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.

Curle Recordings

Curle Recordings

Tom Verhoeven, founder

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’m the founder of Curle Recordings and also take care of A&R for the label. Alongside this, I also collect and play records as Fader. I studied journalism, did an internship with RifRaf Magazine then continued writing for them as a volunteer. Landed my first job at age 21 as art director for Fuse, doing the bookings for the main room. Nick, who now runs the place, started on the same day in 2001, doing the bookings in the motion room. After that I started writing for Out Soon magazine, later renamed Nightcode, and also worked freelance at Live Nation for I Love Techno. In 2006, I started working at N.E.W.S. Records which is run by former Fuse resident T-Quest (better known today as Dr Lektroluv). Nowawdays, I spend my time running Curle Recordings – whose catalogue includes vinyl, digital as well as the occasional CD and cassette). And last September I started a radio show on URgent.fm.

“We’re the underdog, working silently in the background, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

I’ve been a music freak ever since I was a kid, recording radio mixes on cassette. Not much has changed since, only hundreds of cassettes were replaced by thousands of vinyls and the walkman by an iPhone.

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

I’d say that what is definitely typically Belgian is that we’re the underdog, working silently in the background, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. And those are attributes that can also be transposed to our musical output. For a longer answer, I’d advise everyone that didn’t see it yet to watch the movie The Sound of Belgium.

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

To be honest with you I’m not sure it’s still that unique. We were there early, but these days one can find cool clubs or parties and nice festivals almost everywhere in the world.

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

Ghent unfortunately doesn’t have a ton of spaces to throw a party, a lot of parties are thrown by the same people in the same venues. There’s a vibrant pop-up scene though, a lot of stuff that comes and goes, which is nice, although it sometimes means a poor soundasystem and less party “comfort” in general. In my opinion the concert scene in Ghent is better than the party scene.

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

Having lived a large part of my life somewhere in between Recyclart, Who’s Who’s Land, Caves De La Chapelle (Made In Brussels) and Fuse, the answer to this question will always be Brussels.

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

Without a doubt, more daytime events such as Technoon for instance. Once you have kids it’s just a lot harder to end up in bed really late/early. Because you’re too tired to stay awake and/or because the kids are already awake by the time you get to bed. Anyone that has enjoyed an afternoon at Berghain can confirm daytime clubbing is just as good as nighttime clubbing.

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

More spaces, and less regulation.

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

Good music, a good soundsystem and people that are up for it.

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

I always suck at questions such as these, there’s just too much to choose from. So I just picked the first three that came to mind and that weren’t too obvious. Three times a Belgian artist, three times on a Belgian label:

Talbot Wood

Far Out Radio Systems

Circadian Rhythms

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

Once again an impossible question, but I’ll give it a try. By the way, in my opinion five is too much if you want to give each DJ a proper set time!

  1. Deg – Best Belgian DJ ever, period.
  2. Peter Van Hoesen – A great and warm personality.
  3. Tomaz – We happen to share a pretty similar taste in music.
  4. Fader – At the party of my dreams, I’d definitely want to play myself too!
  5. St. Dic – You said it was a dream line-up, so I’m bringing this guy back.

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

I only ever kept one poster of my days doing the bookings at Fuse, and tot his day it is still hanging in my studio: Sven Väth on the 29th of June 2002. He started off with Reinhard Voigt ‘Supertiel’ but his entire set was an ear opener back then. I remember it being the last gig of his tour so he went all the way and ended up playing IDM tunes at 9 in the morning, standing on top of the booth. Memorable is an understatement for that one.

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

Releasing new music from Efdemin on Curle Recordings, starting to work on my own productions, and keeping an eye open for new job opportunities.

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