in the Category: music
Adriaan de Roover is the moniker of Oaktree, an Antwerp-based producer who brings moody and enchanting electronic music that finds a perfect balance between the dance floor and the living room. Just before the start of his summer tour we had a talk with the young artist about creating his own world, nature and some of the Belgian festivals he’s playing in the next couple of months.
Interview by Julien Van de Casteele Photos shot by Miles Fischler in Antwerp
There's a big difference between Oaktree in his recording studio and Oaktree on stage. You record the music all alone in your room, while live you team up with other musicians. Is it difficult to translate your personal songs to your band?
Both are totally different worlds for me, which is interesting. I’ve made the record and I know how it sounds, it doesn’t make any sense to repeat exactly that when you have four talented musicians around you. On stage, we can push the tracks into another direction, give them a different meaning and a new life.
But I do find it hard tough, to let it go its own way. But to get the most out of the five of us, I need to be open to new ideas, and I’m slowly getting better at that.
The process starts by deconstructing the original recordings and see which parts can be played by others in some way, and we let it grow from there. That includes lots of trial and error and vague instructions given by me. Some tracks stay close to the originals, some don’t.
What do you prefer the most, recording music or playing live?
I’m definitely more at ease on my own, making the music, creating my own world and disappearing in it. I think that it's what drives me, it’s a really personal process and something I just have to do for myself. So I prefer that. But teaming up with the band, playing it on a stage, sharing it with others has been incredible and enriching as well. So I’m happy I can do both.
You use a lot of samples and field recordings for your songs. What kind of sounds inspire you the most?
That’s a difficult question. That’s the whole point for me, looking for these sounds, and always looking further. It’s not just harps, strings, crackles and dusty stuff, but I admit I definitely have a weak spot for those.
The entire idea of your new album was created during a holiday in the woods (Les Ardennes). In what way does nature play a role in your music?
In the first place, going there was a way to get rid of all distractions and to just focus on nothing but the music, which was an amazing experience. But to answer your question, nature is the most beautiful and fascinating thing, so I take a lot from it. It happens unconsciously most of the time, but at the moment, I'm slowly developing some more conceptual ideas for installations etc. and nature is definitely an ongoing theme.
It’s sad and hard to believe how much out of tune we are with nature, really. We are a part of it as species but we don’t realize that, or act like it.
A lot of journalists label you as the Belgian Nils Frahm or Nicolas Jaar. If you could label yourself who would you be?
I would label myself as me. I absolutely love the artists you mention and I'm sure there are traces of all the stuff I'm listening to in my own music, that's how it goes. But in the end, making music is something very personal for me and about finding my own voice, sounding like Adriaan de Roover.
Over the past years you teamed up with Pieter Nooten, Avondlicht, Nachtcollectief. Did you learn anything from these collaborations? What was so special about them?
I learnt so much. It’s really something that I want to do more. By working with other people, and exploring different directions, you get to know more about your own strengths, weaknesses, purposes, .. and you just get to know different perspectives, techniques, people,.. which is quite healthy. Not only for music.
Who would you like to work with in the near future?
I try to take these things as they come. I'm going to South Africa at the end of this month and I hope I can record something with someone over there.
You’re playing a lot of big Belgian festivals this Summer, like Paradise City and Gent Jazz Festival for instance. Which other acts do you want to check out yourself?
I really hope I can catch a part of Max Richter at Gent Jazz Festival. Love his music. Also really love the Paradise City line-up: Bodzin, Stimming and Christian Löffler to name a few. I'm so happy that we are part of really diverse line-ups. One week we are playing a techno festival, the other week Gent Jazz.. Couldn't be happier.