Stereoclip: "Everything is an echo of something"
We catch up with enigmatic Belgian producer Stereoclip to talk about new album 'Echoes'
It's now been over a decade since Stereoclip, real name Maxime Merkpoel, began producing under his alias. Reflecting on a tumultuous decade of ups and downs, the producer's new album 'Echoes' is an amalgamation of the journey so far.
Stereoclip has taken Merkpoel from beginning his music career in Brussels in 2010 to heavy releases such as 2015's 'Easy Field' that saw him get spotted by the Delicieuse Musique team, going on to produce his first EP and LP, 'Hometown' for the label, and heading on an international tour of Europe.
Since then he's gone on headline festivals such as Tomorrowland, Dour, Piknic Elektronik, ADE and Rex Club.
Much of 'Echoes', which is being released on Armada, was produced during lockdown, and explores themes of personal growth, reflection, inner conversation and dissecting the blur of chaos.
Read this next: Is Armada the label of the decade?
“It's been ten years since the Stereoclip project started, and I felt it was time to reflect on some of the choices I made, both good and wrong”, he says. “With this album, I wanted to push myself beyond my own limits and wanted my music to be a better version of itself. This album is inspired by ten years of failures and successes. It's full of nostalgia, hope and honesty.”
We caught up with Stereoclip to talk dancefloors, Brussels and the importance of good collaborators. Check out our full Q&A below.
Can you tell us a little about the process of creating your new album 'Echoes'?
It start during [the first lockdown] I did not plan to start an album but it came out naturally after creating several new tracks in a row. It started to look like an album after all. I was kinda stuck with my music back then, I didn’t really know where I was going but I knew that I wanted to create more of the club vibes that I always loved so much. My live set was always for the dance floor but in the past, I’ve experienced some difficulties with including the tracks I put on Spotify, so for this third album I tried to make sure it was suitable for both the dancefloor as well as streaming platforms.
You explored themes of nostalgia and hope in the process of making the album, how much do these emotions inspire you within your production?
Not so much in that way, It's more about what I am feeling when I’m listening to my creations. I try to not think when I am creating something, I try to be in the moment and listen to myself to see if what I’m doing is making me feel something, I’m using my sensibility.
The album reflects on your past 10 years - both in life & music, how much do you think 'Echoes' sums up your journey since your beginnings?
It reflects my 10 years of experience in all the different aspects of life. Everything is an echo of something. I like the idea of not fixing something on a timeline. This album will be different in five years, as our perception will change over time. I will say that my personal growth has pushed me to have a better vision of what I’m doing on this earth, including my music. I’m feeling more free which influences my creation in a better way I guess.
How do you think you've changed as an artist in the last 10 years?
Maybe on not trying to be anyone specific, I don’t want to define my role to know if I am an artist or not. Music is just a natural way I found to express myself. I’m just making music and decided to share it with the world, so now I feel my responsibility is to try to share the best I can do.
Did you create much of your album in lockdown? how did isolation impact your creative process?
Some parts were during lockdown, but I have to say I was not really alone. In the beginning, it was cool to have some extra time, to be able to take some time to try new stuff. After I felt like I created enough tracks to see where this was going, I decided to take some time for myself as well.
Are you happy to be touring again? now measures have been eased? how important is it for you to have a crowd respond to your music?
Read this next: Stereoclip releases new music video for 'Inner City Angels'
Yes, I’m very happy to play my new tracks! Let’s see how things will evolve… I believe it’s important to share some moments around music, not just for me but for everyone. When 1000 people are on the same vibration it feels like a ceremony, it’s a great feeling!
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative collaborators for your album? and how important they have been to the production of 'Echoes'?
Collaborations were key for me to be able to create better music. I choose to share my studio with Kid Creme, Dim Kelly, Oton and some other people. We ended up all involved in each other’s tracks, it was a great process. Like I said I did my last album with Kid Creme and I have a featuring with Dim Kelly.
We all are in a cool house studio in the countryside of Brussels, it gives me so much inspiration as a person as well as for my creations.
Are there any other artists you are excited about right now?
Dim Kelly / Oton / Duskus / James Blake / Shadow Child
What is it about Brussels that continues to inspire you?
The chilled vibe is a cool city to be at ease. Also, it’s easy to have a nice studio here and still be in the centre of Europe. Every day I see the forest when I look in the garden and it’s just beautiful.
Do you think right now is an exciting time for Belgian dance music?
I don’t know, it definitely was in the past. For now, there are some nice projects, I see a lot of vinyl shops opening up and there are a few cool new clubs. I’m curious to find out what it’s going to be like after covid. But there is definitely a big passion here.. there has to be as it's difficult to earn a living here with music.
Can you tell us what’s next for you?
Stereoclip's new album is out now, listen to it here.
Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter