Maxim Meyer-Horn

5 Oct
Music

Chuki Beats: “The Theory Behind the Album Is to Live Life From the Inside Out”

Chuki got the sauce. The Belgian producer Chuki Beats knows what he does and released his debut album ‘INSIDEOUT‘ earlier this year. This big milestone in his career follows years of hard work, where he worked with the biggest names in the Belgian hip hop scene and scored millions of streams. In between his very busy schedule, we caught up with him at the Beursschouwburg in Brussels to grab a coffee and look back at the crazy past months.

The album is out for a while now. How are you looking back at the journey? Was it a true rollercoaster?

Looking back, I feel like everything in my life always goes a bit like I expected, but the specific way towards it is always different. Making and releasing this album felt like I hoped it to be, but the whole album promotion plan was a trip that I’m just getting out of. It’s like I haven’t been able to fully retrospect just yet. Now, the promo storm is getting a little calmer, which means I’m currently going to the studio again with a slightly different approach. Everything is more open, there is no script or plan for what has to be made. I’m free to create anything.

Did the album fulfill your expectations? Do you feel like people understand what the album means?

Good question. I’m super happy with the numbers of the album. The tracks I predicted to do well filled in the expectations. However, you notice that only a small percentage of the audience actually listens to the whole project, which makes it difficult to get across the meaning behind the full album. Of course, that’s no surprise, since it’s an album with many guests. Fans of one particular artist on the project – for example Bhavi – that speak Spanish, won’t necessarily continue to listen to a French or Dutch song. But at the same time, there are plenty of people that listen to the album from start to finish. I appreciate every approach. I’m here to create and put out music that I love. People are free to enjoy that in their own way.

How did you put together the tracklist of INSIDEOUT?

It’s mostly based on my gut feeling. The title is INSIDEOUT and the theory behind the album is to live life from the inside out. I feel like we should aim more towards being active creators of life from within, instead of undergoing our circumstances. Sonically, the first half of the album feels like the experience of the inner world. “Revolution” with Charles and Sofiane Pamart is the turning point towards the second half, which has a more outgoing feel to it.

How do you pick the acts to feature on the songs? Is it something spontaneous or do you have clear ideas in mind?

It really depends from track to track. I really needed a track like “Revolution” to complete the album and I already determined the name of the track before we even started it. I wanted to make a song that combines trap beats with a more musical touch. When I discovered Charles, I immediately knew that I wanted her on a track with Sofiane and I. We did one session and we hit the mark.

There are other tracks that were created without the intention of putting them on the album, but eventually turned out to make sense within the context. For example “Lazer Beam” with Yung Mavu and Jacin Trill was made over a year ago during a session in Amsterdam. It ended up on the album because we felt like it really matched with the vibe.

Which acts are on your bucket list to collaborate with?

Here in Belgium, I’d love to make a track with Roméo Elvis, Hamza, or Damso. For me, they are 3 of the biggest artists here in Belgium and I’m sure I would be able to create some great music with each one of them.

You already produced many songs for the artists on your album. What made you decide to make a producer’s album with your name on it?

I love to work for other artists as much as for my own projects, but with this project it was nice to get the artists into my own universe, rather than the other way around. I don’t have a preference between the two ways of working, but it was a great experience to be the ‘director’ and pick what happens on this album for myself. If it’s really for you, you can make the decisions because you’re in charge.

Every song of yours has the tag ‘Chuki got the sauce’. How would you define ‘the sauce’ to someone who doesn’t know what stands for?

The sauce is a combination of knowledge, confidence, and
effortlessness. It’s difficult to explain but I got this question a few times already. How do I explain this? You can do something with and without sauce. You can construct a building with sauce, design clothes with sauce, … it’s more a general feeling and it doesn’t really matter to what it refers.

You’re working on a show called ‘Chuki & Friends’ in Ancienne Belgique. How do you create this headline show based on the festival shows you already did?

I think I want to add an extra musician and play a bit more instrumental. I released quite a lot of instrumentals before this album, and I want a part of the show to focus on that. My friend Dejavu, who was part of the festival shows as well, is a great drummer. I would love to add a guitarist so Dejavu can focus on doing more rhythmic stuff. We’ll also continue to explore the live versions of certain songs. Adding thislive feeling is super important to me because I feel like some artists are not that creative with their shows. Some people can pull that off by compensating with high energy, but others could use some extra effort when it comes to bringing a true “live” experience in my opinion.

Where do you see yourself in the future and what will you do to achieve your goals?

Mentally, I’m already there. (Laughs) I enjoyed making the album, and I will continue to enjoy making music. I might take a more goal-oriented approach for the future though, working with a clear vision in everything I do. I also want to work more consistently on my YouTube because the combination of that with the album release wasn’t always easy.
Besides that, I want to be even more selective in the artists I work with. I want to work with people that have the same ambition and hunger to get there.

Is there something about making music you don’t feel comfortable with yet?

I really became at peace with myself the last two years. I’m not afraid to perform in front of 10.000 people anymore. I’m also super comfortable in the studio nowadays. I don’t even mind recording vocals in front of others, which used to be different in the past. I’m happy to get back on track with my guitar as well. I played a lot when I was younger and really got back to it while practicing for the liveshows. In the studio, you can play it over and over again which isn’t the case when you’re on stage. I really want to keep developing that skill.

Pictures by Maxim Meyer-Horn for Enfnts Terribles.
Special thanks to Five Oh and Beursschouwburg Brussels.

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