MFG Charlotte De Witte (BE): “That gig was the worst of the worst.”

Charlotte de Witte First Gig
Techno-heroin Charlotte de Witte tells about her first encounter with dance music. "I discovered my love for electronic music when I was 16 and went to study in Ghent. Logically this implied me exploring the nightlife. It felt like a revelation.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

Charlotte de Witte First Gig

This week, for the first time in her career, Charlotte de Witte finished first in an incredibly strong Belgian DJ Top 100. Marceline and Charlotte met in 2017, right before the avalanche of huge fame hit her with all its force. How it all started? “I had no idea that such a huge underground scene even existed.”

Marie Wynants 3 - MFG Charlotte De Witte (BE): “That gig was the worst of the worst."

“I never woke up thinking: ‘Hm, I want to be a DJ’. I discovered my love for electronic music when I was 16 and went to study in Ghent. Logically this implied me exploring the nightlife. It felt like a revelation. Until that moment I only knew the local scouting parties and Chiro-festivities (Chiro is a Flemish youth organization based on catholic values, red.) in my home town Evergem. These festivities preceded the advent period. I had no idea that such a huge underground music scene even existed!”

Online ‘swaying’

“In those days there was a club in Ghent called the Make Up Club. Unfortunately, it closed down a few years ago. Back then, I went there all the time. That’s where I fell in love with electronic music. In those days it was dominantly electro. Think: the age of The Bloody Beetroots, Crookers en MSTRKRFT. My fascination for electronic music increased, so I started digging into the genre. Soon after I was making my own mixtapes. In the beginning I only made them for myself, to listen to on my bike on the way to and from school. After a while though, I decided to ‘sway’ those mixtapes online on MySpace. Then the ball organically started rolling.”

Disaster

“Making digital mixtapes led to acquiring basis decks and a mixer: two Numarks turntables and a Korg 2-channel mixer, if I remember correctly. Those decks were a disaster. I had bought them somewhere secondhand and payed heaps on reparations. The seller had cheated me quite severely.”

Mails

“When I was seventeen, I sent every possibly available café in East-Flanders an email, asking them if I could play there. Finally, I got a yes. Youth center Tentakel in my hometown Evergem was the location where I experienced my very first DJ-gig ever. It was also the first time I pushed the play button of a CDJ. As said, I did have decks at home, but no decks that worked as they should. My debut was, I remember it as if it was yesterday, on January 22nd 2010.”

The worst of the worst

“Needless to say: that gig was the worst of the worst. Luckily, the place was completely empty. I was the openings act and the only other people present were a few friends and the bartenders. Despite the fact that my set sucked, I was asked to return as the opening-DJ many times after that. I learned a great deal from playing there. Some nights Pioneers were available, which made it even more fun and instructive.”

Moped accident

“That same year I had a moped accident. This was a real turning point in my life. While cycling to school, I was hit by a driver that turned right without noticing me. The moped was nearly total loss and I had to be sutured at my elbow. I also had some burns and abrasions on my legs and feet. Fortunately, nothing life-threatening. I invested the compensation I later received in Pioneer turntables (1000 MK3), a Pioneer DJM 700, a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. From then on, I could practice on my Pioneers. Seen as this was the gear you would find in every club, this was extremely useful.”

Nicolas Karakatsanis 5 EDIT - MFG Charlotte De Witte (BE): “That gig was the worst of the worst."

Mainstage Tomorrowland

“One thing led to another. After sending thousands of emails and organizing numerous parties myself, I finally got a chance to play at Ghentian clubs as Decadance. During a few years, I spent many weekends there. My first real break-through was in 2011 when I entered the Studio Brussels x Tomorrowland x Poppunt DJ contest. Everyone had to make a mixtape of 60 minutes. From all entries three finalist were selected. They got the opportunity to play live on Studio Brussel (Belgians most popular ‘alternative’ radiostation, red.) in front of a professional jury. I won the contest. Suddenly I was going to play at the main stage of Tomorrowland! On top of that, I became the resident-DJ at Studio Brussel!”

From bedroom-DJ to festival-DJ

“That was six years ago. Winning the contest opened so many doors for me. My name was out there and the system started working for me. Soon after promotors started emailing me instead of me emailing them. Big Belgian festivals as Pukkelpop, I Love Techno and a year later Dour followed. Suddenly loads of bookings from all over Belgium came my way. I had clearly evolved from a bedroom-DJ to a real festival DJ.”

Charlotte de Witte at Pukkelpop by FIlle Roelants 1

Raving George

“This rippled on for years. Here and there I got a booking abroad, but that was it. In October 2015 I decided to drop my alter ego Raving George and continue to play under my own name. This changed everything. In retrospective it seemed such a logical decision that had been waiting to happen. Especially because things were getting pretty serious.”

Mary Go Wild (Black)

“When I finally decided to perform as Charlotte de Witte, things took a complete different turn. For example: in December 2015 I had my first release on Turbo Recordings, which is a mega no-nonsense label that I had loved and followed for years. This was another turning point. Labels contacted me instead of the other way around. Release after release followed, on labels like Turbo, OFF Recordings and Suara. In 2017 Sleaze Records and Mary Go Wild (Black) joined the club.”

I hated it

“I started producing four years ago. In the beginning I truly hated it. Producing turned out to be one of the most frustrating challenges of my life. You can compare it with riding a bike, but so much harder. The start sucks big time. The result is not what you want and what you produce makes no sense. I’m not a patient person by nature, so conquering the producing was no party for me. Yet, when you finally succeed and you feel that it works for you, you become ecstatic. Playing your own music for an appreciative crowd, is so beautiful and pure.”

No longer an obligation

“When I was travelling through Croatia last year, for the first time I realized that I really missed making music. It didn’t feel as a necessity or obligation anymore, it rather felt as a miss when I couldn’t produce. Lately, I’ve been on the road almost constantly, so I simply don’t have the time. I miss composing. Who would have thought, four years ago, that I would ever feel this way about producing?! Thank God I do.”

Pukkelpop by Fille Roelants 2 - MFG Charlotte De Witte (BE): “That gig was the worst of the worst."

Rollercoaster

“I’ve been playing for over seven years now. Taking that into consideration, my career took off relatively fast. Especially since I started working as Charlotte de Witte, life became a rollercoaster. Through the years I have met amazing people without whom I would not be where I am today: my manager, bookers and label owners. Special thanks to Studio Brussels as well, and my parents, my love and all my friends for their endless support.”

“Next June 26th my Wisdom EP will be released on Sleaze Records and this fall some EP’s will be released. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal anything yet about that. On top of that, end of the year, I will travel the world with tours in North, Central and South America, Asia, Australia and New-Sealand. Of course, I will also play at events in my home base Europe. The summer is also looking pretty good with Junction 2, Awakenings, Tomorrow.and, Dour, Marvellous Island and so much more. These are exciting, intense and fascinating times.”

This article was originally published on DJmag.nl on Thursday, April 20th 2017

 

More To Explore