Hailing from the land of compromise in the heart of Europe, the four friends of Stavroz found each other in the east of Flanders. In its inception, IJsbrand & Gert focussed mainly on playing DJ sets and creating music in which they loved colliding worlds. Only a few years later they hooked up with Maxim & Pieter to expand their DJ activities to a performing band and continued to try and find an unbeaten path in electronic music.
Their EP “The Ginning” resulted in a breakthrough for the four-some and reached gold status in France, mainly thanks to the B-side “The Finishing”. Their specific acoustic, organic and cinematic approach to electronic music paid off and received worldwide love and praise. In the years that followed, the four kept expanding their catalogue and continued to develop that uniquely own style. After being confronted with scepticism of established record labels, their own label “Moodfamily” was set up together with friends in Ghent (BE).
This gave them freedom in music production and allowed them to support other artists with a likeminded vision on music. In the meantime, their intimate live set grew more and more dramatic and their unique [dj sets] spread like wildfire as they started frequenting many international stages. Coachella (US), Fusion Festival (DE), Wonderfruit (THA), Pukkelpop (BE), Strawberry Fields (AUS), Tropico (MX), Three Points Festival (FL, USA) all fell victim to Stavroz’s unusual dramatic, melancholic yet determined approach.
Stavroz’s third EP on Moodfamily, “Bleached Flamingo EP” came out on 21/11/2020 and it is a beauty.
In describing the title track the boys had the following to say:
As a threatening wave, violins rush to you in the opening moments and lay down a foundation on which a deceiving seven-count groove comfortably settles. An upsetting atmosphere haunts you through the first minutes. Until halfway, the song suddenly blossoms when a weeping synth starts the theme and paves the way for the saxophone to take over effortlessly. Together, they conclude the song in unison, delighted to have found each other.
On that note, we dive into the world of all things Stavroz with a few questions from our team!
Where did the name Stavroz come from? /
The name Stavroz started out as a joke, we wanted people to think that Stavroz is some greek guy who happens to be into Balkan music. So we did some Balkan inspired house music, there’s lots of energy in this music, which makes it very rewarding to work with. We didn’t really have certain artists that we were inspired by, this allowed us to make something unique at that point.
Your project started out as a more DJ focussed performance with just Gert and Ijsbrand in the group. How do you think the music you make has changed since Maxim and Pieter join the group?
Gert en Ijsbrand both come from Electronic background ( Electro, Minimal), Pieter has a Folk/world background & Max played in several Rock Bands. The combination of all the different backgrounds and styles makes the Stavroz Sound.
I had the pleasure to watch you perform at Waking Life in Portugal last summer and I was blown away by the synergy of the group. You guys seem to have a great bond and work perfectly together on stage. How much improvisation is involved in your normal live set?
So basically we have a mainframe of tracks we want to play, depending on how long the set is. We like to play 1H30 min sets because we like to get the people in trance. There is always room for some improvisation of course, but before we going on stage we know the setlist.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
How would you describe the music you make to someone that has never heard it before?
An eclectic mix of electronica, some jazz, some world, and some beats
Be Svendson call it Ghangster Jazz :)
What have you been up to this year and what was your highlight from 2020?
Our last gig was March 7th so that is obviously something we miss very much! We were really glad we (finally) had time to make a lot of new music. Also, releasing that music is supernice. We also played a live stream session on a beautiful lake in Belgium, so if you haven’t checked that one, do it!
When was this EP produced and did you expect to release it in a time with no dancefloors?
Some of those songs were in the making for a long time, others were made in no time. Of course, we would rather share these songs instantly on stage, but we think people will enjoy them at home as well (for now)
It is also an ep with very different kinds of songs. For instance ‘Postcard Picture’ or ‘Bleached Flamingo’ are songs that are more fun to hear at home (or an afterparty). But of course, ‘Chaque Fois’ or ‘Romeo’ will be more fun when we play it live in concert halls or clubs.
What can we expect from you in the year to come?
We hope lots and lots of shows. We also have some more songs for you ready, but nothing specific yet.
What is your dream gig?
Go back in time and play Woodstock
Sunrise or sunset
What is the last song you listened to?
Postcard Picture – Stavroz