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.

Iris Menza

Iris Menza

DJ and producer

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I am a DJ and producer from Maasmechelen, a village located close to the border of the Netherlands and Germany. Besides music, I also have a passion for photography, so I like to combine both and create a unique and complete experience.

 

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

What makes Maasmechelen interesting is its culinary culture and its diversity. I grew up in a neighbourhood where music was central and, because my youth wasn’t always rosy, music has always had a special meaning to me. I discovered house music when I started to go out, I was around 17. After a few years, I decided to buy turntables and nothing could stop me anymore. Music has always made me feel good, and that won’t change.

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

Belgium has a lot to offer when it comes to music and I am not only talking about the house scene here. We have a crowd that loves to party and a lot of good festivals and concerts. However, I wouldn’t say we have a specific musical identity, but what we do have is diversity.

“It is also the responsibility of programmers to care for diversity.”

How would you describe your home base’s nightlife scene?

There is not that much going on where I come from, except for FloorFiller parties.

Luckily, as I mentioned before, I live close to the German border so I can easily go there to party and, even better, to play. Germany feels like home to me not only because I feel appreciated by the people, but also because I have the feeling that the crowd is really there for the music. Everybody dances, which isn’t always the case in Belgium unfortunately.

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

My top 3 is definitely Kompass Klub in Ghent, Club Vaag in Antwerp and Fuse in Brussels. Besides these clubs, we have the luxury to enjoy a lot of variation thanks to good-quality events organised at various locations all over Belgium.

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

Techno is really booming at the moment and I have the feeling that it’s being promoted at the expense of other genres. Re-education by organisations is a must and it is also the responsibility of programmers to care for diversity. As far as I’m concerned, the extremely hard bouncing sounds we hear nowadays don’t give me the satisfaction I need from music. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that techno doesn’t express emotions, but I guess it depends on my mood and what type of techno we’re talking about. There are so many different subgenres, we should all stay curious and try out different things.

What can politicians do to better support the homegrown nightlife?

Culture and nightlife play an important role in any country or city so politicians should understand that it also boosts tourism, culture and therefor the economy. They need to realise that nightlife is an important aspect of society that brings people together and causes happiness, too.

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

Go to parties for the music, dance a lot and don’t film too much. Simply enjoy the good vibe and the music.

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

Galcher Lustwerk – Hydrate The Hustle on R&S Records

I am proud of this Belgian label and I think Galcher Lustwerk is an amazing producer.

Dewalte – Blue Horn Dub on Lessizmore

Great label by Pierre and Jessica.

Invade Records : Mystic Bill – Take Me Back (Ricardo Villalobos “Mistück Vill” Remix)

This label is from a very talented producer from Limburg called Ilario Liburni.

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

Dezz Terquez, Pierre, Calvache and Sons of Tiki because their music gives me a good feeling, which is my idea of a good night out. Then myself, because I love what I do.

Talk to us about a memorable night out.

I do like a night full of surprises and I have a nice story in mind. As you may know, it can be quite difficult to enter clubs in Berlin. A few years ago, I was denied entry into a club because we were a big group, so we decided to go to another club. During the night, I had the pleasure to meet someone interesting and known in the Berlin scene. We had a nice chat and he ended up inviting me to play at the club I had just been kicked out from… Ironic, right?

 

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

I was recently invited to join Deep in You, a collective that organises parties in Essen and will soon open their own agency and label. I also have a few interesting gigs coming up, such as the Luft und Liebe Festival in Germany, Tomorrowland and events in Ibiza this summer.