Dennis Cartier talks about his career, influences, label and more: Interview
Hailing from Belgium, the superstar on the rise that is Dennis Cartier is growing his career and taking big steps. With a steady stream of massive releases that always get support from his ever-growing fanbase and the recent launch of his very own record label, he’s going to be a household name pretty soon and it’s all thanks to his incredible talent. We wanted to get some insight as to how his career is going, his recent achievements and more so we caught up with him for an exclusive interview.
How long have you been a producer/DJ for? Tell us about the origin of your music. What inspired you to pursue your career as an artist?
I’ve been a DJ and producer since 2004. At the age of 16, I celebrated my birthday at the local youth club in my home town, Ardooie, Belgium. I was fascinated about the DJ gear in the club. I had the chance play tracks on every Friday, after school, and yes it was with cd’s (Pioneer CDJ100). By the way: I learned to play for a live audience, I still don’t have any DJ gear at home…I have learned to produce, because of a classmate, who taught me to program in FruityLoops (FL Studio) to know. For me, this was my game time, for others, this was the GTA, or Fifa haha! I produced the first drum & bass, after that, I made jumpstyle (hard dance), but then in the end I changed, thanks to Vato Gonzalez, his Dirty House mixtapes, to house, groove and tribal house.
Who do you consider to have been your biggest influences throughout your career that have made an impact on your productions?
Mostly Chocolate Puma and Gregor Salto, they are especially – in my opinion – the pioneers of the tribal house scene. Calvin Harris and Alesso have a lot of influence in my productions nowadays.
Congratulations on the launch of your label ‘Cartierecordings’. It’s certainly a huge milestone to be proud of as an artist. Could you tell us what the reason behind opening the label is?
Thank you! I think that every producer can confirm this, as a producer, do you want to move forward! Sometimes, it takes a lot of time to get answers from a label, in addition, they usually provide feedback in order for a track to fit in. Sometimes you have to dare saying “no” to it, because sometimes you change things in a subjective view of the label while you’re not standing behind it for 100%. I would like continuity in my releases. Of course, it is much harder to work with because I have everything in control, and I have to do everything by myself. However, I do think that now is the right time to move forward! I’m not saying that I’ll release everything on my own label. In the first instance, I want to make my own music and release it, but in the long term to be sure, other artists are welcome to Cartierecordings!
Your debut release on your label ‘Don’t Let Go’ is an absolute smash hit. What’s the story behind it?
Thank you for the nice words! But what exactly is a ‘hit’? I have to stay with my feet on the ground. I want to go in a new direction. I just want to show you that I’m not only able to make the club music, but also make music with feeling, and a story.The idea was developed 2 years ago. I was driving in my car, I hummed a tune, later I recorded with my phone. During that same trip, I was listening to Salsa on Spotify, it inspired me to have something to do with the flamenco guitars. I’ve worked further on the production and took contact with the American singer Powell so he could record the vocals for the song. Actually, there are more than 30 versions. However, sometimes, your first idea is usually better… in the end I will continue to work on the first one.
On a different subject, looking at the whole Covid-19 situation and its impacts, how did the Covid-19 situation affect you as an artist? Did quarantine encourage or damage your creativity?
This whole Covid-19 pandemic is a tough hit in our face. Booking after booking is cancelled. From a very busy spring and summer to nothing. However, I wasn’t standing still, I believe that I have never been so productive since the quarantine. Since then I also realized that people wanted to hear more positive songs and music with a story. I’m not saying goodbye to club music. I want to make these both styles. For me personally the quarantine encouraged my creativity as a producer.
As a DJ, music is a passion to perform and make people happy. Suddenly, this is the way of salvation. I’m quite sure that many of the artists will be in a major depression… I’ve been calling and texting my fellow DJ’s and friends in quarantine often because talking helps, even if it is with fans, friends, fellow artists, etc. Stay positive, even though sometimes it can be difficult.
What are you looking forward to most when this situation is over?
I’m really looking forward to getting back on stage, and encourage people to dance, but playing in clubs and festivals is unfortunately still not allowed in Belgium. Touring is something that I really look forward to. I would love to go back to the different cultures.
Coming back to your productions, earlier last year you’ve released ‘Jungle Queen‘ on KSHMR’s formidable label Dharma Worldwide. Could you tell us a bit the idea behind this collaboration with Patrick Moreno & Pedro Carrilho?
Pedro and I have been Facebook friends for a while. He sent me a demo of a flute melody, and I was really surprised by hearing it. He suggested to make a collab for that one. At the same time, I was chatting with Patrick. So we made a group chat. We uploaded each of our own part of the track and processed it , we sent the demo to Dharma, and just a couple of months later we had the release on KSHMR’s label Dharma.
Many artists like to test productions before they release them, maybe play a draft version in a club to see the reaction. Did quarantine affect your judgement on whether a production was working or not?
That’s right, I always test my tracks live in the club. Now that I have been concentrating on pop music during quarantine, I wasn’t able to test it. I always listen to my productions on a variety of different ways (studio monitors, headphone, phone, club and car). My best reference is in the club because you can see how people react to your music, but an other good way is to listen in the car. It is not always the most environmentally-friendly way, haha, but for me, the best point of reference is when you’re in your cocoon. Listening and reflecting on your music while driving on an empty highway with a breathtaking sunset view, that’s just an amazing feeling!
Your tracks have been widely supported by the likes of Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Fedde Le Grand and more. How does it feel to have your productions supported by some of the biggest DJs in the world? What advice would you give to other producers who are looking to achieve success in the industry?
It definitely gives an affirmation! I’m just doing my own thing. I had a period which was 5 or 6 years ago, and I think every producer is jumping on what’s popular music. In the last few years, I produce only what I like so maybe not what the labels want to sign. But it makes me unique, I guess. The advice I would give to the producers: please make sure that you have a line in your production. Make sure that you are not a copycat from an artist. You can use other music for inspiration, but make sure that you give it your own touch so that it will be unique again. Don’t make future bass, and then tech house, then EDM, and so on. You have to make a choice as an artist, especially as a beginning artist. Once you have a base you can build a larger style of music, but you have to do it step by step.
What does the rest of 2020 hold in store? Any hints or clues that we could get about future productions and collaborations? Any interesting gigs in the pipeline?
A lot of new tracks that I’m going to finish, I have nice collaborations with songwriters, singers and producers. At the end of this summer, there is a new release scheduled on Fedde Le Grand’s label. There’s also a follow-up of ‘Don’t Let Go’ planned. I’m really looking to forward to performing again for a dancing audience. That’s why we are DJ’s, we love to make people happy and we like to see them dancing.
Dennis Cartier is continuing to move through the scene, and you can listen to his new releases on his Spotify page here.
Image credit: Coruxion