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.

LOVE

LOVE

Renaud Deru, promoter and club owner

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’m a DJ-cum-producer that goes by the name of ATTARI. From 1995 until 2012, my nickname used to be Cosy Mozzy. I started DJing when I was 16 years old, mainly playing for my friends and even parents. I discovered electronic music thanks to a radio show called Some Like It House on Radio Campus and fell completely in love with this new genre. In the meantime, I started to organise small parties called Movida Social Club in a kebab shop located on UCL’s campus, as well as a barge on the Brussels canal. In 2001, I started a small club, open every Friday, called Blow-Up where I invited artists like Daniel Wang or Smos & Baby B.

Two years later, I started the project Dirty Dancing at Mirano as art director. It was a huge success, lasting six years. Every Saturday, we would invite the finest DJs and producers, like Laurent Garnier, Tiga, Brodinski, Agoria, Paul Kalkbrenner, Felix Da Housecat, Justice, Sebastien Tellier, Booka Shade and Metronomy. We also made sure to push young budding artists like our resident DJs The Magician, Mickey, Compuphonic, Starski & Tonic (aka The Subs) to the forefront. I was resident DJ too under my Cosy Mozzy moniker. Between 2009 and 2011, I was associated with Libertine Supersport Club, where I invited artists like Maceo Plex, Henrik Schwarz, Solomun to play at K-Nal.

Come 2012, I left party organisation to focus on my productions as ATTARI, going to produce singles and remixes as well as touring around the world. By 2014 I found myself missing events planning though, so I founded the monthly LOVE parties. I opened Jalousy, a small private club and cocktail bar in Brussels’ Sablon area a year later. And just last year, I founded another cocktail bar-cum-restaurant just around the corner called Vertigo. Today, my schedule is dominated by managing these two ventures – but I’m still part of the global party and festival circuits, and I’m making my producer comeback this year with a new EP.

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

Towards the end of the 80s, some artists created this oh-so particular sound of Belgium called New Beat – a tad cheap but ever so exciting. A strong club culture grew around this movement all around the country, and I think Belgium was the first European country to fall under its charm; from local radio stations playing it late at night to youths donning fluorescent garms and smiley pins. In the meantime, lots of electronic music vinyls from Detroit and Chicago were coming through the Port of Antwerp, and Belgian DJs were some of the first to play them around.

“I’m confident that you can always bring together every creed of people in a club as long as the music is good.”

What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife? To you, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?

I think that house music and club culture more generally was paramount in Belgium, with some slight differences in the ways of partying between the south and north regions of the country. It’s been part of our DNA since 1990. Personally, I enjoyed partying in different clubs within the same night. For example, I would start my night at Leuven’s Food for its music, and end it at Mirano for its amazing crowd in the wee morning hours. I’m confident that you can always bring together every creed of people in a club as long as the music is good – and that was my thinking behind Dirty Dancing.

In your opinion, what is missing in terms of Belgium nightlife?

There are two problems: the fact that Belgians tend to lament that “there’s nothing to do in Belgium” (completely untrue!), and that local authorities never cease in adding laws and legal conditions to parties. At the moment, the best parties are located in countries which offer more freedom to event organisations, like Asia or South America.

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

We direly need an open discussion with our politicians about nightlife, because it’s deeply entrenched in our culture and the whole world seems to know this apart from them. It’s never too late. For example, Berlin has begun to invest in their venue acoustics, as they’re well aware that they from an important component of their tourist industry – a very clever move. Belgium is still very hypocritical in that regard.

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

Eclectic people, a good DJ, a wicked sound system, and the perfect service.

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

Confetti’s – The Sound of C (1989)

The very first New Beat track to be played on radio.

Aeroplane – Caramellas (2010)

With this first release by Aeroplane, nu-disco was born, and the global electronic music industry’s gaze was reverted back to Belgium.

Public Relation – Eighty Eight (1988)

Quite simply the best electronic track ever.

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

2manydjs: No need to explain why.

Compuphonic (Live): The most emotional and talented Belgian artist out there.

Stephen (aka The Magician): The best Belgian DJ in my eyes. I pay full respect to his career as The Magician, but he used to make me fall in love with every set he played as Stephen.

DC Salas (Live): This artist of the new generation produces great music, full of melancholy. He mixes the past with the future in his productions and DJ sets, and I love it.

ATTARI: Just because I’m pretty sure I can turn any dancefloor upside down (sorry not sorry).

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

The night I played a B2B set with Agoria at Libertine Supersport around 2010. Then, we become great friends. I love this guy to death.

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

The promo of Paradise City Festival 2018, some new releases, and the summertime Vertigo terrace.