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.

Dr Vinyl

Dr Vinyl

Geert Sermon, founder

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today. How has where you come from shaped who you are?

I started off as a DJ and producer, which led to me opening my own record store. Most people start a store to be able to produce or DJ, but I somehow did it the other way around. And that’s the way I like it. My father was (and still is) a die-hard “pirate radio” fan, he loved a wild variation of music but he always thought music should be “free” – as heard on a radio. He hated vinyl records for that simple reason. My uncle, on the other hand, was a pure disco and funk DJ in the underground sense of the word – if that already existed. He’d go to the States and buy records in New York then basically squat at my grandmother’s house. Whenever I was there he’d give me a headphone and made me listen to the most refined black music this side of the moon. He gave me my first record and that was “Disco Duck”, the most awful pastiche disco record known to mankind – and I loved it. Then, in the midst of all this, I somehow turned out to be something of an electronic music freak, with a soft spot for vinyl.

“I love the fact that Brussels is a bit unclear on the surface but extremely daring and rich when you dig a little deeper.”

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

Crossroads, crazy people, endless nights, a surreal taste for anarchy and a love for Belgian Beef stew all make Belgium and its music unique. If you haven’t already done so, have a look at our documentary “The Sound of Belgium” for a crash course in Belgian madness for the uninitiated.

Talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene. What makes it special, who are its main players?

Brussels is the heart of Europe and a melting pot of nationalities and inspired people. I love the fact that it’s a bit unclear on the surface but extremely daring and rich when you dig a little deeper. Maybe a bit “tourist on a weekend trip unfriendly”, but once you get the hang of it you always come back for more.

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

Fuse, revolutionary to start out with 25 years ago, now still going steady, maybe not as groundbreaking anymore but the living proof that partying – and techno – is in our DNA.

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

A unique Belgian touch, we got lots of great concepts and nights out, but the local identity is lacking in a lot of the cases.

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

Have faith in the people that throw parties, as long as they act responsibly give them a playground for experimentation and fun.

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

Great music, greater people and…

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

On the Beat – le Mystère – Opus 303

Lhasa – The Attic

Mappa Mundi – Trance Fusion

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

  • Front 242, for being the first group that annoyed my uncle and that I loved.
  • Chackachas, for being from Brussels and funky, Latin and exotic as hell.
  • Pas De Deux – Verdin and two girls what can be better … childhood dreams.
  • Luc Van Acker, for being my Belgian hero.
  • Soulwax – No line-up is complete without these two.

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

TSOB parties, a compilation release with DJ Morpheus and finally finish work on a book, almost as long in the making as a notorious film.

www.doctorvinylrecords.be