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.

Depth

Depth

Sifa, founder and DJ

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I was a hip-hop head growing up, as my sister always had MTV on. It’s only later on that I got into soulful house with my friends. Then I started making the difference between genres and it’s in deep house and Afro house that I found my home. It’s only in 2009 that I bought my first turntables and vinyl and started playing in bars. Later on, I met Central African/Belgian DJ and producer Boddhi Satva who helped me shaped my musical identity.Today I’m the manager at his label Offering Recordings and try to find the time to run my own label Depth and find my way in the production world.

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

In the past, Belgium was known for New Beat and heavy sounds, which did put the country on the map in the electronic music scene.  But things have changed and I don’t think countries have specific sounds nowadays. With the internet, everybody can find inspiration from anywhere : an African can produce a techno track the same way as a European can programme tribal-sounding drum percussion patterns.But obviously there will always be a genre that will speak more to a part of the globe than to another.

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

We are known for being joyful people and you can feel it in our parties, but at the same time, the crowd is quite difficult music-wise as they know what they want.

In your opinion, which place best symbolises Belgiums way of partying ?

There are many options too chose from, but when it comes to electronic music, Fuse remains the key player in Brussels, although ON Sunday also has a nice programme during their season.

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

In my opinion what Brussels does miss is more diversity in line-ups. Some venues and organisers keep booking the same artists over and over again, which leads to the audience not daring to discover smaller acts anymore. A solution would be for promoters to make it more about the party and less about international guests. Besides that, I also think we should support our locals more : it’s nice to have a large scene but if the audience only shows up for international acts, it doesn’t make sense to me.

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

I think authorities should be more flexible. A lot of amazing places could host outdoor events but it’s difficult to get the authorisations if you don’t know the right people. Having a nightlife mayor would be a great idea but then, how can you talk/represent something if you’ve never explored it to the deepest?

With the internet, everybody can find inspiration from anywhere : an African can produce a techno track the same way as a European can programme tribal-sounding drum percussion patterns.

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

  • Staff for me is a very important point. I love to play in venues where the staff understands the music, this way they also bring their own energy to the night.
  • The sound system. Some places are amazing but their poor sound system kills it all.
  • No phones on the dance floor. Enjoy the moment

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

Osunlade – Reflection

The first Afro house track I heard.

Boddhi Satva – Big Theme

A very intense production.

Mr. ID feat Kawtar Sadik – Salat Ala Nabina (Sifa Remix)

The first time I reached people outside of Belgium.

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

  • Boddhi Satva because he taught me everything;
  • Lexx because he is one of the few that gave me a chance in Belgium;
  • Simon LeSaint because he can do it all;
  • Murvin Jay because he’s great selector;
  • Mandana because she’s not scared to push herself.

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

When I started DJing, two friends invited me to play at a new underground electronic music event. When I started playing, the owner asked his resident DJs to take over and play commercial music. At the time, it really made me question myself and I almost gave up. Luckily a friend talked me out of it by making me understand that this place wasn’t a reference in what I wanted to do.

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

I just released an EP called Wonanitogether with Milan-based artist Ivory and London-based vocalist O’luhle. I also have a track coming up on Kompakt with Terranova and Ivory, which I’m particularly excited about, as it will be my first vinyl release. The next months I’ll be busy with my label Depth as we have a few releases in the pipeline: one by Armonicaremixed by Fred Und Luna, Hawaii UFO and David Mayer; one from Palm Food remixed by D-Malice and also a dark theme by Migosy. Besides that, I’m working on a project with Alex Nude, resident DJ at Moni Mykonos. And last but not least, I’ll still be on my quest to find the perfect tiramisu, so every hint is welcome!