The House Hundred

Portraits of a scene's past, present and future greats

We’re teaming up with Bulldog to select 100 essential people, places and projects in Belgian house music. From producers and DJs to record labels and festivals, these are the forces driving the homegrown house scene forward, one BPM at a time.



Charles Grison, co-founder with Salvatore Penitente

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I currently work for the Belgian home fragrance brand Baobab Collection, alongside launching a craft brewery with my brother. I’ve always been passionate about music and organising parties ever since I was a student. Alongside my friend Salvatore Penitente, our most recent party project Endless melts deep and sensitive techno into unique venues.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

A fair question: if you knew the neighbourhood and the people with whom I grew up, you wouldn’t understand my musical tastes!

In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes” our sound what it is?

I wasn’t of partying age yet during Belgium’s golden era, but we boast a very strong history and influence on electronic music as a whole. Perhaps the fact that we Belgians don’t care much about what others think frees us.

What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife?

Compared to some other countries, I think Belgians have a strong culture of music, especially on the Flemish side. There’s plenty of opportunities to have a wide-ranging musical comprehension.

More specifically, can you talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene? What makes it special, who are its main players?

I really enjoy the Brussels-based venue Le Botanique, which is where I first started to get into indie music. They’ve always had a keen eye for upcoming bands, and I love their cosy Rotonde stage. It’s a refreshing change to the standard experience of watching a live act from 100m away.

To you, which places in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?

Ghent’s Kompass is the perfect symbiosis between music curation and location. I also love the outdoor parties that take place in Brussels’ Place Poelaertplein or Tour & Taxis – a big thank you to all the organisers, as it takes a lot of work to carry something like that out.

In your opinion, what is missing in Belgium in terms of nightlife?

Belgium is diverse: we can’t compare Brussels to Antwerp, for example. But in my opinion, our politicians are currently undermining the importance of our nightscape. Brussels alone has seen three key institutions of the underground scene – Recyclart, Barlok and Technoon – be forced to find a new home in the last three months. The energy of a city is partially, if not largely driven by its nightlife – it’s an important component of its culture. Tourists, especially young travellers want to discover new places. Successful tourist destinations like Berlin or Amsterdam prove that a strong nightlife scene will have a positive impact on the city as a whole.

Perhaps the fact that we Belgians don’t care much about what others think frees us.

What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene/nightlife? For instance, what do you make of Amsterdam having a nightlife mayor?

We need someone who will represent the interests of a community that currently isn’t being taken into consideration. Hopefully more and more people will become interested in electronic music, regardless of the good or bad consequences this may bring. I think the City will only finally consider the importance of nightlife when they realise what it can generate, including economically. Some cool urban festivals such as Listen Festival or Brussels Electronic Marathon are growing, so we’re heading in the right direction.

In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a good night?

A solid line-up and a great location. More so than the friends aspect, since a strong line-up will always attract a great crowd. And venue location is really a key part of any party in my eyes, and is arguably more difficult to find than the artists…

If you had to pick three essential Belgian house music releases, what would they be?

Brehme – Intiyat

I love the subtle Arabic voice on this track.

Marco Bailey – Chroma

I like the evolution of Marco Bailey’s sound – it’s very dance-y.

Locked Groove – Emeralds

Trippy and dreamy.

If you could put together the line-up of your dreams, which top Belgian acts would you book and why?

Peter Van Hoesen – he’s a great artist and technical DJ.

Goose – I’ve always loved rock music, and I like how they mix rock with electronic sounds.

Fleur – she’s already played for us twice and we love her.

Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad.

One night, I thought I became a cat. For sure memorable – and probably quite bad.