Liège might not be the most exotic location, but behind the scenes, the Lait De Coco crew is hustling hard to bring the heat back to the dancefloor. As the name suggest, Lait De Coco is all about highly infective percussion and flavourful club music. This versatile group of three consists of Labok, Mimi and Jeuneclyde – who all play music and make art in their own particular ways. After just two years, the LDC-parties have quickly created a new environment for local fans of alternative dance music that crosses the many boundaries of genre labelling.
With a positive attitude and a few USB’s full of fire, the trio can often be seen in DJ-booths around the country. But today, it’s a home game. The sun is shining on Supervue, a 2-day art and music festival that takes place on an old mine hill just outside the centre of Liège. From here, you can see the city in all its glory (hence the name) while Lait De Coco mixes Dutch rap, Brazilian Funk and UK club together faster than you can track-ID the tunes on Shazam. People are dancing – and it doesn’t look like they are one bit surprised by any of their choices in music selection (always a good sign). After the set, we found a quiet place in the shade to see how things are going for one of Belgium’s most exciting new music crew.
Can we start by the story of how you met?
"Well, we all met here in Liège around 2 years ago. At the time, Folie Douce was still a very influential night that never played by the rules of conventional club music (Folie Douce is a party, collective and record label from Liège that was predominantly active between 2013 and 2017, ed.). It’s not really a big city here, so if you like the same music, you’re bound to run into each other."
What made you decide to host parties together?
"We all have a different story that started well before we met each other. But we came together on a moment when the party scene in Liège started to show symptoms of neglect and repetition. Don’t get us wrong, there are still good events here and there, but the scene lacked a little excitement. That’s why we decided to join powers and start something fresh, showcasing the kind of alternative, percussive hip hop and club music vibe we are into. If the success of Folie Douce showed us anything, it’s that there is definitely a base of music lovers here that we can build upon. Sidenote: we, don’t want to copy these guys, but we wanna tell our own story, further building upon their legacy."
Where would you put yourself on the map of the music universe?
"In that grey area between techno, hip hop and club music."
What’s the raison d’être for Lait De Coco?
"Well, we are many different things at once. Up until now most people will know us for our events, but this year we will promote our other endeavours too, like the record label and our visual art. We don’t want to brag, but Maria has a master in sculpture and she’s a really talented painter (laughs). That said, we’re deliberately taking our time, step by step. Currently, we’re not yet at the point where we want to be, although we’re getting closer fast. In the end, we want people to see and hear the forms of art we are so passionate about. And we believe having different ways to express those is the best way to reach that goal."
You host a Facebook group, which acts like a forum – a long gone phenomenon in internet culture. Do you feel like this format has maintained its importance through the years?
"Haha, that’s mainly Bok’s thing, he is the Facebook guy (laughs)! But yeah, as we said earlier, Liège is such a small city, so an online group for local, like-minded music fans is a very effective way to share music between one another. Of course it’s not about the numbers (we have about 150 members), we only allow people who are 100% good vibes. Sharing, listening and discussing music really leads to a healthier local scene of people that better understand what you are about."
As music becomes a format that’s experienced more and more online, especially with further fragmentation; do you feel like you are part of a based, local scene? Or a tiny part of an online movement?
"We never really thought of it that way. However, we knew we wanted to be part of the large online movement of alternative club music from the moment we had that ‘I-wanna-DO-something’ spark. From the start, it has exclusively been about having fun. But by DJ-ing around and organizing events, we are slowly learning in which direction we want to take this adventure. So yeah, are we part of a ‘scene’ in the strict sense of the word? That’s not for us to say. We definitely don’t limit ourselves to one genre. We are kids from the next Soundcloud generation, listening to music from all corners of the globe, as long as it’s got some rhythm, drums or loops."
Which concepts, artist or DJ’s have most influenced you?
"Most of our inspiration comes from ‘the internet’ in itself: the chaotic storm of information, sounds and images that pass by every single day. That said, versatile collectives like LuckyMe, Pelican Fly, Night Slugs, Bala Club, Qween Beat or Fade To Mind all do things in their own way. If you are able to build a legacy like that over the years, amassing a fanbase that doesn’t mind to be surprised, then that’s something we can only look up to. Purely music-wise, a special mention goes out to Jam City (who also performed at Supervue Festival, ed.) who changed our lives with his 2012 album ‘Classical Curves’. That was a true eye opener and a classic for many decades to come."
Would you say things are going better for electronic music in Liège?
"Absolutely. There’s already an established art scene over here. But like we’ve said before, there was a bit of a stalemate for alternative events up until recently. But now you can go out to different kinds of quality nights every weekend. The opening of Kultura last year was definitely a major step forward. It’s a club that’s open to outsiders and unconventional music. It inspired a lot of locals to start something of their own, so you can feel there’s a lot more ‘breathing space’ for creative people in general. Life in this city can be frustrating for many people who live here. Add a big dose of students to the mix and you have a nightlife scene where people want to PARTY. Of all the Belgian cities we’ve been in, no one really gets down as hard as the Liégeois!"
And does that mean venues and events have become more inclusive?
"Going out in Liège as a person of colour or as a person who doesn’t identify him- or herself as straight can be challenging sometimes. But we can only talk for ourselves. For us, an inclusive approach to clubbing is crucial. Every time we host an event, we want to make sure it’s a safe zone for everyone. The only thing that matters for us is your willingness to let it all out and be yourself on the dancefloor."
Are there any local artists who are moving the boundaries of experimental club music?
"We love Lord & Hardy, a hybrid pop and hip hop duo from around here. They definitely have the potential to break out into the mainstream. Ssaliva and Munix (aka Nevrland) from the Heartbroken crew are on another level entirely. They are able to make any type of music, really. Actually, we’re going to release a compilation with beats made exclusively by artists from Liège and Wallonia! So keep your eyes peeled for that!"
Any other things we should be watching out for?
"The very first official Lait De Coco release for example, which will include original productions from Labok. Then another one shortly after by our good friend Tévéa. As for the events, we start the new season on September 1 at Kultura. This year, we want to make sure we invite a lot of other like-minded Belgian heads, we want to support the whole scene. Maybe we’ll even put on the occasional party in other Belgian cities. Who knows?"
Head over to their Facebook page for updates!