After two successful editions, the Brussels-based LISTEN! Festival is back in full force. Between Thursday March 29 and Sunday April 1, an impressive wide variety of venues in our nation’s capital (think Horta Gallery and Flagey) will host the cream of the crop in today’s eclectic electronic music scene. Raves, fairs, workshops, talks and concerts - whatever your inner music nerd desires, you can count on this stellar festival to have your back. Scroll down for a small round-up of the ins and outs with Koen Galle, co-promoter at LISTEN! They certainly have our attention.
For people that have never heard about Listen Festival, can you give us a little introduction?
"Listen Festival is a 4-day-event, featuring DJs, club nights, live concerts, showcases, talks, workshops, an exhibition, a vinyl and gear fair, and so on. It is held on multiple locations in the capital, and aims to showcase the vibrant left-of-centre electronic club music scenes in Brussels, Belgium and abroad."
What can we expect to be different this year?
"First of all, we have become a real festival now - not just a series of club nights. This means that our lineups run from Friday until Sunday - late at night. You’ll be able to hear, see and experience big names such as Mount Kimbie, John Talabot, Bicep or Antal, right next to new, exciting talent. It's highly recommended to check the lineup carefully, because some of our headliners (such as Floating Points or Mr. Scruff) will play early sets. Ultimately, we offer a few live concerts by artists such as Dollkraut Band, DC Salas, Rheinzand, Le Motel, Cid Rim and many, many more."
Over the last years, you were able to host events in impressive venues like Square, Ancienne Belgique and Beursschouwburg (amongst many other places). Where will we be able to go to this year?
"Horta Gallery will be our main venue, with an impressive three-room lineup, spread over three nights. We wanted to focus on the latest talent in the international clubbing scenes, but also offer an opportunity in the spotlights for upcoming artists that you might hear for the first time. Additional to Horta Gallery, there will be concerts in Beursschouwburg, La Madeleine and of course our opening concert at Flagey."
As a festival, you do an excellent job at connecting the local scene. Do you feel like there’s a need for events like these in Brussels?
"We do. Very much so. Brussels is a vibrant city when it comes to electronic music. As a festival in the capital of Belgium, we try to give a platform to the best local scenes from the whole country. That's why we collaborate with Stroom.tv, Crevette Records (who are the official record store partners), Crammed Discs, Radio Martiko, Deep In House, Fuse, Basic Moves, We Play House and a bunch more. We actually asked each of them to co-curate our lineups. With selectors such as Lefto, Nosedrip, Red D, Rhythm Mind, Asa Moto, DTM Funk and Cleveland, we believe we have a strong Belgian DJ line-up as well. On Thursday, we also host a series of showcases in various locations in town, completely free of charge. Every showcase will be curated by a Belgian label. The lineups for these showcases will be announced in January."
Which names on the lineup are you most excited about personally?
"Wow, there’s a lot to choose from! I'm very much looking forward to see the B2B set by Actress and Mount Kimbie on Friday Night. This collaboration is brand new, formed after a recent joined NTS Radio set. The lineup for the opening concert in Flagey on Thursday evening, curated by Stroom.tv and Crevette Records, is pretty crazy if we say so ourselves. The extended DJ-sets of Hunee and Mr. Scruff on Saturday night that will be a real trip too. For the techno heads, we have s strong Sunday evening, curated by Fuse, Deep In House and Basic Moves. We'll announce the names for that day somewhere early January"
Any non-music acts (exhibitions, lectures, screenings, etc) we shouldn’t miss?
"Brussels is going to be very much alive during that weekend. We have a whole series of exhibitions, talks, plus a record and gear fair ready under the 'Listen Extra' banner, taking at the amazing ING Art Center at Place Royale. More news about this will come soon, though!"
Here's an exclusive overview of the first batch of names: Actress B2B Mount Kimbie, Bicep, Antal, Floating Points, Hunee, John Talabot, Jonny Nash & Suzanne Kraft (live), Mr. Scruff (DJ-set), Dollkraut Band (live), Mhysa (live), Rozzma (live), O Yuki Conjugate (live), Cleveland, Lefto, Le Motel (live), Nosedrip, Asa Moto, Lawrence Le Doux (live), Rheinzand (live), Hiele & Milan W. (live), Radio Martiko, Kong & Gratts, Red D, Far Out Radio Systems (live), AliA and DTM Funk. More will be announced soon! Keep an eye on Listen Festival's Facebook page for updates.
For more information and tickets, visit the LISTEN! Festival website, right here.