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.

Bonzai

Bonzai

Christian Pieters ‘Fly’, manager

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’ve been in charge of the daily management of the Bonzai trademark since 1992, and before that I used to run a DJ store. Today, we mostly do label and artist management, event organisation and planning, digital music distribution, publishing and the likes.

“In contradiction to many other musical styles, electronic dance music coming from Belgium has always been valued highly.”

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

I wasn’t born in an artistic family. I guess you could say it just kind of happened

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

In contradiction to many other musical styles, electronic dance music coming from Belgium has always been valued highly.  The foundation for this can be found in the 80s, when New Beat and New Wave were hot.  I think labels such as ours and R&S were born in the slipstream of those genres.  Also, back then, club life really was booming – you’d have French, Germans and Dutch ravers came weekly to Belgian Clubs for the specific sound played in all our underground clubs.

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

Hard to say today, but it used to be defined by an « everyting-goes » kind of spirit and tolerance.

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

Today, without a doubt Tomorrowland

What, in your opinion, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?

Visionaries and fresh ideas.

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

I didn’t know Amsterdam had a night mayor, could be good.  But otherwise, politicians, really ?

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

Sex, Drugs & Techno. Oh, and alcohol.

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

Cherry Moon trax 1 : The house of house

Push – Universal Nation (Original 12″ Mix)

Jones & Stephenson The First Rebirth

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

Joker

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

Croatia in the mid 90s. War going on, 10,000 ravers, night raids so lights go out from midnight to 3h. Music and lights go back on, finish with 10,000 ravers.

What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?

I have a few dozen gigs coming up during spring and summer, with Tomorrowland being the eyechatcher out of the tour. And we also have a bunch of events coming up with Bonzai

https://www.bonzaiallstars.com/

https://www.bonzaiprogressive.com/