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Poll 2020: Wolfpack

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"Going from a ‘tour life’ into the lockdown-life, you learn how important your close friends and family are," Belgian duo Wolfpack tell DJ Mag when asked what they've learnt in 2020. Known to those close to them as Steve Braet and Ruben Khaza, the duo have been on a whirlwind of success since their 2011 chart-topping single 'Rising Moon' was released.
 
Since then, collaborations with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike on 'Turn It Up' and 'Ocarina' have allowed them to twice reach the top of Beatport charts and they've become a mainstay in DJ Mag's annual Top 100 DJs list. Along the way, they've performed at Tomorrowland, Cream Ibiza and several major festivals around the world, garnering rave reviews for their electro-house style.
 
Wolfpack's non-stop touring and release schedule has afforded them little time with their families which they're now catching up on. Some unexpected free time has also allowed them to focus on other aspects of their career, including launching their brand new website with its own bespoke merchandise store.
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Family, music and friends – without them, we are nothing!”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“We can’t rely on our business model alone anymore. We’ve got to improve with live stream experiences like, for example, virtual reality, but also with even more focus on social engagement on Facebook, Instagram and others.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address racism in the dance music scene?

“We don’t really see any racism in the DJ scene. I (Ruben) am originally from Bangladesh and Steve is partly from Spain. We travel the whole world and love the variety of cultures.”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“We would love to see more [revenue from] streams and downloads from music go to the artist who created it.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“What Daft Punk did on their album ‘Homework’ in 1997 was so unique and had never been done before.”
 
 
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:48

Style: 
“Big room.”
Best known for: 
“‘Ocarina’/‘Carnival’/‘Kalinka’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Bassjackers vs DJ Furax ‘Big Orgus 2020’.”

Poll 2019: Wolfpack

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Top 100 DJs poll veterans Wolfpack are back for a sixth time with more of the (excellent) same. More big tunes (the Futuristic Polar Bears edit of ‘We Got This’ was a big festival highlight) and more air-miles, having travelled the world playing sold-out festival and club shows. 

But having conquered the European festival scene, the Belgium DJ and production duo — Steve Braet and Ruben Khaza to their mums — increasingly found themselves playing in Asia, the world’s newest clubbing powerhouse. 

“We have mainly been travelling through Asia where we met a lot of interesting people,” say the duo after tour dates in Xian, Guangdong, Ningbo and Pune — all destinations that a year ago would have been almost unheard of and all now part of the global dance music journey. 

With more music on the way — “We’ve been producing as much music as we can,” say the duo excitedly — and more collaborators, including Vinny from their ‘Be Strong’ smash, 2020 looks set to be yet more of the (still excellent) same for the Wolfpack crew. 

 

Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society?

“Yes! We always try to submit all the tracks we use. It’s very important that all artists receive their royalties.” 

What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene?

“For us, it’s very important that we have enough rest, have decent meals and be active in some kind of sport.” 

Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?

“We didn’t see any discrimination in gender regarding line-ups yet. If we would notice any form of discrimination we would talk with the promotor about it.” 

What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?

“We have always been very aware of the state of our environment and our ecological footprint! Our earth is a gift and we must protect it for our children.” 

What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?

Ruben: “My Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Donatello.” Steve: “I used to love my race track that I got for my 13th birthday.” 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ruben: “As a true Belgian, I love our beers way too much!” Steve: “I must admit I’m addicted to all the wrong kind of foods: chocolate, fries and mayonnaise.” 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2019-10-16 14:57

Style: 
“EDM.”
Best known for: 
“‘Find Tomorrow’, phat bass.”
Tune of the year: 
“Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Daddy Yankee, David Guetta ‘Instagram’.”

Poll 2018: Wolfpack

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From: Belgium.
DJ style: “EDM.”
Best known for: “Tomorrowland anthem ‘Find Tomorrow’.”
Fave tune of 2018: “‘Complicated’ by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Angemi.”

“A lot of touring, producing, getting married and making babies,” say Wolfpack — known to their friends and family as Steve Braet and Ruben Khaza — when DJ Mag probes them for info on what they’ve been up to in the last 12 months. We can’t speak for the last two points, but as for touring and producing, the pair aren’t telling porkies. This year has seen the duo, who hail from Willebroek in Belgium, hit stages at the likes of Tomorrowland festival, Cream Ibiza and Tomorrowland’s Garden Of Madness takeover at UshuaÏa Ibiza, plus drop a brace of massive collabs in July’s festival devastator ‘Derb’ with Futuristic Polar Bears and ‘Like Air’ with Nervo, which has continued to do the rounds since landing at the end of 2017.

While fans will be hoping those babies the boys mentioned won’t keep them from touring and producing too much in 2019, we can’t think of a nobler reason to take some time off than raising a few more cubs for the Wolfpack.

Words: BEN HINDLE

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2018-10-11 12:51

Poll 2017: Wolfpack

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Think your 2017 was pretty spesh? Well, wait until you hear what Belgium duo Wolfpack have been up to. “We explored almost every city in China, did a lot of cool stuff in the Philippines and Asia, swam in an active volcano, made a lot of new tunes, met a lot of interesting people, conquered the World Club Dome in Germany and the mainstage of Tomorrowland Belgium just to mention a few,” says Ruben Khaza from Wolfpack, breathlessly.

So, yeah, pretty ace. Then there were their releases, which sent big room shockwaves across the world. “We had a lot of success with ‘Nashville’, ‘Pointbreak’ and especially ‘Phat Bass’ which was ranked by Beatport at No.1 for a long time and has been played by David Guetta, Tiësto and Showtek,” nods the other half of Wolfpack, Steve Braet. The only way to top that DJ bucketlist is to play a sure-to-sell-out homecoming gig on NYE. Expect this Wolfpack to keep on rising to the very top.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2017-10-17 10:31

Poll 2015: Wolfpack

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2015 has been a big one for Steve and Ruben, aka the notorious Wolfpack. Not only did the Belgian duo tour Asia for the first time — an experience they describe as “very cool” — but also happened to score two massive hits. Firstly, back in August, Wolfpack teamed up with Funk D and the don dada of booming vocals, Fatman Scoop, for the huge 'Drop The Smiley'. 

Then the following month, 'Ocarina' — the pair's beloved Tomorrowland Anthem collaboration with fellow Antwerpians, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike — got the remix treatment from Klaas & Mazza. That track has already catapulted through the rankings to become Wolfpack's second most popular release on Beatport.

Speaking of Tomorrowland, Wolfpack also happened to play the first ever South American edition of the festival earlier this year, as São Paulo spent four days as the global epicentre of EDM. Still signed and releasing through Dimi and Mike's scene-shaping Smash The House imprint, and having now appeared in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for two years running, Wolfpack can stride confidently into 2016.

BEN HINDLE

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 11:08

Style: 
“Electro progressive house.”
Best known for: 
“'Find Tomorrow'/'Ocarina'.”
Tune of the year: 
“'The Hum'.”
From: 
Belgium
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Lost Frequencies.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Having fun during a set. Bringing that fun over to the people.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“We definitely believe so.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Sometimes it does get to you being away so long and missing your family and friends. But we are extremely lucky to be able to do this, so we actually can't complain!”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Our families. Music.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Cherry Moon in Belgium.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“No idea, ha ha.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Sometimes working together with others can accomplish great things, but having a track made by somebody and to sell it as your own is just not right."