Get ready for Horst 2024 with warm-up mixes from AIDA and Kiernan Laveaux - Music - Mixmag

Get ready for Horst 2024 with warm-up mixes from AIDA and Kiernan Laveaux

With the tenth edition of Brussels' underground behemouth set to kick off tomorrow, AIDA and Kiernan Laveaux give us a taste of what audiences can expect from this year's Horst festival

  • Words: Megan Townsend | Horst Photo: Jeroen Verrecht | AIDA Photo: Marisa Bazan | Kiernan Laveaux Photo:
  • 8 May 2024

Can you believe it? It may only be May, but the 2024 festival season is well and truly here. Leading the charge in the European underground circuit is Brussels' Horst Arts & Music festival, which is set to welcome thousands of dancers to Asiat Park from tomorrow (May 9) until Saturday (May 11).

This year crowds can expect a typically Sophie's Choice-provoking array of sets across the next three days, including a b2b between Aurora Halal and DJ Nobu, a special drum 'n' bass offering from Octo Octa, the only Belgian appearance of 2024 from dubstep pioneers Skream and Benga — as well as performances from Anz, Shy One, Nene H, Ben UFO and many, many more.

Read this next: Elevated experience: Horst delivers a vision of festival Utopia

Ahead of Horst & Arts and Music festival's kick-off tomorrow, we've enlisted the help of T4T LUV NRG affiliate, energy conduit and ecstatic beat conductor Kiernan Laveaux and Iranian-Canadian Rinse FM resident and house aficionado AIDA to give us a sneak of what's in store at Asiat Park.

Each put together an hour-long mix to get us all warmed up; perfect for if it's your first time at Horst, or you'll be returning to dance below the cooling towers once again his year. Listen to the mixes, and check out our Q&As with Kiernan Laveaux and AIDA below.

2024 has already been a bumper year for you so far! How are you finding life on the road?

I am immensely grateful for everything that is happening, the places I play, the people I meet and bond with over music, and my ability to travel. It is 15-year-old AIDA's dream come true to play music as a job and passion! This greatly outweighs the challenges of life on the road. I have been fortunate to take the last year and a half off from my day job, and this has made travelling and gigging much easier. I can’t wait to see how the fruits of my labour will manifest for the rest of this year!

You've been traversing the Atlantic quite a bit already this year, how are you finding the split between shows in North/South America and Europe?

The culture of the music I am passionate about is strongest and better understood in Europe and the UK than in North America. This makes it a no-brainer for me to focus on building my career and name there at this stage. Logic aside, I measure how I feel about crossing the Atlantic emotionally. Playing in places and crowds that really get what I do makes me feel that “in love” feeling, as well as feeling understood and connected. This makes the long-hauls absolutely worth it for me. I have no problem with the long flights and actually find them easier now than the shorter flights because I get stuff done — nap, watch films, plan sets, etc.

How do you usually prepare for a festival set? Do you have a routine?

I usually show up to festivals with fresh music I have not yet played anywhere. I select tracks based on where my mind is at that time musically, as well as the line-up, set time, and get a general sense of the festival. For Horst, and the coming summer season, I purchased about 60 new records and listened to them all — I started playlisting them on YouTube to get familiar with them on the go. Then, I narrowed down the list to 30 and laid the records across my floor in my studio as I began arranging and rearranging them into a “skeleton” set. By mixing them and re-arranging them, I get more familiar with the different frequency ranges for each track which then defines how I might mix each track uniquely. For example, some older records are less saturated/quieter in their mastering and therefore the low end is quieter. Dropping the kick of such a record with a switch that is shorter than 16 bars can be quite anti-climactic. In that case, I know that to go into a track with a quieter low end, I need to plan a longer blend or use filters accordingly. To summarise, I like to be prepared but also have the ability to be spontaneous and tap into my flow state as fast as possible. This is the key to having a strong set for me.

Read this next: Brussels' Horst Arts & Music Festival confirms full 2024 line-up

What are you most excited about for this year's Horst outside of your set?

I am really excited to hear as much music as I can, there are a lot of acts on the lineup that I admire and I am curious to see how each act will tune their performances for this highly anticipated festival. I am curious to see the architectural transformation of the park, the circular stage design, and how the Horst crew will create the spatial experience of the festival. I am an experienced designer by day so this is interesting to me.

What can crowds expect from your Horst set this year?

An all-vinyl affair of acid house, rumbling basslines, tons of rhythmic percussions, cheeky vocals, and overall major grooves!

Can you tell us a bit about your Horst warm-up mix?

Yes! This mix is part of my closing set recorded at UMI Brussels in March. You will hear vintage house, progressive house, and tech house gems in there which I had bought in a record shop in Barcelona the week before. I blended those records with newer techno-leaning releases that are pitched down to match the tempo and energy of the house records. I picked this set as my Horst warm-up mix because it’s the perfect foreshadowing of what I am preparing for the festival mentioned above: cheeky vocals, percussion, and vintage acid/tech/progressive house.

How has your 2024 been so far? Are you ready for festival season?

2024 has been interesting, this is my 10th year being involved in DJing and I've been reflecting a lot on what that means and how to do something positive in life as the world goes to shit. I'm thankful for my wonderful friends and people who support me in my life, my cat babies, and the creators of new worlds I’ve been making music with. I'm also thankful for everyone who’s had me play and supported me touring over all these years, I’ve rocked the house and seen places worldwide I never thought in my life I’d be able to experience as a freak from Cleveland.

Festival season is fairly nonexistent for me living in the United States, our festival network is more on the smaller end of sparse, and there are more intentional festivals and Detroit electronic music weekend — I'm glad to see some more variety of American festivals coming back post-lockdown and hope for more. Shouts out to Freerotation, Draaimolen and WHOLE festivals for having me play these past few years and tap into the festival realm a bit across the pond. I'm hoping for more in the future, but I'm looking forward to a summer of a few American weirdo fests, concocting beats, and sitting on a rock outside somewhere.

We know that you have just started a bumper run of EU shows after spending much of the winter in the US — how do you find crowds differ on this side of the pond? Will Horst be your first time in Brussels?

Yes, It's my first time in Brussels! Excited. To me, the crowds are the same on any side of any pond, people will dance and open themselves up to interesting experiences if they want to, or they’ll stand around drinking/talking/ remaining closed off and bored. I’ve had amazing experiences everywhere and many things are possible throughout a night — usually, the more intentional and intimate the room, the more the crowd is willing to molt and bloom, the better. Shout out to Manchester, Bristol, Dublin, Luxembourg, Glasgow, Lisbon, Prague, and all the freaks freakin it across the USA.

How do you usually prepare for a festival set? Do you have a routine?

Definitely, I always try to find out when/where I’m playing and angle the set towards that slot and setting as best I can. The most interesting thing about DJing for me is the way the music meets the moment, I always try to tap into the energy and not get too stuck on only what I want to do, while also not compromising musically — I just practice some vibes and find my footing within improvisation, know my tracks and most importantly seeing where the set takes us. Meet every situation head-on! Basically, I just drink some water, eat a banana and let it rip.. for me, overpreparation is the enemy of fun.

Read this next: The Top 25 Breakthrough DJs Of The Year 2023

What are you most excited about for this year's Horst outside of your set?

I’m excited to experience Brussels with friends and have many silly dances at the festival, I've heard nothing but lovely things about Horst and appreciate them having a cacophonous gal like myself over to play. Shout out to the Lot Radio and Kiosk for hosting me as well!

What can crowds expect from your Horst set this year?

Velocitizing atomic maelstroms and vinyl crackle, presented to you in part by a strange transsexual from a stranger place — depending on your metaphysical disposition, you’ll either remember how great it felt to dance or how great it felt to cover your ears and complain to your friends about it It’s a fun theme this year that my only sets are unique b2b pairings exploring different BPMs & expansive sounds with the lovely upsammy and Octo Octa

Can you tell us a bit about your Horst warm-up mix?

"My warm-up mix is a zany trip through my mind for an hour and a peek into what a solo set from me at the festival might look like — 100% KL special low-frequency version. I’m happy to be showing more specific strains of what I do in B2Bs this year, and grateful for the opportunity to spin it out at the speed of sound in this mix. Influenced by the never-ending cycles of violence, corruption, and fascistic decline we’re forced to exist within on Earth, as well as the way music can be both a communicator of liberatory ideas and also a pacifying force to maintain the status quo of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. The strategic adversary is fascism - free everywhere and destroy what destroys you. A better world is possible.

There's lots of music within visionary worldbuilders and friends and an upcoming release from myself, Johnny Zoloft, and Gladstone Deluxe entitled 'Total Body Extension'. Keep your heart and mind open - I hope this mix can soundtrack some moments of discord, headbanging, and hip-moving."

Tyrone Washington - Universal Spiritual Revolt (Quasimoto tribute excerpt)
Uffe - City's Dead (Wrapped in Plastic)
LOFT - C A R $ A N D G U R L $ (2014)
Psychedelic Budz - Deep Space Rubdown
Sputnik One - Aquabeat
2lanes - My Simulacra (JIALINGS Big Club Mix)
Alien D - Exercise in Restraint
Angel Rocket - Foamstone Hoedown
Lara David - Grunhyt (Laundry Drum Dub)
MIRA MIRA - amor y lucha
Cherriel - consequence (unreleased)
Malka & Liza Waves - Catarse
Accessories to Murder - Danger (Trash BF Mix) (unreleased)
Nectar - Glass Acid
Kiernan Laveaux, Johnny Zoloft, & Gladstone Deluxe - Total Body Extension (unreleased)

For more information on Horst Arts & Music Festival, plus stage splits for this year's event, click here.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter

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