Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
I was introduced to nightlife and DJing when I was only just a kid. I used to go to Madrid with my uncle and back then, clubs were open in the afternoon, and then they would close for a bit before reopening at night. When I was only 10, my uncle managed to sneak me in and the best way for me to hide from security was to stay behind the DJ booth. That’s how I got back from Spain with my first 7-inch records! I played for the first time only two years later, at the age of 12.
I went to New Jersey because I took part to an exchange programme with my school, and at the end of the year, we had a big party where I played in front of all the American and Belgian kids. From that moment on, I kept collecting and spinning records. When I turned 16, I started working at an independent radio, which eventually led me to RTBF 27 years ago. It is also at that time that I started playing at Mirano. Today I am a radio producer at Pure where I also host my own radio show Pure Trax – Pure Dance.
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
I think I was more influenced by the travels I made than Brussels to be honest. When I was younger, in the early 80s, our scene wasn’t quite vibrant so you had to travel to attend real parties with DJs. I still remember the first time I went to Studio 54 in New York, or the times I played in Asia and Australia way before I started DJing at Mirano.
In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes” our sound what it is?
We are located in the centre of Europe and our country is open to what’s going on in our neighbouring countries. So the sound of Belgium is a blend of cold electronic music from Germany, and happier influences from France. We obviously contributed a lot to the electronic music scene with New Beat, but even before that, UK artists were always very excited to come and play in our country, because the crowd has always been curious and interested in new things.
“Politicians should have a better understanding of what nightlife is about, rather than seeing nightclubs as places of debauchery.”
To you, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?
Five clubs first come to mind: Vaudeville, Garage (former You) and Mirano in Brussels, La Rocca in Lier and Boccaccio in Ghent.
What, in your opinion, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?
Clubs, lots of clubs. In 20 years time, 50 to 70% of our clubs have closed down. Surely, there are more parties, but we still need venues to make them happen.
What can politicians do to better support the homegrown nightlife?
Politicians should have a better understanding of what nightlife is about, rather than seeing nightclubs as places of debauchery. Above all, a club is a place where people from different backgrounds can meet and share their love for music and parties.
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a good night?
A place where you can play loud music without neighbours complaining and a crowd who is there for the love of music and the sharing experience.
Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad?
The first time I went to Studio 54 in New York was incredible. This place used to be the temple of disco music. When I went, I didn’t know it was a special release party for the movie Flash Dance. Epic.
What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
The radio has a 12-month programme so it’s a lot of work, especially when I have to play at parties too, which is the case on May 19 to celebrate the Belgian Pride.