“'Techno' stands for an open mind, for adventurous and innovative music,” says Roel Vergauwen, the man behind I Love Techno. “Techno is still the heartbeat of the festival but there is also room for electro, house, bass music and other electronic music. These genres are all connected and influence each other. We don’t want to think in stereotypes or in one single frame.”
Indeed, purists beware. Techno was invented to change things, so why should it stay the same?
Out of all the acts announced for I Love Techno 2013 at Flanders Expo, Belgium, on Saturday 9th November, probably only Marcel Dettmann, Laurent Garnier and Len Faki can be considered strictly techno. “We feel it’s important to focus on new upcoming acts besides the headliners and on new developments in electronic music,” adds Roel.
Instead, the most powerful pulls come in the form of Pendulum's noise-step duo Knife Party, trap icon Baauer and the garage/house-pop of Disclosure (live), while the likes of Duke Dumont, Breach, Booka Shade and Gesaffelstein offer extra clout to a line-up guaranteed to attract the younger breed of clubber.
“There's a lot of great new house producers at the moment which we feel are very relevant to the scene, so they play ILT,” explains Roel.“We also feel it’s important to introduce new talent.”
Breaking new acts has always been at the core of ILT. Daft Punk played the first edition in '95 — an 800-capacity party in Ghent also with Richie Hawtin and Jeff Mills — and Boys Noize opened one of the rooms in 2006 before coming back to headline as a live act in 2012. Last year also saw Rudimental, TNGHT and Major Lazer — “before they became mega over here,” Roel points out — play to a sell-out crowd of 35,000.
There's focus on supporting local acts too. Belgian names such as Netsky and Goose have made the cut alongside Compuphonic and Mumbai Science, making ILT one of the leading forces in the country pushing homegrown sounds.
“Belgium has always been a great country for electronic music, which has a rich history with acts like Telex, Front 242, 2ManyDJs etc,” says Roel.
“People are open-minded here and hungry for new music so we are early adopters. Just like in a lot of places, techno and house are coming back clearly, but there are still a lot of good electro and drum & bass producers around as well.”