Describe yourself, what you do today.
When I was younger, I was passionate about magazines. I was always trying to discover new things but at some point, reading these magazines wasn’t satisfying enough so I started cutting and pasting pictures and texts to create my own magazine. I still remember how proud I was of my creation. I guess you can say that’s where the flame for a creative and entrepreneurial career was ignited. Years later, I founded Kompass Klub together with Massimo Mephisto two years ago.
“I wish some people had more empathy for the organisational side of the story.”
What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife?
Despite the size of our country, the scene is vast. If I had to choose one word to describe it, I would definitely use ‘diverse’. A lot of musical history was made in Belgium, like the New Beat for example. I love how strong our techno scene is, but other communities from hip hop to drum and bass are very large as well. This year the drum and bass event Rampage attracted 30.000 visitors from all over the world, which proves once again that people do find unity in music.
What, in your opinion, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?
I don’t think this is specific to Belgium, but I wish some people had more empathy for the organisational side of the story. People judge very easily and they forget there are human beings behind a club and its Facebook page. I believe showing respect to each other is the only way we can keep improving ourselves in a constructive way.
What can politicians do to better support the homegrown scene? What do you make of Amsterdam having a nightlife mayor for instance?
I’m 100% in favour of appointing a nightlife mayor in Ghent, especially since the scene touches so many other fields than just clubs, parties, artists and promoters. There is a whole creative economy that floats around it and with the right vision and people behind it, Belgium could become a huge creative hub and attract more international freelancers, companies and artists like Amsterdam does.
In your view, what are the key ingredients for a good night out?
A good night is a night where everything perfectly falls into place and at the end, you have the feeling that everything flashed in front of your eyes in five minutes. It’s when the organiser’s intention is in perfect harmony with the audience’s expectations. The type of event doesn’t matter, it’s all about the experience. What you need is a quality line-up where you don’t even have the time to think about who’s playing next; the strength and energy of a good location; a massive sound system; dynamic lightning with respect for the moment and environment; friendly people; and most importantly, the magic that happens between the artist and the crowd.
Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad.
I’ve been collecting a great set of memories over the years in clubs, but the best ones definitely happened with my close friends. It doesn’t matter where we hang out or what we do, it will always be a night filled with memories we can share forever. I bet a lot of people can relate to this. My best friend Heleen is traveling around Australia for a year and the weekend before she left we had this amazing trip together, which started in Amsterdam at De School and ended up at a festival. It was all so spontaneous and we knew we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a year after that, so the whole trip was something I still cherish and think about a lot.
What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
I’m currently focusing on my own side projects.