“An emotional tour de force”: New book reflects on three decades of Belgian electronic music

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For the last three decades, Belgium’s rich electronic music scene has truly flourished to become one of the world’s best. With iconic nightclubs from Fuse to Café d’Anvers, this monumental history that has created what we know of its nightlife today has been pieced together in the new book, Smos & Baby Bee: Party Flyers And More. Reminiscences Of A Unique Era In Belgian Nightlife Culture. (1993–2010).

Written by Koen Galle, the book ventures through the iconic raves of Belgium guided by the storyline of the pioneering DJ duo Smos & Baby Bee. What were, and still are, a duo formidable in Belgian’s nightlife, the pair stormed dancefloors up until the tragic passing of Smos. With an exclusive interview with Bee, Galle built the foundations of this release with the help of a mammoth archive of material presented to him from Bee including photographs, flyers and more.

Galle describes the duo as “obsessed by music” adding: “They were among the first generation of DJs who incorporated the new style of music flooding nightlife, at a time when electronic music was really making its hits and hype in the clubs and record shops. They were simply really good DJs, flawlessly understanding the dynamics of a dance floor and known for their long nights of record playing.”

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Three years ago, Smos passed away and due to the pandemic, a public memorial service was never held. This book, however, shares the tale of the two Belgian DJ pioneers and keeps their legacy alive. This may have been an “intense” process for Baby Bee according to Galle as she spent a lot of time reflecting on her relationship with Smos for the book.

Galle shares: “The book might help to enable some closure for her and engage her into breathing new life in old relationships. She has told me everything about their life and career during our long conversations, both the highs and the lows. She has shown me vulnerability and has opened her heart for me. For people of her age, whose life and creativity hasn’t been so accurately recorded by the internet as it is for today’s key players of the scene, rebuilding an identity in retrospect really is an emotional tour de force. I’m very grateful that she wanted to share this with me.”

Interviews inside this new book include DJs and friends of Smos & Baby Bee such as D’Julz, Jack De Marseille, Frie Verhelst of USA Import, DJ Pierre of Fuse, Geoffroy Mugwump (Red D) and more.

A touching testimony within the book comes from dance music legend Mr. G recalling the first time he met both Smos and Baby Bee at Café d’Anvers: “We really got along together with our shared deep love for music. They were so ahead of the game with the art side Baby Bee had. I have so many souvenirs here at home, stuff they sent me that still pops up now and then and reminds me of a great point in life. I miss them both to be fair.”

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Check out some images from Baby Bee’s archive which are included in Smos & Baby Bee: Party Flyers And More. Reminiscences Of A Unique Era In Belgian Nightlife Culture. (1993–2010) below. Get your own copy of the book here.

Get a copy of Smos & Baby Bee: Party Flyers And More. Reminiscences Of A Unique Era In Belgian Nightlife Culture. (1993–2010) here.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter

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Written by: Tim Hopkins

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