A scene is nothing without the people that inhabit it, the bold ones that power it forward day in day out. Likewise for a city’s nightscape. And, unbeknown to most, a dedicated tribe of instigators – from promoters and producers to DJs, radio hosts and label heads – take to studios, basements, dance floors, fields and tents to ensure that no stone is left unturned and no night is left untouched in the pursuit of unfiltered and unfettered fun. Here, in a new collaboration with favoured gin imprint Bulldog, we meet six of the country’s nightlife movers and shakers – Horst’s Jochem Daelman, Deep in House’s Tom Raoul, Hush Hush’s Hush Hefner, Crevette Records’ Pim Thomas and Studio Brussel’s Charlotte de Witte – who each in their own right extoll the benefits of the country’s unique electronic music diversity in a six-part series of videos. For part one, Mathieu Fonsny – manager of DC Salas, co-organiser of Dour and DJ as Surfing Leons – discusses the genesis of Belgian clubbing culture.
Dropping band after band on a stage just won’t make the cut anymore, and it certainly no longer makes you a festival.
There’s really never been a better time for Belgian electronic music. There are a lot of exciting different musical brotherhoods finally coming into their own, be it the rap pack with the near ubiquity of Damso, Romeo Elvis, Caballero & JeanJass, Zwangere Guy and the likes or the electronic scene, with a string of uniquely-talented producers such as Lawrence Le Doux, Amelie Lens and DC Salas to name but a few. I also feel as though people talk to each other more nowadays, there’s a strong propensity for collaborations and sharing experiences, which is always a good sign. What’s more, entertainment habits and expectations have drastically changed over the years, meaning that we have a duty to stay on top of our game, and not just content-wise but also in terms of form. Dropping band after band on a stage just won’t make the cut anymore, and it certainly no longer makes you a festival. And, in that respect, I like what HORST does, they really manage to create a new experience and retain an edge. And I also like what Tomorrowland is doing, as their ability to put Belgium on the international map year-in year-out is unrivalled, and has benefited everyone in the scene. I do think Brussels could do more in terms of nightlife though but sense that political bickering is at play and that it won’t be long before the capital city reclaims its spot. I mean come on, we’re a capital and we really only have one club with a capacity of 500 to show for.