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.

Olivier Abbeloos

Olivier Abbeloos

DJ, member of T99 and Quadrophonia

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I started DJing in 1985 and played in pretty much all the Belgian clubs. I used to be a weekly resident at La Rocca for more than 10 years, but also at Fill Collins club, Studio Live (the well-known Who’s Who’s Land) and many more. As a member of T99, Quadrophonia, C-mos and Conga Squad, I also played in festivals worldwide, from Los Angeleas to Tokyo. I also launched my own label called Holographic where I produced more than 100 releases. Today I am still active as a DJ, producer and composer and I will keep going as long as there’s a demand for it.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

I got into music and collecting records at a very young age with my friend and brother-in-law Olivier Pieters, who later became a resident at club Boccacio. At the time I used to work for Target Records so I already had one foot the music industry and I released a lot of tracks on that label under various aliases. In the 1990s, I used to produce a lot with Eric Beysens, who recently passed away, and he greatly contributed to my identity. All these things led me to I write Quadrophonia together with Lucien Foort in 1990; Anasthasia (T99) together with Patrick de Meyer in 1991; and 2 Million Ways (C-Mos) in 2004.

In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes”our sound what it is?

Belgium is all about thinking out of the box and combining genreslike new wave, industrial, EBM, acid house, italo and space disco. Just pitch it down and what you get is New Beat.

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

Our Sunday night parties. I don’t think you can party till Monday at 11am on non-commercial music anywhere else.

Belgium is all about thinking out of the box and combining genres

More specifically, can you talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene? What makes it special, who are its main players?

In the 80s, the key players were Ronny from AB Club in Antwerp; TC for mixing early New Beat with grunge at Carrera Club on Sunday nights; Jean-Claude Maury for his extravaganza Arabic moments at Mirano on Sunday mornings; Olivier Pieters for bringing New Beat to another level at Boccaccio; and Eric Beysens, Mo and Benoelie for their contribution to dark new wave at Club 55 on Thursday nights. Then in the 90s, La Rocca took over with their famous Sunday nights with Marko and his blend of house, progressive, trance and Goa.

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

Bocaccio and La Rocca, that’s a no-brainer.

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

La Rocca just closed down and its Sunday nights will be missed. Fortunately we still have old clubs running like Café d’Anvers and Decadance as well as new kids like Kompass and Club Vaag as well as independent organisers also doing a great job. But the crowd is a bit younger, obviously.

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

Our politicians could learn a lot from Amsterdam and Berlin but money is all that matters to them. They see nightlife as a non-productive playground for the devil instead of recognising its healing aspect. Take Top Radio for instance: it was the only dance radio in Flanders and they took their license away. That says it all.

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

A good crowd; open-minded people well selected by the doorman; a good organisation willing to invest in the night; some decoration; friendly staff; a good promo and of course, a good sound system.

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

C-Mos – 2 Million Ways

A track I created in 2004 which still blows the roof off every time I play it

T99 – Anasthasia 1991

To be honest I do like what Soulwax and some of my friends do but I don’t listen to a lot of Belgian house music. So here’s another one of my own; the ultimate rave classic.

CJ Bolland – Camargue [1992]

This third track is a record from Cj Bolland .

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

I don’t really have a dream line-up, however I’d love to book my friends:

  • Cj Bolland & Steve Cop.
  • Massimo Mephisto
  • Quincy
  • x&trick
  • The good times crew
  • And one extra: Marcos Salon live

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

Every Sunday night at La Rocca was memorable. They were 10-hour sessions filled with memories I will never forget.

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

I recently played at Boiler Room and got offered by a good booking agency in France to take care of my bookings in Europe.