Few organizations in Belgium are as dedicated to promoting the local beatmaking scene as Antwerp's Champion Sound. In an age of internet overflow, they are keen on putting the bedroom producer in the spotlights with their beat battles. We sat down with the crew, consisting of local promoters Ufuk, Pieter and David, in order to discuss why a concept like theirs is now more important than ever.
For the people that have been missing out, what is Champion Sound exactly?
"Well, our main aim is to create a platform and meeting ground for local bedroom producers. We go about this in different ways: a yearly beat battle, occasional compilations, a 22tracks playlist, workshops, DJ-sets and lots more. During our beat battles we push the participants to ‘think outside the box’. In the competition they get the chance to present their sound to an audience and a professional panel of experts. For many it’s the first time they actually meet many other producers they know from the online sphere in real life. By organizing these opportunities, we try to strengthen the network for everyone in our Belgian scene."
How long have you guys been doing this?
"We’re now at our fourth edition. For our very first beat battle in 2013, we mainly contacted producers from our personal circles, but today we’re forced to work with pre-selections as a result of the high number of interested participants. We always try find a balance between newbies and names that have been a little more established. What started as just a beat battle grew quickly into an event with workshops, hosting DJ-sets and much more. In early 2016 we got asked to curate the ‘beats’ playlist at 22tracks. This was a success. Each week almost half of the top22 playlist (i.e. the weekly playlist on 22tracks with the 22 most played tracks on the website, red.) was occupied by local beats which we selected."
What motivated you guys to organize these events?
"All three of us already had experience in event organization. During these parties we tried to give opportunities to local producers and DJs. After a while we realized you don’t need international headliners to have a great night. Our small country has enough talent! It’s not always easy to stand out with your beats in the competitive online world of Soundcloud and Facebook. Through these events we want to make sure this music doesn’t get overlooked."
Does winning the CS beat battle help your career? What happened to the previous winners?
"Freddy Bracker remains a solid name in the beat scene. He frequently releases dope beats, both under his solo moniker as with the MoonTroop collective. LTGL had a release on Tangram Records, played a lot of festivals and even did a couple of shows in LA (like Daddy Kev, Nobody en The Gaslamp Killer’s Low End Theory party). Pippin doesn’t have releases yet, but he does play shows very regularly. He recently did the warm-up for Clams Casino at VK."
Sometimes you guys also release vinyl. What’s the status on that?
"We never really were a classic record label. Every year after the beat battle we would release a free compilation with the best beats of the 16 participants. One time, we released a limited 10” remix EP of Le Motel, with reworks by LTGL, Sokoto and Freddy Bracker -the winners of our first 3 events. These sold out pretty quickly. It would be nice if we could run a proper label in the future, that would certainly make things complete."
When is the next event? What can we expect there?
"This year the beat battle will take place on February 25, at TRIX in Antwerp. You expect to hear 16 amazing local producers, both familiar names and fresh, upcoming talents!"
*Header by Wouter Maeckelberghe
**Pictures by Finn Van Roon