To crowds of young ravers the cash-generating might of the Soulwax/2 Many DJs axis places them close to the commercial epicentre of dance music. Just look at this show for proof: set in an arena in the middle of a shopping centre, it’s being promoted once again by Colours, which is about as big as a dance artist gets in Scotland without crossing over to the main stage at T in the Park.
Yet Soulwax are the polar opposite of your average Tiesto. Indeed, they’ve defined the decade in urgent, trend-setting dance music in more ways than one, which isn’t bad going for brothers David and Stephen Dewaele. Their decade started at the head of a half-average Belgian indie band whose best song, ironically, was called ‘Too Many DJs’. Paraphrasing the track’s title as their DJ alias, the pair would go on to have a huge underground sleeper hit in 2003 with As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2, which even now remains the decade’s defining mix album. Alongside Freelance Hellraiser’s bootleg ‘A Stroke of Genie-us’, it would popularise the concept of the mash-up with imaginative, unlikely mixes of Dolly Parton, Royksopp, Jeans Team, Skee-Lo, Salt’n’Pepa and The Stooges.
Not only that, Soulwax’s 2004 album Any Minute Now (also their last original record, not counting extensive remix projects involving their own work and that of other artists) would stand alongside LCD Soundsystem’s debut as a classic of the rock/dance crossover movement. A new album is expected not long into the new decade, but in the meantime, Soulwax and 2 Many DJs remain a dance act everyone must see before they die.