They grow up so, fast don’t they? In its 7 years of existence, the membership-driven Subbacultcha Belgium has proven to be a reliable and autonomous source of news, content and events that celebrates alternative music. The independent Belgian branch of the Dutch media platform's impact on the underground music and art circuit cannot be understated. And so, the birthday party this Friday in Beursschouwburg is set to be one for the books. In anticipation of this anniversary, we slid into the DM’s of Kasper-Jan Raeman, the editor-in-chief who has been there since day one.
Hi Kasper-Jan, how do you look back on the 7 first years of Subbacultcha Belgium?
Very positive. In 7 years’ time, we have grown into what has become an important brand within the Belgian cultural landscape. Not only did we organize a lot of fun shows (with artists like John Maus, Yves Tumor, Mykki Blanco, Future Islands, Amen Dunes and more), we have also grown as a media platform, creating a solidly working organization.
With your budget in mind, what’s the primary goal of Subbacultcha?
Our raison d’être is not related to money whatsoever. We aim to promote new and relevant artists, genres and movements to a larger audience. This a goal you can reach with both a big and a small budget.
What’s your main source of income?
Membership contributions for concerts and events are at the core of Subbacultcha. We also have a strong network of partners in and outside of Belgium and we have a platform on which organisations can advertise.
What would be the most remarkable trends and changes in the alternative music circuit of the past 7 years according to you?
A lot of things have changed. Our own audience seems to show a wider interest in different niches. Often they pick something up and then mix those styles together until they have created their own world. That’s a very interesting phenomenon. Other than that, there seems to be a lot more quality and quantity as far as concerts, festivals and parties go. If you compare the current situation with the one we had before, there are many more independent event promoters around: C12, Heartbroken, Slagwerk, Purple Panda, Supervue Festival, Overlast, etc... That’s an incredibly positive trend. When we look at the global picture, the monopolisation and increase in scale of booking agencies and festivals is something that strikes me. This development results in a situation in which big events and festivals all start to look similar.
Music and brands: what’s your take on this increasingly frequent combination?
It’s a collaboration that makes sense to us. Sponsoring is something timeless. If brands are willing to join your story and respect the philosophy of your organization, I don’t see why that would be a problem.
What’s the piece of Subbacultcha content that you’re most proud of so far?
I don’t have a preference. I’m just very proud that young people often want to contribute by making content. It’s great to see that they are proud of their work when it’s published online or in our magazine. We really value this model in which we give chances to young, creative talent.
After being an editor-in-chief for so long, what’s the most important lesson you learned?
Never think you’re the only one who knows the truth. You always have to remain open to new influences and ideas. It’s incredibly important to listen to your community. That’s how you accomplish the most – both literally and figuratively.
What can we expect from the 7th birthday party this Friday?
We’ve invited artists that we value wholeheartedly: the Lait De Coco crew, Wu-Tangu & Golce Dabanna, Liyo B2B bb.zip and more. Other than that, we have planned a few live performances from the hilarious rapper Quintano and the NON Worldwide producer Bonaventure.