Sonar Festival: 2manydjs

1am. Backstage.Dewaele brothers
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It's about 1am backstage at the second night of Sonar par Noche in Barcelona. James Murphy is running up and down the corridors in a white suit screaming like Tarzan, yet Stephen and David Dewaele AKA 2manydjs are a picture of measured calm. Mere hours away from their set, we set about discussing all things Sonar, The Chemical Brothers and what the future holds for 2manydjs....

So what's the affinity between you guys and Sonar?

Stephen: It's an amazing festival, it's pretty cool. It's a prestigious festival and on the other hand it's an excuse to stay here for a couple of days in Barcelona and hang out with some people you know and a lot of other artists and Djs.

It seems that everyone comes not because of the music they know but because of the music they don't know.

David: That's a really good analysis of it. If you're an artist it's like being inviting to go to Montmartre or the Tate, its more of a cultural thing, its prestigious like Steph said. It's nicer as an artist to play at a festival like Sonar just because you know people are really there for the music.

So what convinced you to come back this time?

D: The money. No, we have a good relationship with them so every time they ask us we really try.

S: And there's LCD, and Carte Blanche, and people we like to hang out with so it's good and its an amazing line-up. A couple of line-ups this summer I was wondering 'what am I even doing here?' But this is a different festival because its in an amazing town and its also spread out. It's not just a festival in one location it's all spread out all over the place so that kind of makes it more interesting.

Is Spain more receptive to electronic music than the UK?

D: They're so hard to compare. The UK is so unique. And Spain is unique in its own way. They love their electronic music but it's a different way of life. For example club music: everything has to end at 4am in the UK. Here it ends at 4pm the next day. There's more time to experience it, it's more part of their lifestyle whereas in the UK it's more after work, lets all get drunk and take a pill and go to a club and get wasted on techno. The UK is very compartmentalised and categorised and here its more like life.

So you guys are on at 4am tonight.

S: But that actually means 1am. It's continental, European time. It doesn't make any difference here. I used to be like '4am, who fucking goes on at 4am?' But that's when people start going out here.

What are you hoping to give these people this evening?

S: if we could we would've given them free drugs. I'm joking! I just want them to go crazy. I remember playing here once after Jeff Mills at 4am and I thought 'this is going to be so hard,' but they went for it.

D: plus the show we're doing is a new show and we've only done it once in Spain at Benecassim and Benecassim is so much not a Spanish festival, it really is a UK festival. So it's cool to bring it to a real Spanish festival.

Sonar is also more of a multimedia festival. Do you feel that?

D: Yeah, Sonar is maybe the only festival to pull it off because in general we mock multimedia!But Sonar always pulls it off!

S: And the stuff we'll do tonight with the LED screen, it's all about visuals and stuff like that and it makes sense here.

D: In France they love their multimedia, but it's not all that good. But here it's really good.

The chemical brothers released an album this week...

S: sounds amazing.

Looks amazing too and that's more the way things are going now, its about the whole package.

S: Yeah, I think everything is now. I'd love to see a band that was just about the music. Everyone now has a MySpace and a Facebook and a t-shirt. It's become part of it. I think young kids, that's what they understand, and as an artist it's interesting. It's what Bowie did, it's what a lot of people did from the beginning on, but in a different way, in a different format. So with The Chemicals I'd be really interested to see how it works out. They have the money to do it and they can pull it off.

D: They also have good tracks and its the same thing with Daft Punk. People like The Chemicals and Daft Punk stand out because their music is great, which is the most important thing, and then also visually they try to push the limit a little bit too and try to see how far they can get it. To be fair it's the best place for The Chemicals to be, here at Sonar: the Spanish really like The Chemical Brothers, they really love them.

So what other festivals do you guys always pencil in each year?

D: Well, to play is different that to go. There's some like Glastonbury that when we get asked to play, it's great, but me as a punter I wouldn't go. All that mud! Eurgh! So as a viewer its more like Coachella, Sonar, but it's so hard to say because we do so many festivals. Whatever you see, this is how we live. What we've been working on for the past year though is 24 albums as 2manydjs, as Radio Soulwax for a 24hour stream, with visuals. That's our next big release, only we're not going to put it out in stores.

Words by Karl O'Keefe

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