A virus infects its host, taking over slowly at times, raging rapidly at others. And that's why no one would question why 25-year-old Boris Daenen -- a.k.a. Netsky -- takes his pseudonym from that source. The rising Belgium-born star produces parties out of thin air, his electronic shows heavy on drum-and-bass and atmosphere. On Monday, Nov. 24, the virus comes to House of Blues -- and no matter what precautions you take, there's no avoiding infection.
We caught up with Netsky ahead of his show to talk about the surprises he has in store for fans on his forthcoming new album, his commonality with Arnold Schwarzenegger, guilty pleasures and more.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz: What brought you to this kind of music and music making?
Netsky: Well, I started off making music at a young age. I got my first keyboard and drum kit when I was 10. My dad used to love listening to music -- he's got a massive record collection, with '70s and Motown and funk. I think I started making electronic music when I was 14, 15 maybe. I can't remember the first time I heard electronic music, but I do remember the first song I heard -- Fatboy Slim and Prodigy -- and I just absolutely loved it, and I couldn't believe how producers could take samples from old records and make something completely different out of it with tapes and scratching, and all that cool stuff. I was completely blown away and knew that was something I wanted to get into.
Music. Community. Culture.
HLS: You have a new album coming out next year. What can we look forward to with that?
NS: It's my third album. It's gonna be released on a new label -- I've always been signed to an independent label, but I decided to move to a major label with this album. So the whole album is a bit more broad than my last album, so I've really been trying to push boundaries a bit, especially in my little drum-and-bass bubble. So people can definitely expect experimenting and collaborations that will shock some of my older fans I think [laughs]. And I'm kinda lookin' forward to that -- it's a guilty pleasure.
HLS: Any chance San Diego will hear some new material?
NS: Yeah, we're definitely testing three or four new songs, which I'm really excited about.
HLS: When did you take on the Netsky pseudonym?
NS: It's funny, I think 90 percent of interviews I've done in America pronounce it "Net-ski," but it's actually "Net-sky." And then the second question is whether it's from "Terminator," and that's not true at all [laughs]. When I was starting to make music, that was back in the days -- I'm old enough to say "back in the days" now [laughs] -- that was in the time when those illegal download programs, like Limewire, those were quite big back then. I just remember I was working on my first EP or single, and I accidentally downloaded this computer virus, and the virus was called Netsky. And it just got rid of everything that was working, and it broke my heart. I thought if anyone tried to download my music in the future, it'd be like they were getting a virus. It's a comment on piracy, even though I was doing that then.
HLS: How do you get pumped up for shows?
NS: I get nervous before every show, and that's what gives me energy, I think. I've never really had a gig so far where I had trouble jumping up, and I've had a million gigs that, right before the show, I feel like I'm not going to be able to do this, but then I get onstage. But if there's a show where it's, like, half-empty or looks really empty or a really s--- kind of atmosphere, I have a hard time getting energy there sometimes. But I need to get over that, because I need to be a professional [laughs].
HLS: Anything else you’d like San Diego to know?
NS: I'll be playing a couple new songs -- if somebody likes something, it'd be brilliant to hear back!
Netsky plays House of Blues on Monday, Nov. 24, at 9 p.m., $15-$35, 18+.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.