Part social media strategist, part musician, Diego leads a double life he’s learned to balance over the years. When he’s not selling social media plans, Diego is better known as DC Salas, one of the most notorious names of the Belgian nightlife scene. DC Salas just released his first album on his own imprint, Biologic Records. It’s a record about a heartbreak – but also a new hope. We met up downtown Brussels to discuss strategies for subliminally conquering the world.
Interview by Andrea Mancini
Photos by Sasha Vernaeve, shot in Hotel Metropole, Brussels
When and why did you know ‘it’s album time’?
There was a moment where I had something bigger to tell through music; my label mate Harold was the first to tell me to try and make an album. The leitmotiv of the record is ‘it always gets better’. I’d been with a girl for a long time and when she left me I made an EP called When You Left. It was an intense and heartbreaking period where I was stuck and didn’t know how to move on. Making an album was real therapy. When I finished it, I entered a new phase of thinking.
Do you think it’s hard to avoid trends while producing and DJ-ing?
If you want to be successful in a specific moment you’ll have to follow the trend for sure, but maybe six months later you won’t be in the game any more. I prefer avoiding this and just sticking to what I like. Inspiration isn’t a bad thing, but there’s a thin line between being inspired by someone and copying them. As long as you keep your touch in what you do, it’s okay. When I made that album I listened to a lot of early Kompakt stuff and also John Talabot’s album and this inspired me; people can notice this in a way but it’s not like copying it. Being inspired by something is super healthy.
Is image important in underground dance music today?
I think so. I’m a bit biased because my day job is social media strategist, so in that world image is daily routine. I really believe that an artist has to play with his image in a way that can be creative, so that it doesn’t smell of marketing. There are nice ways of talking about what you do; I remember a Facebook post which said, ‘Nowadays a DJ is also a promoter, a marketeer, communication manager…’ which is true – but that’s how communication changed. It’s important but needs to be used wisely.
I really believe that an artist has to play with his image in a way that can be creative, so that it doesn’t smell of marketing
Is doing radio and running a label also a tool to get more attention?
It’s part of it, I think, but it’s not why I do it – I do this because I want to share the music I support. Of course it’s also a way of gaining visibility in a cooler way than just posting stuff on a newsfeed and also a nice tool to get in contact with labels but I always want to keep it in a healthy way. It’s not opportunism.
While others decide to focus 100% on one thing you’ve decided to work in an office. Does it have an impact on your creativity?
It kills me [Laughs]. I’ve managed to this since my student years. When I got my job at the office it got harder and harder; fortunately, now I got a day off during the week which helps. I’m tempted to say that it really impacts my creativity but at the same time when I have too much time to make music I’m not good at it.
If you want to be successful in a specific moment you’ll have to follow the trend for sure, but maybe six months later you won’t be in the game any more
Who would you love to sign to your label?
A solo EP from Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) remixed by Axel Boman.
What’s your favourite karaoke song?
‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles.