“An event – and a company – needs to be managed daily, and the basics behind any events are always the same, regardless of the genre at play.”
Describe yourself, your background and what you do today
During the late 90s, I was involved in the organisation of several Ghent-based party concepts – Rendez-Fou was one of our best-known at that time. Shortly afterwards I got to know Mathias, the founder of Kozzmozz and to whom I would supply a bar crew at every one of his parties. At a certain moment we joined forces, resulting in the foundation of Nasty Mondays. Over the years, more concepts were added to our resumé: a wide range of concepts and events with different music styles, from techno to urban, and rock ’n’ roll to drum ’n’ bass. I may not be an expert when it comes to the musical aspect of events, but that’s why we hire bookers. An event – and a company – needs to be managed daily, and the basics behind any events are always the same, regardless of the genre at play.
In your view, what explains Belgium’s considerable contribution to global house music? What “makes” our sound what it is?
The Belgian sound and certainly our strong culture of partying is thanks to late closing hours and a less (hypo)critical look on alcohol consumption in nightlife. House music is a feeling, a celebration of life – so if you’re restricted in many ways you can’t enjoy it to the fullest.
What, to you, characterises the country’s unique nightlife? More specifically, can you talk to us about your home base’s nightlife scene? What makes it special, who are its main players?
I’d like to think that we’re one of those main players: we work tirelessly to ensure that we’re always at the top of our game. We constantly need to evolve – just as music does – to ensure we provide a wide range of concepts and events. Music genres and its fanbases come and go, you can never get too comfortable thinking that what you achieve today will still be a success tomorrow.
To you, which place in Belgium best symbolises the country’s way of partying?
Ghent’s Decadance and even the more commercial Versuz in Hasselt perhaps illustrate best the of drastic differences between Belgium’s club culture.
What, in your opinion, is missing in Belgium nightlife-wise?
Big cities need venues that can easily hold 500, and others up to 1,500.
What can politicians do to better support the homegrown nightlife? For instance, what do you make of Amsterdam having a nightlife mayor?
It’s a very underestimated industry, and whenever we look to actually talk about the real issues – alcohol and drugs, yes, but also the very high costs of SABAM and hiring staff – politicians are not always open to discuss. Sure, Ghent has “Horeca Coaches”, but to be honest I’m rather disappointed in the lack of pro-active communication from their end. A nightlife mayor would be a good idea any way, especially if they’ll hold a certain power and influence towards our politicians.
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a good night?
Positive vibes are created when it all comes together: good music, the perfect temperature, high-quality colourful light design and colours, excellent venue services. Making sure your audience leaves the world behind and party like there’s no tomorrow.
If you had to pick three essential Belgian house music releases, what would you pick?
Push – Universal Nation (2013)
Telex – Moskow Diskow (1979)
Aeroplane – We Can’t Fly (2010)
If you could put together the line-up of your dreams, which top five Belgian acts would you book and why?
The line-up of my dreams is the perfect mix between national and international DJs. Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Dennis Ferrer, Daft Punk, 2manydjs and Solomun. Going from house to more commercial sounds in one night, finishing it off with deeper sounds in the early morning hours.
Talk to us about a memorable night out, good or bad.
During Gentse Feesten 18 years ago, I got a tad drunk and ended up at Charlatan, listening to Red D play all night in the smallest room possible. I’ve only ever felt like I did that night two or three times in my life: total happiness, a state of mind where everything was just perfect (and I never do drugs).
What’s in the pipeline for you the coming months?
2018 will be full of events of course. I’m looking forward to our second edition of The Ark at the end of August. It’s the world’s most epic electronic music event by sea, sailing from Barcelona to Sète, to Ibiza and Palma and back to Barcelona. With over 60 DJs books and four stages at play, it’s a festival in its own right, while also serving as a massive club, all providing extreme luxury at a reasonable price. You’ll never want to camp again after this experience!