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Passionately spreading the real house sound for longer than anyone can remember, Kong DJ is one of the most industrious tastemakers of Belgium’s scene. His carefully prepared DJ performances are vinyl driven and express a profound love for house music in a pure and raw form, staying true to the originators of the craft. Kong’s residency at Brussels paramount underground club C12 has shown him thoroughly working the floor on any possible moment of the night. Furthermore he has a monthly radio show on Kiosk, writes about our scene and runs two labels.
You named your podcast ‘Thank You For The Dreams’. Can you explain why and what mood you tried to capture?
The title is a tiny acapella I found at the end of a record by Bluemoon Productions from 1990. It has a deep voice saying ‘Thank You For The Dreams’, referencing the titles of the six tracks on the EP each being a letter of the word D R E A M S. I play the S track in my mix. The mood I tried to capture is similar to what I do in clubs; most of the records have been in heavy rotation lately. I wanted to make a really long mix, for listeners to join me on some kind of trip, going up and down you know. All comes from vinyl except for two unreleased tracks. The mix was recorded on a Wednesday afternoon in my studio, using two Technics SL1200 turntables and an E&S rotary mixer.
Any tracks you want to highlight, a personal favorite ?
The Incogdo record is a record I have been playing for so many years already, always at peak time and I can’t get enough of it. I’m every single time flabbergasted by the raw power it possesses. It’s an edit of John Rocca’s I Want It To Be Real (Farley´s Hothouse Piano Mix), done by Carl Craig and Derrick May.
The Kenflow record was my last track at Fuse not so long ago, warming up the crowd to boiling point for DJ Jayda G. The track is some kind of a bizarro garage house thing with lovely vocals, great to sing along, a recent find at Crevette by the way.
And then there are two tracks from the album ‘Interlace Joy Motions’, which I just released on my new label Hi Scores, made by Larson. Hailing from Liège, he is a talented producer, a great DJ and since we started working together he also became a good friend.
Can you talk a bit about your digging routine when looking for records? Where did you find the records in this mix?
The origins of my records? That’s a difficult question. They come from everywhere I guess, a mix of my regular spots for digging and from many trips during the past 20 years. Nowadays I mostly buy at Crevette, through Discogs and some online shopping. Most of the records from the first half an hour were bought on a New York trip earlier this year. Some of the new records I found at Rush Hour (thanks Kléo for the good advice) when visiting Amsterdam for ADE a few weeks ago. Some of the records, for instance the Roy Davis Jr. album, the Round One record or the Bluemoon Productions, have been in my collection for longer than I can remember.
You’re working on a three dimensional archive-project/research/book called Rave Little Belgium. We are very curious… (+ how can we all participate?)
Yes, it’s quite an ambitious project that will take up the next two years of my life and is actually already growing on me for more than two years. We are almost ready to share a database website, where we’ll try to collect as much material such as pictures, flyers, posters, stories, … about our Belgian nightlife and electronic music history as possible. Simultaneously we will start writing a book on the subject, hopefully creating a huge community along the way. If you’re interested, you can follow us through our website, social media and newsletter.
Your professional career goes way back, you’ve been walking a long way: electro house parties at venue Nijdrop, working for the national radio Studio Brussel, you ran (together with Gratts) the classic house label Ensemble… then there is the trio label project with “the hillies” (aka hill men) called Souvenirs For Imaginary Cities, and now a new born baby called Hi Scores. Very very impressive at least. What is your drive and where do you find your energy?
Thanks! I’m very grateful that after all these years I am still able to work as a DJ, a music writer and as a label manager. It all started as a child, this feeling of strongly enjoying music and the need to share my emotions about what I heard. I’m a rather introverted person, so I prefer doing all this from a safe position: for example my writing desk or a DJ booth where there isn’t too much light and attention on the position of the DJ. The clubs I mostly play at, such as my residency at C12 or venues such as Fuse or La Cabane, all have light jockeys who understand and respect this.
One small rectification: Nijdrop wasn’t just about electro house, although this genre was indeed happening at the end of the nineties and early two thousands. But we threw all kinds of parties there, mixing all sorts of house, techno, electro, drum'n and bass but also a lot of disco, funk, new wave or rock. Those were important and formative years for me, great that you mentioned it! 🙂
Kong @C12 (c) Jeremy Gérard
What is the idea of Hi Scores (on the A&R side and on the graphic side?) How did you discover the mature deep house of Larson? And we’ve heard some rumors that you’re working on a compilation dedicated to the Crammed Discs offshore label SSR …
The name Hi Scores isn’t my invention, it’s taken from a beautiful album by Boards Of Canada. I ran into it and was immediately hooked on the name. It has many meanings, but the most important one is linked to something that has always fascinated me in nightlife: the quest for the high. On a personal level, I purposely had to invest a lot in finding a balanced and healthy connection with the “nightlife high” (in any kind of form, not only the dope), especially in relation to daily life, family, other professional activities, etcetera. Seeking a high score also connects well to my other hobby: long-distance running. Lately I’ve been hearing from more and more DJs who also enjoy it. We should start a jogging club!
Hi Scores is meant as an outlet for house music that I like to play in my own DJ sets. I don’t plan to run a very tight schedule with one release after the other, but I’ll rather put a lot of time and storytelling into each project. I’ve known Larson for quite some time already, he used to book me and Gratts as Ensemble in Liège. Around the time Ensemble ended and I decided to continue on my own with a new label, I ran into him again. I believe it was his track for the C12 ‘Social Distancing’ compilation that drew my attention.
And indeed, the next release will be a 2x12” compilation with a selection from SSR Records, the now defunct sub label of Crammed Discs that ran from the end of the eighties until the early 2000s. The tracklist is superb and I wrote extended liner notes for each track, so it’s gonna be a nice gatefold sleeve package with beautiful artwork by Léo Fouan. Léo is a young and very talented French designer living in Brussels that I met online and I’m very grateful to work with now.
Any tips to younger generations on how to find their own way into the endless world of old and new electronic (dance) music?
I also often get lost in the jungle, but I keep on telling myself that it’s useless to try to understand or follow it all. I’m a huge fan of the internet, but in the end I mostly enjoy being guided by what happens in the real world: the advice of a store clerk, an interview, a good friend’s favorite record, records heard in a club, …
Thanks a lot king kong !
Larson (c) Jente Waerzeggers