Soulwax discuss LCD Soundsystem, Despacio, ‘Brexit Rock’ and how they’re already working on a new album

Fans won't have to wait 12 years for the next one...

Soulwax have revealed that they’re already well underway with work on their next album – as well as discussing the future of Despacio and their work with LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy.

Back in March, Soulwax released their first album in 12 years. Titled ‘FROM DEEWEE’, it was recorded in the group’s own studio in in Ghent, Belgium all in one take, with three drummers. However, it looks like fans won’t have to wait as long this time for their next record – and that new material would be performed as early as their upcoming December tour.

“We are making new songs, actually,” David Dewaele told NME. “We did a BBC Essential Mix, which was like an album with an hour’s worth of new music. I think we’re going to play some of those as well.


“‘FROM DEEWEE’ was made with our new live set-up of three drummers in mind. What we’re doing now is just trying to take that concept a bit further. This won’t be a complete departure. It’s a system that works, and we don’t really feel that we’ve exhausted the whole idea of it. We’re all really good friends and it’s fun to be on tour, so we’re just like ‘let’s make another one’. In the New Year, we’re going to try and make a new album.”

Your songs can be pretty cryptic, but lyrically what would you say has been inspiring the new material?

“We never know. First of all, it’s very easy to an artist to go ‘I want the listener to discover the meaning for themselves’. That’s a very easy thing to hide behind. Stef [brother and bandmate Stephen Dewaele] and I, the way we work with Soulwax is that things have to come really fast. We don’t want to have to spend months tinkering and brooding. Quite often, it’s stuff that we’ve had in our minds for a long time and it just comes out. It’s not like we’re suddenly going to make a political Brexit album. Although we might! Who knows?”

Brexit hasn’t really entered dance music yet, has it?

“I know, we could be pioneers. But yeah, there had been 12 years between this record and the previous one, but we weren’t sitting still. We’d been working on so many projects and touring and remixing, but there were a few times when maybe we had a false start. What always went wrong was when we would lose the primal aspect of it. I’m very happy that this album and the tour has become almost very non-cerebral. That works very well for us. We have other outlets for that. This feels right for now.”



What would ‘Brexit Rock’ sound like?

“That’s a good question. Maybe like the actual thing – just a terrible mistake.”

Can you tell us about any other projects you’ve been working on?

“I hate the word ‘flow’, but the flow that we’re in at the moment is being really comfortable at multi-tasking. Once we focus too much on one thing, it ruins it. We have six or seven things on the go at once, and it feels really natural and doesn’t put too much pressure on any one thing. We have to give equal time and energy to these things.

“With DEEWEE the label, we have artists come to us from all over the world. We push them in different directions and make music out of nothing and that’s really rewarding, and sometimes real gems come out of it. We do a lot of remixes and edits and it all influences each other. Soulwax, 2ManyDJs, the label, it all feeds each other.”

Your remixes tend to be landmarks. Any that you’ve been working on lately that you can tell us about?

“There’s one we’ve just finished that we’re quite proud of. It’s for Charlotte Gainsbourg. That’s a really good one. There are a few upcoming but I feel bad talking about them because you never know if it doesn’t work out.”

Your work with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy on Despacio went down a storm around the world. Is that on the backburner for now?

“It’s not on the backburner, there are a few offers to do it at some 2018 festivals. James and Stef have been texting each other going ‘LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN’ over and over again, but then it doesn’t happen. We haven’t done one in 2017, but hopefully we will. It depends on if it coincides with James touring and us touring. In the case of Despacio, it comes down to whoever is crazy enough to pay for it. It tends to be festivals. It can only hold a maximum of about 950 people, so for the amount of money you spend on something like that is not necessarily good value for money. We did it at Coachella last summer and they had about 70,000 come through it.”

Have you been working on anything else with James?

“Yeah, we have – but nothing is finished. We’ve worked on some stuff over the years. It was from working together on music that Despacio came about. Then he got busy doing his thing and we got busy with ours, but I’m sure something will come of it.”

And finally, what can we expect from your upcoming shows in December?

“The Roundhouse is The Roundhouse. We tried but we couldn’t get a licence later than 11pm. We wanted to do something Soulwaxmas-ish, but it wouldn’t be worth getting people to come out for a huge line-up and have to come at 6pm. We’re going to have Joe Goddard opening for one with some DJs, then the next one we have Steve Mackay and Jarvis Cocker. I’m not sure if it’s happening but they’re trying to do a night at XOYO afterwards, which we’ll try and make into a big DeeWee night.”

The set-up for Soulwax's tour
The set-up for Soulwax’s tour

Soulwax on tour

Soulwax will play London’s Roundhouse on December 15 and 16, before heading to Manchester Academy on December 17. Tickets are available here.

‘FROM DEEWEE’ is out now.

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