Happy Birthday Soulwax – Still Innovating After 20 Years

Ever wanted to see the dogs on the cover of ‘Parklife’ sing along to ‘Girls & Boys’? How about Metronomy driving along their English Riviera? Prince shaking his hips to a flesh lick of slap-bass? Welcome to the world of Radio Soulwax.

20 years into their career, Belgian electro-upstarts Soulwax are still finding new and exciting ways to play with music. It’s hard to find many acts who are still together after that long, let alone innovating. Madonna might know the street name of a drug, but she’s far from cutting edge.

Last Monday 2manyDJs, the DJing alter-ego of Soulwax’s two frontmen David and Stephen Dewaele, released the video for the third and final instalment of mix series ‘Under The Covers’. Not only is it musically innovative – who else would mix Metallica with Gabriel by Joe Goddard? – but visually too.

The Dewaele brothers use DVDs instead of CDs, mixing both audio and video. Record sleeves of everyone from the Specials and Talking Heads to Lil Wayne and techno producer Paul Chambers are made to dance along to the beats. Soulwax aren’t just innovating with their mixes. They’re also experimenting with how to get them to people.

Not content to simply post a video on YouTube- so 2010 – Soulwax last year set up their own online radio station, Radio Soulwax. Broadcasting 24 hours-a-day with a rotating schedule of Soulwax’s many hour long mixes, listeners can tune in online or on the Radio Soulwax app.

Soulwax aren’t the only one’s experimenting with new ways to distribute music. The XX, Florence + the Machine and Lady Gaga have all released albums on ‘Playbuttons’, a badge with a headphone slot that plays albums front to back, New York minimalist Nicolas Jaar recently announced plans to release a ‘cube’ of music, and Metallica revealed that they’re considering giving away their next album in cereal boxes.

Still, it’s refreshing to see artists still really experimenting with, and enjoying, music after two decades. Soulwax said they’d create 24 hour long mixes to fill the Radio Soulwax schedule- another nice touch- and so far we’re on 22. Who knows what they’ll do for the last one? Happy birthday Soulwax, I can’t wait for the party.