Waxfiend: "As a DJ I see myself moving in the direction of House music"

Waxfiend: "As a DJ I see myself moving in the direction of House music"

posted on: june 16, 2021

Today we publish our third article in our series of interviews with our residents. This time we are talking to Wesley Texel.

Wesley, known artistically as WaxFiend, is an Amsterdam-based DJ, programmer, and curator. Wesley can spin from Hip Hop to House music through Dancehall and has travelled the world spreading his unique sound. He is also behind the well-known events Encore and Jamrock, and has played opening acts for artists such as Rihanna, Lil Yachty, Kaytranada, and Sean Paul.

We had a long chat with Wesley to find out more about his eighteen-year career in the music scene. We hope you enjoy the read.

When did you get involved with music?

I started in high school. I don't think you can really be like, just a spectator when it comes to Hip Hop, it invites you to jump in and join and be part of it. And so that's what I did with my friends. I started making beats for a little bit, but it wasn't really my thing. So I got into Deejaying. And that's basically how I got into the music thing.

I started with mixtapes and radio shows. They really made an impact on me and how I saw music, and then came the live gigs. And this is what I’ve been doing for the past eighteen years.

How did your journey as a DJ evolve? And how has your music taste has evolved?

Well, my journey as a DJ started mostly with Hip Hop. It was the early 2000's so I was following what DJ Premier was doing or Slum Village. And I was also discovering the 90s stuff like the group Mobb Deep.

So that was kind of the music I was playing back then. But then I began to spin at school parties, and the majority of people, especially the girls didn't really like when I was playing because they couldn't dance to it. But then I discovered a record shop and there I got introduced to Reggae and Dancehall music. I started to dig into Dancehall music and I found something that I really appreciated. And I saw there was an audience for that as well. So that's basically how the journey started. I started making mixtapes which were purely focused on Dancehall, which eventually led to me organizing events named Jamrock.

Jamrock really took off internationally. We did a radio show, which was syndicated in over six countries. So a lot of bookings started to come in for me to play Dancehall worldwide. But at a certain point, the way Dancehall productions were going musically was not interesting me anymore.

I found the Hip Hop scene was doing a lot of cool things again. This was about eight or nine years ago. And that's when I really felt like I do not want to be known just for playing Dancehall, but also for Hip Hop. We felt that something was missing in Amsterdam, and that a weekly Hip Hop night was very needed in the city. And that's how Encore started. We were booking a lot of international acts, a lot of artists that we felt didn't get booked in normal clubs. And we felt like they deserved to have a platform as well. Encore grew very big, very fast, and eventually into a series of festivals.

Around 2 years ago I went to Bali for six months to kind of take a sabbatical and that really changed the way I listen to music. I got more into Jazz as well and started to learn more about House music, and especially South African House music really grabbed my attention. And I would say over the last two to three years my musical spectrum of what I listen to at home has really got broader. As a DJ I do really see myself moving into the direction of more House music.

You were a music curator for the Amsterdam-based streaming platform 22tracks. Can you tell us a bit about this?

22tracks was great. It was founded by Vincent Reinders who is also one of the masterminds behind RadioRadio. He started this initiative to kind of find a new way in this digital age of introducing people to music they might not know but they probably will like. I was running the Reggae and Dancehall playlists.

22tracks was basically ahead of its time and if you look at Spotify playlists now, that’s basically what 22tracks was doing back then. It was basically like radio station without the talk and the mix. So it was a great platform, and a lot of people use it with a lot of joy. I also discovered a lot of new artists and genres through 22 tracks. So yeah, it was great to be part of it.

You have played the opening act for artists such as Rihanna, Lil Yachty, Kaytranada and many more. Can you tell us more about this?

Honestly, that's just some shit to say in the bio to look cool haha. I mean, it's great. I love playing for artists. Don't get me wrong, but it's not a big thing. The volume is low. It's really just setting the mood for the people to come in.

With Rihanna she was actually playing her first show in Holland. So they wanted somebody that plays Reggae and Dancehall from Holland to play for a mainstream audience. It was actually a dope experience and I got to play twice for her.

You have played at clubs around Europe and even in Asia, the USA, and the Caribbean. Can you tell us more about your experiences while on tour? Which has been your favorite venue outside the Netherlands?

I like playing in the Caribbean, I like the energy of the people there and the feedback you get to the music is just amazing. And playing outdoors is lovely. I really, really love playing in Asia as well. Indonesia is great but especially Japan made a very, very deep impact on me. The amount of love that people give and the appreciation you get for playing there. It's just humbling. One of the places I love to play most there is Club Harlem in Tokyo, which is a Hip Hop club that has been running for about 25 years. They breed the culture, everything they do, from artwork to the programs, and it's just an honor to play there.

You have a resident show at Operator. What is your approach when preparing monthly sets?

It's very different from all the other shows I've done. My Operator show is called Wesley, which came about very quickly after a talk with Osman. The show is just my musical playground, I want to be free to just play anything that's been captivating me that month. And that might be very diverse. One day, I might play a little Drum and Bass and the next time I play Jazz or some abstract electronic music.

Can you name some creators/artists from Amsterdam that we should keep an eye for?

Beraber is great. He plays with United Identities. Jerrausama is also very dope. He is a young super energetic guy that plays a mix of different genres.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Over the last few years I've been learning more about producing. So I hope you will be able to see some results in the future. As for the deejaying I think I will also be diving more into House music and other electronic genres.

Text and photography Carlos Eperon Beltrán.