Solidarity 2023: The Magician, magician of the dancefloor, finds his Namur roots

For one evening, Stephen Fasano, alias The Magician, will return to his native land. A magician of music and the dancefloor, he will enchant the public from 11:45 p.m. at Solidarités (which is taking place this year at the Ecolys zoning in Suarlée). We owe him famous productions and remixes like sunshine (with Years & Years) or Rather Be (from Clean Bandit) and international success I follow river (from Lykke Li).

Stephen always wanted to be a DJ, send energy and make people dance. “When I started, it wasn’t like now where it’s very easy to make music because everything is automated. And then there were fewer electronic music producers, he remembers. Electro parties, raves… it was rather underground, hidden, and not very popular because it was associated with marginal people. Which is no longer the case now. Little by little, it developed well.”

His tube, an accident

In 2007, Stephen founded the Aeroplane group with the Belgian Vito de Luca. Three years later, they parted ways to go solo and thus The Magician was born.

That’s when he handed the title to his sauce I follow river, by Swedish singer Lykke Li, turning it into a global hit. The magic had worked! “I released it in 2011. I was happy to remix Lykke Li because I love this artist but I had no expectations. I had no idea it would become such a hit! It was a accident, he reveals. At the start, I kept the same recipe as with Aéroplane, that is to say keep the voice and recompose a piece over it. And then, I changed everything: the rhythm, the tonality, etc. This rather sad and introspective track became more positive and festive!”

Stephen has always had a crush on England. He spent a lot of time there. “I was making music with a guy who had a studio in London. In 2014, I had the opportunity to do a track with Years & Years singer Olly Alexander. He was an actor in a popular series there and was very hyped! He came to the studio and we recorded Sunlight in an afternoon.”

Not take yourself seriously

Stephen says he never made music for the money but for passion. “Of course, I live off it now and I’m very grateful. But I don’t forget where I come from and the days when I was mixing at parties from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to win 500 Belgian francs . I love sharing music, whether it’s my own or other people’s. I like to surprise to offer different and original things… he confides. I never prepare my sets in advance, Sometimes I don’t even know what I’ll play first ten minutes before the show! I have always kept this need for challenge where nothing is acquired. I have fun in what I do and I don’t take myself seriously.”

The 47-year-old DJ has remained humble despite fame and even though he rubs shoulders with millionaires and stars all over the world. He has participated in internationally renowned events such as Tomorrowland or Coachella. “I met a lot of artists there like David Guetta, DJ Snake or The Weeknd and I’ve already eaten next to Daft Punk, he smiled. Daft Punk and David Bowie are artists who have greatly influenced me both musically and visually.”

Stephen is also a great photography enthusiast. A passion he shares with his wife, who works in the business. “When I’m on tour, I don’t usually play Monday through Thursday, so we do shoots in Los Angeles, New York, Ibiza, Greece, Thailand… It’s rare when I’m at home for more than 3 days!”

An old fashioned DJ

Hyperactive, Stephen recharges his batteries through travel, enjoying discovering other cultures and meeting new people. He feels just as good in a starred restaurant as in the local little boui-boui. “The trip opened my mind. Whether I rub shoulders with the rich or the poor, the important thing for me is the richness of the exchanges and the moments spent together.

We know it less but The Magician is also very popular for private parties. “It can be corporate events, for a brand or the fashion world. I also do weddings, he explains. I notably mixed at a wedding in Mexico with 400 people. The Swedish House Mafia played after me.”

And he assures her, it’s not as stuffy as one might think. “There is more proximity than in a festival. We really have the opportunity to meet people, he said. At first, it scared me because I lived in the Charleroi region, my parents are workers and these people were different from what I knew. I didn’t go to them because I wasn’t very open. But in the end, you eat with them, you chat, and when you’re relaxed with that, the person in front of you is too! On Saturday, he will be on the Amalfi Coast for the wedding of an American producer.

Despite the splendor to which he is accustomed, Stephen is delighted to set foot on Namur soil to make the public dance. “It’s moving to see nearly 20,000 people moving in front of you. I love that energy. My goal is to give them a good time!” However, he warns: “I’m an old-school DJ. I never pick up the mic at the start or between songs because I’m ultra-shy, he reveals. Sometimes my wife yells at me, telling me that I could at least introduce myself and say hello.” We obviously challenged him to say a few words!

Times: 11:45 p.m., place des arts at Solidarités (Ecolys zone in Suarlée). Scene on Sambre in Thuin: 8:45 p.m.

Between compilations and EPs

Beyond its hyper-known remixes, The Magician has established itself over the years among the most famous names in modern house.

Over the past decade, his “Magic Tapes” compilations have allowed fans to accompany precious moments in life. In May 2020, The Magician released “Renaissance”, an EP (an extended play, which includes more tracks than a single and less than an album) on which we find in particular known titles like You and Me and Disco Romance.

He also has his own label called Potion Records, which has resulted in several projects. In June 2022, The Magician released “The Magician Presents: Club Fever EP”, featuring five club tracks including Disko Dakka, released just before the health crisis.

His latest musical release titled Differences, in collaboration with The Aston Shuffle, marked the start of 2023. This summer, he has notably been seen at Ushuaia Ibiza alongside Martin Garrix and at Tomorrowland with Lost Frequencies.

His first album, disco-pop, will be released in 2024

Stephen Fasano, you are back in Namur, where your roots are, both Belgian and Italian…

Indeed, I am Belgian-Italian. My father is from Naples. He arrived in the 1950s with his father, who worked in the mines like many Italians at that time. My mum is Belgian, she grew up in Sambreville. I lived in Tamines until a year and a half and then we moved to Nalinnes. Both in Namur and in Charleroi, I still have friends there whom I met mainly through music.

What are your influences and where do they come from?

Basically, it’s disco and funk. My father listened in particular to Michel Jackson and Abba, that marked me. And then at home, the radio was on all the time when I was little, in the 80s. Afterwards, I became interested in the French touch. Daft Punk are the perfect illustration of this. This duo is my model! I love their aesthetic, the way they communicate and everything they’ve conveyed since the early 90s.

The Magician will release their very first album in 2024. ©Elodie Gerard

Why do you live in Belgium when you often work abroad and could live in the sun all year round?

It’s a good question! I ask myself this every morning when it rains (laughs). I have lived in Brussels for more than 20 years and now we have just bought a house in Overijse where I will live with my wife and daughter. We have our roots in Belgium and it is above all to keep the link with our parents. But luckily, the airport is not far away!

Without Likke Li’s remix, you wouldn’t be here today?

It brought me notoriety but I hardly perceive anything from this remix although I signed the music for the composition. At the time, I didn’t have a manager and I signed a little nonsense… And then, at that time, very few DJ’s received rights to a remix. Whether the song worked or not, it was the same thing. However, when an artist remixes, he adds his touch and the song no longer resembles the original. I therefore find it normal that he earns a percentage and royalties. Luckily, things are changing more and more.

What are your next projects?

We just released a eurodance version of On my body with Carl Chaste. I’ll be releasing another soon in collaboration with Canadian-born DJ A-Trak. It’s going to resonate a little more because we signed it to a big label. We will then tour together in Europe and the United States. For the record, A-Trak was scratching champion at only 15 years old and accompanied rapper Kanye West for years. At the beginning of November, I am going on tour in the USA for three weeks. And the huge project is that I will finally release an album next year! There is no date yet but it will be a disco-pop album, tinged with all my influences, with more maturity and without concessions because I had fun with the sounds!

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