Ahead of the Universal Exports label day at the newborn festival DOKRIJK in Antwerp this weekend, we asked co-label owner, producer and sound engineer Yves De Mey a few questions.

WAV: ‘Hi Yves, this Sunday (18.07) you are hosting, together with label partners Roman Hiele & Allon Kaye, a Universal Exports label day at Dokrijk in Antwerp. There will be performances & live sets by Milan W, Hiele, yourself and Air Governer. Can you first of all give us a short description of Universal Exports & why you started it?

YDM: ‘Universal Exports is first of all a music label, ran by Roman Hiele, Allon Kaye and myself. But it stretches into other territories as well, i.e. there’s some some sort of gallery space with private viewings etcetera… We’re keeping things open for anything we feel drawn to.’  

WAV: The first release on the label was the ‘Stadspark’ lp by Hiele (see album cover above) & the second album was produced by Antwerp based artist Milan W.  Will the label be connected in a way to Antwerp or is that still open & undecided for the future? 

YDM: ‘Physically it will probably stay connected to Antwerp, but we’re not exclusively going to work with local talent. Our latest release is by the legendary German musician Asmus Tietchens. So, indeed, we prefer to keep things open.’ 

WAV: ‘The label is still young. How would you like to see it evolving in the next few years? 

YDM: ‘That’s difficult to predict. The music we like and want to release is rather niche, so it’s not an easy thing to sell. And pressing records became a frustrating affair. The challenge will be to figure out the best way to bring our beloved music to the right people. But bottom line is to have a label that people associate with quality, regardless of the medium. And make it sustainable enough with a constant stream of music we love from people we love.

WAV: ‘What’s the ideal setting for you to listen to the current releases?’

YDM: ‘The Asmus Tietchens album works best for me at home, with good loudspeakers and a decent wine or strong beer. Milan’s record preferably outside, and Roman’s in some sort of club space with a high quality sound system. But that’s my personal take, Romand and Allon might prefer other settings.’ 

WAV: ‘About this Sunday, you’ll be performing some unreleased new material in Dokrijk. Can you already tell us something about it? Will it be a teaser for a new upcoming project / album?’

YDM: ‘I wouldn’t call it a teaser. It’s the music we’re all working on at the moment and it will eventually appear on a release, but hard to say when or where.’ 

WAV: You often post tapes or lp’s on your FB page that just arrived via the post and that you are into. I would love to see more people doing that. 🙂 Which album or producer gives you the necessary inspiration these days or let’s say the past few months (if that’s easier) ?’ 

YDM:  ‘Phew, not easy. I think for the last year i listened the most to Will Guthrie, Oren Ambarchi and Mika Vainio. But it comes in waves, it’s a mood thing. A lot of Perila as well, now that i think of it. She hits quite a few right spots for me.’

WAV: ‘Give us one record that you will never get bored of?

YDM: Too many to choose from…. Autechre’s Confield comes to mind, Pan(a)Sonic’s Vakio as well, Depeche Mode’s Construction time again,…’ 

WAV: ‘How does your schedule look like so far for 2021? I saw you already have a gig abroad in Moscow with Universal Exports.’ 

YDM: ‘The schedule looks flakey. Moscow has been cancelled due to another lockdown, but there’s a new opportunity to play our shows in Saint-Petersburg in September. The odd gig here and there, and that’s it. But with the label, we’re working on the new releases. Taking our time though, there’s no point in rushing things.’ 

Thank you very much.
[interview by Fred Nasen (WAV)]

Catch Universal Exports Antwerp this Sunday at Dokrijk for a label showcase day. All info via the FB event page or click image below.