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.

Sixsixsixties

Sixsixsixties

Stijn Hoebeke, DJ, promoter and video editor

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I graduated from film school and have been working as a video editor ever since. Besides that I’m a DJ and a promotor, probably best known for the Holger parties in Brussels and SPEK in Antwerp.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

Growing up in a commuter town such as Ninove, I quickly realised I needed to travel if I wanted to experience the music I loved in a club context. The dial-up Internet wasn’t the gigantic instant source of music it is today, so I’d discover new music through radio or free CDs that came with Trax magazine from France. Luckily, the local library had all the Turn Up The Bass CDs so I’d learn about house history through them. I’m happy my dad pushed me into getting my driver’s license as soon as I turned 18 because it gave me the freedom to drive all across the country and hear a lot of DJ heroes play.

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

I don’t believe there is a typical Belgian sound, at least not like there was in the 80’s or 90’s when Belgium was known for its robotic, darker sounds. Belgian productions have never been this diverse – and that’s a good thing if you ask me. Bottom line, I think the often-praised level of professionalism in Belgian nightlife and dance music dates back to the New Beat craze in the 80’s and its commercial success.

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

Its diversity.

“When the most vibrant place in the capital is a bar that closes at 2am, you know you have a problem.”

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

I fell in love with Antwerp’s dirtier side, the one-off parties held in backrooms of old bars or warehouses near the harbour. Over the past few years many new spots have opened their doors. Indeed, from the professional clubs such as Vaag and Ampere to the more underground rawness of Haar, Antwerp’s nightlife seems to be at a peak.

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

Bonnefooi’s dancefloor at 5am on a good night is like a microcosm of dancers – students, queer people, veteran ravers, hiphoppers…

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

Clubs with a 24h licenses that allow parties to go on way beyond the 11pm-6am timeframe, which can often be limiting for a promotor trying to fit four or more DJs in a night.

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

It looks like Brussels is in dire need of any sort of support. Homegrown talent demands places to experiment and while smaller clubs seem to be disappearing, one by one it is becoming nearly impossible to throw 200-300 capacity parties in the center. When the most vibrant place in the capital is a bar that closes at 2am, you know you have a problem. It’s an uphill battle which has knocked out many young promotors and they are the oxygen of any city’s nightlife.

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

A production that shows heart and a crowd willing to sweat.

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

Petra – Just Let Go dub

My introduction to house as Larry Levan used to play this. Need I say more?

Soulside – The Right Side (Fast Fix Mix)

Its hypnotic groove and emotional synths make this 28 year
old gem still relevant to any Ibiza sunrise.

Lhasa – The Attic

This is a cathedral of a track built on the borders of techno, house and proto trance.

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

Nosedrip and San Soda because they are world class, Raphael because he is an underestimated legend, Lady Jane and Diepvries because they’re semi-retired but whenever they get back behind the booth they’re fireworks.

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

Dancing to Joe Claussell’s ecstatic set at Vooruit in 2001 cemented my friendship with Just Nathan – 17 years already and running.

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

I’ll be DJing at a few parties and festivals over the summer, there’ll be a few exciting SPEK dates coming up, I’m doing some back-to-back sets with Just Nathan and Karawane as Team Snoephut and there’s my monthly show on The Word Radio.