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Despite the name, you can't have too many DJs

It is not exactly a surprise that when David Dewaele first answers the phone he's in a bit of a hurry, trying to catch a Eurostar train back to Belgium.

UNITED: Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele are 2manyDJs.
UNITED: Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele are 2manyDJs.

One half of 2manydjs, the Ghent native has a dizzying number of projects on the go, from his original band, Soulwax, to his Despacio collaboration with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy.

This Saturday he and his brother Stephen will travel to Glasgow in their 2manydjs guise, headlining the first night of Electric Frog and Pressure's Riverside Festival, the dance event being held, as the name suggests, by the Riverside Museum.

Thankfully, when the DJ is able to speak later on, having safely returned home, he's able to chat at length, and elaborates on how the pair manage to keep track of their various identities.

"It's still the same part of our brain that we're using for each project, we're still being creative," he explains.

"We've got a Kraut-rock and space rock project [Die Verboten] but we won't make a hip-hop track for that, as we have boundaries for it.

"It's just something for ourselves," he explains. "If you really love cooking, then you can't just open a restaurant and cook anything, you'd say it's an Italian restaurant. We have the advantage of having many different restaurants where we can cook for a little while, and once we're bored with sushi we can move onto vegetarian."

Of all their various identities, it's 2manydjs that has proved the most successful, letting the duo top the bill from large festivals to tiny clubs and everywhere in between. It's surpassed their initial outfit, the band Soulwax, who are still a going concern but haven't released a traditional album in several years.

Instead, they've used online formats to unveil tracks, through the likes of the Radio Soulwax website, and they're still debating how best to release their next collection of material.

In the meantime, gigging has continued apace, but there remains a modesty to the duo. Do not expect Saturday's set to feature any of the messianic posturing that's increasingly beloved of today's superstar DJs.

"You're on sticky ground if you try to pretend you're a superstar when all you're doing is playing records," says David.

"The guys who tend to be the best at it, like say the Optimo guys, they're not standing there in a Jesus pose with their hands in the air. I don't have a huge problem with other people doing it, but it's not us.

"Even with 2manydjs, which has become way bigger than it was meant to be, we're almost hiding behind a screen or with visuals."

If 2manydjs have dramatically changed in status since their side project beginnings, then that's nothing compared with the seismic changes that have taken place in the music industry as a whole in that time.

David and Stephen have already shown themselves to be adept at adjusting to this, yet David is reflective on whether the rise of the internet and downloads has been positive or negative.

"What still puzzles me is that while there's an explosion of new content and people making music, it hasn't delivered a rise in quality as well as quantity," he says.

"It's not like albums now are better than 15 years ago and a lot of people would argue the reverse and say that music had more impact then. Now music is everywhere - growing up it was very grey and you'd occasionally get a fountain of colour with a music programme on TV, or you'd spend time searching for that one record you'd heard about.

"Now, everyone has youth culture around them and if you get on the Tube or turn on the TV then music is all around you. It's not something you have to search for."

That, in turn, has created a situation where David believes it's harder for music to surprise or thrill, because the sheer quantity of it has increased so much.

"Your ears become tired of hearing stuff that's just fine but doesn't really touch you," he explains.

"Music has shifted in its importance - in the 60s The Beatles and the Stones had their moment and it was amazing for popular culture, then punk did the same, as did acid house.

"Music doesn't have that impact now, it's become a commodity, like electricity or running water. That's not necessarily bad, it's just the way it is."

However, the opposite of that commodification can still found in the brothers' music pursuits, and they relish any opportunity to visit Scotland, whatever guise they're performing under.

"Pretty much every gig we've done in Glasgow has been special, whether the Barrowlands, the Arches or King Tut's," David adds.

"It's the closest you can get to a Spanish crowd in the UK, a real working-class people that are cultured and when they go out, they work hard and they play hard."

The Electric Frog and Pressure Riverside Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday

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