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.

Laura Helmer

Laura Helmer

Graphic designer and co-founder at Drrrip Radio

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’m a graphic designer and co-founder of Drrrip Radio, half Dutch half Belgian. For the past few years I’ve been working in the event world, with concepts such as Drrrip Radio, Warm and a few others that no longer exist. Now and then, I also help my brother on his Let’s Talk Design evenings. All in all, I’m all about good music and beautiful colours.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

I think the love of music is in our genes, my father used to be a Motown DJ in Antwerp when he was young and, at home, he’d often dance to the music he listened to with my mother. Over the years I started going out and getting to know people like organisers, DJs and the likes, and I’d always be able to talk a little bit more, or deeper, about music than my girlfriends. Then, about five years ago, I met my friend Nicolas, who was already active in the event scene and we ended up doing certain concepts together as partners.

Can you talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene? What makes it special, who are its main players?

Antwerp has quite a few concepts, but nothing that stands out for me personally. Some venues and concepts started switching their line-ups around, with the result being slightly less strong than before. But that’s only my opinion of course.The main thing in Antwerp is that people do not work together so there’s always this competition going on which makes it hard because some people forget that Antwerp is not such a big city. That being said, to me the main player in the local house scene after all these years remains Vice City. They’ve stayed true to their vision and what they believe in and that’s not to be underestimated when you consider the amount of concepts opting for the commercial route.

“It’d be good to see a bit more diversity added to certain line ups.”

To you, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?

I’d say Klub Goud but it was only ever a pop-up located in Antwerp, which was also known as The A-Tower. You had a view of the whole city, it wasn’t so big but very cosy. The people and the vibe were chilled and the staff was always friendly! There was always something for everyone.

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

It is striking that you often see the same names at different events while there are plenty of young artists who deserve a chance! So in my eyes, it’d be good to see a bit more diversity added to certain line ups.

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

I think many people have seen what an impact the mayor of Amsterdam had on their nightlife. So I think it’s a really good thing and I’m still shocked that our country doesn’t have one. Politicians need to be more involved! Not only with nightlife but in general..

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

Good music, good sound, enough space to dance and people with the right mindset.

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

1. Title live, for bringing some vibe.
2. Blackwave, for simply being sososo talented.
3. Stuff., for something different.
4. Freddy Bracker live, for warming up the place.
5. And ofcourse Soulwax, just for being legends.

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

Hmmm, it’d be difficult to pick just one night, although I do remember my most memorable festival which was Dekmantel in 2016. Standing at the mainstage dancing to Motor City Drum Ensemble was the best closing you could ever wish for on the last day.

www.laurahelmer.com