Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
We actually met when we used to work as bartenders in Brussels club Mr. Wong (RIP) and never stopped working together since then. Lennert started promoting events like Feestgedruis and Thé Dansant ten years ago. Antoine was looking for an internship in the event sector four years ago and got one at Feestgedruis thanks to Lennert. That’s when it really started. Today we run Club Vaag in Antwerp and organise a few concepts in Belgium and abroad. We also both work for Paradise City Festival, one the most promising festivals in Belgium. More recently, Lennert started working for Crosstown Rebels and their project Get Lost in Miami.
“Belgium widely contributed the growth of house music in the 1990s and still does today.”
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
We were both introduced to the scene at a very young age. As we started bartending, we got to know the small world of nightlife and it naturally lead us to what we do today.
In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes” our sound what it is?
Belgium widely contributed the growth of house music in the 90s and still does today. We have a lot of talented artists in Belgium and a lively scene that offers a huge platform for artists to grow. We don’t believe Belgium has one sound; with so many artists in different genres, our country is resonating in many directions.
What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife?
Considering the size of our country we have a huge opportunity for people to go out in diverse atmospheres all over the country. Every weekend, you can see some of the biggest names play in big clubs or choose to discover new talents in smaller venues.
More specifically, can you talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene? What makes it special, who are its main players?
Our main player is definitely our crowd. As a small club we made the decision not to try to bring the biggest names but to focus on qualitative artists combined with a good sound system and an intimate feel. People tend to really get loose in Club Vaag and that’s an important part of the feeling you get when you step in our basement. Be yourself, respect each other and dance till your feet hurt.
To you, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?
Every venue has something special to offer but no one can deny the influence Fuse has had over the years in Belgium. Luckily we have so many alternatives nowadays and people can drive to another city to see the artists they want and discover other ways of partying. Belgium is a small country but people tend to party in different ways across the country, that’s what makes it interesting. You can go check out new things 50km away from your hometown.
What, in your opinion, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?
Venues. We don’t have that problem in Antwerp but as we both come from Brussels we definitely see the difference in the scene and Brussels could use new and interesting venues. Luckily we finally see something happening with QUAY 01 and C12, Brussels really needed it.
What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene/nightlife? For instance, what do you make of Amsterdam having a nightlife mayor?
We absolutely need one. The nightlife is often associated with drug use and people tend to miss the bigger picture. Nightlife is also a part of our culture and being able to get loose for one night is something important. We for instance, couldn’t do without it! Politicians should be more open to new projects and support young organisers. So many promoters try to bring something new by organising events in special venues, but it’s always difficult to get the support from the city and politicians.
To you, what are the key ingredients for a good night?
Good music, a special atmosphere and the feeling that you can be yourself without judgment.
If you had to pick essential Belgian house music releases, what would they be?
It feels like we’re just naming the classics but these two tracks had such a great influence on today’s music that we just can’t not mention them.
Jaydee – Plastic Dreams
PUSH – Universal Nation
If you could put together the line-up of your dreams, which top five Belgian acts would you book and why?
2manydjs/Soulwax is definitely one of our favourites and on top of our list. They have amazing productions and are willing to make the scene grow. For the rest we actually don’t have a dream line-up as we have booked many of the talented artists that have shaped Belgium’s music nowadays. Lucky us! We can name a few such as Charlotte de Witte and Amelie Lens who are both putting Belgium on the map again. Nico Morano, DC Salas, Joyhauser and Timmerman are definitely Belgian artists to follow in the coming years.
Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad.
One of them actually took place just a couple of months ago in Club Vaag with Timmerman, Jan Blomqvist and Nico Morano. The basement was packed and the energy people gave to the artists was out of this world. Being out so many times, we definitely have many unforgettable nights and it’s difficult to name just one.
What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
We’re booking very interesting artists in Club Vaag in the coming months. One of the projects we mostly look forward to is Full Circle. Together with Bert Vanlommel and Jochem Peeters we filled Antwerp’s four main clubs last year on November 10th and we are back this year on the same date with even more venues and a broader range of genres. Paradise City at the end of June is also one of our favourite projects. This edition’s atmosphere will be very special and cosy, with none else than DJ Koze and Laurent Garnier. Lennert is now heading to Miami for Get Lost and we’re extremely busy with concepts in different venues and countries such as Gardens of Babylon, Curio, Stardust and many others. That leaves us very little time to sleep