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.

C12

C12

Tom Raoul, co-founder

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I’ve dabbled in studying political sciences, communication studies and advertising in the past – but most of all, I studied clubbing. Nowadays, I organise Deep in House events and run our new C12 venue with my dream team made up of Mathieu, Ulysse and Kevin.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?

I come from Jette (1090 RPZ), a small multicultural “town” within Brussels which has helped to make me open-minded. Regarding our events, it’s always been important to ensure that we attract a diverse audience – I find the atmosphere to be rather boring and the interactions between the crowd less interesting otherwise.

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

Back in the 90s, Belgium was famous for its massive nightclubs, open from Thursday to Monday. It’s thanks to all of these clubs that Belgium became renowned for their laidback attitude, and I think our music sounds similar: surprising and unpretentious. In fact, we wanted to (re)create this reality by bringing the rave spirit back into clubs.

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

Belgium is a small country – but if you take a look at our club scene, you’ll realise that for a country of our size, we have one of the most active party promoter scenes. There’s more than a handful of really interesting events around Belgium almost every weekend, which is not that bad if you compare it to Luxemburg or Portugal. We also have a strong festival scene during the summer – we can be proud of that.

“There’s tons of top-quality DJs here in Brussels, who all deserve more venue options to truly express their talents.”

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

Recyclart and Épicerie Moderne were both doing a great job but have unfortunately had to close recently. High Needs Low, Holger and Open The Box were the main players in Brussels but they’ve also sadly stopped their activities. For the rest, Brüxsel Jardin and Les Garages Numériques are carrying on the torch today with their really innovative and inspiring events.

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

For now, maybe Ghent’s Kompass – but our new baby C12 soon too, I hope.

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

Brussels is missing a small-capacity club, limited to an audience of say 100 people, with a good sound system and a line-up curation focussing on the local scene. There’s tons of top-quality DJs here in Brussels, who all deserve more venue options to truly express their talents.

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

Understand that club culture is real and valuable, contributing to a sustainable economy of the city. Understand that nightlife helps bring people from different backgrounds together. They should also abort some old rules which stunt the creativity of promoters and artists. A nightlife mayor could indeed be a good idea to help to reconnect the City to the professional actors in the nightlife sector.

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

Friends, a good sound system and rounds of gin and tonics.

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

Killer track from Deg, the Fuse resident DJ under his former alias Circadian Rhythms in 1997.

A deep and subtle homegrown track from around 2001 which was never released until Walrus did on his Basic Moves label last year.

Shout out to Brassac from Neutral Ground for having showed me this track. So powerful!

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

Simple, all of our Deep in House residents: Kafim, Chris Ferreira, Gurl, Session 4000. We’ve all been close even before they became our resident DJs, and a good party always starts with good friends!

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

My most “memorable nights” are actually the Monday mornings after a marathon of techno in Berlin. There are very few things that are better than partying on a Monday while the rest of the world are on their way to work!

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

To keep growing our darling C12, as well as preparing for Deep in House’s 6th year anniversary party and our annual Atomium Free Open Air.