Some people are so connected to a city that when they announce their departure, it comes as a complete surprise, even a small shock. This was definitely the case for Nicolas Bucci, commonly known as Boochie. The Sammarinese (as people of San Marino are called, I had to look it up) is switching Belgium for Indonesia following his wife’s first assignment as a European Union diplomat. If you haven’t heard of the enigmatic DJ, curator or communication expert before, you probably have come across one of the projects he pushed during his time in our capital. Bucci has left more than a remarkable stamp as programmer of live venue and DJ café Bonnefooi, as co-artistic director of Forest Sounds Festival and Listen! Festival and as co-founder of online platform Kiosk Radio.
Brussels newcomer Driss Bennis and his Casa Voyager imprint
On Saturday March 28th Driss Bennis was headlining at this year’s Listen Festival. Looking at the flyer, an odd feeling comes over me. While normally line-ups and artwork serve as the only lasting souvenirs of an ephemeral clubbing experience, all of the events cancelled due to Covid-19 will be archived under the exceptional ‘we have never happened’ category. Luckily Driss Bennis has just performed live for ‘Support Your Brussels Scene’, a series of live streams set up by Kiosk Radio travelling every Monday of the summer to another venue in town. His music sounds playful and uptempo, ranging from dreamy deep house to uptempo electro, peppered with fun samples from legendary musicians such as Kraftwerk. At long last the half an hour video allows me to create my own version of a night in March that did not take place.
“As if a part of my life is being erased.“ If you are looking for a case study on what happens when an unprecedented health crisis mercilessly deletes a year full of DJ sets, festivals - included hosting her own room during Listen! Festival - and parties, meeting people, and overall good vibes out of the life of a twenty year old, don’t look any further. But AliA, or Alyah for friends and family, didn’t stop smiling. Her dedication and positive attitude are infectious and over the course of this conversation, I discover why. I find myself in the living room of Yves and Eva, Alyah’s parents, for a long chat about the DJ’s upbringing and the music they served her for breakfast since childhood. Here is a first hint: Yves has been quite a successful DJ himself, having held a residency at the famous Silo club in Leuven, back in the nineties. More on that later.
Peter Van Hoesen on Center 91, his label inspired by Brussels 90's warehouse raves
A headlight of the 10 years of Boiler Room celebrations we hosted in February 2020 was definitely the performance of Peter Van Hoesen. It’s refreshing to restream the video that is just a few months old, but already feels like a souvenir from an ancient time, a nostalgia for packed dance floors. The global health crisis that has closed all dance floors and led to moving Listen! Festival’s sixth edition from March to November, has a huge impact on our community. That’s why Listen! initiates this online series of articles and features, to continue to support our Belgian music scene and focus on stories that we believe are very much worth to be heard.