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 – Dour’s Mathieu Fonsny, 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 four, HORST festival’s co-ordinator Jochem Daelman discusses the pertinence of creative platforms in Belgium’s current cultural landscape.
We need people to create an infrastructure, real places
To me, the very nature of the country makes it a particularly unique breeding ground. We don’t have a dominating music capital like Amsterdam, Berlin or London but we do have a lot of cities with various different pockets of creativity each with their own specificities. There’s interesting stuff going on all over the country, yet on a smaller scale. That being said, we do need people to create an infrastructure, real places where that creative activity gets to be expressed and where they can grow into a brazen breed. For instance, even though they’ve only recently opened, Crevette in Brussels has already had quite a visible impact on the local scene. And we need more of these initiatives where ideas and movements can grow into something bold. Places were people come together and scenes get shaped. Now that could mean a festival – such as ours, HORST – or it could mean a much more intimate setting, such as a house party with good music and a strong mix of exciting people that, in my view, beats any club night. With HORST, I do believe we bring a meaningful addition to the country’s festival circuit, experimenting with some of the core elements of a festival to offer what we hope is a new narrative. How can a stage be different? How can experienced DJs offer insights into a stage design? How can artists and architects shape an innovative festival scenography? How can we introduce young, electronic music fans to contemporary art? These, in my view, are some of the most interesting and pressing challenges we as a festival face in nurturing a fertile and fervent electronic music scene.
Jochem (1989) is HORST festival’s coordinator as well as a member of ONKRUID, a diverse team combining design, urbanism, music, art and marketing and whose first project is the opening of a new temporary square in the heart of Borgerhout, Antwerp.