Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
I am one of the five founders of ONKRUID, a young agency that combines its expertise in music, architecture and marketing in order to reclaim public space and organise events. Besides that I am also the coordinator and booker at HORST arts & music Festival.
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
In Leuven, I had also had the chance to get in touch with interesting people who pushed me to develop my own ideas. And the context in which I grew up was like a breeding place that inspired me to look for what I wanted to do and become.
In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes”our sound what it is?
Our main contribution to electronic music remains our rave and New Beat scene. The rave culture that dominated our country and attracted our neighbours really put Belgium on a map and laid solid foundations for the next generations. Even today, we still have that clubbing culture and openness to new music that is our own.
What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife?
Belgium being such a small country, it creates proximity in our nightlife and everyone seems to know each other. I think that’s quite unique.
More specifically, can you talk to us about its main players?
Leuven’s place to be was without doubt club Silo with their quality sound and line-ups; Brussels had the Stainage parties at Recyclart; and Ghent had KERK. I always found Leuven, Brussels and Ghent more interesting, even though every city can be jealous of Antwerp’s current effervescence.
To you, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?
I wish every party had the same atmosphere as Dour Festival, with a respectful crowd who focuses on the music and the moment. But don’t get me wrong; people know how to party at HORST too.
What, in your opinion, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?
Our underground scene needs strong settlers who can put Belgium, its labels and DJs on the map again.It could be a cutting-edge club, a mad festival or even a radio station. There are interesting initiatives like Listen!, The Word Radio and Crevette Records, but we need them to be stronger in order to give Belgium the same weight as Amsterdam and Berlin.
Our underground scene needs strong settlers who can put Belgium, its labels and DJs on the map again.
What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene/nightlife? For instance, what do you make of Amsterdam having a nightlife mayor?
Amsterdam is one huge step ahead. Of course, politicians aren’t helping, but our scene also carries its own responsibilities. We need stories that have more impact and show the added value of our nightlife if we want politicians to listen to us. I think we tend to look at politicians too easily when it’s sometimes up to us to raise the game. It took years for Amsterdam to create all these festivals, clubs, labels and radios which we can all envy, and it is the only way we can get our voice heard.
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a good night?
No need for a big club, all you need is quality sound, simple lightning and great DJs. Institut fur Zukunft in Leipzig is a great example.
What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
We have great news coming up for HORST so stay tuned.