Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
I’ve been involved in the Belgian nightlife scene since I was 14 years old. My parents first found out I was clubbing from a MAX Magazine feature focussing on nightlife in Belgium – so you could say I’ve been involved in it for pretty much forever. I started a DJ trio in Paris in the early 2000s called Les Putafranges, touring extensively, including fashion shows for Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, as well as at weddings of some of the most prominent Chanel and Prada designers. During this period, I also acted as the head of communication and booker for the Parisian nightclub Le Tryptique. Since 2006, I’ve been throwing Lessizmore parties with my partner Pierre in Fuse and abroad, eventually becoming one of the driving forces behind Europe’s underground electronic scene. I’ve been an agent now for over a decade, having worked with Lessizmore, Cadenza, and now my new platform A L T E R.
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
As mentioned above, I started going to Fuse when I was 14 and was there every single Saturday. At that time, I wasn’t thinking about music as a career path – that only came naturally when I moved to Paris to work in PR. Little by little I began to throw my own parties, starting with Angel Dust and then Lessizmore, and as things became more prominent I decided to move to Berlin in 2007 and got deeply involved in the minimal movement. Everything I’ve done has come about naturally through passion alone – I never had a concrete plan until quite recently. Having said all this, those first parties at Fuse shaped my view on organising events: the club was always bringing in new names that had never played in Belgium before. Pierre and I have maintained this ideology in trying to always be on the forefront of new music. Of course we’ve maintained relationships with artists that have become more successful over the years, but we still do our best to provide a strong platform for new talent.
“People here really know how to party, we’re true ravers in every sense of the word.”
In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes” our sound what it is?
I don’t think it’s possible to define the Belgian sound as something necessarily cohesive, as there are so many different elements and styles that people have been interested in over the years: from techno to minimal, New Beat and R&S Records’ weird stuff; and of course our club and rave culture which has been present from the very start.
What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife?
People here really know how to party, we’re true ravers in every sense of the word. From clubs and raves to afterparties and festivals, we kind of have it all.
More specifically, can you talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene? What makes it special, who are its main players?
Fuse of course – it’s a legendary venue. I don’t know any artist who wouldn’t want to play there. Even after having hosted so many parties and artists in many different spots worldwide, Fuse will always remain one of the best clubs I’ve ever visited – they’re still featuring some of the best line-ups out there. People have been complaining about how the crowd is getting younger, but perhaps we’re just getting older. If you’re a music lover and love true clubbing in Belgium, Fuse is definitely heaven on earth, maintaining that reputation for 24 years while many other parties have come and gone.
To you, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?
Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels all play major yet differing roles for the country’s nightlife makeup. There are several festivals and clubs which have helped to put Belgium on the map, while others are still popping up and surprising us musically. That being said, there are also many promoters with “new” concepts today – but in reality, they’re all standardised in a sense. At least now there’s more choice, and enough events to please any taste. Us promoters need to start thinking about working together more frequently, with the aim of pushing the Belgian scene further, rather than competing over the same names and dates – it’s not beneficial for anyone. After all, there’s power in numbers!
In your opinion, what is missing in terms of Belgium nightlife?
Besides some major festivals, parties seem to lack a certain touch of magic in terms of production, decor, and in offering a full experience that goes beyond a mere dark room, big sound system and cheap 90s lighting. I’ve always drawn a lot of inspiration from Moscow’s ARMA17, and it would be cool to see this brought here too. Unfortunately, it seems the crowd in Belgium isn’t as receptive to this: we’ve tried many times with Lessizmore to do a more deco-style event – and we’re far from being the only ones – yet it was never taken up.
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a good night?
Good music, high-quality sound, a crew of close friends, a dancing crowd, great decor and visuals, tasty cocktails…and of course beautiful girls. It ain’t a party without the ladies!
If you had to pick three essential Belgian house music releases, what would they be and why?
1000 Ohm – Love in Motion (1984)
This Belgium New Wave band was originally formed in 1979 by Frank Van Bogaert and featured Koen Van Assche, Johan Van Herck and Erwin Vermeulen between 1980 and 1987. Love in Motion is a brilliant track that will definitely cheer you up every time you hear it.
Marine – A Proposito Dei Napoli (1982)
Marine split within a year of their first recording. The result? A fleetingly brilliant band with the hooks – and the looks – for mainstream success, but whose early promise went unfulfilled. The band formed in Brussels at the end of 1980, with charismatic singer and sax-and-trumpet player Marc Desmare joined by Kris Debusscher on guitar, his brother Stef on bass and Robbie Bindels on drums. They were all previously members of a band called Mad Virgins.
Telex – Moskow Diskow (1979)
Telex actually started as a joke (and a good one at that), but this is my all-time favourite of theirs. It mixes disco, punk, and experimental electronic music aesthetics together. An absolute classic, and a nice nod to our Moscow friends!
If you could put together the line-up of your dreams, which top five Belgian acts would you book and why?
I’ve been always fascinated by Belgian bands. My dream line-up the past would range from jazz to the minimal wave tape scene, from New Beat to experimental pop.
Placebo and Telex’s Marc Moulin
A Belgian band mainly active during the 80s, Arbeid Adelt! was one of the most original bands from the Belgian New Wave scene using a rhythm box, saxophone, and Flemish lyrics to give a unique tonality to their minimal tracks.
Peter Bonne’s side-project between 1982 and 1984. A largely solo experimentation, but he was also joined by Peter Koutsaal and Lieve Van Steerteghem, who took on the vocals for some productions.
Absolute Body Control
Influenced by bands like Suicide and the UK electronic scene, Is There An Exit? became a local underground hit.
Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad.
A picture speaks a thousand words, a video a million. I think you’ll see some of the points I talked about earlier in these videos:
What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
I’ve just started a new boutique booking and management agency, A L T E R, with my business partner Shep. We’re focused on quality music and quality management with a small roster comprised of close friends. In fact, one of our artists Afriqua recently signed to R&S and will be playing at Crossroads Festival on our Lessizmore stage alongside Praslesh and Vlada. A nice Belgian connection! Besides that, I still host Lessizmore parties in Belgium as well as neighbouring cities like Zurich, Paris and Moscow. And of course, there are plenty of other exciting plans that I can’t talk about just yet!