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.

Loulou Records

Loulou Records

Jérôme Denis, founder

Tell us about your background and your introduction to the house music scene.

As far as I remember, I have always been into electronic music. I guess you can call me a Belgian techno kid. As a teenager, I remember spending my Saturday nights listening to Radio 21 because they used to play sets recorded live at Fuse the week before and I would record them on tapes. I turned 18 in 1997 and I got my driver’s license, which allowed me to go out in clubs all over Belgium. This period really shaped the person I have become today as well as my interest in house and techno experiences.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

Namur has never been a strategic place for electronic music but the bright side of this, is that it pushed me to be curious and drive around Belgium to party in clubs and raves every weekend.

In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music?

Due to its size and location, Belgium has always been a fertile soil for electronic music. Obviously, the 90s and the early 2000s set the stage for today’s clubbing culture and new generations of DJs and producers.

“I’m very pleased to see that Belgium is in full swing again with artists touring around the world, renowned festivals and a booming club scene.”

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

Our country used to count so many clubs, party people, DJs and producers back in the 90s that it became the place to be when it comes to discovering new musical movements and trends. It started slowing down in the early 2010, probably because of the increase of the overall cost of living and new technologies, mainly the Internet. However I’m very pleased to see that Belgium is in full swing again with artists touring around the world, renowned festivals and a booming club scene.

Can you talk to us about your Namur’s nightlife scene?

As I said, Namur has never been a party city, but it also compelled me to make things happen and open people’s minds. Today I can to say my parties made some kids discover electronic music and got them involved in a movement instead of listening to commercial radio music. It is something I am really proud of and it motivates me to keep promoting parties in my city.

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

Ghent and Antwerp for sure. Even though Brussels is our capital city, I always advise tourists to visit to Ghent and Antwerp if they want to party in cool clubs. And today, I would even add Hasselt to the list.

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

The South of Belgium needs more support from the authorities and media because it’s getting hard to promote parties and attract people over here. Moreover, I miss that family feeling we used to have a few years ago. Music is not a contest, so the scene should be more united.

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

I truly believe that nightlife is an integrant part of our culture. Of course we need regulations to make sure locals don’t suffer from it, but we have to keep in mind it creates jobs and generates money for restaurants, bars, hotels and stores, so it should be valued by out government. Nightlife is all about socializing, talking to each other and that’s something our society needs today.

 

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

To me, the key ingredient for a night is the warm-up DJ. You need someone who can create a specific atmosphere where the crowd can talk to each other while having a drink, and then, little by little, things can get wilder.

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

This is a difficult exercise because there are so many artists I would like to mention. I’ll just go for three completely different artists who illustrate how global our scene is.

Tomaz vs Filtherheadz – Sunshine

I know this is a techno track, but it’s a worldwide masterpiece.

Junior Jack – Thrill Me

Another one huge classic that will make people dance anywhere, even in underground clubs.

Kolombo – My Own Business

This track has a particular meaning to me because it changed my best friend’s life. Kolombo and I went to Sonar 2012 and he was the happiest man in the world when internationally acclaimed DJ Solomun played his track. Memorable.

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

The Magician for a special freestyle mix; Smos!  because I can’t even tell how many hours I’ve spent dancing on his tracks; Kolombo because it can’t be a dream party without my best friend; Maxim Lany because he is such a great person and a long-time friend; and last but  not least, Prinz, because he knows how to party.

Talk to us about a memorable night out?

I have got so many good ones but the first one that comes to mind is the first time I played at Warung Beach Club in Brazil. A life experience.

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

I am really busy with Loulou Records and I’m also working on the third release of My Pendrive. I will be touring in South America for a month and hopefully you’ll  see me play at a lot of parties and festivals in Belgium and Europe, too.

www.soundcloud.com/loulouplayers