In a time where festivals dominate the supply of large, electronic music events, less space is being left for a phenomenon we used to be a lot more familiar with: the indoor rave. Combine this with the careful resurgence of club culture we have been seeing in this country and you would forget there used to be a time where massive expo halls were the place for going all out on electronic music. Not these two, though. Both PIAS Records (in this interview represented by Ineke Daans) and Les Ardentes (represented by Jean-Yves Reumont) have extremely relevant experience with multiple editions of PIAS Nites and Les TransArdentes. Well, now, these two nightlife institutions have joined forces for the very first time to present the inaugural edition of their big night. To celebrate the occasion, they have invited industry legends Mr. Oizo and Vitalic, amongst a whole bunch of other talents. Time to question these two forces about their collab, their motives and their love for a good rave.
First off: PIAS Nites usually focusses more on live music, while Les TransArdentes feels like it puts electronic music more in the spotlights. How did this collaboration come about?
Reumont: "Unfortunately, it was not possible to put up a new edition of Les TransArdentes in Liège this year, so we wanted to host a special edition outside of our hometown instead. After coproducing the PIAS Nites at Palais 12 together for two years, it seemed like it made sense to cooperate on a single, big night in Brussels together."
Daans: "Here at PIAS, electronic music is part of our DNA; and the PIAS Nites are an extension of that. Before we moved to Palais 12 in 2015, we used to organize a large, annual event at Tour & Taxis with two nights: one filled with indie, rock and pop; and one with electro and dance music, often with over 10.000 people and great DJs and live artists, like Laurent Garnier, 2manydjs, Paul Kalkbrenner, M83, Claptone, Tiga, Modeselektor, Faithless, etc. When we moved to Palais 12 and joined forces with our friends from Les Ardentes, we continued on that path, headlining acts like Flume and Oscar and the Wolf. So for us, this collaboration is not very different and we're very proud to welcome Les TransArdentes with us this year."
All in all: you offer a wide spectrum of live and DJ acts in different genres. Is that what you were going for?
Reumont: "Yes. Both Les TransArdentes and PIAS Nites have always been into a wide range of different styles and genres within electronic music. For this one we tried to bring the best from the new school (like Fakear, Møme or The Blaze) as well as the more established electro heroes, like Vitalic and Mr. Oizo. It’s not easy filling up a massive concert venue like this, you know."
So what will you do to adapt this big concert hall into a tailor-made venue for this event?
Daans: "We are working on the ‘club format’ of Palais 12, with very extraordinary decoration. Think of a similar production like the one we had with Oscar and The Wolf and Flume, all with the intention to bring the audience the best possible setting to experience live music to the fullest."
Without sounding too sceptical: is there still a place for massive indoor raves in today’s music scene? You guys are one of the few that still manage to pull these off.
Reumont: "It's definitely true that, with more summer outdoor dance festivals, less space remains for massive indoor raves. That's why we focus on a strong lineup, mostly made of live shows to attract both fans that want to have a crazy night out and live music enthusiasts that come to see a specific name. Working together with two large organizations also allows us to merge to both of our fan communities. All in all, we expect more than 7000 people."
With Mr. Oizo and Vitalic, you booked two absolute dance music legends. Were they on top of your list?
Reumont: "Yes, absolutely. In my opinion, Vitalic ODC is both sonically and visually on of the best live shows around. It’s also welcome that the artist has an existing history with both PIAS Nites and Les Ardentes. Secondly, a live performance by Mr. Oizo is always a bit of an experiment. It will be his first time playing Les TransArdentes or PIAS Nites, but I remember amazing sets from him at Les Ardentes in 2007 and 2012."
On the other side: with Beffroi, Limits, DC Salas and Le Motel, you also added fresh local talent on the lineup. Was that a conscious decision?
Daans: "It's exciting to give a platform to new (or new-ish) PIAS signings like Anna of The North, Kllo, Beffroi and Limits, right besides these more established names. I’m sure they will go down well! As for the other Belgians on the bill, such as Le Motel and DC Salas (both of which are on fire at the moment) we’re sure they will deliver exquisite sets!"
Which acts are you looking forward to the most, personally?
Reumont: "I’m really looking forward to see The Blaze. They always have amazing music videos, so I’m very curious to see how they will perform their audio-visual live show."
Daans: "Obviously, I can't wait to see Vitalic’s ODC show, which I haven't seen yet. Additionally, I am very curious about the first live show by The Blaze in Belgium. Then we have STUFF. of course. I think you would have a hard time finding a more exciting live band in Belgium right now. But then again, I’m equally excited about every new artist on the lineup. I often say to people that selling out Flume's largest headline show to date was a great achievement for us, but putting a relatively unknown salute right before him that year and witnessing 5000 people go crazy for him, is just as magical as selling out that night. So in the end we encourage everyone to go and check out all the smaller names too!"