One of the overriding ambitions with The Word Radio, which we launched just over two months ago now, was to be a uniting force for the country’s often-disparate music scenes. Indeed, it seemed as though musicians, DJs, producers, label heads and music programer from Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Liège, Leuven, Charleroi and the likes never really got the chance to actually meet, conversate and, who knows, collaborate. It’s that age-old, very Belgian dilemma: everybody’s busy at it in their own little universe, rarely looking up to see who or what’s coming up around them. So a radio studio, based in Brussels, was a good opportunity to bring some of the country’s most active and adventurous forces in music to town. Here, in part two of a series of interviews we’ve conducted with some of our radio hosts who come to Brussels on a monthly basis to record their shows,  we speak with three out-of-towners and discuss what they’ve discovered about Brussels since coming through to the radio.

Hantrax

Seen from a distance, what is your perception of Brussels?

I think Brussels is vibrant: it seems like there’s always something exciting to check out in the most unexpected places, very much like a metropole. I feel like there’s a lot more to discover. When I was younger, I attended Kunsthumanior’s Moutstraat campus, and would visit all the neighbouring record shops during my free time. 14 years old, it was magic. End of the 90s, the parties in La Raffinerie impressed me massively: I saw Polaroid , Dexter, Ectomorph and so on there.

If you had to describe Brussels using three adjectives, what would they be?

International, full of life and very diverse. But three words arn’t enough, there’s so much more.

How does Brussels compare to the city you are based in today?

Well it’s hard to compare: I was born and raised in Antwerp and have lived here all my life. I feel like I know it very well and it’s cosy to me, it feels like home. Brussels on the other hand is more of a big city, fun for visits, seeing old friends and meeting new people. I feel more anonymous in Brussels and I really enjoy that, wandering around the city and getting lost.

When you come to Brussels, what are the pit stops you make, the essential places you have to visit?

I usually book a hotel with my girlfriend, and meet up with a bunch of local friends and contacts. It always end up differently. The best is to spend at least a few days in Brussels – no plans, just enjoying everything the city has to offer in that specific moment. Just going with the flow and keeping an open mind.

What is specific to Brussels that you’d like to see in your hometown?

I actually like that Antwerp and Brussels are so different – I wouldn’t change a thing to be honest. But if there had to be one thing, maybe Brussels has more cosy spots like pancakes houses that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in Antwerp.

In what way, if any, has hosting a residency on The Word Radio strengthened your bond to Brussels?

Firstly, it was nice to be in a part of Brussels I’d never visited before. It was also great to finally be able to meet people I only knew the names and music of, like Céline Gillain and Maoupa Mazzocchetti, and to find out they’re really nice people too. And station manager Quentin, who’s been doing an impressive job, and the office cat Obama. I’m really enjoying my monthly radio show, because I get to share music I’m passionate about with others

In what way, if any, do you expect The Word Radio to bring you closer to “the Brussels scene”?

I regularly check the other shows, and have already made some new discoveries. I’m secretly hoping for a Word Radio party, with all the DJs present, so we can meet up and give each other a hug – or a pat on the shoulder, for those who don’t like hugging.

Hantrax (1984) is a musician based in Antwerp. 

Stellar OM Source

Seen from a distance, what is your perception of Brussels?

A joyous mess.

If you had to describe Brussels using three adjectives, what would they be?

Enigmatic, eclectic, chaotic.

How does Brussels compare to the city you are based in today?

Compared to Antwerp it’s bigger and dirtier, more diverse and international – but also French and undefined. All in all, attractive in a trashy way.

When you come to Brussels, what are the pit stops you make, the essential places you have to visit?

Beursschouwburg, BOZAR, Kiosk, Jeu de Balle, La Cambre and my friends.

What is specific to Brussels that you’d like to see in your hometown?

More chaos in Antwerp, although my hometown is Paris.

Stellar OM Source (1981) is DJ based between Antwerp and Paris

DTM Funk

Seen from a distance, what is your perception of Brussels?

I really love Brussels. It’s got everything you’d expect from a small city, especially a really eclectic music scene. For me, it’s all about the atypical stuff like crazy electronic or out-there experimental sets.

If you had to describe Brussels using three adjectives, what would they be?

Hybrid, powerful, connected.

How does Brussels compare to the city you are based in today?

Compared to Antwerp, Brussels is a lot more international. There’s a lot to try food- and concert-wise. And musically, it’s a bit more ballsy and open-minded. You could say it’s less about the trends and more about taking risks. What I’ve really noticed is how collaborative Brussels is, particularly between the older and younger generations. More established creators are happy to help out up-and-coming talent.

When you come to Brussels, what are the pit stops you make, the essential places you have to visit?

Kumiko has been a new favourite, it’s intimate and their Asian menu’s delicious. Le Botanique, Ancienne Botanique and Beursschouwsberg never disappoint. It’s all about supporting artists and great acoustics. Recylart has the most dedicated underground fans.

What is specific to Brussels that you’d like to see in your hometown?

The breakers scene in Brussels is exciting and I love just how dark the music can be. I’d say Antwerp should think out of the box a little more. Promoters could do their part to encourage new talent and more variety. And we definitely need more underground music venues.

In what way, if any, has hosting a residency on The Word Radio strengthened your bond to Brussels?

Initially, I was only doing pre-recorded sets. But over the last couple of weeks I’ve started coming to Brussels to do live hosting every Tuesday. It’s great to keep in touch with Brussels-based friends more regularly and it’s allowing me to explore.

DTM Funk (1989) is a DJ, promoter and agent based in Antwerp.