Going Deep in House with the crew of C12
Although most of you, who I assume don't live under a rock, aren't new to the iconic Brussels organization 'Deep in House', let's start off with a small introduction.
The party concept focusing on house and techno music has been around for several years now. Over time they have managed to book an amazing selection of underground DJs from all over the world. Applying high standards and always putting quality music first has gained them notable credibility within the scene. After years of successfully throwing parties at many different locations, the decision has been made to start offering a weekly program at one unique location: c12 was born.
Just like Deep In House, c12 has a high musical integrity. Despite the fact that the club opened its doors only about one and a half years ago, it already has a substantial loyal fan base. The young team behind the club quickly became indispensable in shaping Brussels’ nightlife. Next to Fuse, which recently celebrated its’ 25th birthday, c12 clearly has the potential to become the institution for the next techno generation!
Tom Raoul, the co-founder of Deep In House and artistic director at c12, gave us some insights on club life anno 2019 and their link with Voltage Festival.
What makes C12 stand out from other Belgian clubs? What’s its unique selling point?
I must say our overall program. Our line-ups are more niche than other techno clubs in Belgium, which definitely makes the difference. Next to that, our location is key. The venue is located in Horta Gallery, connecting the Central Station and the Grand Place of Brussels. It makes us very accessible for both people from Brussels and beyond.
What feedback did you receive on your events so far? Both positive as negative.
Like every startup, we had some teething problems. Luckily, we were able to count on the feedback of our dedicated audience. This led to improvements on the sound, the acoustics, the bar, and the chill out zone. Nowadays we mainly get compliments on our dancers and artists!
C12 was called the Berghain of Brussels by Vice. What do you think of this statement? Is that something you are aiming for?
As a key player in the techno scene, Berghain has always been a great inspiration for us in many ways. Their overall high standard is something many aim for but only few manage to achieve. Rather than being the Berghain of Brussels though, we want to establish ourselves as the c12 of Brussels.
That sounds very promising! When talking about nightlife, and more specifically the house & techno scene, people very easily refer to Berlin and Amsterdam. This way we might be downplaying our own capital to much.
When we zoom out, where do you see Belgium and Brussels in an International context when it comes to nightlife?
Even though several Belgian clubs had to close their doors recently, I believe our nightlife is booming! The last few years, we’ve seen interesting concepts (Kompass, Listen Festival, Extrema Outdoor, Voltage, La Cabanne, Gay Haze,..) pop up like mushrooms and I believe it’s only beneficial to the rest of the scene because each of those concepts builds new audiences. The growing number of people interested in electronic music in Belgium is healthful for all of us.
Are there enough opportunities for local talent to ensure organic growth in their own cities?
In Brussels, that’s definitely the case. Lots of small promoters book local talent at their events and help them to gain some experience in front of a crowd. For the rest of Belgium, I can’t really tell as I’m not familiar enough with the local scene in other cities.
Club life anno 2019
Anno 2019 clubs are not being built anymore as standalone venues. More often they are giving a new destination to empty spaces.
How did you experience the process of starting a new club in an empty space in Brussels?
In the past, nightclubs were often these ‘black boxes’ only opening a dancefloor in the weekend. New clubs nowadays are often part of a multidisciplinary platform. C12, for example, offers more than just a dancefloor experience. The project also includes concerts, art installations, and exhibitions.
Horta Gallery wasn’t new for us as we had organized some Deep In House events in their main hall for new year’s eve in the past. We knew the place had a lot of potential because it was already designed and built to host a large number of people. This makes things a lot easier when it comes to safety licenses for instance. Furthermore, we feel overall supported by our city from day one to really make things happen! While nightlife economy hasn’t always been taken seriously in the past we felt like there was a turning point about two years ago.
What are the (dis)advantages of combining multiple disciplines and activities?
The main advantage of these different activities is that it allows us to create a crossover of communities that otherwise would possibly not cross paths. Visitors to a concert or exhibition get to discover the venue and might become interested in attending one of our club nights. From the other perspective, our dancers also pick up that there is more at c12 to explore.
Having said that, it does create a significant workload and what’s a pity is that no part of the exhibition can remain permanently. That’s a drawback of being part of the Horta Gallery which is open to the public from 08h to 20h every day of the year.
Stage host at Voltage Festival
After many stand-alone events and club nights as Deep In House, the team now also participates in the festival sector.
What do you think of the booming festival-industry over the past 20 years in general?
The more this range of major festivals kept expanding, the more artist fees rose. But at the same time, it helped grow the techno audience in Belgium giving a bigger platform to pay these expensive fees.
How was the decision made to host a stage at Voltage Festival?
To be honest, I have never attended the festival yet but rumors are strong about this festival so I am very excited this collaboration finally makes me heading over to Zwevegem to join the experience this year. From day one the industrial feel of the location really caught my attention. It’s always inspiring to be invited to collaborate in this kind of venue. Moreover, our organizations also have some important common values as we are both eager to promote the best of underground techno to a large audience and consider the local artists important as headliners.
How will you be bringing the Deep In House / C12 vibe to Voltage festival?
One of our main assets to do so is our resident Kafim. He’s a clear example of local talent we’ve been trying to promote from the start. Kafim really grew together with the organization and knows exactly what vibes a good Deep In House party needs. Next to that, we are happy to bring over our friend Neila and a strong Brussels audience.
What artist can really not be missed on the Deep In House/C12 stage at this year’s festival?
Orphx live is definitely an act to look forward to. Their sound is quite unique and I personally have never seen them live before.
How about the rest of the festival season? Will C12 be taking a summer-break?
No, we’ll be open every Saturday! We’ll have enough time to rest when we retire :
- Interview and article by Simon Geleyn
- Pictures by Maxime Byttebier