“Normally, when you do a remix, you don’t get a lot of contact with the artist,” Steven Redant says. The opposite was true when the DJ/producer was hired in 2012 to rework “White Light” for George Michael, who died unexpectedly in December. “He was really into it. He would be emailing me personally, and we were talking about stuff.”
For Redant, Michael wasn’t just a great pop singer/songwriter, he was a key influence, one who helped inspire Redant’s passion for music in the first place. “I remember dancing to Wham! on the front lawn of my house,” Redant says.
Growing up in “a completely non-artistic, non-musical family” in Belgium, Redant’s musical passion developed years later when his older brother took the then-underage teenager to a popular Brussels nightclub. “They let me in for some reason,” he says. “And I walked in and my life changed…. I fell in love — and I’ve never fallen out of love — with house music.”
Redant first came to fame in the late ’90s as a resident DJ at Privilege in Ibiza — the most popular club in the most popular dance resort in the world. He credits the Spanish island as well as his adopted hometown of Barcelona with influencing the style of house music he produces: alternately bouncy and breezy, tribal and tropical, brightened with occasional bursts of brass. “I like my brass, I do,” he says. “It gives a lot of energy. Even though I’m Belgian, I’m really Spanish by heart, always have been. And that comes out — I like the Spanish rhythms.”
When not serving as resident DJ at La Demence in Brussels, one of Europe’s longest-running monthly gay parties, Redant is an increasing presence on the international gay circuit. This Saturday, Feb. 18, he makes his D.C. debut at Town. The set will include several original tracks, including Bent Collective productions with Danny Verde, an up-and-coming mover and shaker on today’s gay circuit scene. And he’ll also pay tribute to Michael, something he’s always done. “I have a couple of George Michael tracks I’ve been playing for years,” including an obscure remix of “Faith” he sometimes plays as an encore. There’s also the peppy yet haunting remix of “White Light,” a song, expressing hope for a future in music, that became Michael’s final U.K. Top 40 hit in 2012.
Redant will also play remixes of tunes by Clean Bandit and Years & Years, two newer electronic acts that are making it “fun these days to DJ again.” Also aiding in the cause: remixed tunes of Sia, whom he calls “a magician with words and melodies.”
“I felt that EDM made everything sound extremely plastic, and everything was a little bit the same,” he says. “I’m more inspired now by the music that’s around. It’s grown up a little. It has a little bit more feeling to it. I’m actually pretty happy that the gay scene never gave into EDM, just probably because we’re adults, not kids.”
Steven Redant plays Town on Saturday, Feb. 18. Doors open at 10 p.m. Cover is $12. 21+. Visit towndc.com.
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