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.

PJay

PJay

DJ and co-founder at Futurepast record label

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’ve been playing and collecting music for about ten years, combining my DJ career to a daytime job. It’s pretty intense, especially on Mondays, but it works for me.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

I wouldn’t say my hometown Hasselt shaped me, however it is true that I started going out there when I was 16 in clubs where they used to play progressive house and dance music. It wasn’t exactly my thing so maybe it pushed me to discover better electronic music.

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

I discovered Belgium’s contribution to house music while digging for vinyl. I noticed a lot of the records I was buying came from Belgian labels, but not necessarily by Belgian producers. I think our labels and our legendary clubs had a big impact on the scene because it was different from the US house music. My kind of Belgian house music is more of a darker kind, the techno and acid-infused house from the mid 90s.

What, to you, characterises your home base’s nightlife scene? What makes it special and who are its main players?

I have lived in Antwerp for 6 years so I guess I can call it my home base. There is a lot going on in Antwerp with key players like Café d’Anvers and Ampere, but also smaller projects like last year’s pop-up Klub Goud located on the top floor of an empty office tower. This was one of the best concepts I have seen in Belgium.

I discovered Belgium’s contribution to house music while digging for vinyl. I noticed a lot of the records I was buying came from Belgian labels

In your view, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?

I don’t think Belgium’s way of partying is linked to a specific place. What does make it special is its dancing crowd; we make the most out of every night out. If you look at Berlin for instance, their public is much more relaxed on the dance floor. That being said, if I really had to pick one place that would symbolise our nightlife, I would choose Brussels because a lot of young people try to do different things like C12 for instance.

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

I think we need more small clubs that offer a real experience with good line-ups and a high-end sound system. It’s quality over quantity. The problem with big venues today is that they need to book big names to make sure they fill up the dance floor, whereas smaller clubs can book DJs that are maybe not as popular, but just as talented.

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

A nightlife mayor can be a good idea as long as we appoint someone who is already active in the nightlife industry. It’s difficult for promoters to get in touch with decision-makers, so a nightlife mayor could build that bridge between promoters and politicians. I think it’s important that authorities listen to the people who are truly active in the scene instead of looking at them from far.

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

Interesting music, an enthusiastic crowd, a quality sound system and fresh beers.

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

I’ll pick three Belgian releases that made me discover Belgian house music. Although they are from about 20 years ago, they still sound very modern.

Sebastian S.-Conventional

Kumulus – Cloud Chaser

Cyberpsychose – Cyberlandscape (Acid Kirk)

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

  • David Morley, an amazing producer and R&S’
  • Acid Kirk, because I love his dark, experimental take on electronic music.
  • Sebastian S because he made some really good stuff on Elypsia and his album ‘Personal Space Invaders’ is a classic.
  • Deg because he is one of the legendary Fuse residents and he also produced nice tracks under his alias Circadian Rhythms.
  • Koenie, the owner of my favourite record store in Anwterp Wally’s Groove World, because he has a huge private collection. He should play them more often. 

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

The most memorable nights are the ones we better not talk about.

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

I am currently working on new releases for our label Futurepast together with Davy, a Belgian DJ who currently lives in Berlin. We are also organising more parties this year. Our next party in Fuse is planned on May 5.  Furthermore there are some nice gigs coming up for me.