Amelie Lens | CTC Talks

“I decided to just be myself”

 

Since she emerged from Antwerp’s techno scene a few years ago, Amelie Lens has worked relentlessly as a producer and DJ with a certain flair for dark, powerful melodies blended with her own creepy vocals, clearly reflected in her latest EP ‘Contradiction’.

Signed to Pan Pot’s reputable Second State label, it’s no wonder the duo hastily welcomed Amelie into the family with open arms. Prior to this, her debut EP ‘Exhale’ with Italian label Lyase Recordings was promptly shown support by the likes of Maceo Plex, Mind Against, DJ Hell and Kobosil to name a few. Not bad for her first project…

Gradually building exposure around her sound, she soon gained a well regarded residency with Hasselt’s underground institution, Labyrinth. Continuing to do all the right things to set up a long-term and fulfilling career as a techno artist, Amelie is now enthralled on a global tour leading up to imperative festival dates over the summer.

It looks like there is no stopping this Belgian maestra so we caught up with her to find out how it all began and what it takes to make a solid success in the harsh world of mixing and creating…

CTC: Before DJing became your full time job, you worked in the modelling industry. Did that help you develop a thick skin ahead of immersing yourself in the world of mixing, producing and relentless tour schedules?

Amelie Lens: “For sure it did help me develop in many ways. I was already working all over Europe when I was only 16 years old, surrounded by very creative and motivated people every day and it showed me that there are no limits in life.”

Going back to beginning of your career, you had an alias ‘Renee’. How was Renee different to the current sound of Amelie Lens?

“Soundwise nothing changed, all that changed was me and how I decided to just be myself. I was a bit afraid to show who I really was, I wanted to be a bit anonymous as I did not want people to know I was a woman, or a model. My press pictures were androgynous and unrecognisable but after playing some gigs, clubs started using the club pictures so being anonymous did not last for very long. After a while I came to realise it’s actually very sad as I think no one should ever hide who they really are. It made no sense to me anymore and changing my name to my real name was the best decision I ever made!”

How did Labyrinth discover your sound, subsequently leading to a highly coveted residency?

“They used to have a club in my hometown Antwerp and I played there once. Afterwards they booked me again on some hosted nights and stages. A booker of the agency then suggested me to join the family as they liked my sound and I was already playing with them so often. Shortly after they opened their new club in Hasselt and after some meetings we decided that it might be great if I could host my own nights there as well!”

 

“No one should ever hide who they really are”

 

Do you think residencies are essential for upcoming artists in order to make a successful, long term career in DJing?

“I think there are several ways and being a strong resident in a respected club might be one for sure. But I never had a weekly or monthly residency as from the very beginning I liked to spread out my gigs as much as possible. With Labyrinth we agreed on doing my events there every three months, which I think is a perfect residency for me.”

Has there been an artist or mentor you’ve looked up to from the beginning of your days in music?

“There are a few for sure! DJ Hell supported me a lot from the beginning. When I just started producing he was the first one to always give me honest feedback, he taught me that the most important thing is to find my own sound. I was also a big fan of Pan Pot and could not be happier that they reached out to me and asked me to sign on their label and join the family.

“They are very supportive and for example, when I was nervous about my very first gig at Awakenings, Thomas from Pan Pot called me to give me a huge pep-talk and calm me down. This counts for the whole Second State crew, I really feel like I am part of a family! We support each other, give feedback, ask advice and help each other out where we can. It’s been an overwhelming year for me and I’m truly happy that I was surrounded by so many wonderful people.”

When did you start producing? Do you think production is now pertinent for aspiring DJs?

“I started producing because I had very clear ideas about tracks that I wanted to make and it just made total sense and happened very naturally. Over the last few years I spend a lot of time in the studio with my boyfriend Farrago, I already knew the basics and so I guess it was just a matter of time before I wanted to do produce myself as well.”

Most of your tracks are entwined with your own haunting vocals. Why do you record your own voice?

“The first time I recorded my vocals was simply because I could not find a good sample for my track, afterwards it just became my trademark and just gives that little bit of extra.”

 

“I could write a whole book about techno”

 

What’s coming up over the summer for you and where can we look forward to seeing you play next?

“I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am for this summer! I’m playing at so many amazing festival such as Extrema Outdoor, Awakenings Festival, Tomorrowland, Dour, B My Lake, DGTL Barcelona, Pukkelpop, Sea Dance Festival and many many more! I also have a collab EP with Farrago that will be released on ARTS this summer, I’m also part of the HUB on Second State for the first time – it’s an EP where one artist is collaborating with four other artists from the label. And I now have a track just released on Drumcode’s VA compilation which Adam Beyer has just announced!

Finally, techno – what does it mean to you?

“That’s a difficult one because it’s literally my whole life. It’s what I do and it’s what I live for every day, I could write a whole book about it. I will let you know when I do!” {Laughs]

CTC.x

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