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Having burst onto the scene with their soon-to-be-released ‘There’s A Place‘, Belgian duo Arches, comprising Sebastiaan Vandevoorde (Moonlight Matters) and Jochen Sablon (Sound of Stereo), are off to a flying start having recently signed to Columbia Records.

The duo’s debut EP includes a stunning re-work of Diana Ross’ ‘Take Me Higher‘, then there’s the b-side ‘Move On’ which features vocals from Gustaph (of Hercules and Love Affair fame), and finally the package is finished off with remixes from Sinden and Russ Chimes.

So having made such an auspicious start, HBF’s Charlotte Cijffers grabbed 10 minutes with Sebastian and Jochen to pick their brains about their influences, how they came up with their name, and what’s next for the Belgian duo.

Charlotte: Lets start with the obvious, how did the Arches collaboration come about?

J+S: We both have a common interest in electronic music of all sorts and as we are both Belgian we ran into each other a few times at festivals etc. We started exchanging tracks from our projects (Moonlight Matters & Sound Of Stereo) to feedback because we both thought we were up to a level to be a point of reference in each others productions. After a while I (Jochen) sent Seba a beat with the ‘There’s a Place‘ vocal and at that point we decided to make a track together which resulted in our first single…So it all started in a rather organic and fun way.

Charlotte: Why did you settle on the name Arches? Does it have any kind of special meaning?

J: That’s a funny story, initially we were named differently but as things happened so quick and got serious, we had second thoughts on the name. Literally five minutes before we entered Studio Brussel (Belgian national radio station) for our first interview, we decided on the new name. I guess we picked it because we think it has the right look and feel for our project.
S: Arches is in a way also a good metaphor for our music in the sense that we make Arches/bridges between different pieces of our collective musical memory such as Hip House, New Beat, Disco, Electro and love for catchy vocals. As Jochen said it’s a great visual concept as well, which lends itself perfectly for our visual identity.

Charlotte: You’re both already well known for other music projects, what kind of new avenues did you want to explore as a duo that you hadn’t already done with your previous projects?

J: Personally I wanted to start making poppier, uplifting music for a while. As I grew older a housier sound was something I tended towards naturally. I guess exploring a new approach in really writing music rather than making full on club tracks is something long overdue.
S: From my side, I grew up with a broad musical background and since I have so many ideas in so many styles, I saw a definite opportunity to develop another side of my musical personality in this project. In a sense, I felt I could do great songwriting and put it in a contemporary and relevant format. It had been a while since I have worked together with someone in a project, except for doing productions, so working with Jochen has been great fun. We seem to have the same vision and we totally complement each other.

Charlotte: The title track from your new EP ‘There’s a Place’ premiered in the UK on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show and garnered an impressive response, what else can we expect from the EP set for release on April 7th?

J+S: The EP contains another original track called ‘Move On‘ featuring vocals from our good friend, the unbelievably talented ‘Gustaph’. There’s also some stellar remixes from the likes of Russ Chimes, Sinden, My Digital Enemy, Dimension…
We’ve had a great time shooting the video in London a few weeks ago, and we can’t wait for you all to see the result!
So far the EP is being supported by Duke Dumont, Tensnake, The Magician, Flume, ARMAND VAN HELDEN, Madeon, Roger Sanchez, Basement Jaxx, ZEDS DEAD, Karma Kid, Digitalism, Jacques Lu Cont, so obviously we can’t wait to catch one of these guys playing it LOUD on the dancefloor.

Charlotte: We’ve heard you to took inspiration from 80’s New Beat when producing ‘There’s a Place.’ What’s your connection with that particular style and what are your favourite tracks from the genre?

J+S: Obviously it’s a Belgian thing, growing up to the sound of New Beat definitely influenced us… I think the main ingredients that have influenced our music today are definitely the chunky bass lines, the riffs and synth sounds, the driving groove, some of the drum sounds and the incentive not to take things to seriously and have fun.
These are some of our all time favourites but to be honest it is very hard to just pick a few:
A Split Second – Flesh
Ibiza – Amnesia
DR. PHIBES – acid story
101 – Rock To The Beat

Charlotte: Your debut track ‘There’s A Place (previously called Take Me!)’ was first heard on fellow Belgian producer The Magician’s Magic Tape series, can you tell us a little about the Belgian Electronic music scene? How does it compare to what you’ve experienced in the UK or the States?

J+S: We are definitely spoiled when it comes to electronic music history in Belgium. As we are in the centre of Europe, we’ve been influenced by all the stuff going on around us. This has made Belgium a Mecca for electronic music lovers, the scene here is very vibrant. There’s an amazing documentary called ‘The Sound of Belgium’, which we highly recommend you watch.
We have had a big legacy in electronic music – some amazing genres have started here, and of course there are a ton of quality artists like Marc Moulin, Lords Of Acid, Front242, Soulwax, The Magician, CJ Bolland, R&S Records and festivals like I Love Techno , Tomorrowland, Pukkelpop etc.
But you can feel a different mindset here, in the sense that we might be a bit more avant garde in a way. You can feel that it’s not that new to us, so the thought process is slightly different. I think we tend to want to differentiate ourselves from the rest by trying to be brave and original.

Charlotte: You returned the favour by creating a stellar remix of The Magician’s smash hit ‘When The Night is Over’ as well as an amazing rework of the Whitney Houston classic ‘It’s not right, but it’s okay.’ What’s your position on remixing verse originals? Do you find one easier than the other? Do you have a preference?

J+S: We think for this project, we are very focused on the vocal part of a the song. So doing remixes and originals are pretty similar as we try to really work around the vocal to make it stand out. Working on an original song obviously gives us a tad more flexibility in terms of songwriting, but then again we don’t remix songs we don’t feel, so…
The top priority for us is that we try to put our personal mark and signature sound on any production, displaying all facets of our respective musical personalities in the best way.

Charlotte: And finally, any plans to tour as a duo? We’d love to see you play!

J+S: Yes, there absolutely is. We can’t wait to get out there and play as that is something we both grew up with and LOVE doing and have been doing with our respective projects for years. Our first gigs will be announced soon. We can’t wait to travel the globe together!

Charlotte: Thanks Arches!

There’s A Place. Released 7th April via Columbia. Available to pre-order now: http://smarturl.it/TheresAPlace

Like → https://www.facebook.com/Wearearches 
Follow → https://twitter.com/wearearches
Listen → https://soundcloud.com/wearearches

Directed by Patrick Killingbeck – http://www.patrickkillingbeck.com/

Charlotte Lucy Cijffers

is a freelance writer and founder of music blog Chase The Compass. An Australian export turned loyal Londonist, Charlotte enjoys all things Techno, House and Disco and knows the whole dance to ‘Thriller.’ When she’s not listening to or writing about music, she can be found researching her next travel destination, awkwardly leaning in photographs or nursing her peanut butter addiction.