Relentless Beats

RB Exclusive Interview: As Apashe Lands, The Dust Doesn’t Settle

Get pumped, Arizona. We took to Electric Forest earlier this summer an experienced something incredible. On the outskirts of my radar prior to the E Forest experience was Kannibalen Records‘ artist, Apashe. Following a conversation this June with Marc-Andre Chagnon and Julien Maranda of Black Tiger Sex Machine, who were telling me about this up and coming artist on their label, I knew that John De Buck, as he is known to those close, was an artist I needed to see to believe.


From that moment on, I did my research and I listened to his tracks. His music and overall presence had me hooked, and when I met up with Apashe in the forests of Michigan, his humility lent even further to the immaculately respectable image that Apashe was creating for himself.

Following an intimate set in the heart of the forest, I had the pleasure of sitting down with John to discuss his time in the forest, his surprisingly huge breakout in Russia, the meaning behind the name Apashe, and hints of a new album set to release this September!

Here with Apashe at Electric Forest. You played a set here last night in the woods and another set tomorrow. How has your time been here so far?

It’s f*cking amazing. It’s insane actually. Like I haven’t spent enough time yet and I wish I could stay Sunday as well because it’s not like a festival where you can just come and play and leave. I knew I wanted to stay a bit, but now I just want to come and do the entire festival. I would even like to be in the forest and in a tent and just camp there.

Did you do anything fun today as far as checking out the festival goes? Did you catch any sets you wanted to see?

Well actually we went to the beach earlier today, so we chilled there for a bit. When we got back we caught the last of Teddy Killerz, I really wanted to see that. I caught a little bit of Mija’s set too, but because everything is so large, I missed a lot of the stuff I wanted to see, but I’m definitely going to catch some stuff right after this. 

You are playing two sets while you are here. One was yesterday at The Forest Stage which was a much more intimate crowd and then tomorrow you play at the Tripolee Stage which is a huge, much larger stage. How do you build two different sets to reflect your style appropriately at each stage?

Well as you said, The Forest Stage was a more fun stage where I played much more tracks that weren’t mine. I played much more stuff that I just love to play. Also, it was a quick set.

The set I’m going to play tomorrow has visuals to it and I have a crazy intro that we prepared! I have lots of edits of my own tracks mixed with other stuff. And its a live set, so I have loops of lots of tracks and I mix them together. 

Actually I had someone pull out their iPhone and ask me, “What was that track?!” when actually it was two tracks mixed together because I play with loops, I switched the structures in such a way that I take the two tracks and I make it one. So the track he was asking for was not one track. It was actually Virtual Riot mixed with Datsik & Protohype. It’s literally that I take some baselines from one and baselines from the other and I switch between the baselines live with the crossfade.

So I have a lot of edits that I do like that live with my loops, and I don’t think that I’ve seen any other DJs doing that loop shifting live. Thats why I keep doing it and tomorrow I have a lot of stuff like that prepared.

So tell me a little bit about how you linked up with Kannibalen, your relationship with Black Tiger Sex Machine, and how you got all of that rolling.

Sure, well I moved to Canada about four or five years ago from Brussels and they were throwing parties. The parties were called Kannibalen, but the label hadn’t existed yet. I way already making and releasing music, and they were interested in putting a label together, so they were searching for tracks basically. They wanted to have their own artists and stuff, and at the beginning I was pretty skeptical, but I was like ‘yeah, I’m super down,’ because I really wanted to get introduced to the Montreal scene from overseas.

So I told the guys, ‘yeah, I have a track for you, why not release it with you guys…’ From there I became friends with them and everything was so awesome in that I really just got hooked up. I never left Canada and I’m still working with them now and now we are just like super best friends.

Do you have any collaborations coming up with any other Kannibalen artists? Black Tiger Sex Machine? Snails?

I actually just had a track with them on their album [Welcome To Our Church], so I’m not going to collar directly with them any time soon, but I have a track with Kai Wachi and Dabin, I actually have two tracks with Dabin and one with the three of us, Kai and Dabin. About two years ago for Forsaken we did a collab, and we are just going to repeat that. We all have three very different styles, so we are going to combine our forces all together for an insane track.

Speaking of collabs, you just released one with RIOT called “Fire Inside.” How did that track come about and how has it been received by the crowds?

That tracks actually on fire right now. I wasn’t sure how it would go because it’s really, really Bass House. I mean, I’ve done some Bass House before, but they always tend to have a trappy intro and always keeping it trappy and bassy, but this one is like full on Bass House.

But yeah, the track is blowing up right now. We got about 200,000 plays in about a week and it was really cool because I heard it earlier today at the festival when Party Favor played at the MainStage. Everyone is kind of playing it and we have some support from some really huge guys so I’m super happy with that collab for sure.

That’s great! So, initially, you really blew up overseas. One of you’re tracks was huge in Russia because of their version of So You Think You Can Dance. Were you shocked at all when you first started getting the recognition? What was your reaction to this sudden change in your life?

Oh, I was very excited. You know, I didn’t really catch it at first. I didn’t realize what was going on really. And then I was just like, ‘What the f*ck! What’s going on?’ Especially what’s going on in Russia? I didn’t really expect that.

And then all of the sudden I was starting to get shows overseas in Australia, in Europe, and in the US. I just realized that at some point I had to quit my job to actually do it, because I didn’t have enough time to actually tour. As soon as I quit my job, I went on a three month tour and I’ve never stopped since then.

It’s really crazy how things like that just happen! It’s so random all the time.

The thing is that the excitement is just so short. I mean, it keeps building, but time flies so fast that you’re like, ‘Alright, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to leave, and I’m going on tour in Europe.’ So you’re super excited, but by the time you realize you’re actually going to Europe, you’re already playing the show. It goes so fast that you don’t have much time to realize what’s going on. And then now, like a year and a half, almost two years later, you look back and ask yourself, ‘what just happened?’ Did I really just do all that?’


Where does the name Apashe come from?

Ah, I knew it was coming. What kind of answer do you want? The original answer? The new answer? The real answer? The cool answer?

The real answer *laughs*.

So, I’m a quarter Indian and when I was a teenager all of my friends used to call me “L’Indien” which means “The Indian” in French. So when I first started making music and DJing, it was kind of like a funny name and it was such a pain to come up with a new one, so I was just like you guys call me that.. But, it didn’t work for other languages.

I wanted to switch it to kind of a more international kind of name, so I chose Apache because it was a type of helicopter that I really loved and I thought that it was a really cool mix of the original name and then something to do with the helicopter, however I didn’t want it to be too associated with the Indian tribe, so I switched the C with an S: Apashe.

Marc [of BTSM] was telling me that you are talking about using the helicopter concept and incorporating it into the visuals and audio design of your set.

Yes, we are preparing all of that now.


Very excited to see that. I’m assuming all of this means that we will be getting more shows from you in America…

Oh yes, absolutely.

Do you have a dream destination that you would like to play or an experience that you would like to be a part of?

I mean, Electric Forest was definitely a dream spot to play. I want to play big festivals, but I want to also play small shows here and there. I’ve been doing it for like a year now, a yeah and a half in the US now and the energy is just amazing. I love playing really big festivals as well as super small shows. I’m not tired of traveling at all, so I wouldn’t say that I have any one dream place, but my dream is just to keep doing this and going to every spot.

What benefits do you see between playing a huge festival where you are going to get the recognition vs. a small intimate show? What do you like about each of those separately?

Well, playing lots of small shows or playing one big festival is kind of like the same thing. Both of them are a lot of fun. First and foremost they are fun. On the professional level, I see that as if I do good people are going to come back and it will ensure that I will be able to do this for a longer period, which equals out to more fun for a longer period.

And you get to have fun because you are making music that people enjoy. Anything that we have to look forward to from Apashe in 2016?

I am releasing my album. We will see what is going to happen with that.

When is the release of the album?

September 30th

Finally, do you have any final advice for upcoming producers who want to do what you’re doing?

Yeah! Of course, not to sound generic… which is going to sound generic, because it’s the truth… just keep being who you are. Don’t stop and don’t listen to anyone who is trying to stop you. For example, my friends used to not like my music too much. They were just listening to other kinds of music and you tend to be influenced by people surrounding you. My friends are still my friends today and they still think what I do is funny because they don’t really get the music. However, it’s not because of the people around me that I stop doing what I’m doing.

I would probably make house music right now if I was influenced by the people around me. So yeah, keep doing whatever you like and just trust yourself. Listen to people who have a good influence on you.


An album release this September means a lot of new music this August; just in time for Apashe’s Arizona debut at the Monarch Theatre on August 20th with support from P0gman! Come on out and discover a talent that should have been on everyone’s radar long ago.

Connect with Apashe: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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