In Conversation With Techno Maven Charlotte de Witte – Forbes

In Conversation With Techno Maven Charlotte de Witte – Forbes

Charlotte de Witte. Courtesy of Marie Wynants.

Marie Wynants

Techno queen Charlotte de Witte’s stripped, aggressive and functional music dominates dance floors around the world, but her creative footprint doesn’t stop there. The Ghent-born producer delves into the world of sports with her apparel collaboration with Belgian activewear brand 4254. 

The artist says the pandemic allowed her to become more focused on fitness and health since she had more time due to the pause on touring, sparking her collaboration with 4254 that features long leggings and a cross back top. Although the collection, being released in July, is technically activewear, de Witte says it’s also designed to be worn at a club or a music festival. However, her expansion into the world of fitness doesn’t stop there. With her KNTXT label, the famed producer is releasing exclusive mixes on Apple Music, with one of the items aiming to connect mixes to different workouts based on their BPM.

“The idea was to link certain types of workouts to certain types of music. For example,” de Witte says, “if you have something more ambient, very chilled out electronic music, that could, for instance, be a stretch workout. Or if there’s this high energy, bumping set, it can be used as a running workout.” She adds that techno is her favorite genre to workout to: “If you listen to techno, it’s fast, it pushes you as well as distracts you from your suffering while you’re running.” 

The tastemaker’s passion for sports stems from her childhood as she grew up doing gymnastics, skiing and horseback riding—starting a foundation for her current love of adrenaline and high-risk sports. The motorcycle-riding artist adds that she was invited by Formula1 to watch one of their races in Belgium. This experience ignited de Witte’s interest in racing so much that she collaborated with Tomboy to design a ‘70s race aesthetic collection. 

“Looking at techno music, it’s a 4/4 beat. It has to be aggressive, people have to dance to it, but … [+] it’s also not the very chaotic type of music. It’s not a very happy type of music,” Charlotte de Witte says. “So to me, it has to be functional. It has to be stripped. It has to work, like fits its purpose.” Courtesy of Marie Wynants.

Marie Wynants

Outside of her sports-focused work, de Witte is the label boss of KNTXT and boasts her own podcasts, mixes and live streams, as well as having formerly hosted her own radio show on Studio Brussel and a residency on BBC Radio 1. Indeed, de Witte’s illustrious career led her to winning the title of No. 1 Alternative DJ in DJ Mag’s Top 100 in 2020, Powered by Beatport. The Belgian artist credits this success to performing shows around the world prior to the pandemic, having her own imprint and hosting live streams in unique locations during lockdown. She is the first woman to win this award since 1992. 

“I don’t want to pull the feminist card too much, but this is like a big pat on the back for all of us females out there,” de Witte says. “I think it’s always good and sort of a warm invisible hug around us when you see other women that are exceeding at what they’re doing and they’re doing well.” 

The numerous releases on KNTXT in 2020, she adds, proves to have kept the imprint “alive” since numerous events were canceled due to COVID. The latest EP release from the label is Alignment’s four-track Power record that dropped on June 25. Beyond releases, de Witte is using KNTXT as a way to give back to young producers, as she opened her imprint to receiving demos for one week earlier this year. The techno artist says she sifted through around 1,900 demo submissions to find up-and-coming talent she wants to work with.

“I started DJing 11 years ago, and if I wouldn’t have had certain opportunities with certain people, I would not be where I am,” de Witte says. “I believe in the future. I believe in the young, new talent out there, and they should be heard and they deserve to get a platform.”