Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
I was born in the early eighties so electronic music has influenced me from a very young age. I saw the house and techno scene evolves around me and it didn’t take long before I started partying at different raves and clubs all over Belgium. Around the age of 18, I tried to spin some records on a friend’s pair of Technics and got hooked right away. I started working at Fuse in 2003, enabling me to combine my passion for electronic music with my job as a promoter for 10 years. Nowadays I am running Labyrinth Club in Hasselt, which I started with Ugur Akkus two years ago. Besides my own artistic career, I also take care of a bunch of talents at Labyrinth Bookings.
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
I grew up in the suburbs of Brussels so I had the chance to party in our multicultural capital city and enjoy its incredible offer of underground parties and great clubs. This, I believe, translated into eclectic musical tastes and a love for different styles of electronic music and an open mind.
In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music?
I guess it all started in the early 90s when Belgium had an internationally recognised clubbing scene, influential labels and some of the best house and techno music.
What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife?
I think our country has a unique house and techno nightlife scene thanks to its long history of clubbing. We don’t really do official closing hours so we are quite known for having longer parties than our neighbouring countries, which also contributed to our reputation.
Can you talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene and its main players?
I consider Labyrinth Club my home base today. Since the opening two years ago, we had some memorable nights there, with a numerous sold-out events, a fast-growing fan base and a great crowd. The future looks bright.
In your view, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?
Extrema Outdoor without a doubt, because it’s the first big festival in Belgium that only focuses on qualitative electronic music. It brings great people together who can enjoy good music, amazing stages, creative villages and happiness.
“Partying is often seen as a source of disturbance instead of a cultural aspect of society.”
What, in your opinion, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?
I would love to have an international music conference like ADE in Amsterdam or Sonar in Barcelona.
What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene? For instance, what do you make of Amsterdam having a nightlife mayor?
We need more support from the authorities. Partying is often seen as a source of disturbance instead of a cultural aspect of society. Many clubs have closed down the past few years, often because of the ridiculous number of measures taken by the government that make it impossible for them to survive financially. A night mayor would be an amazing idea, but we also need a better communication between organisers and politicians.
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a good night?
A good sound system, a great line up and an enthusiastic crowd usually do the trick.
If you had to pick three essential Belgian house music releases, which one would they be and why?
FCL – Let’s Go
Besides the well known It’s You, here’s another true house master piece by FCL.
DkA – Lucky 7
I played this track so many times since it was released 2 years ago. Simply brilliant.
CJ Bolland – The Prophet
If you could put together the line-up of your dreams, which top five Belgian acts would you book and why?
- Deg because he’s been the best warm-up act for more than 20 years now. A living legend.
- DkA live because he’s a brilliant producer and a great live act.
- Raw District, because they’re the most creative duo behind the decks.
- Amelie Lens, because she will be banging techno with a mind-blowing energy to keep you going.
- D-Jack, to finish off on a pure old school, underground note.
Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad.
One of my most memorable gigs was definitely Pukkelpop last year: playing in front of an excited crowd of 8000 people was simply unforgettable. I still get goose bumps when I think about it.
What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
I have quite a few exciting gigs coming up: Labyrinth Club alongside Loco Dice on May 12, Extrema Outdoor where I’ll be playing on the main stage on Sunday, Golden Gate in Berlin in June and then I’m off to Croatia for Labyrinth Open.