Calling Belgian DJ/producer Charlotte de Witte a new artist would be incorrect. Although she has recently enjoyed a meteoric rise through the techno ranks, the 27-year-old has been producing music for more than five years and has been DJ’ing since she was 17. She released her early original music under the wittingly misleading moniker Raving George in an effort to preempt misogynistic remarks by malicious internet trolls.
One such track, the balmy “You’re Mine,” released on Spinnin’ Records, has accrued more than 25 million hits on YouTube. Later she thought “fuck it” and began performing and producing under her birth name.
Speaking with New Times, de Witte says she doesn't believe the change in moniker reflected a shift in her artistic principles or overall sound.
“I was already playing techno as Raving George,” she says. "It wasn't really a change of sound. It was more the process of me growing up and knowing what [my career] is, what I do in my life, and not hiding behind the male alter ego anymore.”
Regardless of the name she uses when sharing her craft, de Witte has built an eminently impressive career. Her talents have taken her to Miami several times, and she'll return to the Magic City on Saturday, March 8, for an evening of furious techno bangers and ear-melting acidic overtures at Club Space.
Even though De Witte established her reputation as a world-class DJ at a steady pace, suggesting she didn't notch some impressive accomplishments early in her career would be misleading. She performed at Belgium's internationally regarded music festival Tomorrowland while she was still in her teens after winning a DJ contest organized by the radio station Studio Brussel. Other high points came with the release of her music by techno-centric record labels such as Suara and Drumcode, the latter of which shared her track "Remember" on the compilation album A-Sides, Vol. 7.
After years of steady releases and international touring, de Witte grew into her role as the widely respected artist dance music aficionados love today. As is the norm with electronic acts, many of her U.S. fans reside in Miami. During de Witte’s last appearance on Space's iconic Terrace in August 2019, the place was packed for the entirety of her set.
“Touring, in general, has influenced me a lot and created experiences that [left an] impact on the music I play and make,” she shares. Besides visiting Space, de Witte swung by Miami to make her debut at Ultra Music Festival last year. Although travel delays shortened her set, she delivered a mighty sound that juxtaposed nicely against the brightness of her daytime slot in the Carl Cox Megastructure. Additionally, the 2019 edition of Miami Music Week saw de Witte play back-to-back with German DJ and producer Chris Liebing during the All Gone Pete Tong party at the Surfcomber.
Unfortunately, de Witte will miss Miami's biggest music week this year to play Tomorrowland Winter in France.
“You win some; you lose some. You have to make decisions sometimes,” she says. “I wish I could do both. But this year, I just can't. It's just impossible. I cannot split myself in two.” Even as she navigates her bustling 2020 itinerary, de Witte has designs on expanding her label, brand, and party series KNTXT (pronounced context). “I will be trying to grow even more with KNTXT, both as a concept and also as a label," she says. "As for myself, I'm just going to continue touring and make sure that the quality stays good and the sets are still refreshing.”
De Witte debuted KNTXT in October 2019 with the release of Liquid Slow, a two-track EP produced in collaboration with Chris Liebing. The label's latest release, the four-track EP Left The Planet, comes courtesy of German DJ/producer Monoloc.
In light of her rigorous touring schedule and the constant demands that come with being a sought-after artist and label curator, de Witte acknowledges success comes with its share of unexpected side effects.
“I’m becoming more adjusted, but I don't think this is something I will ever fully get used to — to the fans, I mean,” she says. Given the fact that de Witte has garnered more than a million followers on Instagram and counting, her reaction is understandable. “It's still very bizarre but [also] very beautiful to see that shows and tickets sell out for people who want to see me play and listen to the kind of music that I play. It's quite hard to wrap my head around to see people with flags and pictures of me. It's a bit weird to be adored that way by so many people. It's beautiful, but it’s just a strange feeling.”
The Space set will see de Witte joined by celebrated DJ/producer Ellen Allien, who herself is no stranger to the downtown Miami club or the city's larger after-hours scene. At only 27, de Witte has successfully carved out a lane for herself in the already crowded world of techno. Whether it's a dark stadium like Gashouder in Holland or the Magic City, de Witte's reach knows no geographic bounds. Given her career up to this point, there's no reason to believe anything will stop her from realizing even bigger and better things in the years to come.
Charlotte de Witte. With Ellen Allien. 11 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; clubspace.com. Tickets cost $22.50 to $45 via residentadvisor.com.