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VCL: The journey

  • Sergio Niño
  • 20 March 2024
VCL: The journey

VCL’s trajectory within the techno realm is a testament to the power of personal evolution and musical exploration. Hailing from the suburbs of Lille, France, VCL’s journey into the electronic music scene began with a profound fascination for the intricate world of DJs and a deep-seated love for electronic beats. From his humble beginnings, VCL’s musical odyssey has been marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation and an unwavering commitment to authenticity.

As he transitioned from his early affinity for hard music to his immersion in the dynamic techno landscape of Lille, VCL’s sound matured and evolved, mirroring the diverse influences of his environment. His penchant for experimentation and willingness to embrace new sonic territories set him apart as a visionary within the techno community.

At the forefront of VCL’s artistic endeavors lies a desire to push boundaries and challenge conventions. His involvement with Rave Alert, a Belgian label, underscores his dedication to shaping the future of techno and rave music. With plans to launch his own label, VCL aims to breathe new life into genres like jumpstyle and explore uncharted creative territories.

In this interview we get personal with him talking about his personal journey, the scene and some crazy stories that have shaped him to be the artist he is now.

VCL’s journey from the suburbs of Lille to the pulsating heart of the techno scene is a testament to the transformative power of music. His passion for electronic beats ignited at 15, leading him through a sonic evolution from hard influences to the tranquil rhythms of techno.

“To briefly explain my journey and what led me to discover the techno scene in Lille, I’ve always been very interested in electronic music in general, as well as the world and work of DJs. I started teaching myself at the age of 15 (I’m 30 now). During my youth, I was mainly interested in hard music, with Belgian and Dutch influences, a style that I found evolved enormously and which I began to struggle to connect with around the age of 20. At that time, I was already primarily listening to old school music and very few new releases”.

Arriving in Lille after his studies, VCL found himself immersed in a burgeoning techno trend, diverging from his previous musical leanings. Embracing the genre’s nuances, he ventured into iconic venues like the Magazine Club and expanded his horizons to Belgium and parisian parties.

“I was young, and obviously, I continued to go out, but in Lille, techno was the trend. It was very different from what I had listened to before, but like any musical style, I believe every genre can be appreciated. In my case, I love music in general, and I found this genre at a slower pace interesting”.

As I attended more events, initially at the Magazine Club, then in Belgium at the Kompass, or at parisian parties , I learned to meet people in this scene, including Pawlowski, who at the time was launching his collective and organizing some events in bars, etc.

It was this fortuitous encounter with Pawlowski that catapulted VCL into the spotlight, as he was invited to DJ at collective events. With a unique blend of old-school charm and contemporary flair, VCL’s rise within the techno community was swift.

He invited me to DJ at one of their parties, it went very well, they immediately took me into the collective, and since I was older and had a job, I was able to help increase the size of our parties, make us a bit locally known, and then in Paris, and that’s how the story begins for me.

Reflecting on the early days of the techno scene, VCL reminisces about the traditional beats that defined the landscape. “The trend was more towards traditional techno, minimalist and quite slow,” he recalls.

Sets were characterized by their linear progression, typically spanning around two hours per artist with minimal variation throughout the event. However, as time marched forward, so too did the sound of techno. VCL witnessed a shift towards industrial techno and hard techno, ushering in a wave of diversification within the scene.

“Parties were perhaps more eclectic than they are today,” he observes, noting a balanced progression from the beginning to the end of the night.

As the techno landscape continued to evolve, VCL found himself navigating the changing currents with finesse. “I participated in this ‘hardening’ of the scene,” he acknowledges, recognizing the compatibility between his musical influences and the emerging trends. Yet, amidst the transformation, VCL remains steadfast in his commitment to inclusivity, refusing to judge others’ musical tastes or party preferences.

Looking towards the future, VCL’s vision for technoremains as vibrant as ever.

I still love this style but I find it less and less interesting,” he admits.

Reflecting on the mainstream adoption of once-niche sounds like hardstyle reverse bass. Yet, true to his pioneering spirit, VCL is charting a new course with his upcoming releases.

From remixes for the Russian Village Boys to solo EPs blending pop, rap, and neo rave, VCL’s musical journey is a testament to his boundless creativity and relentless pursuit of innovation. With a commitment to quality over quantity, VCL is poised to make waves in the techno scene, one beat at a time.

Reflecting on the key differences between the old and new generations of techno enthusiasts and artists, VCL paints a vivid portrait of an industry in flux.

“They’re colossal,” he remarks, encapsulating the magnitude of change witnessed over his illustrious career. From the archaic days of vinyl hunting to the digital age of streaming and social media, the evolution has been nothing short of extraordinary.

In the bygone era, mastering vinyl and producing music required a herculean effort, with access limited to those with the means and resources.Today, the landscape is vastly different, with aspiring artists navigating a complex web of mixing, production, and digital marketing.

“The means to get known are greater, but so is the pressure and competition,” VCL notes, highlighting the paradox of abundance and anxiety in the modern techno landscape.

Yet, amidst the whirlwind of change, VCL remains steadfast in his commitment to authenticity and passion.

“Today we have a generation of young talent sometimes unfairly looked down upon,” he laments, decrying the stigma attached to emerging artists in an industry saturated with skepticism. For VCL, techno is not just a profession but a calling, a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity and resilience.

As he reflects on past tours and memorable performances, VCL’s passion for techno shines through with unwavering clarity. From the vibrant streets of Colombia to the electrifying atmosphere of Dour festival, each experience serves as a testament to the universal language of music and the power of connection.

“I think everyone from my region and the surrounding area of this festival will understand me; Dour has an exceptional atmosphere. I felt like I was at home; it was one of my biggest goals, so I was extremely happy and stressed at the same time. Honestly, I was very lucky because my stage was completely packed, with 10,000 people. Normally, I don’t have enough recognition to gather such a crowd, at least I don’t think so. But I was the first techno artist of the day and I played quite late, around midnight.”

“I think people were really HUNGRY for techno. The atmosphere was incredible; I’ve never heard the crowd scream so loudly after each drop. It was undoubtedly one of the best moments of my life.”

Fun fact: I don’t remember the last 20 minutes of my set, probably due to adrenaline and perhaps a bit too much alcohol. It’s crazy to think that I’ll never have any memory of those last moments. I hope to have the opportunity to experience that again there!”

Sharing the stage with luminaries like Nico Moreno and Rebekah, VCL finds inspiration in the camaraderie of fellow artists and the boundless potential of collaboration.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to meet many artists, and overall, I find everyone really nice! Musical tastes and the respect I have for my favorite artists often align with their personalities, and it’s natural for me to connect with them!”

Acknowledging the transformative influence of artistic mentorship and collective creativity he says about the artist he admires and shares the stage with:

“I draw inspiration from their skills and try to learn from their talent to improve myself”.

As a member of Rave Alert, VCL finds himself deeply entrenched in the Belgian underground scene, drawing inspiration from its rich tapestry of sounds and influences.

“Our thing is not so much the typical hard techno style,” he explains, “but more of a blend of different styles, from psy to old hardstyle.” It’s a fusion of the past and present, that defies categorization and embraces experimentation for him.

“Personally, I’d like to revitalize jumpstyle,” he shares. “Produced in a more contemporary way, I believe it could really gain some popularity today.”

It’s a bold vision, one that seeks to break down barriers and push the boundaries of convention. Yet, amidst this quest for innovation, he remains grounded in his signature style, a delicate balance between tradition and transformation.

“I’m trying to find balance,” he reflects. “Usually, I start with the more classic and expected hardtechno, then I venture into other territories.” It’s a journey of self-discovery, a testament to the artist’s unyielding commitment to authenticity and evolution.

Engaging with fans both online and offline, he seeks to foster a sense of community and connection in an increasingly digital world.

“Just like most artists, I connect with my fans via social media. For offline communication, I try to answer as much as possible, give some track IDs, and express gratitude to the people.” It’s a personal touch in an industry often defined by anonymity, a reminder that behind the beats lies a beating heart.

Looking ahead, his goals are simple yet profound: to continue working, improving, and innovating. “My goals are mainly to continue working and improving in production,” he shares. “I’m going to launch my label, and I’d also like to start organizing events again.” It’s a vision of a future shaped by passion and perseverance, where the possibilities are as endless as the beats themselves.

VCL emerges as a multifaceted individual and DJ, weaving his personal experiences and musical influences into a tapestry of sound that transcends traditional genre boundaries. From his humble beginnings in the suburbs of Lille, France, to his current role as a member of Belgium’s Rave Alert house, VCL’s journey reflects a deep-seated passion for electronic music and an unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of the techno and rave scene.

As a DJ, VCL showcases a remarkable versatility, seamlessly transitioning between different styles and eras while staying true to his signature sound. His ability to balance the classic with the contemporary, the expected with the experimental, speaks volumes about his depth as an artist and his dedication to evolving his craft.

Beyond his musical prowess, VCL’s engagement with his fans both online and offline underscores his genuine connection to the techno community. Whether through social media interactions or personal encounters at events, he remains approachable and authentic, fostering a sense of camaraderie that extends far beyond the dance floor.

In essence, VCL embodies the spirit of innovation and creativity that defines the techno and rave scene. Through his relentless pursuit of new sounds and his unwavering commitment to artistic integrity, he continues to shape the future of electronic music, one beat at a time.


Editor: Sergio Niño

Design: Dante Salas

Photography: Juan GS, Lise Sauvage

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