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Renaud Deru has been a permanent fixture in the Belgian scene for many years, during this time he started Dirty Dancing Records, who gave an early Aeroplane their first chance, he also ran a club night of the same name who counted Stephen Fasano and Mickey as residents, and he was, of course, one half of disco duo Mustang. But now he’s embarking on his own solo career under the name ATTAR!. We managed to grab 10 minutes with Renaud to pick his brains about his former label, signing an early Aeroplane, how he ended up on Ghent’s Eskimo Records and what he has planned for the rest of year.

HBF: So the name ATTAR!, clear it up for us, should be pronounced like the games company? If so would it be fair to say you had a mis-spent youth playing computer games?

Yes, you should pronounce it like the game and computer company, definitely! But I wasn’t that much into video games when I was young, I was more interested in skateboarding and kissing girls around me. My mum’s first computer was an Atari and I remember that strange feeling I had when she turned it on for the first time, it was something magical and stressful in the same time. I was afraid to push on any buttons and fire a nuclear-bomb! I chose this name simply because I love the way it sounds, nothing more. Some months ago, I learned that the first Atari video game was launched in October 1977…just like me.

You recently signed to Eskimo Records, so when can we expect the next single?

My next single is almost finished, I will record the vocal parts in a few days. The release date is not known yet but I hope it will be around November 2013.

You signed an early Aeroplane years ago under the name Javelo, did you always know they’d be so successful? What were they like back then?

Yes that’s correct. I had a nice record label called “Dirty Dancing Recordings”. I’m proud of it because we discovered some great artists like Aeroplane or Compuphonic and I signed their first releases. Javelo was the first name of the Vito & Stephen musical project (They also produced some tracks as The Spankers), Stephen was resident DJ at my club “Blow-Up” and then at “Dirty Dancing” in Brussels. I remember when he introduced Vito to me. Stephen was not a musician but a great DJ and had a vision for the music, and Vito was the genius who turned it into a great track. Vito is such an amazing producer!!! I quickly understood that they will become big, and I naturally introduced them to Eskimo Recordings (way more professional than me). They signed the project as Aeroplane directly.

The funny thing is that today Vito is my manager and he introduced my project ATTAR! to Eskimo, who then signed me too.

You were obviously one half of Mustang alongside Andy – what did you take from that experience, and do you have any regrets it did go on for longer?

Yes, Mustang was an interesting experience, but I have absolutely no regrets for having stopped this collaboration. It was not easy to work with Andy because we had different point of view about making music. Andy is a technician who spends much time into pure production details, instead of the melody sometimes, I’m more looking for the direct emotion that a melody can give you, and never mind if it’s too obvious or simple, if it’s touching my heart, it’s ok. Today I realise how happy I am to work alone in the studio, and when I collaborate with some other people, it’s my choice, and my way to drive it. I’m 100% into my music today.

You remixed a wide variety of artist who’s been your favourite, or most important to you?

It’s a hard question because I’m only remixing stuff that I feel. Sometimes I refused some great proposals back in the days simply because I had no feeling on it. If I have to choose one of them, maybe the Body Language remix is my favourite, but you know it’s like to say “I prefer my son instead of my daughter”, it’s properly impossible. I just finished a remix for Du Tonc’s “Surging Memories”, and it was something special for me as the original is one of my favourite summer 2013 tracks. Very exciting experience and I love the result a lot!

Tell us a little about your label Dirty Dancing Records, do you think you’ll ever set another label up in the future?

It was a vinyl only electronic music label, and it was a side project of my nightclub called “Dirty Dancing”. My target was to discover some great new Belgian artists, and give them a start into the music business. Exactly the same thing I used to do at the club. We had Compuphonic, Starski & Tonic (Now The Subs), Stephen (part of Aeroplane and then The Magician), Mickey… To name a few of the residents alongside me. Great crew isn’t it? I’m sincerely proud of it because I gave all of them their first chance to get into the music business and I’m so happy to see all of them having the success they deserve today! I don’t know if I will have a record label in the future again, it’s something that I would love to do, but now I’m 100% into making music and traveling to make people dance all around the world.

What’s in your stereo at the moment?

Jagwar Ma – Howlin, Jacco Gardner – Cabinet Of Curiosities, Wave Machines – Pollen, Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg, Bobby Womack – I Don’t Know What The World Is Coming to, and a lot of new Hip Hop like Future, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean…

If you studio was on fire and you could save one thing what would it be and why?

My computer of course, but it’s obviously not sexy… let’s say my Roland Juno 106, simply because it was my first synth or my Moog, or maybe my DX-7… Oh shit… I don’t know…

What have you got planned for the rest of the year, anything we should know about?

A new single, some new remixes and edits, lot of gigs around the world and cooking for my girlfriend and friends (I love it) !

Tell us a secret about yourself that nobody knows?

I’m the new Buddha.


Andrew Rafter

Andrew Rafter is the editor and founder of Harder Blogger Faster.