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.

Nick Bril

Nick Bril

DJ and chef

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’ve been a chef since I was 17 and I started DJing about five years ago. I run and own a Michelin two-star restaurant and I have a passion for music, so I decided to start a DJ career on the side. As I have a busy schedule I have to be very selective about the clubs and festivals I play at.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

Working as a chef leaves you little free time so music has always been like a breath of fresh air to me. As soon as the weekend started, clubbing was my escape door and that’s how I fell in love with electronic music. Five years ago, I got my hands on a consoler mixer and I started to play around. I had the chance to have DJ friends who thought me the tricks of the job and it all started. After an 18-hour shift, spending another two hours behind the decks felt like a relief, and I still get the same feeling when I play today.

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

I have noticed that people tend to follow the hypes more and more, which explains why clubbers are not as loyal as they used to be. Clubs try to build their own identity but they often have to follow the trends to subsist and it is harder and harder for a DJ to become a resident. Luckily we still have a few leading nightclubs that keep pushing boundaries like Fuse in Brussels, Kompass in Ghent, Labyrinth in Hasselt and Club Vaag in Antwerp. As far as I’m concerned, I love to play at Antwerp’s longest-running nightclub, Café d’Anvers.

“After an 18-hour shift, spending another two hours behind the decks felt like a relief.”

How would you describe the Belgian clubbing crowd?

I have had this conversation with international artiste and we all agree on the fact that Belgian ravers are kind of mellow… Don’t get me wrong, we do like to party, but our response to music is not quite explosive. The softer genres like melodic techno and deep house struggle in that area. Nevertheless, our country offers an exciting selection of outdoor festivals so summertime is always kicking harder than the grey winter days.

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

I must say I’m quite happy with what we have: there’s a lot happening and you can get pretty much anywhere within an hour. However I’d like to give the young generation advice: go out, enjoy the music, let yourself go and forget about your smartphone.

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

To be fair, I like Belgium’s nightlife better than Amsterdam’s. Our clubs can stay open till late, our bouncers are nicer and so is the staff. That’s something I really love about our scene. I guess our politicians could be more supportive of the industry and help promoters make things happen. Also, I hate the new DB limitations; I love the music to be pounding in my ears, but that’s just me.

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

Like minded people, a clean dance floor, quality music and a mystical vibe.

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

Lena – 2 Belgen

Jaydee – Plastic Dreams

He is Dutch but this track was released on Belgian label R&S

Praga Khan – Breakfast In Vegas

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

Stavroz, Sheridan, Nico Morano, Solemn eye and Locked Groove to close the night.

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

I had a few memorable nights I shouldn’t talk about here. Most of them took place in a Sunday nightclub in Lier… No doubt the readers who know about this place will understand what I’m talking about.

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

I have an exciting festival season coming up and I will open my second restaurant in January.