Jannick & Jordy (aka PELACE) are an upcoming Belgian duo you should definitely listen to. PELACE is not only a musical project, but also a story of deep and true friendship. Born from both DnB and House influences, their music doesn’t really fit easily into mainstream electronic genres. Masters at the art of breaks, the result is music with a lot of depth. Jamming to PELACE translates into both energy and relaxation. A type of music that will slowly make you float away… Learn more about their story up until now!
Soundontime: First of all, I wanted to ask you what your background story is and how the PELACE project came to life?
Jannick: We were both DJing and one day Jordy asked me to perform with him, because he had to play for 4 hours straight, and couldn’t play that long. After that, we kept talking about music and started our first project ‘Kijumba’. After the Kijumba episode, Jordy stopped DJing but our friendship remained. A couple of months later, and without any expectations we started working on our musical project PELACE again. Our mindset back then was “we will make music, without paying attention to genres. Only what sounds good to us”. That was essentially the start of our story.
What are some of your musical inspirations?
Jannick: For me, a huge musical inspiration was Bicep. They are so creative when it comes to producing music and they have their signature sound, which is really cool! I think you can learn from any genre, when it comes to telling a story with music. For us, that is very important.
Jordy: For me there are a lot of inspirations. Mall Grab, Bicep… Jamie XX is definitely also one. I don’t think PELACE was born by taking inspiration from one specific genre. I think it’s the combination of a lot of diverse music that made us want to tell our own story.
“Honestly, we started with no expectations. Our music however was picked up really fast by a few and people liked the type of music we were making.”
For both of you, what’s the first electronic track you remember listening to?
Jannick: I used to listen to a lot of drum and bass in the past. B-Complex – Beautiful Lies VIP was the first track I heard.
Jordy: Probably some “cheesy” music from back in the days.. I think it was Milk Inc-Walk On Water or so. They’re a Belgian band from our region, Limburg.
I started by just making tracks and clips that I thought sounded “cool” which now that I think back on were all hugely cringeworthy ideas.
Your sound and style reminds me a bit of Floating Points, Fort Romeau, Project Pablo and Ross From Friends. Have those artists inspired you?
Both: Thank you, that’s a huge compliment! Ross From friends definitely inspired us. When you listen to his tracks, you can hear he has a singular style (just like Bicep). We try to find a similar ‘twist’ in our sounds, to be creative in our own way, and to produce music no one would expect.
When did you decide you wanted to become more serious about your art?
Both: Honestly, we started with no expectations. Our music however was picked up really fast by a few and people liked the type of music we were making. That’s when I decided to be more serious about it. After a few bookings, everything snowballed, and now we’re here.
What kind of music do you listen to when you’re not producing?
Jannick: I like to listen to a lot of different music. Anything from Skepta to Chopin to Rival Consoles. Actually, I think there might be only one musical genre I’m not particularly fond of and that is, ‘Schlager music’!
Jordy: Everything really! A few artists I particularly like are Bicep, The XX ,The Streets or Stormzy.
You’re from Limburg, Belgium. How did the place you grew up in influence your sound?
Jannick: When I first started producing I produced DnB. Back in the days there were the biggest drum and bass parties in “Ritz” (a club in Hasselt, which has now closed). After the drum and bass hype was over, I started to listen to house. I found house music to be more mature and subtle than DnB. “Express21” was my first experience with house music.
Jordy: Forty Five, a local club, was one of the places I first heard live music I guess. There was one musical event I will always remember. That was “Express21”. They had editions with Bakermat, Solomun, Joris Voorn. I think it’s my first real experience with house music.
Am I right to notice some trance music undertones in your tracks?
Jannick: Haha, after all, a little trance never harmed nobody! I don’t really know… As Jordy said before, we are not trying to replicate a particular genre… So if the sound that comes out of the box fits our way of conveying music, then we surely give it a go!
“Being a duo has in my opinion no disadvantages. You always have a second opinion to count upon. Jordy and I are on the same page regarding musical preferences so we usually agree on the musical direction we want to take.”
The name PELACE reminds me of one of the leading UK streetwear brands, “PALACE”. Where did you get the inspiration for your group name?
Jordy: That’s a story for Jannick to tell…
Jannick: I like to take pictures of castles so I said let’s go with PALACE, but after thinking it over, PALACE is indeed the name of the UK streetwear brand. So we switched the A to an E and PELACE was born.
The type of music you make is more “underground”, or “niche” at the very least. It surely isn’t mainstream. How do you feel about both mainstream and underground electronic music?
Jannick: Well I think there can’t be mainstream electronic music without an underground movement and vice versa.
When you make music, are you consciously thinking about the sound you want to produce? Or does it come naturally to you?
Jannick: For me it comes naturally. I first started playing around with some pads. Afterwards it’s all about drums and filling the spaces that feel ‘empty’.
Jordy: In my opinion, thinking isn’t that important when producing. It’s listening, trial and error. You usually end up with one thing around which you build a track.
What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of constituting an electronic music duo? Would you say it’s more of an asset?
Jannick: Being a duo has in my opinion no disadvantages. You always have a second opinion to count upon. Jordy and I are on the same page regarding musical preferences so we usually agree on the musical direction we want to take. We have known each other for a very long time so we can trust each other blindly.
Jordy: I think it’s a good thing! There is always someone who you can ask things and shall always be honest. If you ask a friend to listen to a track they always say it’s good. You better have someone who is critical. Outside of PELACE we just talk to each other everyday about our daily lives, we’re not just partners in PELACE, Jannick is also my best friend.
Where is your favorite place to be? In the studio or on stage?
Jannick: For me it would be the studio, in the studio you can mess around and create music and that feeling is the best in the world.
Jordy: For me it would be on stage. I like to bring the PELACE sound to the audience. It’s not that I like to be in the spotlight or so but you make music for people to listen to, right? Jannick likes to be in the studio and that probably makes for the perfect combination.
How would you characterize your sound? Is a combination of “breakbeat” and “techno” the best way to describe it?
Jannick: We don’t like to think in genres we just do what we love. But yes mostly we are experimenting with breaks.
What music equipment do you currently use?
Both: We are using mostly hardware; a moog sub37, a Korg Poly61, a Roland JX3P, and a Korg poly 800. Software wise we are using Arturia’s Pigments and the drums are 909 and 808 samples.
Do you rely more on hardware or software?
Both: We rely more on hardware than software. We only use software to create pads and atmospheres and for the drum samples.
What’s your go to software plugin, effect or piece of equipment? The one thing you can’t go without when producing…
Both: Arturia’s Pigments is realy great for pads.
Being a duo, how does that translate into workflow? How do you exchange ideas, and get to work?
Both: We usually start something, come together and put the ideas together or abandon an idea that isn’t going anywhere really fast!
Do you write the chords or create the beats first for your tracks? Is there a particular order?
Both: First of all we start by creating the pads and atmospheres, from thereon we focus on the bass, drums and leads. Then we listen a lot and fill in the ‘empty’ spaces.
“Most of the time coming up with a type of sound is just luck. You have a kind of melody and style in your head, but translating that into reality is sometimes just being creative at the right time.”
Your Soundcloud bio reads, “a story of melodic depth and uncompromising breaks”. Would you say melodies are the essential component of your music?
Both: Yes, the melodic aspect is very important in PELACE tracks. We want to tell a story rather than going like a train through a track. The breaks are important as well, it’s referring to the drums (which have a significant role in our music) and to the actual break in a track where all elements fall into their place.
Talk us through your latest EP “Resolver”, released in February 2020. It is an extremely moving piece of work. Did it take a while for you to finalize this project?
Both: The Resolver EP on our own label Pelace Tales, was written quite fast. Sometimes it just happens that all musical elements fall quickly into place.
The A and B sides have a very different mood. “Resolver” is atmospheric, almost epic, high in energy, but not as much as “Indecision” which is essentially a techno track. How do you manage to combine different sub genres in your repertoire? It’s a rare skill set, to have!
Both: With every release we want to show how versatile we are and how all the tracks are connected through the same ‘Pelace’ spirit. I think we can do this because we listen to alot of different music and we try to implement some elements of different genres in our music.
The “World of Pelace”, an EP released last year on Paradiso Records is mesmerizing. In my opinion it’s one of your most accomplished works. I’m curious to know how you came up with the jumpy bass on “Rare Birds”, as well as the soothing melody on “Coral Sequence”?
Both: It’s great to hear you liked The World of Pelace! Most of the time coming up with a type of sound is just luck. You have a kind of melody and style in your head, but translating that into reality is sometimes just being creative at the right time. Because if you weren’t there, you would not have been able to create the sound you had in your head.
Listening to one of my personal favorites “Lost & Found”, I can’t help but notice the polished sound design and nuances of your sounds. I’m wondering how long it takes for you on average to finalize a track from (composition, structuring, mixing, and mastering)?
Jordy: It depends! Sometimes it comes rather quickly and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. In Jannick’s opinion, “if a song doesn’t come naturally, it won’t be as good as a song that is written quickly”. For a song, the main idea is written in a few hours. But finding the right structure, composition, might take up almost a week. After that, we listen a few more times to the tracks, fill in the empty space and then we let it rest so we can relisten to it with fresh ears. Finally, we make a pre master and send it over to the mastering company.
What would your advice be to someone who wants to get into the electronic music industry?
Jannick: Just do whatever you like and don’t let anyone tell you what to do (but do take some advice seriously)!
Jordy: It would be the same as Jannick’s. Just do what you want to do but if someone gives you advice, think about it and use it. If one door closes another another one can open, right?
Coming from a country of festivals, Belgium, what has been your favorite festival to perform at?
Jannick: that would be Pukkelpop as it is the largest festival Limburg has.
Jordy: In Mike Skinner’s words: Pukkel POPPOPOP! It’s a festival next door and for me it feels like home. Such a good line-up, a lot of friends and a great atmosphere.
Have you had the chance to tour a lot abroad?
Both: Yes, we were able to perform at “Complex” in Maastricht (The Netherlands). We had the chance to close the club after our big hero’s Bicep. Goosebumps!
Where would you like to perform next?
Jannick: For me I would love to play at Fuse in Brussels or Kompass in Ghent. Those 2 clubs are by far the best in Belgium at the moment.
Jordy: Same as Jannick! But there are also a few other events and festivals. Our new LIVE-set of 2020 was set to take over the stage in May at Extrema Outdoor but because of the COVID-19 virus it’s cancelled. I hope there’s a small chance, that by the end of the year we can bring our show to some clubs.
With the coronavirus crisis, I imagine you must have been able to spend more time in the studio, as opposed to performing. Should we expect more releases from “PELACE” in the coming months?
Jannick: I think everyone is expecting the creative souls to be more creative than ever. But I actually feel like experimenting with other things and to dig deeper into some other passions I have. But there will be a new release on our Label “Pelace Tales”.
Jordy: it’s the perfect time to plan and think about what’s next. To sit still and do nothing isn’t the right thing in my eyes. As Jannick said: a new release soon.
For our readers, what artists have you been listening to lately which you think are worth checking out?
Jannick: Right now, I think that one of the most underrated producers in Belgium is Kiani and his Legion aka Far out Radio Systems. His tracks are just magical. The Kimman boys are also doing a really great job, and are some good friends of ours.
Jordy: Yes, Kiani of course. Our Kimman friends we met a few years ago at Krankenhaus, are ‘new’ on the scene are really worth checking out. They recently released an EP on Songspire and it’s great. There are a lot of talents in Belgium..