Belgium-based but beaming the love of house all over the world with a blend of funky rhythms and smooth vocals: Dj Licious knows good vibes come from nothing but house music.
After founding the clubbing concept SHOMI in Antwerp, his DJ career directed him to the Belgian ‘Defected in the house’ parties, pushing house music on a national level. By mixing fresh tunes in his own global radio show, spinning his favorite tracks at clubs and festivals worldwide Dj Licious does what he loves most: let the music do the talking.
We had the chance to talk with him aligned to the recent release of his latest single ‘I Hear You Calling’.
Electronic Groove: Hi DJ Licious, thanks for the time to chat with us. Your new single ‘I Hear You Calling’ is co-written by DJ Fresh’s production team Fallen Angels and features the vocals of Yolanda Quartey, what was it like to work with DJ Fresh and Yolanda?
DJ Licious: It is a dream come true. I’ve been following Fresh for years and admiring his production skills from afar and now to be able to work with such a legend. It was a little intimidating at first, but luckily Fresh and Yolanda are one of the most relaxed artists I’ve ever worked with.
EG: What was the inspiration behind ‘I Hear You Calling’?
DJ Licious: I am a big fan of melodies when I am in my natural habitat, but when I DJ or when I am in clubs it’s all about the groove and bass. So, I just wanted to mix those together in the best possible way. I struggled many years to find that perfect balance, but I think I may have found that now.
EG: You released the instrumental version of ‘I Hear You Calling’ on your own SHOMI label and the track received its first play from was Pete Tong and is still a permanent fixture on dance floors today. Did you envision the track being such a worldwide success?
DJ Licious: Not at all. I had 3 tracks ready at the time and ‘Calling’ was always the last one I let people hear. But when I saw the first reactions, I immediately knew I was on to something. Those other 2 tracks never got released, it just goes to show that you never know what the future has in store for you.
EG: How was the Belgian music scene like when growing up? Who were your early influences? Do they still influence your sound now?
DJ Licious: It was all about urban or rock music at the time in Belgium, so I always got more inspiration from the UK scene. I was influenced a lot by the early Defected Records, Strictly Rhythm, those kinds of labels. There were a few Belgian producers I looked up to like Junior Jack, Aeroplane, Red Carpet, Magnus… All excellent producers. But my interest was not limited to dance oriented music only, at home I have all the albums of Radiohead, Portishead, Massive Attack, Pink Floyd, Hooverphonic, dEUS. I love everything as long as it touches me in my soul.
“On Sunday August 20th we have our first Ibiza event with SHOMI at Jockey Club”
EG: When did you discover your passion for dance music?
DJ Licious: A friend of mine was a DJ and he asked me once to come along. At the time, Djing was absolutely not a cool thing. Just a guy in the corner playing music of someone else. I gradually got bitten by the music bug and started buying my first vinyls, turntables and it all kinda got out of hand from there.
EG: You recently celebrated 10 years of your club concept SHOMI earlier this year and it’s now become a label, what can we expect to hear from the SHOMI in the future?
DJ Licious: First of all, we will continue our club nights which are almost always sold out and this summer we have another stage hosting at Summerfestival in Antwerp on July 1, with friends like Chocolate Puma, Mike Mago, and many more. On Sunday August 20 we have our first Ibiza event with SHOMI at Jockey Club, thanks to my friend “Delafino” who has been a resident for us for years.
Label wise, I have a very cool EP entitled ‘Serenity’ coming out from new duo, Silque. Better watch out for these guys cause they are getting a lot of attention. I will also release some more clubby stuff on my label soon.
EG: You will be returning to Tomorrowland this summer, what can fans expect from your set?
DJ Licious: Yes, I am playing both weekends and needless to say that I am really looking forward to this. You can expect only the best in house music, a lot of DJ Licious edits and of course my own work with maybe a few new exclusives.
EG: What’s in the pipeline for you this year?
DJ Licious: A lot of touring, my international calendar is filling up rapidly and of course a lot of studio work, working hard on that follow-up of IHYC. Although IHYC is far from over, the video still needs to come out, the remixes and loads more… and I’m almost forgetting a few remixes, which I am currently working on. Busy times, just the way I like it!
DJ Licious’s ‘I Hear You Calling’ is available to buy here.
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