Everyone has his/her comfort zone, and sometimes the hardest thing in the world for a person to do can be to step outside of that comfort zone. It can be scary, but often times, when you leave the familiar behind you can open up a whole new world of possibilities. This is the case for Belgian producer/DJ, Yves V, who left a stable career as a teacher to pursue the dream of becoming a musician. Although he went down the safe route at first, music has always been a passion for the former Mr. Van Geertsom. Several years and appearances on mainstages later, it’s clear the decision, although difficult, was the right one.
“I always had a passion for music, but having a career in teaching made it difficult to take that first leap away, although once I did it I never looked back. Working in something as creative as music is a challenge on yourself more than anything…there is no set template or rule book, it’s just about making music you believe in and working with people that bring out the best in you (and you in them). I think that is the only way and that the success of an artist isn’t down to one thing like a hit track or even a major headline show. It’s a mix of hard work, determination, and perseverance.”
For Yves, the toughest decision of his life was taking that initial leap of faith and deciding to pursue music full time. As a child Yves’ dreams always revolved around music and performing, however, when you’re in a comfortable spot, it can be difficult to leave that behind for something completely unknown. Yves cites his great support network and surrounding himself with the right people, as well as the constant support from his fans as making that transition easy. Humans are creatures of habit, and producing and touring the world is not a normal 9-5 job, turning that switch off can be a challenge.
“Everything from leaving behind the “security” of that job (teaching) compared to something like music, to putting in the studio hours and taking my sound on the road, it all felt like such a big risk and took some time to adjust to back then. It all comes down to a good support network and the fans that come and see me at shows or support my music. Being able to live out my dream and travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world with what I do is the best job on the planet – hard work was the only way to overcome it.”
While Yves is very proud of his work and the team around him, perhaps nothing is more important to him than his family, they keep him grounded as he puts it. Yves came to truly appreciate the meaning of family when his parents divorced at a young age. Like so many kids who have to endure a divorce, it was definitely not a pleasant time.
“If I go back, it would be my parents’ divorce as a kid. I really acted out after that one. It makes me very aware that family is the most important thing in one’s life, and even though I am away from home often now, I try to always put them first…I’m in touch a lot with my close family and friends back home, they keep me grounded and make me not feel so far away, even if we just Skype and chat online! That is definitely the hardest part about touring, missing home and the crazy time schedule my brain adjusts to, but they understand my job and what it involves. Playing at Tomorrowland in my home of Belgium every year is one party they’re always invited to.”
While Yves has collaborated with some of Europe’s biggest artists such as Sander van Doorn, Blasterjaxx, and fellow Belgians, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, American audiences probably know Yves V best for his residency at Tomorrowland, one of the most prestigious international music festivals, and a showcase for Yves’ native Belgium. Yves first graced the stage back in the mid-late noughties and he hasn’t missed a year since. Yves says performing every year next to such premiere artists inspires him and everyone to step their game up each time out.
“I’ve performed on the mainstage nine times now next to so many huge names and that inspires me, to continue on, to up my game and keep delivering memorable sets. Tomorrowland is such an inspiration. The festival has grown from less than 50,000 fans in its first few years, to millions signing up online. Then it’s the huge production and crazy attention to detail that they put in that really sets it apart and keeps people coming back. Tomorrowland is an inspiration to so many and to be part of the family inspires me.”
Despite all of his accomplishments, Yves values life’s smaller pleasures more than anything else. Some artists have a grand platform that they are pursuing, for Yves he’s happy if his music is inspiring that same feeling in his fans. Like Tomorrowland’s slogan, those small things are Yves’ key to happiness.
“Sometimes I get messages from people that my music helps them to forget all their troubles, or for example after a show in Tokyo, I brought a fan with me on stage and she was crying from luck! Those moments are difficult to describe with words, but I think that’s what music is all about: making other people happy.”