The Antwerp Hundreds

Portraits of a city's people, today

To mark the release of our Warriors edition, we've teamed up with This is Antwerp to bring you 100 Antwerp Warriors, a 100-strong selection of local movers and shakers setting the tone for the neighbourhood of tomorrow. From design and architecture to contemporary art and politics, these are the creatives shaping the narrative of the future.

Faisal

Faisal

DJ, producer

Can you describe what you do? Where you are based, the neighbourhood you live in, your daily routine, the people you work with, the scene you feel the closest to?

I’m based in the centre of Antwerp, where I have my little home studio set-up (I’m not gonna lie, it’s nothing more than two speakers and a midi keyboard). My weekends are all about the radio show I host on Studio Brussel and other DJ gigs all over the place. Weekdays are reserved for making music, remixing or editing music to fit my DJ sets. I work with people from all over and from different backgrounds, studio musicians, MCs, singers, jazzcats, beat heads – if you’re into making music, we’ll probably kick it. Although I must say I feel closest to the beatscene, the first one I started exploring, and keep finding myself gravitating and circling back to.

How do you perceive Antwerp? In your view, what kind of city is it? Its people, its cultural landscape, its vibe? How does it compare to other, similarly sized cities?

It’s a relatively small city full of creative people from different backgrounds, and it’s easy to run into people all over town. But there’s a fake-y plastic side to the city too. As if you’re walking through a Pinterest board that came to life. Some areas lack in personality or realness, but I guess every city has those neighbourhoods.

I suppose this concentration of creative and like-minded people around me keeps my fire burning.

What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives? What gives the city its edge?

I feel like Antwerp is good at moving its cool spots around. Since I’ve been living here, I still haven’t found that one specific place to hang out every weekend. Lots of nice venues relocate or are merely temporary. I want to refrain from calling them pop-up spaces, but that’s basically what they are. Causing that, every time a new place opens, you hit a hard reset button. Some people won’t feel the vibe of the place, others will. Crowds don’t necessarily move around with the function.

How would you say has Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?

I suppose this concentration of creative and like-minded people around me keeps my fire burning. I can’t say the city shaped my outlook on life but I definitely meet a lot of people that inspire me.

On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?

A little more sense of community would be much welcomed, taking the example from our capital, Brussels, where you’ll see different cliques dancing under the same flag. Groups in Antwerp still prefer to ride their own wave and not bother each other too much, I feel.

To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?

I always take people to the – now closed – A-tower, an example of the many pop-up initiatives I mentioned earlier. But now that it’s closed I guess I have to find a new spot.

A local legend, neighborhood anecdote or urban myth you like?

Café d’Anvers, one of the clubs in the red light district of town, supposedly has many prostitutes amongst its visitors at a certain hour, after they get off their shift looking to score some late-night customers. I haven’t met anyone who could confirm the story, and neither can I, as I’ve never been to Café d’Anvers. Maybe the guy who told me this story was just fucking with me, for all he knows it was just a group of poorly dressed British tourists.

Interview Laurent James
Photography Miles Fischler