Seduction II New Beat: Handless DJ

handless dj x Theo Parrish @ fuse by Nelody Melson

Handless Dj x Theo Parrish @ Fuse (by Nelody Melson)

Here a mini interview with Handless DJ (Pablo Saccomano), about music, nightlife, friends and he selected a top 5 to get in the mood..!

Pablo, I’m glad you return to Amsterdam again, could you tell us what is your connection with Amsterdam nightlife? I guess you’ve been here before 🙂

I may say I‘ve always had nice local guides who biked me around showing me a colorful vision of Amsterdam nightlife, from the classic club circuit to some underground spots, off the beaten tracks.

Well, you always fantasize scenes from abroad. Amsterdam seems to have a never ending flow of creativity towards spaces and a particular attached DIY spirit. The Amsterdam scene is quite prolific, record stores such as Rush Hour with its label / distribution / artists & nebula, Red Light Records and the radio, I remember Club 11, great nights in the Trouw basement, Doka, OT301, NDSM, some spontaneous rave spots and so on..

Is it similar to Brussels or something completely different?

I think the main difference is that the clubbing / electronic scene is embedded in a wider cultural dynamic on every different scale (promoter – artists – audience- venue). Something missing sometimes in Brussels.

When did you, start Djing, how did this happen?

I started DJing seriously around 2007. I’ve been pushed to play records before being able to beat match (thus my DJ name) and at one point I kept practicing to be able to make a “proper” warm up at my own party High Needs Low. I can seriously thank my Amsterdam, Brussels, Köln, Swiss family for inviting me playing in their parties. A real kick to develop my style! I had a few residencies in clubs, nights here in Brussels and abroad in the past few years where I was playing alongside international guests and it really helped me to sharpen my selection through different spectrum, themes, sous genres. I quite like being able to adapt sets and selection on the theme of the night, the venue, the timetable & the crowd. Practicing the art of warming up or closing down a night with respect for the guest and the time and space dimension. I’m now resident for Beyond nights in Fuse Club Brussels, we have weekly a radio show with Walrus (Bepotel), Lawrence Ledoux (Vlek), DJ Athome (Front De Cadeaux) & Dekeyser and we are currently working on the first agency “listening session” at home with live acts, dj sets and guests.

Handless DJ at Werkplaats, ADE 2015

Handless DJ at Werkplaats, ADE 2015

Was music important when you where little, did your mother listen to music? (I know there was always music at my house when I was a kid…this sure influenced me)

I was living in an old house in the countryside, full of cracking weird noises and I remembered running to the record player to flip the side as fast as I could so I couldn’t hear any of those noises, haha. Last time I visited Amsterdam, I bought 2 records my mum used to listen a lot when I was a kid. Zao, Ancien Combattant and Marguerite Duras’ Indian Song soundtrack, I believe they are my first musical memories. I inherited from her punk rock collection and it might have been 3 christmas ago when I found the secret industrial record stash.. some DAF, Cabaret Voltaire and so on. Music was indeed very present but I never got pushed to play any instruments and I may say I was terrible in music class. I was quite sad not to be able to play the X-Files theme song on a cheap second hand plastic flute.. Still not able today, but that’s I believe that’s ok.

I don’t think it is a problem not being able to play the X-Files theme on a cheap plastic flute hehe, I understand you are a very serious music collector. How important is music for you, as being a DJ, you are probably always looking out for a lot of music, new things or hunting old treasures, how to you keep up with that?

It’s always very personal, mixed feelings between anti-breakdown remedy, some obsessive overthought plans and some compulsive purchases. I have this almost schizophrenic priority lists in my mind but I also love going to a record store and discover random records. Some kind of never ending quest, haha. But I very much treasure this childish feeling of desire, even for items you’re not even aware of. I keep on listening to a lot of mixes and I’m quite often on the look out on online record shops. I’m also very well surrounded by gifted fellow DJs and heavy collectors so we share a lot together in a very large audio panel.

This Seduction II night is inspired by new beat music, I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are, how would you describe what new beat is, to a generation that does not know this, people still dance to disco, italo, techno, etc…but new beat? You probably weren’t aware of this at the time, just like me, as we where still kids back then, playing hide-and-seek.

As you coined, I was too young to be aware of this movement at the time, I barely remember some TV footage mixing rave culture and smiley badges.. I would tell about the heavy synths, the dark atmospheres related to cold wave, the languorous sensuality of the slow BPM, some kind of electronic punk opera performances.. I love the vision exposed in the documentary The Sound Of Belgium, showing how cultural entertainment evolved in Belgium from post war ball rooms to modern club frenzy. The social bounding towards a emergent experimental scene to the overground commercial inputs that literally drowned the whole movement. I also like the fact that it put Belgium at some point on the dance music map, bridging Chicago, Detroit, Manchester as pioneer city scenes. I believe the documentary raised some awareness in the dance music scene worldwide as you can clearly see on the fluctuation of the vinyl market those last years.


Do you have a few new beat favorites, old or perhaps even artists from a post new beat era, from your generation?

I’m a huge fan of the tropical side of New Beat like Chayell, A Split Second, also the more industrial dark wave sound and synth pop oriented sound such as Nacht und Nebel or Snowy Red. On a contemporary aspect, I like DJ ATHOME & his duo Front De Cadeaux a lot. Playing records in the New Beat tradition (33rpm speed when they are meant to be played at 45rpm) they are some serious diggers and great DJs. They are releasing a forthcoming killer EP on Mugwump’s Brussels based imprint Subfield.omething to watch!

What would The Sound Of Belgium be for you nowadays, as Belgium has a very rich history in music, also not electronic related. (I used to listen to all those bands from Antwerp, Gent.)

Belgium scene is quite active at the moment. We launched an agency called Culte where stand talented electronic acts with a large sound spectrum towards techno, house, the Bepotel nebula and the solo projects (& Apos, Sagat, Walrus), Lawrence le Doux, experimental acts like Kasset, SKYH1, Hiele. I’m thinking of labels such as Vlek, Ekster, JJ Funhouse, Holger tracks… Wulfy Benzo, Mitland Och Leo, Stikstof, Pruikduif, are some acts to watch amongst others.

 handless dj fuse by stelmaszewski

Handless Dj (fuse) by stelmaszewski

You are djing alongside the godfather of Dutch house, Eddy De Clercq, who will play some of his favorite new beat records (and more) so that brings two djs from two different generations, interesting to see this come together, what can we expect from you on this Seductive night?

Well I’ll try to blend my multiple influences as I like colorful DJ sets, trying to link gems from the past to more modern oriented productions still under this New Beat / Wavy inspired spectrum. I’m very curious of the rest of the night, Eddy De Clercq & Raderkraft. Very much looking forward to play in Canvas!

TOP 5 selected by HANDLESS DJ

01. Chayell – Tropic (Antler Records, 1987)

02. DFX – Relax your body (Another Version)  (Full Time Record, 1989)

03. The Severed Head – All saints day dub (Volition, 1989)

04. Snowy Red – Euroshima (Wardance) (Dirty Dance, 1982)

05. Pulse 8 – Radio Morocco (youth mix) (Nation Records, 1989)

Extra bonus : Front de Cadeaux edit for I’m A Cliché of « Elle Et Moi » (by Max Berlin)

Handless Dj is djing in Amsterdam, at Canvas, March 26, Wibautstraat 150 Amsterdam, Seduction II: New Beat, with Eddy De Clercq, Raderkraft / Tickets, presale 8 Euro

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