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.

Ensemble

Ensemble

Koen Galle, co-founder

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I was born in a small town called Opwijk where I volunteered for many years at Nijdrop, a great youth house and musical centre. Then I moved to Brussels, worked at FM Brussel and Studio Brussel and founded the Belgian version of 22tracks.

Today, next to my DJ career, I also own a label called Ensemble with my best friend DJ Gratts. Ensemble is not only a house music label as we release pretty much anything we like with artists like Xan Xoda, Ben Sketches and Kaye to name a few. Besides that, I also create content for The Vinyl Frontier, an online media specialised in the local vinyl culture. I had the chance to conduct interviews and photograph collectors such as Hoesen, San Soda and Lefto, which I find really exciting.

 

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

Opwijk is a small town where I could enjoy a good musical education, great friends and the freedom to DJ and help organising concerts with international artists such as Amon Tobin, Four Tet and Little Dragon at a very young age.

 

In your view, what makes Belgian house music what it is?

I like to play a lot of 90s Belgian house music by early Sven Van Hees or Frank Dewulf stuff for example. I just love the quirky quality of these tunes, their trance vibe, their tempos and the bad English accent of their vocals.

“I just love the quirky quality of 90s Belgian house music.”

What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife?

I honestly don’t feel like we have created something unique over the last couple of years like we have done in the 80s and the 90s. Unfortunately, we have been copying a lot of concepts that were already successful abroad instead of creating our own. But I am very positive about the future, as I see many people getting more confident and creative in the industry.

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

Confidence and, more importantly, support from those who run the world, in other words our government, mayors and investors.

What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene?

Politicians should understand that a vivid nightlife generates many benefits to a city, such as tourism, jobs and creativity. They should therefor create opportunities and invest in centrally located venues where people can enjoy music and culture at night without disturbing the locals who prefer sleeping.

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

Good music, a high-end sound system, friends and peace of mind.

 

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

 

Liasons D – He Chilled Out

Plastic – Plastiiic

Krid Snero – Zero Snero

 

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

I would go for Gratts, Plastic Bertrand, San Soda, Rhythm Mind / Viktor and Karawane.

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

You can expect new releases from our label Ensemble.