Stage-host Roots of Minimal: Creating a sense of family
The promoters behind Roots of Minimal have curated some of Belgian’s finest electronic music parties since 2010. Elected best party and best label (RedBull Elektropedia Awards 2015/ 2016) they have booked some of the most notable artists over the years. For their first year as stage-host at Paradise City, their careful musical selection includes AMyn, Jacques, Recondite, Audion & more.
Turn up the volume to discover the sounds and artists of Roots of Minimal at Paradise City! The playlist features Stavroz’s latest track ‘Ghajar’ from Gold Town EP (out since May 26 on moodfamily label).
Roots of Minimal is a family. And a party organiser and record label that represents home to musical discoveries from House to Deephouse to Techno.
Ellen De Nys, Aren van Asbroek and Jens Van Ruyskensvelde all had been organising parties long before they knew each other. You may know them under the names of Roots of Minimal (ROM), Moodfamily or Hertz or heard some of their talented residents like Amyn, Stavroz, Harted, Beazar and Koodoo. “We are basically a group of friends doing music-related things together. I don’t see our parties as brands. We’re just trying to bring music we like to people, set a nice atmosphere and hope that people can connect to what we do.” shares co-promoter Jens Van Ruyskensvelde.
Roots of Minimal has some successful parties up their sleeve to say the least. Formerly based in both Antwerp and Gent, they have hosted parties in Belgian’s finest venues and night-clubs (including Fuse, Kompass, Petrol, KERK, Chinastraat, ArtCube,…) and booked some of the most sought-after names of the electronic music scene such as Nicolas Jaar, Stimming, John Talabot, Kettenkarussel, David August, Dorisburg and Nonkeen.
When asked about their best memories, the co-promoter shares “The most memorable parties are those where everything comes together in the end. The music, the atmosphere, the crowd (…)“. He continues “Also, when we manage to book someone music-wise that we’ve been trying to book for three years; like Nicolas Jaar at Kristallin. (…) Something we have worked on for so long is happening, that can only make for a successful party!”
More good memories include Moodfamily’s anniversaries in Keizerpark and Kristallin. Keizerpark’s party was happening outdoors, end of the school-year and during the exams. The organisers expected a rough one-thousand people to show up, but it’s a much larger crowd of four-thousand that came that day. “It was insane!” remembers Jens.
Are there still any artists out of reach for one of Belgium’s best party promoter? “Ever since hearing them live for the first time, I always wanted to book Aphex Twin” shares Jens – although he questions if there would ever be an event where he could make this happen or if it would make sense for them as organisers. “At this moment, if you don’t consider the high fees or if the artists still play, I don’t think there are that many unreachable artists for us to talk to anymore.”
The Belgian cachet
Whether it’s linked to a social and historical context or just a more general musical understanding, Belgium is spoiled by thousands of festivals and parties each year. Curating the most eclectic, niche or A-list line-ups, amazing parties are happening in the country every week-end, in every city and beyond.
In preparation of their own festival, which will have its first edition in Portugal this summer, Roots of Minimal organiser Jens draws thin comparisons between the two countries “I really realise that what we did in Belgium over the past years -and I had difficulty saying this when I was still living there- was clearly and really something special. The vibe, the buildings, the parties… We can be really proud of the scene we have. I used to think people don’t appreciate it enough, but they show it in a Belgian way. (…) I think the Belgian crowd, compared to other countries, has a good musical education or at least ‘gets it’.”
It is indeed a unique opportunity that Belgians have. Musical understanding is just a dance-move away. The major cities and night-life scenes are close to each other and accessible. The line-ups are rich in numbers and quality and it doesn’t take long before seeing familiar faces again at a party, creating that sense of family that many clubbers and organisers talk about.
With further reflection, the Belgian organiser adds “I don’t feel that they have this close community in Lisbon (yet). From what people tell me and my experience living here for the past four months, it’s definitely on the rise. There is a good crowd and cool stuff happening such as Lisboa Electronica last weekend, but still quite some parties or clubs feel a bit impersonal to me. However, I believe that good things will come from doing whatever you’re passionate about the best you can, and to show support for what you appreciate, both as a visitor or organiser.”
Having a vision. Knowing the music you want to bring. Choosing the names that will attract the number of people you are aiming for. Those are the essential elements of every festival formula. Much more than that, it’s about the message the festival wants to convey to its audience, and the experience the audience will share together for a few days.
Very much in tune with the ecological and social values of Paradise City, the organisation behind Roots of Minimal has also been very inspired by the values shared by other festivals such as Boom, Fusion and Burning Communities; leave no trace, leave a positive impact, be self-responsible and so on.”We got really inspired and passionate by going to these events the past years. What some of them have established is quite insane! The messages they wanna spread and are spreading. (…) We’re definitely inspired by this, but also because those are normal values, it’s a matter of common sense and respect. If you visit a place, whether it’s a friend’s house, a forest or a festival, you leave it the way you found it.”
Further discussing the values conveyed by festivals these days, Jens adds “As a festival organiser, you can have such an impact. So many people are going to festivals now. This is something that everyone does, whatever the kind of music. Promoters have a big potential of teaching people or at least showing them, what their vision is about, share their values. How they could think differently about it, do it differently.” Jens comments “The gross of festivals today is sadly driven by profit over passion. Sell and consume as much as possible, and that’s a pity. It’s not the message youth these days should get when they take a break. Luckily more and more initiatives are popping up which try to make a difference, but I think it’s only a logical evolution. The way festivals have evolved in the past years is not sustainable at all, and I don’t mean ecologically speaking only.”
… more than just a message
The promoter remembers his own festival experiences and wonders “Maybe someone goes alone to a festival because they have to process something. And what the festival conveys as message is just totally different from the usual” Jens continues “I was at Fusion last year and I met some really cool people. I was out with them most of the day. The last day, last act, I saw a girl crying. People started asking “What’s wrong?”, but I could say by looking at her that nothing was wrong. She was happy”. Sometimes a festival leaves its audience speechless, transforms them in unexpected ways. Similar to the feeling a traveler might experience when coming home from long adventures, a festival (on its own kind of journey) can leave you with a unique sense of freedom, long-lasting memories and new friends.
What comes next?
In Belgium? “I honestly have to say (since living in Lisbon), I’m getting a bit disconnected. Everything goes so fast. People want to discover new stuff all the time, which is why it’s cool to have fresh locations, different vibes, different settings. I think people really need it. It’s important to keep it interesting and challenging, not only for the crowd but also for yourself.” concludes Jens.
As the promoters of Roots of Minimal (and Moodfamily) are preparing for their yearly summer festival contributions, expect a bursting Roots of Minimal stage at Paradise City Festival on the last weekend of June in Perk (Steenokkerzeel).
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