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Belgium’s Trailblazer: An Exclusive Interview with Lost Frequencies

When producer and DJ Lost Frequencies (aka Felix De Laet) transformed a country song by Easton Corbin into a deep house hit back in 2014, he became the first Belgian artist to top the UK charts with his remixed version of Are You With Me. Since then, he’s gone on to release three studio albums, sold out arenas across the globe, played to crowds at festivals such as Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza and Creamfields, and he’s been nominated for a BRIT Award for Best International Song. 

After what can only be described as a whirlwind of a decade, Lost Frequencies is back with his third studio album, All Stand Together. In what he describes as a more ‘mature’ collection of songs, the 11-track record immerses listeners in a mesmerising world of energetic electronics, dance-heavy pop and uplifting house to create the perfect feel-good soundtrack. “With All Stand Together, it was more a question of ‘what do I want on this album?’” he explains. “I wanted it to be a whole story, and even though there are still different genres on there, it kind of has the same colour and the same patterns.”

Collaborating with artists such as Tom Gregory, Netsky and Zak Abel, he’s managed to fuse different artistic visions together, bringing the listener something fresh, authentic and exciting. Where Are You Now with Calum Scott became the summer anthem of 2021, while Questions showcased James Arthur’s rich, soulful vocals, complemented by Lost Frequencies’ steady, chill-out beat. “Agreeing to collaborate means agreeing to blend two worlds together and that’s something that I learn a lot from,” he says. “It’s also fun for the fans when you truly translate a mix of two worlds and they can hear the difference of both artists interlaced together – I think that’s something that makes a track unique.”

With a new body of work currently making waves, you might think that Lost Frequencies would take it easy and enjoy the ride – but think again. He’s now working on a deluxe version of All Stand Together, and we managed to squeeze into his schedule to discuss everything from growing up in Belgium to working with some of the most sought-after musicians in the industry.

Thank you for being here – how has your day been so far?

I spent some time working in the studio this morning, doing some producing, and then I hopped on the train from Brussels to London. I took a car to the studio and here we are for the shoot! I’m excited to be here, doing the shoot with you guys. 

How have you found the shoot?

I have to say, the team has been quite fast and professional – it’s been super fun to work with them on the styling and the photoshoot itself, with good music around. It took me out of my comfort zone a bit dress-wise – I usually don’t really wear sunglasses on shoots but it was fun to try it out!

Can you tell us what it was like growing up in Belgium, and if you had to live anywhere else in the world where would it be?

We had quite a good lifestyle, everything isn’t too expensive in Belgium. I went to a normal school at first, and I also went to boarding school which I think really helped to develop my social character and shape who I am today. Boarding school was kind of tough for me, but it’s also where I met people who liked electronic music and that’s what I’m producing right now. 

I really like Belgium, but maybe growing up somewhere where I could do more outdoor sports would have been fun- maybe southern Spain or somewhere like that where you can kitesurf all the time! 

Reflecting on your school years, can you tell us about your experience?

I moved schools three times between the ages of 12 and 18, so there was a lot of change. I had a more intimate group of friends. Today, I have a few close friends, but I don’t have like 35-50 people who are close to me. I have an intimate circle that I trust and I know I can count on them – it’s kind of hard sometimes to make new friends because you don’t really know if someone’s being nice to you for the right reasons or not, so that’s harder I guess.

Lost Frequencies

At what point in your life did you discover music was your calling?

I’ve loved music since I was around 11 years old – that’s also when the iPod Mini came out and I broke all my savings to go buy one. I got a green one and I was in love with it! I bought one track every week on iTunes – my iPod was my life. I curated all my music into playlists and had so much fun discovering new artists and listening to them on the bus ride to school. It was a really big part of my life.

When I went to boarding school, a lot of people there were listening to electronic music, which I loved and I knew it was the music I wanted to grow up with. I then went to another school where everyone was listening to reggae, and in the first year I hated it, but by the second year, I really got into it. It was good to be influenced by different people with different music tastes – it broadened my mind to other genres of music, and now I can enjoy almost every kind of music.

Growing up in Belgium, what were some of the challenges you faced and how did you navigate and overcome them?

I don’t think I had a lot of challenges – I had a lot of opportunities. I was making music in my bedroom with my laptop and I was really lucky that my parents could afford to buy me a laptop because it was the start of me producing music. I got in contact with a few labels and I was lucky that they were only in Amsterdam, which was just two and a half to three hours away. Brussels is close to loads of places where a lot of things are happening.

The only challenge I really faced was learning how to grow as an artist with not many examples there, except a few DJs that were doing well internationally. It was also hard not knowing how to set up everything music-wise because there weren’t a lot of successful international artists from Brussels that I could learn from, so I think that was maybe the most challenging thing. 

Congratulations on the release of your new album All Stand Together. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the album?

I produced the album over the last two years, and when I produced the track All Stand Together with Stuart, who’s a songwriter based in LA, I was like ‘ok this is the track that has the united feeling of the album.’ 

The whole album is more of a mature album for me – I’m a bit older, and I know what I want. As I listened to more music throughout the years, it became more obvious what I wanted to do. It starts with a track that I collaborated with Zak Abel on, which I really wanted to be on the album because it’s a bit different. The last track is longer, and more productional, then in between you have the more Lost Frequencies sounds interspersed with things like the collaboration with Netsky. I really wanted to bring different facets of what Lost Frequencies can be, but still keep the Lost Frequencies sound you can recognise. I hope people can see that in the album. 

I’m currently working on the deluxe version of the album, which will include an alternative version of every single track. It’s going to be more electronic-based, so that’s a lot of work, but it’s fun to do because the fans are waiting for it.  

The album features collaborations with a diverse range of artists. How did these collaborations come about and what is it like working with such a talented group of musicians?

It takes time to be able to work with these kinds of people, and I feel very lucky that I got to work with them. They’re very talented, they know what they want, they have direction and they influence me in my way of producing. 

They challenge me because sometimes they have a different idea or they want to make it another way, so it’s about meeting in the middle. It’s always super fun because I come out stronger in my production process, and in my writing process – I learn a lot. Everybody writes, produces and performs differently and it’s always good to be able to work with people that know what they want, who have their sound and have their profile, along with the direction they’re trying to stick to. 

Agreeing to collaborate means agreeing to blend two worlds together and that’s something that I learn a lot from. It’s also fun for the fans when you truly translate a mix of two worlds and they can hear the difference of both artists interlaced together – I think that’s something that makes a track unique. 

Calum Scott is already number one, he’s a national hit, can you share the process behind Where Are You Now and how the collaboration unfolded?

Where Are You Now was a track I started to work on a long time ago. I got a demo from the label and I wasn’t sure about it at first – I was a bit scared of it. I didn’t work on it straight away, then at some point, I was like, ‘now’s the time to try and do something.’ 

So I started working on it and I produced a 6-minute-long version of the track, but I still wasn’t convinced. Calum Scott heard the track and he was down to sing it. When he performed Where Are You Now, and I heard his voice and the way he sang it, it really inspired me to finish it. We cut it down a bit, but you can hear the longer version in a livestream I did called Inside Outs on YouTube.

Lost Frequencies

How would you describe this album compared to your previous work?

I feel like All Stand Together is a more mature album – my previous work blended different genres of music together on one album, which can be a bit confusing. Back then I found it fun to showcase what I could do production-wise, but with All Stand Together it was more a question of ‘what do I want on this album?’ I wanted it to be a whole story, and even though there are still different genres on there, it kind of has the same colour and the same patterns. 

Branding-wise, I think the image of who I am today translates well on the album – from the imagery to the sounds and the live shows. It all fits together. That’s something that, as a DJ, isn’t easy because we release more singles and fewer albums, but with albums, you have this opportunity to create a whole story and we did that with this album.

The album includes a track titled Questions with James Arthur. Can you share the story behind this collaboration?

Sure, so Questions is a track with James Arthur which was co-written with Bastille, who I have a collaboration coming up with. I had a first version of the track, where Bastille was actually singing it, and we were trying to find another singer, which was when James heard it. He recorded it and it was really fun to have his take on the track. It’s got this electric guitar bit, filtered with a dense baseline and a little synth after the chorus, and with James’ vocal, I think it sounds very big. 

How does your approach to creating music differ from when you’re performing live as opposed to making an album?

There’s a huge difference between playing music live and experiencing music from a playlist or on the radio. In live performances, you have the freedom to change it up and add a longer intro for example, which builds up to something more. You can have a bit more energy and you have a connection with the audience that you don’t really have when they’re listening to it by themselves in their room. That’s why I make an alternative version of every track that I produce – I like to have a version that’s great to play when you’re chilling out, but there also has to be a good version for me to play in my DJ sets that levels out the energy and brings a great atmosphere where people can sing along. They still recognise the track from the original version, but the alternate version allows them to really go crazy and party. 

Looking back at your career, what do you consider to be the most fulfilling moment so far? 

I’ve done a lot of different things from DJ sets to live shows, releasing two albums, working with a variety of people, travelling around the world, and discovering new cultures. It’s all inspired me, and I think All Stand Together is a kind of snapshot of how I feel about my music today. I think it’s nice that you can listen to this album, and you can hear its Lost Frequencies. It’s not too electronic – it’s still very organic. 

My most fulfilling moments are when I’ve released something and I’m at a show or a festival, and I see people there, being present, singing and dancing along – when they know the words to the track and they’re having those feelings that I was trying to aim for when I was in the studio. When you have 5,000 people in the room, experiencing the same feeling, those are my most fulfilling moments.

What are your plans and aspirations for the future both in terms of music and personal growth?

I guess it’s to try and enjoy the present and not to look too much towards the future. I said to my manager the other day, sometimes it’s crazy because we are in such a rush to release an album, we do everything we need to do, we do the photoshoot, we do the production, we do the mixing process, the writing process, everything around it, then the day it’s out, I’m already thinking about what’s next. 

Sometimes I need to breathe for a second and enjoy the fact that it’s out, that people are listening to it for the first time, and try to take it in and have a good time with it. If you always think about what’s next, you forget to enjoy what’s happening right now and that’s a bit sad!

For my personal growth, I think… I don’t know! I’m just enjoying life now. I’ve released an album that I’m really proud of, it takes me around the world, it allows me to share moments with fans, and as long as I can do that and everybody is having fun then let’s keep on doing it!

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