Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
I have had a passion for music since my childhood and I got introduced to the scene when I started throwing parties on the beach as a teenager. I studied at the International Film School of Paris and organized parties at a club called Djoon and that’s how it all started. I was one of the founders of Kitsch Club (Knokke), Magic (Antwerp), Club 69 (Ghent) and WECANDANCE. Everything I did was for the love of music.
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
I didn’t realise the power and the beauty of the Belgian music scene until I started to travel around and met people abroad who knew everything about our Belgian artists and releases. There were no MP3s, no digital music selling platforms, no Soundcloud or Myspace at the time so it came as a surprise that all these names were known around the globe.
In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes” our sound what it is?
I think the Belgian sound of the late 80s shaped dance music history. Names like A Split Second and Tragic Error really made the dark EBM new wave vibe that became an influence for many other genres. I started playing house when I was a kid and music labels like R&S, Aroma and Eskimo greatly contributed to my musical education.
“We should all work and in hand in order to create a unite scene.”
What, to you, characterises Ghent’s unique nightlife?
I live in Ghent, but I must say I don’t go out that often, so it’s hard for me to know what’s the place to be. I think Bar Wilson does a good job at serving quality music in our city. Besides that, artists all agree it is a pleasure to play in Ghent as people have good musical taste and culture and they are very open-minded.
In your opinion, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?
I do believe that Antwerp is doing pretty well nightlife-wise; there is a big offer in every genre, maybe even too big. The crowd over there is very receptive and digs in underground stuff. I hear about a lot of things happening in Brussels as well, but unfortunatebly my agenda doesn’t always allow me to go to these great parties.
What, in your view, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?
Unity and communication. It’s a pity to see how promoters, festival organisers and club owners don’t communicate. Everybody chases the same artists and when a big name is booked at a venue, another promoter books an even bigger name and, as a result, none of these parties will be packed. We should all work and in hand in order to create a unite scene.
What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene? For instance, what do you make of Amsterdam having a nightlife mayor?
I believe Belgium is already quite open compared with other countries in terms of closing hours for instance. However I think our politicians should be more open-minded and support innovative ideas and events. Amsterdam has a great scene because it has a rich musical culture and a huge nightlife offer. I think our government should better support electronic music projects, and organisations like Sabam should invest in dance music instead of asking money to young party organisers who play underground dance music that isn’t even represented by Sabam most of the time.
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a good night?
An original venue, a powerful sound system, a killer line-up and a funky crowd that doesn’t only consist of men…
If you had to pick three essential Belgian house music releases, what would they be and why?
I love the dark EBM vibe of this track; it could easily be played in various sets nowadays.
Tragic Error – Tanzen
When I started DJing as a teenager, Swirl People was an example for me. Their album “Hi Mum, Let’s Dance” counts quite a few pearls.
Swirl People – Hi Mum, Let’s Dance
This classic takes me back to the early Culture Club days and parties.
Stephen & David Dewaele as Samantha Fu – Theme from discotheque
If you could put together the line-up of your dreams, which top five Belgian acts would you book and why?
- Soulwax – For me they are still the greatest Belgian rock band ! Their project and contribution to dance music history.
- Plastic Bertrand was a new wave/synth artist who didn’t take himself too seriously and made great music. “Tout Petit La Planète” is one of my favourite italo / space disco tracks.
- I love Telex’s italo / wave tracks and I would love to see them perform their timeless classic Moscow Disco.
- Tragic Error, because I saw them play as a kid on a popular VTM programme called “Tien Om Te Zien” and they were actually performing Dutch translations of EBM / New Beat tracks on national television (klap met die handen)
- Swirl People, because they have played an important role in my musical education.
Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad?
A night out I will never forget is WECANDANCE 2014’s after party. We had Kölsch, Mind Against, Tale Of Us and Ten Walls playing at Kitsch Club in Knokke, which can only host around 200 people. The club wasn’t even packed, however the vibe was memorable.
What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
I’m working on the production of Italo / New Wave inspired dance tracks while preparing WECANDANCE and focusing on my DJ career.