Tom Dazing: “Belgians Feel Underestimated And Are Too Humble”

Ages ago, a mutual friend booked Tom Dazing and me on a small party in his hometown Aalst. His talent was pretty raw but so clearly present. Over the years he impressed us all with his production skills and constant stream of ideas.
Time for a bit of a chat with the man his friends call Amazing Dazing.

Over the years you’ve built a pretty extensive studio. What’s your favorite tool in your working space?

Depends whether you’re engaging in audio experiments or mixdown techniques…

During recording, it’s all about  experimenting, discovery and not planning too much. I really like the fresh vibe that Teenage Engineering is bringing to the table, or the (semi) modular stuff from Moog & Roland. Also I’m a big fan of the process of live recording. There’s something honest, real and magical about a recorded sequence that’s manipulated and automated by manual override at a specific moment in time & space. Lately I took my first steps in the modular world, something I always tried to back down, because of itsdetrimental effect on one’s financial status (laughs).
Regarding mixdown: for me hroughout the years, it’s all about creating and shaping a certain way of treating your audio with maximum result. Sometimes you find a technique that’s slightly better than the previous one and you implement it in the bigger scheme. For me personally mixing in the box will never have the same impact as summing it through an analog desk, postprocessing it with the warmth of tube or tape. There’s McDonalds, and then you have Shake Shack. Both are known for burgers, but miles apart when you take a bite.

When you started out you quickly made a name in the -then very huge – minimal scene. Is that style still some influence in today’s work?

First of all let me set the “record” straight (no pun intended) about one thing. I have truly never, ever EVER been or considered myself a minimal DJ or producer, a stigma that’s unfortunately been haunting me since the day my career launched and during the last decade. Actually people should know I started off DJ’ing with hardtechno around 140BPM… Generally there’s a common misunderstanding regarding that matter, it’s quite easy to be pigeonholed, but it’s damn hard to get back out of the box…
A track with few elements can be a wall of sound with no room to breathe, and bice versa. A track can be crammed with dozens of tiny elements and still leave an empty impression. What I’m actually really aiming for is a combination of darkness, harmony and purity I guess. Oh … and in-your-face dirtyness of course… A remnant of my classical training when I was still young & beautiful… (laughs)

Over the years there seems to be ‘a common thread’ to most of my tracks. It’s either carried by something melodic or something scary. Personally for me, a good track is one that contains both. During recording I don’t make a grand plan of how it should be , rather I love to get lost in a stream of consciousness catapulting me into a state of instant boundlessness. I sometimes hear that my music has a lot of layers, but maybe that’s just overcompensating the minimal thing. Spending the last years under the radar has actually been proven amazing for me. There’s a sense of liberation in not having to justify your musical pathway to your audience, and a sense of gratitude in a growing unprejudiced fanbase.

You’re a regular fixture at Kompass Klub. How did you join their crew?

Actually it’s a logical, natural evolution of the relationship I’ve had with the manager Massimo throughout the years. We’ve known eachother now for over more than 10 years and our collaboration and judgement is purely based on musical performance. We started off having a mutual musical taste & studio ambition and I think this is the reason why our relation is as long lasting and honest till now… I really love the feeling of being assessed by Kompass on my musical output instead of nightlife presence, something that’s been under stress since the birth of my boy Finn. I consider that to be a good thing, forcing me to arrange a proper schedule & put my feet on the ground. I cant’t expect anything more from my career now, because everything is already there.

What are the future plans for your imprint Thrill Recordings?

Thrill Rec allows me to make & release music the way I feel it should be put together…

There’s no one standing in the way of your vision on how it should be presented. Furthermore, there’s a whole lot of Belgian producers now out there bursting with talent and screaming to be heard. There’s Basic Feelings from Brussels, Sematics from the Waasland area,  Substance And Program from here in my homebase Ghent. All are amazing performers and artists that need a platform, and I really want to put more effort in helping them the way I was helped when I just started. It’s a matter of returning the favor, and securing my future karma as well. (laughs). Sadly, in our countr there’s a general tendency for exotism, a remainder of our cultural heritage in my opinion. Belgians have always been overruled by different nations, and I really feel this is resulting in us feeling underestimated and (too) humble. There’s a reason why Germany is loud & proud… I know New-Beat was a time that will never return, but I keep having the feeling that my or our beat is still kinda new (or old?)…

You’ve made quite some productions for Coincidence. Why do you keep returning to the label?

During the last year I started making music for myself and others as my only job & income. In all honesty I can say that without Coincidence Rec I would have probably given up making music on a professional level by now, and I would have never reached this point. Egocentric statement I know, but the label has helped to overcome difficult times in one’s career, and serves as a warm blanket of trust, shelter & understanding. I feel I have grown together with the label, so I always feel it’s some kind of mirror image. Our relationship is first & foremost formed on a deeper, personal level. You don’t find a lot of label(s) (managers) offering you a US holiday after going through personal tragedy. It’s a rock to say the least… 

Oh and I heard the music Is great too… (laughs).