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.

Felix Cage

Felix Cage

DJ, producer and co-owner of label Electronical Reeds

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I am an electronic music DJ & producer based in Brussels. I was introduced to music with a classical piano training and even though I have to admit I did not enjoy it that much back then, it still helps me everyday in my studio. Like many of us, I got involved in the electronic music industry by organising parties in the early 2000. We created Borderline Corp. with a bunch of friends and threw Sunday parties at Marquee club for two years. Then one thing led to another and we started organising label nights at The Wood, became a resident there and was signed by Brussels-based label Electronical Reeds.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

Because I was born in Paris and grew up in Moscow, my musical background ranges from classical music to Russian pop rock of the early 90s and echoes of the European house scene. It is only later in Belgium that I fully embraced the electronic music movement and the European clubbing culture that ultimately showed me the way to events, DJing and music production.

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

I did not fully experience the Belgian house music boom of the 90s but my guess is the clubbing culture played a major role in the scene’s evolution. Every weekend, clubs would gather open-minded party crowds hungry for quality music curated by residents and guest artists. And more importantly, people came to have fun and not only for the big names, as long as the quality was there. Our country was an extremely fertile soil for artists to experiment and create. With all the clubs and talented artists we’ve had, it was only natural that a “Belgian” sound would see the light at some point.

“Our country was an extremely fertile soil for artists to experiment and create.”

What, to you, characterises Brussels’ unique nightlife?

Brussels is a very complicated city when it comes to nightlife. Many venues have closed down or are struggling to keep their door open. In my view, Fuse remains the pillar of our electronic music scene and I’d also like to mention Zodiak, a younger venue that also hosts a lot of electronic nights. While a lot of promoters were discouraged and stopped organising parties, some are still very active like Deep in House and new ones came around like ON and Endless for instance.

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

I would definitely go for Ketaloco and Thé Dansant because the crowd at these events is always in the mood to have fun. The promoters deliver every time with a line-up putting local artists under the spotlight, proving that Belgium got talent.

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

Curiosity. People are less and less curious, at the expense of promoters and venues that don’t have the budget to book international headliners. It is a pity because it doesn’t mean their events are less qualitative, on the contrary. Very often they are more ardent about their project so they pay closer attention to the artists and the venues they select. I am cool with big events but there’s more happening in Belgium than you probably think, so stay curious.

 

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

Berlin was the first city to have a night mayor; Amsterdam followed and I think they made the right decision. In my opinion, Brussels could use one too but I’m afraid it is not going to happen in the near future. If Berlin clearly sees clubbing as a part of their culture and Amsterdam at least as an added value, the Brussels government does not see it the same way.

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

To me it all starts from the crowd and the line-up, but needless to say a nice venue with a good sound system and some decoration can go a long way too. All these elements contribute to the memories people will create during their night.

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

Here are some of my favourite tracks from back in the days. I guess this would have been my kind of vibe if I had been making music in the 90s.

Age Of Love – Age Of Love

Push – Universal Nation

Cherrymoon Trax – The House Of House

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

The line-up of my dreams consists of talented artists I can relate to. My fellow artists from Electronical Reeds, Souldust, Bigasti and O.D.Math, would be my first picks, but DkA, Nico Morano, Pole Folder, Jickow, Belben, Desk and Lexx are also aces in my book.

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

I could never forget my first real electronic music club experience at the Cherry Moon in the late 90s. The energy, the sound, the crowd… Everything was positive and the way the DJ took control of the room was absolutely insane. We left the club after the lights went on and the sun was already up. This was the day I realised I wanted to be a part of this underground scene one way or another.

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

I spend most of my time in the studio working on my next releases including two projects I have been cooking with Sascha Cawa. I am also working on an album, but it’s a bit too soon to give you more details.