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.

Smos

Smos

DJ, resident at Café d'Anvers

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

Growing up in a small town, I was lucky there was a media library on wheels coming to town on a weekly basis, so I was able to get my hands on music I would have never got access to at that young age. From that moment on I got bitten by the music bug and was always on the hunt for new music. I got really struck by house music trough the70s acid jazz, funk and disco I was collecting. These genres already had that repetitive groove which got sampled over and over. Then it didn’t take long before I got into DJing and as the deep house scene was still small I soon started DJing all over Belgium together with my former partner Baby Bee. I started working at one of Belgium’s best record stores USA Import, which gave me access to the most exclusive records at the time. We were then were asked to become resident DJs at our very favourite club Café d’Anvers and now, 26 years later I’m still a resident there.

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

I believe that New Beat put Belgium on the map of electronic music with clubs like Boccacio, AB Antwerp and radio shows like Liaisons Dangereuses. People were coming from all over the world to hear that new sound. Meanwhile, house music was growing fast in the more underground scene. DJs from all over the world were invited to play at selective parties and the vibe was out of this world. Those DJs spread the word about the amazing vibe in Belgium and everybody wanted to come and play here. I guess this global movement influenced the sound of Belgian house music from the very early days.

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

My home base Antwerp has always been a great place for house music. Café d’Anvers really is a pioneer when it comes to house music. Real house lovers used to gather there every weekend for an all-night-long house music experience. Antwerp was also the home base for USA Import Record store, one of the best record stores worldwide, always stocking the newest and rarest import vinyl.

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

You can’t go wrong with Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent. Clubs in Belgium are mostly open till late, or shall I call say early in the morning?

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

I think Belgium has all we need for an amazing night out.

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

It would be a great idea to have a nightlife mayor here too. Somebody who’s in touch with the politicians and who’s not afraid to stick his neck out to have our nightlife presented in the right way.

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

The most important for me is and will always be the music. Then, a good sound system, cosy venue and an open-minded crowd is the formula for a great night out. 

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

Brandy – Walk On 5thStreet

This is exactly what I was into back in the days: house music infused with funk and soul. Loving it.

Spiritcatcher – Voo Doo Knight

Belgian duo Jean Vanesse and Thomas Sohet built an amazing track round the Michael Jackson Thriller sample.

Telex – Moskow Diskow

We can’t forget these pioneers of course. This remix by Carl Craig is a real bomb for the dance floor.

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

  • Saint-Dic: if I could bring back Saint-Dic, he would be at the top the list. We shared a residency on the second floor at Fuse and I have amazing memories of his DJ sets.
  • Geoffroy aka Mugwump for his great musical tastes
  • Raw District: long-time friends of mine who really know how to rock the place with real house music
  • Fabrice Lig: Fabrice has a Detroit-influenced style which I really love
  • Mo and Benoeli: they had a big influence on me

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

The first time I went to Café d’Anvers, the music was mind-blowing and people were really extravagant and on the second floor they had a big round bed. I had never seen that before.

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

The Festival season is coming and I really look forward to play at Extrema Outdoor Belgium and Thé Dansant.