The Atomnation Podcast series is a monthly curated mix by friends and like minded artists of the label. Follow us on SoundCloud and Mixcloud for updates.
To start 2017 completely fresh, we invited newcomer Willem Bijleveld a.k.a. Axefield to start this years’ soundtrack. Axefield recently released his track Ostrich Ride To Other on our 2016 Compilation and co-runs the mysterious imprint Who’s Susan. Time for a little chat.
Hi Willem, Ostrich Ride To Other appeared on our 2016 Compilation and we saw your track ‘SNY’ releasing on your own label ‘Who’s Susan’. How was 2016 for you?
2016 has been a great ride, but sadly not on an Ostrich or some other flamboyant creature. This year I started my record label, Who’s Susan, together with my two best mates, on which I released my first track, SNY. I’ve learnt a lot whilst setting up the label and putting out our first record, and throughout the process, I’ve been making a lot of music, eating lots of good food and been studying a bit too. I’ve also spent way too much money on records, but hey, everything in life comes at a price… right?
Our interpretation is that you have a very clubby and melancholic signature sound. How would you describe what you do?
I’ve got a bit of a nostalgic music taste to be honest. I try and make sense of the overload of influences to which I’m exposed and formulate that into a track, which could end up being club friendly, something you could listen to whilst taking a bath, or both. I guess I’m influenced by a lot of things that happen in life, as well as the multitude of music genres out there. My dad is a huge Disco fan and always forced me to listen to all the classics and the more unknown Disco tracks of his golden days. I listen to a lot of ambient music and film scores, which might explain the melancholic element in my tunes. I also love world music. Whether it’s Indian, Nigerian or Brazilian, discovering forgotten gems can be utterly satisfying. It’s great to see so many labels reissue these old tracks. I must add that I’m also really fascinated by sound system music, as in proper old school DMZ-style Dub and Jamaican Dub, which shows how important the lower frequencies actually are when playing music out loud.
You’ve lived in South Africa and England, before picking up classes ‘International Studies’ and writing a thesis about Afrobeat. How did this all happen?
I was quite lucky to have lived in those countries as a child. Last time I was in Johannesburg visiting my parents I managed to pick up this rare South African 80s boogie record, which you can hear around the 16 minute mark in this mix. I moved back to the Netherlands in my late teens, after which I went to university to study International Studies. Within the program you pick a focus area, mine being sub-Saharan Africa. I got into African music and decided to write my thesis about the social impact of Afrobeat in Nigeria. It’s a great excuse for me to spend hours discovering 70s & 80s Nigerian music.
What can we expect for the future?
Expect the unexpected… Whaha nah, jokes aside, this year will be a year with a lot of output. I kicked off the year with a two track release on Dream Raw Recordings, a newly established label specializing on leftfield, rusty, raw and lo-fi house. One of those tracks Sleep On My Menu will see a V/A vinyl release later in 2017. I’ve got some other projects lined-up for the rest of 2017 but I’m keeping these as a super secretive surprise. You can also expect some big things coming from my label, Who’s Susan.
01. Florist – Marine Drive 02. S. Moreira – That Was Just A Dream 03. Axefield – Ostrich Ride To Other 04. Ensemble Entendu – Pull The Plug 05. The Comforters – Month-End Lover 06. Morgan Geist – 24K 07. Fantastic Man – Ode To A Dream 08. No Moon – AOE Cutz 09. Tom Joyce – Royal Cobra 10. DJ Sotofett – Current 82 (12 Mix) 11. Ross From Friends – Season 3 12. Thomas Frempong – Mada meho so 13. Palms Trax – Cloud City 14. Raär – TBA 15. Safari – Ансамбль пу В. Осинского (KMTR’s Extended Re-Edit)