INTERVIEW: Beltek (2013)
Slovenia may be a small country in size, but it’s producing some big EDM talent. Following in the footsteps of internationally-known Umek comes Beltek who is quickly rising on the scene. His tracks mix electro and progressive house with a focus on massive energy – music that will rock a massive festival or a smaller club. Early support came from Pete Tong, and superstar Morgan Page recently invited him to join his night at WMC (as well as collaborate in the studio). Keep your eyes and ears open for Beltek – you will be hearing a lot more from him.
RS: Welcome to the US, have you been to the Winter Music Conference before?
Beltek: Yes, last year was my first time.
RS: How has it been different for you this year?
Beltek: Actually I just arrived and I am missing the sun! This year there are a lot more press interviews, more parties, and I am meeting with several artists to do some business stuff, so it is really hectic.
RS: You seem calm though.
Beltek: Yeah, I am a pretty calm person, today.
RS: You are from Slovenia, how is the EDM scene there?
Beltek: The EDM scene started a little over 10 years ago, we had more underground, techno music and there weren’t a lot of house producers back then. It has evolved from electro house to progressive house, etc. The scene is pretty strong but our country is really small which means that the market is also really small and we can’t have very big parties there or known names.
RS: Are there any other DJs or producers out of Slovenia that we should watch out for?
Beltek: Yeah, Umek was actually one of the first DJs that broke out of the country to start his world wide career.
RS: So for “Eric Goes To Disco,” what inspired you to go back and revisit “Flat Eric”?
Beltek: I just loved Mr. Oizo’s track “Flat Beat,” which is one of the classics. I randomly produced the track in the studio and bumped into one square sound with that farty bass. When I produced the track and did the bass it reminded me of Mr. Oizo’s classic and I tried to rework the track to have a proper remake of his old classic. I hadn’t heard any remakes, mash-ups, or bootlegs of his track and I decided to do one of my own and it turned out really well.
RS: Are you working with Christina Skye on a track?
Beltek: Unfortunately no, but I think that we will make something down the road. We are meeting up this week.
RS: Okay because I saw you guys talking on Twitter. “Captcha” is quite hard and aggressive; I heard a little preview on the Ferry Corsten podcast. When you worked with Morgan, how did the collaboration come about?
Beltek: I remixed Morgan’s track “Fight For You,” which was one of the biggest hits. I remixed it a couple years ago and it was his favorite remix and he played it a lot. He asked me to do a collaboration track and I came to the States to do my tour and we met in a studio in LA and did this nice track. I think it is one of the best tracks that I have made so far.
RS: Is this the new single that you are premiering tonight?
Beltek: Yes, one of many singles. I have a bunch of new singles that I am going to premiere tonight.
RS: How long is your set tonight?
Beltek: One hour.
RS: In an hour set what percentage is your own production and what percentage is other people’s music?
Beltek: It is 50/50
RS: So you think that it is important to play you own productions in your DJ sets?
Beltek: Very important, because with your own productions you present and promote yourself. If you don’t promote yourself you aren’t going to go anywhere. Anybody can play other people’s music but you have to have something of your own that’s special which makes a big impact on promoters and the crowd.
RS: The title of your track “Captcha” reminds me of those crazy letters that you have to type in on the internet, how did the title come from the track that you made?
Beltek: It’s silly, Captcha is of course that program that you have to type the letters into but I also think of it as a sound “capturing” you. I think that this song will capture a lot of people.
RS: Have you had any thoughts of adding a topline or a vocal over it?
Beltek: Maybe in the future, we have thought about it but we haven’t decided whether or not to add it.
RS: Is that going to be coming out on Spinnin’ Records?
RS: The first time I heard about you was that track that you did with Simone Denny, “Copacabana,” which was more of a disco house thing, how do you think that your sound has progressed over the years.
Beltek: I would say that every producer needs to evolve. To produce the same tracks over and over again gets very boring; I can’t listen to a producer whose tracks never change. I evolved over the years and I think that I have developed my own Beltek sound which is actually a blend of electro and progressive house music mixed with big energy which is my signature in every track that I produce. I need a lot of energy that I can transpose onto the people on the dance floor, that is my main goal.
RS: So when you are making a track the main goal is to make the crowd go crazy.
Beltek: Yes but not just make the crowd go crazy but to feel the energy, you can go crazy on an Adele track which is great but it’s not energetic. With electronic dance music I think that you need to have really powerful songs at the festivals or at the clubs that can blow the crowd away.
RS: Which do you prefer, collaborating with another producer or a vocalist?
Beltek: That is a hard question because I haven’t recorded very many vocal tracks, so I would say both. It really depends on who, if it is someone who has been my hero all my life I would definitely work with them but other than that it doesn’t really matter to me, as long as there is quality involved.
RS: Going further with that, you have worked with Morgan Page and Umek, if you could do a track with any producer who would it be?
Beltek: I would do a track with Zedd
RS: Very cool. I like your mash-ups, what has been your favorite mash-up that someone else has done with one of your tracks?
Beltek: There are a lot of them, I haven’t really thought about it but Morgan Page did a mash-up with my old track “Rumble Clouds” and put his vocal from the “Longest Road” on top of it, I think that was one of the best.
RS: When you are doing your productions what software are you using?
Beltek: I am using Ableton and Fruity Loops
RS: I am starting to hear more of Fruity Loops lately, that’s cool. With your live sets are you on laptop or CD?
Beltek: I am on laptop but back in the days I used to use live acts so that it was 100% Beltek music and now I DJ with Ableton on laptop and a DJ controller. I play special mash-ups and edits. None of the regular tracks that you can buy at various shops like Beatport and I mix it up, chop it up and make my own edit of it.
RS: So you get the special Beltek experience.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Beltek: Visit me in Miami and catch me at Ultra Music Festival. Thank you very much to my fans.
RS: What does the SI stand for?
Beltek: It stands for Slovenia because Beltek was already taken unfortunately.
RS: Is Beltek your real name?
Beltek: No, my real name is Martin and my surname is Bijeli?. I mixed it together with the nickname of my youth which was Belco and I used the first three letters and shorted the word for technology coming up with Beltek.
Interviewed conducted during Winter Music Conference 2013.