Sony Music Belgium presents: Bands 'n' Bites

Pictures by Mathias Lambrecht

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Sony Music Belgium has a lovely series of shindigs, named Bands 'n' Bites. These events take place at unique locations all over Belgium, introducing fresh sounds to a select crowd. We had the chance to witness the latest edition, which was held in Brussels and featured R.O., Maverick, Todiefor, Henri PFR, Alex Germys, Jack Wins and Wankelmut. Being intrigued with the whole ordeal, we sat down with Annelies Zoetardt who enlightened us. 

Hi Annelies, could you explain the concept to us? 

"Sure! Bands ‘n’ Bites is a private discovery night, with live sessions and exclusive side activities like Q&As, keynotes, workshops, etc. Each edition showcases a different genre from Sony Music’s wide range of artists. This time we focused on 'BEATS' (cfr. 'Beats ‘n’ Bites'). We invited Wankelmut, Jack Wins and a selection of great Belgian DJ/producers. Besides the DJ/live sets, we challenged four of the Belgian artists - who were included in our line-up - to live produce a track during 2 duo sessions (R.O./Maverick and Todiefor/Alex Germys) from scratch in 45 minutes. The two fresh new tunes will be hosted on Red Bull Elektropedia's Soundcloud. Wankelmut also explained how his latest new single ‘Almost Mine’ has been arranged during a short talk."

Is Bands 'n' Bites a national or an international thing? 

"We’re currently looking into an urban edition in the Netherlands with Belgian artists. And we do not exclude that the concept will travel other borders as well. But, for now, it's only in Belgium"

What do you tend to achieve with these events? 

"Our role as a label is to expand. We’re not only plugging singles to radio and distributing music. By inviting media partners, brands & influencers to these events, we offer our artists a platform. We want to provide them with new content & collabs, and cross-promote their music on both sides of the country's language borders. One of our previous editions, which focused on urban music with a.o. Woodie Smalls, Darrell Cole, K1D & blackwave., resulted in a similar concept in London, accompanied by a docu series & feature on SBTV. “Meet the rappers trying to do for Belgium what grime is doing for the UK”."    

How long have you guys been doing this? 

"We started off in March 2016, with Belgian singer-songwriters Bent Van Looy & Admiral Freebee at Coffeelabs in Antwerp. Our invitees seemed to like the intimate atmosphere (we usually only invite 100 /150 people). It creates more interaction with the artists. In the meantime we’re hosting our fifth edition."

You focus on unique locations to hold these events, correct? 

"Yes, definitely, the venues are really an added value for the artist and our guests. We managed to lineup Rag ‘n’ Bone Man for our second edition in Ghent. The unique location (Marriott's Brixx Cellar at Korenlei) and the fact that this was just before his big breakthrough in Belgium, made it an even more memorable experience."

We’ve noticed Sony has been hunting in the urban scene - with succes. How do you think this genre became so popular in such a short time? 

"It’s a trend we see all over Europe: Hip hop - and often local hip hop - is one of the most popular genres on streaming services and YouTube, where mainly the younger generations discover and consume their music. The popularity of the genre is not new, but was never as visible as today. And thanks to this, the traditional media give it more attention too, which helps break it to the mainstream. Of course it also helps to have some exceptionally talented artists who lead the way, like Woodie Smalls did for the new wave of English spoken hip hop in Flanders, for example."

We’ve picked up Blackwave, Todiefor, R.O., …  on Sony Music. Any up and coming artists you would like to tip us? 

"Something that really matters to us as a modern-day label, is to invest in upcoming talent. We do our very best to give young(er) artists the means and support they need to simply ‘do their thing’ and evolve artistically. Our roster is quite diverse and eclectic.

Some of the artists we’re currently developing (besides the ones already mentioned above), or of which you can expect new music from in a near future, are: Charlotte (French), Darrell Cole, Willem Ardui, Woodie Smalls, Maverick, K1D, blackwave. and Mickey. Most of them are featured in our weekly updated playlists like Dope or Lit (click the links to check them out and subscribe). Besides, we’re currently on the lookout for several other artists we believe have great potential. Belgium is filled with talent!"

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