31 oct. 2023Beyond Music
Interview with Dj Ashik, Mathis Evasion & Svelte
Beyond Music is all about orchestration. Not from a classical point of view, although certainly a musical event, but more on the side of electronic music. At the heart of the work, Asiqur Rahman (a.k.a Ashik), Lucas Mathis (a.k.a Mathis Evasion) and Robert Alan King (a.k.a Svelte), and with the great complicity of many other young artists and freelancers, who constitute the association, distill a project which aims to promote electronic music by all possible means. The essence of Beyond Music lies in the deliberate selection of distinctive locations, where electronic music serves as a transformative force. They eloquently describe this experience as 'taking people on a journey outside of daily life and into the present moment'. Meeting with the executives of one flagship project of the Luxembourg electronic musical landscape, and more, of the underground scene of this small country which definitely has nothing to be ashamed of in front of its its neighbors...
Beyond Music, who is it, what is it? Can you tell us about the history of this project under the prism of the major stages which led to it being shaped?
It could be argued that Beyond Music is now one of the most prominent organizations that shapes the ever-growing electronic music scene in Luxembourg. At its very core, Beyond Music produces unique experiences by organizing, filming and broadcasting electronic music events in carefully selected locations. Our prime goal is to showcase cultural heritage sites and landmarks while promoting Luxembourgish art, culture and artists. Beyond Music is composed of three core members: Asiqur Rahman (Ashik), Lucas Mathis (Mathis Evasion) and Robbie King (Svelte). However, it’s crucial to highlight that we also collaborate closely with freelancers whose contributions are indispensable for realizing our projects.
Beyond Music’s journey commenced in 2020 when Ashik’s project secured funding from the Ministry of Culture - the concept being a live-streaming of a DJ set taking place in a unique landmark. This inaugural project unfolded at Belvedere Burfelt and was made possible with the support of the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Sustainability.
During the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, Beyond Music pivoted by hosting numerous local artists at the Radio ARA studio through Ashik’s residency ‘Thoughtless Voyage’, broadcasting live DJ sets to engage our audience. It was also during a recording session at Radio Ara that we invited Robert King, better known under the pseudonym “Svelte”. The latter quickly revealed himself as an important member of Beyond Music and has since occupied a major role within the association.
The arrival and spread of Covid-19 did not facilitate the creation of an association whose main activity is the organization of electronic music events. But the challenge was launched and the motivation was not diminished. In October 2020, Beyond Music ASBL was born from a collaboration between young enthusiasts. Unable to organize events with an audience due to restrictions linked to the pandemic, we seized the opportunity offered to us by technology, in order to build a community of listeners with whom we were able to maintain a regular exchange despite the distance. After a year of pandemic-induced distance, we embarked on a journey to revive the magic of in-person events and reconnect with our fanbase, originally cultivated online. As we evolved, Beyond Music organized numerous club nights at iconic venues including GoTen, Bazaar and Brasserie Victor Hugo. These events were also featured on our YouTube channel, extending our reach to a global audience. The success we have encountered throughout our adventures has encouraged us to think bigger.
Eager to take the next step, in 2022 we launched “Beyond Music presents Harmony” - our inaugural live-streamed music festival at Place de l'Europe in Kirchberg (more on this later).
Following the festival's success, we continued to expand our portfolio by releasing another remarkable DJ set, this time at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Bock Casemates, with the generous support of Ville du Luxembourg.
In September 2022 in collaboration with RTL Today, under the leadership of Robert King, we curated a radio show, showcasing our unwavering commitment to the electronic music community and cultural promotion. Over a period of 3 months, 55 artists were invited including 7 internationals for a total of 50 mixes broadcasted and still available on the RTL Play mobile application.
All these transformative experiences and achievements served as building blocks, leading us to our most grand and unforgettable event to date: Vianden Castle. This event epitomized our vision of blending electronic music with culture and innovation while also highlighting Luxembourg's rich heritage. Each of these significant stages has contributed to shaping Beyond Music into what it is today—a driving force in the cultural and electronic music scene, proudly showcasing Luxembourg's cultural treasures to the world.
Recently, you announced your next event called “Beyond Music presents Vianden Castle”, which you describe as a “historic moment”, as the first meeting devoted to electronic music at the prestigious Château de Vianden. What was the genesis – origin – of this unique event?
The genesis of “Beyond Music presents Vianden Castle” is a story that blends our passion for electronic music with a deep appreciation for the cultural heritage of Luxembourg. The idea was born from our deep desire to create unique experiences in the world of electronic music and to showcase the beauty of Luxembourg in a way that had never been done before.
Vianden Castle is a centuries-old monument that oozes history, and it has a mystical and haunting aura. When you find yourself in such a place, it is difficult not to feel the imprint of the past and the history that inhabits it. The very essence of electronic music, which relies on computer-generated sounds and electronic rhythms, creates an interesting contrast with the timeless majesty of the castle. It's something of an exhilarating paradox: merging futuristic musical elements with a medieval historical setting.
By organizing this event at Vianden Castle, we aspire to create a "historical moment" where for the very first time, the present and the past come together to provide a unique multi-sensory experience. We want our audience to experience a musical adventure that transcends time and space, where electronic music meets Luxembourg's cultural heritage in a unique way and allows
people to witness the grandeur of Château de Vianden in a new light. We envisioned a transformative event that would bridge the gap between the contemporary electronic music scene and the cultural legacy embodied by the castle.
In summary, “Beyond Music presents Vianden Castle” embodies our commitment to pushing boundaries while providing artistic experiences that will be remembered. We hope that this event will not only be a historic moment in the world of electronic music but also a testament to the enduring beauty and cultural significance of Château de Vianden.
Who will make up the line-up for this festive night?
Our festive night at Vianden Castle will feature a line-up predominantly composed of exceptionally talented local artists, showcasing Luxembourg's wealth of musical talent. Adding an international flair, Annina from Berlin will join our roster, offering a cross-cultural musical experience. The event will boast two stages, with the second stage set in the castle's cellar, a collaboration with Lauter Records, one of Luxembourg's leading electronic record labels—an unprecedented endeavor in the country. This collaboration not only provides a platform for local artists but also highlights Luxembourgish record labels, contributing to the growth of our local electronic music industry. We plan to professionally record the DJ sets and release them on YouTube, a strategic move aimed at positioning Luxembourg as a hub of creativity on the international electronic music scene. Through social media outreach, we intend to promote not just our local artists but also Luxembourg's thriving record labels, making a significant mark on the global stage.
Originally, you dreamed of Beyond Music as a “platform allowing local artists to create and promote unique performances for the vast majority of listeners.” Today, you talk about the desire to “place Luxembourg on the international scene as a hub of creativity”. How did your ambitions evolve and how do you see the future of Beyond Music?
Our ambitions for Beyond Music have indeed evolved over time, but we firmly believe that these two visions are perfectly complementary. We initially dreamed of Beyond Music as a platform dedicated to creating and promoting unique performances for local artists, allowing these talents to flourish and reach a wider audience. This vision remains anchored in our DNA.
Luxembourg, despite its small size, is full of diverse and highly qualified talent in the field of electronic music. Our commitment to the local music scene remains intact, and we will continue to provide a platform to showcase these talented local artists. We believe in the power of collaboration between international and local artists to create unforgettable musical experiences.
On the other hand, our desire to place Luxembourg on the international stage as a hub of creativity is an ambition that has developed over time. We firmly believe that Luxembourg has the potential to become a major player in the field of electronic music on an international scale.
Our country has a unique cultural, architectural and artistic wealth, which can be highlighted through our concept.
By associating renowned international artists with our local scene, we create a synergy that enriches our events and strengthens our position on the international scene. We want Beyond Music to become a showcase not only for local talent, but also for artists from around the world, attracting a diverse and international audience. We are committed to equally supporting female artists as well by actively promoting their inclusion in our lineups.
Looking ahead to Beyond Music, we envision continued growth in our influence and impact. We will work with determination to create events that combine the diversity of local talents with the excellence of international artists, while highlighting the unique assets of Luxembourg. Our goal is to continue to push the boundaries of musical creativity, create unforgettable multi-sensory experiences and put Luxembourg on the global electronic music map.
In short, we remain true to our roots by supporting the local music scene, while aiming to elevate Beyond Music to the rank of an international creativity hub, propelling Luxembourg onto the global electronic music scene. We envision organizing events outside of Luxembourg to bring our unique concept to international audiences while simultaneously providing a platform for our talented local artists to shine on the global stage. This expansion reflects our commitment to furthering the fusion of culture, electronic music, and innovation on a broader scale, ultimately solidifying Beyond Music as a global cultural and musical phenomenon.