Otis Dehaes

Age: 21
Location: Leuven
Instagram: @otis_sw

With a passionate father who’s constantly up-to-date with music, Otis Dehaes has, from a very young age, gained a top-notch musical education. It’s definitely defined the path he decided to take: Otis is now a DJ, promoter and agent at Culte Agency, where he represents a few artists. But people mostly recognise him for being the founder of Slagwerk, a collective of six friends with the intention to freshen up the music scene by bringing unconventional sounds to their audience. They’ve been organising gigs for over five years, starting out in Leuven and now in the capital. 

Busy finalising their first EP to be released at the end of the summer, the guys are also working on their second single series for everything that doesn’t fit within the party setting. Otis and his friends are currently experiencing a peak of novel activities, which promise some great attention for the coming year. Stay tuned!

It’s important to at least give yourself a little pressure by trying to realise certain things you love

What’s your specialty?
Not sure if I should be referred to as a specialist, but mostly in this list as DJ/promoter i guess 🙂 Besides that, I’m working for Culte Agency as well, where I represent a few artists.

How do people know you?
Calm, introvert.

What are you working on?
We just had a party with Perron Zes at Beursschouwburg, but we’re currently working on the first Slagwerk EP, a project by two of our members, which I hope will be released after the summer.

Do you have an exhibition/concert/show soon?
I’m playing support for Born in Flamez on the 22nd at Beursschouwburg, and the weekend before I’ll play some tracks at the Vodka Candy magazine launch in Ghent. On the 29th I’ll be back in Ghent for a party curated by Miel & Larpie which should hit the web any day now.
With the other Slagwerk DJ’s we’ll be playing for the first time at C12 in Brussels on the 28th, and one month later we play a really exciting festival but unfortunately I can’t announce that yet.


What will the second part of 2018 bring you?
Lots of new music and a few more dates. As a matter of fact we have been planning to do some concert nights too. First one will be in collaboration with one of my favourite venues (and it’s not in Brussels this time).
We also kicked-off a second single series for everything that’s not fitting in the party/club setting, and I’m very excited about the artists we have lined-up to continue this series.

Are you part of a crew?
Slagwerk, as mentioned earlier 🙂 Consisting of five friends (some of them are also part of Perron Zes) and myself. We’re looking for a house to move in together and create a little studio that can combine all our daily activities.

Do you think it’s important to have a good social entourage?
A few close friends are very necessary I think. Better to invest your time in certain people than trying to be friends with everyone.

How did peers influence your life?
They still do on a daily basis. It’s encouraging to see everyone around me being busy, everyone in their own way. It inspires me to work on certain projects. There’s still a daily exchange with friends about all sorts of things: music, movies, issues, ideologies etc., so these daily convos will have more impact than you think.

If so, what is the most important thing you’ve learned from it?
It’s hard to mind the stereotypes here but living the ‘good life’ and having nothing to do won’t make you satisfied in the long term – on the contrary. Even though you’ll feel stressed now and then it’s important to at least give yourself a little pressure by trying to realise certain things you love. That being said, if you don’t have a passion to fit in, this might not make any sense.

Who has most influenced you in life?
My dad has raised me musically from early on, so that’s obviously a big influence. He’s still up-to-date with most of the stuff I’m listening to nowadays. If it hadn’t been for his love of music my life and interests would have looked very different, I guess.

Another big part of my development is probably my girlfriend, who I’ve been with for the past six years. I was 15 at the time, and those years are a very significant timeframe for your development as a person, I think. You might not realise it at the time itself, but if you manage to spend all those ‘puberty’ years together, you influence each other on a daily basis probably.

Do you experience peers more like a positive or a negative phenomenon?
Depends on who you consider your peers. I see a lot of people my age doing very impressive stuff, but maybe even more who seem to be on the complete opposite side. For me, this is mostly an outcome of any sort of (traditional) education and schools/colleges in general. The current school system just pretends it will define your life but in fact it’s just a hoax. Don’t let me get too deep into this!

Do you regret any time you’ve given in to peer pressure?
Overall I didn’t really experience a lot of peer pressure when I was younger.

Do you feel the need to conform to those around you?
I mentioned before that seeing your peers busy with their stuff, it encourages you to do so as well. Maybe this could count as peer pressure, but only as a positive thing. What I picture when I think of the term ‘peer pressure’ is some little kid being obligated to smoke his first ciggy while the others stand around him. I’ve never been there luckily, but probably would have conceded anyway 🙁

Is there anyone in your scene who needs more attention?
The list is long but Ssaliva has always been at the top of it.

Otis is DJ’ing b2b with Icy Fake at Different Class in Ghent on 11 August. The festival is exclusive for members. Join us here