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.

Rôdham

Rôdham

Damien Rôdham, DJ and co-founder at Jardin des Pommes

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’ve always felt the need to make people dance. Back in 1998, I had a student job at a record store in Charleroi, Planet Deejay, and started buying loads of records. I started organising a few parties around town, then launched Applenight in Rockerill in 2008. From then on, things happened rather quickly: I launched the festival Le Jardin Des Pommes, bagged a few residencies at Backstage club, H2o, Bârdo, Extrema Outdoor and, luckily, made a few new acquaintances along the way – Don Pablo, with whom I often play B2B, Franck Backstage, the entire H20 team, Massimo Dacosta, Dorian or even Dam Fanel…

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

Put simply, I was lucky enough to have a mother than liked music and partying.

In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music?

Hard to say exactly, Belgium really is a party country, no doubt about that. Clubs are especially active at the moment and are really starting to leave their imprint on a whole new generation of electronic music lovers.

What “makes” our sound what it is?

I’d say it is unique and surprising.

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

Party, open minds and simplicity. Even if, today, a lot of people have changed in our country.

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

I’d tend to say that Wallonia’s scene does the best it can to stand out. A few homegrown concepts have emerged lately, despite the onslaught of more commercial entreprises, and you have clubs such as Rockerill in Charleroi, H2o Club in Tournai, Visions Room in Mons as well as the events we organise  – Le Jardin Des Pommes or La Nuit Des Pommes Vivantes – that have become forces to reckon with on the Belgian stage.

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

Rockerill, H2o Club, Fuse and Labyrinth Club.

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

More support between artists and promoters.

What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene/nightlife?

The political class really should better support and structure the Belgian scene instead of avoiding the issue. We still have too many refusals to organise certain events.

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

The quality of the soundsystem remains, for me, the priority – it has to be powerful and clear. A good light technician is crucial too, one that is passionate about electronic music. Then the audience is key.

If you had to pick three essential Belgian house music releases, which one would they be and why?

Confetti’s – The sound of C

Perfectly symbolises the New Beat sound of the times, with 296,000 records sold.

Jones & stephenson – The first Rebirth

Classic Belgian track.

Hand’s Burn – Good Shot

Produced in 1999 by Crisci Mauroand Marino Stephanothat both personally infuenced me during the big Trance years. RIP Stephano Marino!

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

I’d find it hard to do a top five, but I can definitely name a few DJs and artists I find worthy of a mention: Pierre, Raw District, Igor Vicente, Fernando Costantini and the likes.

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

Once, I was set to play at H2o Club. I got to the club, only to realise I had let my USB chip at home. I had to drive back 200kms, and got back to the club just in time for my set, which ended up being perfect.

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

First, Le Jardin Des Pommes that’ll take place on Sunday 12th August. But also the arrival of Backstage on the Internet, with whom I’ll be collaborating, and a few bookings for Extrema Outdoor. A few different releases are in the works too.