Ten years of Catclub flyers

Celebrating ten years of nightlife glory this Saturday, Brussels’ one and only Catclub has solely been responsible for making the country’s beautiful people move their fine selves in one collective dance move after the other. And, if there ever was a night that best encapsulated the nation’s creative community’s thirst for good times and full smiles, it is the party with the pussy mascot, headed by local hero Lady Jane. We pay our dues by having a quick chat with the lady in charge and revisit ten years of defining flyers. Handclap.

On the beginnings…

At the time (when I first started the Catclub), there really weren’t any good parties in Brussels, especially not ones that played the kind of music that my friends and I liked and played, things like Chicago House. I’d always gravitated towards melodious and sensitive house music and there really wasn’t anything out there at the time so I thought “why not organise something for my friends?” I’d been mixing since the early 90s. I really grew up with the beginnings of the Chicago House scene, then got to see the better side of the Techno scene with producers such as Derrick May and so just started throwing small parties in Brussels. I had lived in Brussels for four years before starting the Catclub. I’m originally from Leuven then went off to study in Antwerp and ended up in Brussels after that. They just wasn’t anything good in terms of nightlife in Brussels, nothing a little sexy and different. The first party I did was with a good friend of mine at the time and it was during the heydays of the Food Club in Leuven. It wasn’t anything out of this world, even though we did have Aurore Daerden (in her better days) come to it. After that I started the Catclub with Steve Jakobs who took care of all the flyers. We had met at De Markten where I worked behind the bar.

On the name…

We just came up with the name Catclub like that, it wasn’t anything special. We never set out to create a Gay & Lesbian night, everyone just assumed it was because I am. That, and maybe also because the first party we did was in a girl-only club called the Gayte. It was really funny because that was the first time loads of guys were on the club’s dance floor. The next two parties we did were in the apartment of friends of mine (Chloe and Gert) that had a massive ballroom in it. Once the noise got so loud that we actually burst their aquarium open and had to scramble to pick up all the fish.

On the tipping point…

Our big breakthrough happened when we booked Nicolas Jaar in 2010. He could only come over during school holidays as he was still a student, so we had to wait until December before he came to Brussels. Six months had passed between the time we had booked him and the actual date he was set to play, and his simply exploded during that time. At 10.30pm there already was a massive queue outside which was unheard of – over a thousand people turned up that night.

On the Catclub’s spirit…

For me, the Catclub is like a family. When you come in, you instantly feel at home, everyone’s smiling, everyone’s beautiful, positive, nice and ready to party. There’s something of a collective trance. They don’t put on a show, everyone’s down-to-earth.

On the team…

Steve Jakobs was instrumental in the beginning in defining the Catclub’s aesthetic. Devrim (Bayar, curator and head of residency program at Wiels) really brought a distinctive artistic feel to the parties too.

On the memorable nights…

One of my favourite Catclub parties was the one with John Roberts. Another memorable night was when the police came in, stepped up to the podium and asked me if we had a microphone. At first I was a little bewildered, but then they said they simply needed some of our cars outside to be moved as the Sunday market was about to begin.