Fresh on the Scene


Pictures by Simon Leloup


Some have already spent years in the shadows, waiting for the right moment - others have barely left their bedroom studios. Some aim for headlining festival stages, others aim for nothing in particular – but all of them have developed a sound with the potential to turn a lot of heads. With this feature we shine a light on some of the most interesting emerging new talents our tiny country has to offer.

As hip hop in Belgium is taking the festivals by storm this year, so is hip hop slowly retaking its place in the nightlife scene again. One of the parties responsible for this movement is BSMNT (pronounced ‘basement’) - a frequent, bass heavy event finding root in the vibrant Brussels club circuit. The man behind the scenes here is Théo Genicot, a young local who DJ’s by his given first name. Even though it’s mid-summer, Théo is not taking any rest. “No vacation for me this year”, he admits. “But I love my job so it’s fine. Currently I am preparing the next BSMNT season and working on some side projects of mine like ‘Les Apéros Chill’ and ‘Airplane Mode’”. And what about sun soaked DJ-sets? “I look back with great memories to my set at Couleur Café” he answers after being asked what his number one show this summer was so far. “I didn’t expect many people to be interested in a DJ-stage at this predominantly live show festival, but I was surprised to see a full crowd jumping up and down during my set”.

For a beginning DJ, running a nightlife concept is a very useful tool to get more gigs. But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to get lazy. Standing out in today’s scene is harder than ever, especially when you’re not making tracks yourself. Therefor the quality of the set that the DJ delivers is all the more important. This definitely is the case for Théo. “A DJ set should always be surprising. You can put in all the latest releases, but that would be too boring for me. To keep things fresh, I combine the new with the old, adding some remixes or lesser known tracks for good measure. A perfect DJ-set for me is a set where all those four elements are effortlessly combined. As a DJ, a part of your job is to make people discover new music. So even though a lot of people would come to dance to their favorite new hits, I’ll try to balance things out with lesser obvious pickings”.

This made us wonder who he looks up to for inspiration. “Definitely Jarreau Vandal”, Théo replies with certainty. “I’m much more impressed by his work than Kaytranada for instance. He is a real inspiration for both his DJ sets and his remixes”.

For a good 2 years, BSMNT has been providing quality lineups in the capital’s nightlife scene and simultaneously, Théo has been popping up on posters and flyers all around Brussels. So what came first? The answer is simple. “DJ-ing”, he replies. “I started out mixing tracks and quickly I decided that the only way to be able to truly play what I want is by organizing my own events”. By staying in control over you own parties you are able to build a genuine community of like-minded fans and artists. “With BSMNT, I try to be as selective as possible, while remaining accessible at the same time”. 

BSMNT is currently hosting their nights at Bloody Louis, who’s rising profile and hands-on approach aligns perfectly with what Théo wants to offer. “It’s a perfect match. At this venue we can book a big name whenever we get the opportunity. We plan to stay here as long as possible, trying to give Brussels a different kind of nightlife”. That brings us to the current state of hip hop in this town, which as many know has exploded exponentially in the last year. Théo continues, “I love that anyone here now has the feeling that they could be the next big thing. That gives a lot of confident to the scene, which generates a lot of creativity”. So who’s your favorite, we asked. “Damso. He is the best one at the moment, without giving a shout out to all my rapping friends. I don’t need to mention their names, they know who they are”.

With this music scene in the national spotlights, a solid club venue and a strong party concept, things could be worse for a beginning DJ. Théo may not be a name you are familiar with yet, but with a promising bunch of forthcoming events and DJ-sets on various festivals like Les Ardentes or WECANDANCE, that is about to change. Hip hop is taking off for real this time and Théo did not miss this train.

Follow the man's Soundcloud page for some grade-A background tunes. Next BSMNT session at Bloody Louis will be held on September 2. More info on the Facebook event page