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Stage-host KetaLoco: 10 years of crazy vibes!

They are the perfect blend of everything Belgium has to offer. Ketaloco shares their “crazy atmosphere” signature-stamp since ten years with a local and international audience of all ages and places. From massive club-nights and open-air events across the whole country, to parties in Berlin and Ibiza, to a stage at Tomorrowland and another at Paradise City. Join them on Friday as they open up three days of Festival at Paradise City.

Created ten years ago in 2007 and originated from Leuven, KetaLoco is the early (first) adaptor and initiator of minimal-house parties in Belgium. The collective has since come a long way and still has hundreds of people following them around at every party.

At the heart of the organisation, two brothers Kjell and Tijl Materman and their dear friend Didier dos Santos (you may also know them under DJ names Don Cabron, Caspar and dos Santos). Their regular visits to Berlin’s Panorama bar and Ibiza’s CircoLoco during their student years had a huge influence on them. They cherished the crazy vibes and unique chilled-out atmosphere of the after-parties which they couldn’t find anywhere else; precious minimal house tunes and uninhibited crowds dancing in smiles and positive vibes.

“Minimal House concepts were still new in Belgium at the time”

Rare ones included “Forbidden Fruit” by Silo and some fines tunes played by Pierre at Fuse. The three friends wished to create their own party concept where they could curate their love for Minimal House with deeper uplifting sounds and other genres (like the rich Sound of Belgium). Ketaloco’s first party took place in Antwerp at club Noxx before moving to other venues like La Rocca Ballroom (Antwerp), Pulse Factory (Wallonia), Fuse (Brussels) as well as a minimal stage at Eargasm Open Air Festival and Tomorrowland.

Staying true to their crazy circus after midnight, Ketaloco has lifted up the atmosphere of each club night ever since. Whether in Belgium or abroad, the promoters are known for the crazy vibes at their parties: eccentric dress-codes, colorfoul decorations and wild animations. “People can go completely wild on music, letting go of everything. It’s about the feeling of connection and respect we share with each-other. Just be free, don’t take life too seriously!” shares young organiser Kjell.

And the hardcore crew grew

From Flanders to Wallonia to Brussels, all regions of Belgium got covered equally by Ketaloco’s team over the years. In the early beginnings, the team even used to arrange a Ketaloco-Family bus to cross Belgium for nightclub road trips “We had parties in all corners of the country, it created a strong bond between the Ketaloco party-goers. We called it the Ketaloco Family! The bus-trips are some of my best memories. People were dancing between the couches, singing along on 90s tune and all kinds of House music!”

By inviting people from different party concepts and regions, the trio has surely created something unique in a country which can still feel divided in its music scene. Friends or Frenemies?  “We are mostly all friends! We invite Belgian guest DJs to share our decks since day one. By working together we can only achieve more!”

In 2009, within their second year of existence, the team landed themselves a stage at Tomorrowland, the biggest electronic music festival in Belgium (180,000 unique visitors over one week-end). The organiser shares “With Tomorrowland we got the chance to an international recognition, they gave us the possibility to shine”. Ketaloco started by hosting the “cave” before getting their own stage and inviting DJs such as Solomun, Hernan Cattaneo, Andhim, David August, dj T and Pan Pot.

Kiell remembers his first impression “I thought it was quiet commercial. The festival is famous worldwide for its main stage with mainstream music. But they also give a platform to smaller Belgian organisations with deeper sounds, like Café d’Anvers, We Play House and of course us!”.

Since three years, the team has also taken over the ruins of Villers-La-Ville with a yearly open-air event which is part of ‘The Dansant’. Kjell comments “We started Thé Dansant 8 years ago. It was initially a collaboration between Feestgedruis & KETALOCO. At the time, sunday afternoon Open-air parties were famous in Berlin & Ibiza, but didn’t exist yet in Belgium”. And like anything Ketaloco touches — Thé Dansant too grew bigger and bigger. Nowadays the concept is famous for bringing the best Belgian house DJs to stunning locations every first Sunday of the Summer period.

Thé Dansant by Ketaloco @Abbaye Villers-la-Ville

New beat, New politics

Belgium’s heart has been beating to electronic music since the early 90s. But years have passed since the great era of Newbeat and new talents have emerged; an explosion of DJs and musical discoveries, from the handful to the mass production.

As electronic events are growing more popular each year throughout the country, organising parties and finding good locations remains a challenge for organisers. However, Ketaloco strongly believes that more things are possible in Brussels today “There is more cooperation. Electronic music is seen less and less as a ‘drug party’ thing that politicians want to avoid in their city. But still Brussels falls behind cities like Berlin & Amsterdam”.

The city of Brussels is indeed promoting more electronic events as ever before. The city launched BRUZZ, the new local media coverage since 2016 (incl. Radio, Web, Magazine and TV, which all massively promote electronic-music). Another initiative is one for New Years eve, for which every year (inter)national visitors of Brussels can buy a ticket which gives them access to 10 different parties in Brussels!

Furthermore, some organisations came together in the past, signing a letter to the mayor to ask for more locations in Brussels. Kjell comments about the initiative “In Brussels we really have a problem with the number of locations. We have clubs, but outside clubs it can be challenging to find a venue to rent. Organisations today have a wider choice in the kind of spaces where they can organise electronic parties, such as Place Poelaert, Royal Parc, Parc Cinquantenaire and Parking58. But for smaller, younger organisations who wish to organise an indoor party, it can be really hard and take a long time.”

Ketaloco @Tomorrowland

Often regarded as a wild-child, nighttime activities are often unknown to politicians and frowned upon. Most promoters, artists and organisers believe that electing someone to the job of a Night-Mayor could help things shift in Brussel and open-up a more comprehensive dialogue between business, residents and City Council.

Created in 2014 in Amsterdam, the function of a city Night-Mayor has helped to clear up a blind spot that many cities face. Our neighbours in Amsterdam, Toulouse, Paris, Zurich and most recent ones London and Berlin have already taken the step. Could Brussels be the next capital city to elect a nightlife representative? One could only hope so.

Promoting young talents

Not feeling stopped the least by logistic details, today’s generation of party-promoters keep coming up with ideas to make their events happen. Showing support, Kjell adds “We always invite new talents at our parties. The first slot always goes to talented local DJs. We invited Chavy, Borealis, Ra-im, Bacon&Eggs and Gonzo when they were still unknown. We are always eager to listen to sets that people send us. And if it matches we are happy to invite them!” — Yes, it’s an official invitation, you can send your sets to the Ketaloco page.

Fits like a glove!

Having a lot of people going to both Ketaloco’s parties and Paradise City, it is only natural that the pair found each other.

Long-time friends and residents of Ketaloco can be spotted on different stages of the festival throughout the three days, like ATTAR!, Chantal (The Jelly Bellies) and Nico Morano. But it’s on Friday that Belgium’s finest musical talents will come together on the Ketaloco stage.

Starting with Miotti & Ramioul (resident DJs of Deep House Belgium) with a perfect deeper, yet melodic sound. Moving on to Chavy (resident DJ at VIEF) a talent to watch out for! But also Konna & Goldfox (both resident DJs at StuBru) for which Kjell Materman and his team show a lot of enthusiasm “They know the history of house and will bring a set of their latests sounds mixed with some (forgotten) classics from the past.” Don Cabron B2B Dj Casper, will also play on their own stage celebrating 10 years of Ketaloco anniversary and their love for House music!

And last but not least — Pierre, one of Ketaloco’s biggest influence since their teens will close up the stage on Friday “Pierre is undoubtedly one of Belgium’s best DJs. He has been a front player from the start and keeps evolving ‘till today.”

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