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.

Jickow

Jickow

Celas Mazzola, DJ and promoter

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I was born in Marseille and moved to Brussels 5 years ago. I’ve been working in the music industry for over 10 years now, making music and promoting artists around Europe. Last year I came back from a three-year break and launched quite a few exciting projects such as Hedonism events and Say Hi – Talent Agency, a management and booking agency promoting DJs and promoters around the world.

How has where you come from shaped who you are today?

I think the people I’ve met, the movies I’ve watched, the books I’ve read and everything I’ve experienced shaped who I am today. I’m not the same person as I used to be a year ago, and I won’t be the same in 6 months. When it comes to music, the South of France certainly had an impact on my vision. I didn’t experience the same minimal techno hypes as Belgians did for instance. Also, the fact that I was involved in the LGBT scene when I started really helped me develop my own musical identity.

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

Belgium has a unique hedonistic spirit influenced by the melting pot of cultures we have in the country. We had the chance to have artists in the past who dared to go off the beaten track and set Belgium as an example in the EBM scene of the post-punk era for instance.

Support your localsshould be the watchword.Furthermore

In your opinion, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?

Fuse, because anything can happen within these walls, and on a more personal level, this place is one of the main reasons why I still live in Brussels today.

What is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?

No matter where you’re from, the local scene is crucial so it is important to let our artists express themselves and value their work. “Support your locals”should be the watchword.Furthermore, we should improve the communication between artists, promoters, clubs and festivals instead of playing selfish. It’s a tough industry as it is, so why not making everyone’s job easier by creating opportunities for each other? We’re all sharing the same passion after all…

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

Authorities and politicians need to better understand our nightlife in order to be able to support it sensibly. Having a nightlife mayor could indeed be a good idea to build a bridge between politics and nightlife, but we need to appoint someone who knows the scene, its reality and its struggles.

What are the key ingredients for a good night?

Partying is an art: first, have a rest before you go out to avoid tiredness during the night; second, choose a comfortable outfit; and last but not least, you need a decent sound system and good music. That being said, there’s only so much you can anticipate, so let the night surprise you.

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

The Amazing – Qu’est ce que vous voulez? – White Label

This infamous track produced by two Belgian producers was inspired by Matthew Herbert. A vicious weapon for the dance floor.

Charlotte de Witte – Sehnsucht – Turbo Recordings

This track is Charlotte’s first big release and to me, it perfectly embodies the new female techno producers’generation. I always have this track on me; it is simple, stunning and terribly efficient on the dance floor.

FCL – It’s You / Defected Records

That one is a pure house track from San Soda and Red D that can be played at any party, from the underground to the mainstream ones.

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

Amelie Lens b2b Charlotte de Wittebecause I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet. I hope I will get the opportunity to make it happen one day.

Kosinski because even though he might be a nobody to a lot of people, he will soon be one of the greatest techno live act from Belgium.

Ilario Liburni because he’s a visionary in the house music scene. Not only are his releases great and his live performances speechless, but he also runs two labels, Invade Record and Cardinal Vinyl, like a pro.

2Many DJS, no explanation needed.

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

I think one of the greatest moments of my DJ life is the first time I had the pleasure to play in Berlin at Katerholzig. I had never been there before or played on a Sunday evening so I didn’t know what to expect. I arrived in Berlin in the afternoon and went straight to the club. When I arrived I found a muddy path full with a boom box playing hip-hop. I knew I was at the right place, but my first impression didn’t make me feel quite comfortable. However, I changed my mind as soon as I entered the venue…About 400 people were going crazy on the dance floor (I didn’t know the party had been going on since Friday), I realised that the DJ playing was one from my agency and I not only discovered this surprising place, but also the German party spirit. Six years later, I still get excited when I think about that night.

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

I am working on the expansion of my Hedonism Party Crew taking place at Fuse and Club Clandestin and we are also working on launching open-air events. As far as my music is concerned, three releases are coming up on Resopal Schallware on vinyl and in digital version.