kind of music Turbo has been associated with too until now, I understand that the label wants to make a techno shift in their output, right? What attracted you to their proposal?
I really liked the next batch of releases they’ve got lined up and the other artists on board, something clicked immediately with a few of the other artists, which led on to friendships— I dunno, it just feels like a family.
"I usually start with a percussive loop that I then loop forever and jam over"
Can you briefly explain how you usually construct your tracks? Do you have some kind of “method” or working pattern that you always follow, or it does it depend on the track?
I don’t really have a set method; I usually start with a percussive loop that I then loop forever and jam over. But in terms of method, I have none, I still don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, and I like it that way, it keeps things fresh and you always have the feeling you can push it that extra bit.
In the same vein, can you describe the current configuration of your studio?
Pretty basic really, a solid computer with Ableton, loads of records to get percussive goodness from, reel to reel, a few old synths that work from time to time, and a good set of monitors.
Belgium has historically been very keen on dance music, but I would like to know how things are nowadays regarding underground electronic music. Is there any kind of scene you feel related to?
Not really, I think over the course of time the ‘scene’ just died off; there is some exciting stuff happening, for sure, but I wouldn’t call it a scene, rather individuals who have great ideas and put on good initiatives.
What can we expect from you in the following months? Any releases in the pipeline?
I’ve had the Turbo EP coming out in the last few weeks and a second Hotflush release mid-June.
there’re also some remixes that are gonna come out pretty soon, so keep your eyes peeled for those as well.
The Complete Discography, release by release:
To get to know Locked Groove, an artist who we expect great things from in the future that he has already given us a glimpse of in this interview, the best thing that you can do is listen to his music carefully and get your hands on his releases. For now, there are three; we’ll go over them one by one.
Locked Groove: “Rooted EP” (Hotflush Recordings, 2012)
Putting out your first release on Hotflush means that you must know exactly what you’re doing. This is what Tim Van de Meutter showed us with “Rooted EP”, a release where besides revealing his aptitude as a producer with a classic vantage point, he also proved his versatility. “Rooted” and “Change” clearly looked to American deep-house with blurry atmospheres and distant chords, executed with a mastery that isn’t typical of a newcomer. But the crowning glory, without a doubt, was “Drowning”, a crushing techno cut with a Berghaine air that was included by Scuba in his renowned “DJ Kicks”.
Locked Groove: “Different Paths” (Turbo Recordings, 2012)
On his recent release for Turbo, Locked Groove shows the more oppressive and blacker side of his sound. Both the title cut and “Structure” follow the path of “Drowning” (machine grooves, sharp-as-a-knife percussion, and slight dub echoes) but creating atmospheres that are even more degraded and un-breathable. In “Back To 91” the rhythmic pressure relaxes and the producer once again sticks to submerged deep-house, this time propelling the track with fat bass and the acid touches that had already peeked out in “Rooted”.
Locked Groove: “Keep It Simple EP” (Hotflush Recordings, 2012)
If techno clearly won the match in the Turbo release, his latest for Hotflush is focused solely on house. “Keep Running” is probably the most effusive cut that he has ever put out, especially starting from the moment when the classic chords join the trotting bass line with acid resonances. “Aller Simple” sticks to the same coordinates, but with a naturalness that is a bit more relaxed and airy, adding trippy notes through an insistent arpeggio. Finally, the jazzy echoes of “Even” take us straight back to the style book of masters like Floating Points and Theo Parrish.