Felix Cage takes us through Belgium’s outstanding underground nightlife scene.
Born in Paris and raised in Moscow, Felix has a unique perspective on Belgium’s music scene. It was in Belgium where he began his deep love of electronic music, the thriving club culture introducing him into a world that he quickly became a part of, as both a DJ and producer. Together with friends, he began the Brussels based Borderline Corp, a collective of DJs and producers who aim to promote non commercial music through weekly parties and radio shows. Through this collective he has worked with the likes of Robert Babicz, Pole Folder, and Guy J, and has been able to really get a feel for what makes Belgium a standout destination for underground electronic music. You can read more about Belgium’s historical influence on the dance music scene in the article The Influential Sound of Belgium Continues and tune into FRISKY Loves Belgium while you read about what Felix has to say about the future of this electronic music staple.
What qualities do you think make Belgium uniquely suited to be a driving force in the electronic music scene?
Belgium is in the heart of Europe so it has always been sort of a crossroad and a melting pot of cultures, influences and opinions. And that includes music. This combined with an open mind, party spirit and a long history of electronic music is a fertile soil for creation.
What is your most memorable experience DJing in Belgium?
There are many, but I guess the first time I played in Fuse in early 2000 would be one of the most memorable ones. I was just starting to DJ back then and I was booked for a warm-up in the main room. It was my first time playing in a big club and it was Fuse! I was so hyped but also so stressed that for the first records I could barely put the needle on the record. The stress faded away as people arrived in the club and it was all about the positive energy from that point on.
What are your favorite venues?
Again there are quite a few including some famous big clubs like Fuse, Café d’Anvers and LaRocca. I particularly enjoy smaller and more intimate venues like The Wood where we hold residency with our label, Electronical Reeds. And I am happy to play and party at more ephemeral places that promoters get their hands on. It can be very tedious to get all permits in Belgium to organize a party at a new spot but when it happens, it usually has a very refreshing vibe.
Belgium has been the starting point for several trends in music throughout the years. Do you think there is currently a uniquely Belgian sound that will continue to grow?
I do not think that there is a unique Belgian sound per say at the moment, although there is potential. Belgium hosts quite a number of confirmed and upcoming artists in different genres of electronic music that are doing their thing. And it is a good thing! To illustrate my train of thoughts I would like to quote Jean-Michel Jarre from his talk at ADE in 2014: “Today the borders between the different genres of electronic music are less and less obvious and relevant; we can all navigate and explore each other’s sounds…” Diversity breeds creation and maybe one of these creations will become the next trend in electronic music that someday will be referred to as the new sound of Belgium.
What challenges are there to being a DJ in Belgium?
No one is a prophet in his or her own country. Playing in Belgium is always fun as the crowd is usually very good but most promoters only take Belgian acts as support for line-ups. A Belgian DJ is not valued and recognized properly in Belgium.
How do you think the nightlife scene has changed since you began?
Clubbing used to be sort of a culture or a movement, at least from the underground point of view. There were unwritten rules that people respected like, say, how to behave in a club. People would actually dress up as they were going out. They would also know most of the line-up and would be curious about the acts they have not heard before. Some of it is lost today and the culture element faded away. I mean the scene is there and it has grown with a lot of festivals and new parties. But while opening up to much more people it has partially lost its magic it used to have back in the 90’s.
Do you have any advice for Belgium DJs looking to break out on the scene?
Have passion, patience and stick to what you truly enjoy making and playing.
Stay attentive to what’s going on in the scene but do not copy. Do not become a pale copy of someone, but be bald and original. These for me are the key elements to breakthrough in the current scene.
Listen to Felix Cage’s excellent set on FRISKY Loves Belgium!