That little girl’s dream turned real

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For DJ and event organiser Helena Lauwaert, her passion for techno music started in the back of her parent's car, road-tripping to France with Ibiza Classics CDs blasting through the radio. The destination of this summer’s road trip is Dour, where Helena will be winning hearts with her groovy and fast-paced sets. 

Helena Lauwaert - a name that's been lighting up the scene lately. How do you introduce yourself? 

I’m Helena, I work as a DJ, booker and organiser of festivals and events. Currently, I'm pursuing a degree in Event & Project Development in Ghent, my hometown. My DJ sets typically feature a blend of groovy techno and speed house. I’m part of the team behind Modulair as well, we organise open airs and festivals. 

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So you’re present on stage as well as behind the scenes. What sparked your passion for techno music, and how did it evolve over time?

My parents introduced me to dance music at a very early age. Each summer, we’d road trip to France with Ibiza Classics CDs blasting through the car radio. There are pictures of me and my sister in between a huge party crowd in Ibiza [laughs]. Those experiences ignited my fascination with electronic beats. I bought my first DJ deck when I was fourteen and started toying with it. My sets were first very commercialised dance music because, at fourteen, no alternative party would book me. As I grew more confident and skilled, my musical palette turned to techno, house, trance and hard groove. 

My sets were first very commercialised dance music because, at fourteen, no alternative party would book me

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/6638ec705a5dfe655ffd0956_differentclassHelena_Lauwaert_digi_21.webp"/>

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Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of the techno scene? 

The rave scene has still been quite male-dominated these past decades. Recently, we’ve been seeing more inclusive line-ups, which is great, I hope to see even more girls and queer people turning to DJing. As a young girl myself, I didn’t think I could become a big DJ, luckily we have some great female role models nowadays, like Amelie Lens and Charlotte De Witte. As a booker, I’m committed to getting more FLINTA* people on the lineup. I also love how there has been a much greater emphasis on safe raving, I’m happy professional safety management is becoming more self-evident.

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Reflecting on your career so far, what has been the most memorable highlight?

No doubt, Pukkelpop. I wholeheartedly cried during my last song. Ever since I was a kid, I would listen to music on my headphones and imagine a huge crowd dancing to it. Suddenly that little girl’s dream turned real, witnessing the crowd’s unity and energy. I felt that joint feeling of connection in every bone of my body. After that set, I saw my mother, sister and girlfriend and just bawled my eyes out in their arms.

Other huge crowds are lining up. You’re playing at Dour this summer, how do you feel about that? 

I think every DJ has wet dreams about playing at Dour’s Balzaal. When I received the news, I stayed home for a week to recover. I was completely shaken and beyond excited. I’m so thankful for Amelie Lens, who paved the way for me and took me under her wing. She’s an amazing person, artist and mentor and without her, this all wouldn’t have been possible. Normally around this time of the year, I’m already mapping out my festival experience, this year I’m playing there myself! I’m very nervous as well though, but I try my best to stay confident! 

I think every DJ has wet dreams about playing at Dour’s Balzaal

Do you grapple with imposter syndrome sometimes, with everything happening at such a fast pace? 

For sure. Particularly as I have yet to release original music, there's a lingering fear of not being perceived as legitimate. However, I will take my time experimenting and crafting first, I’d love to work with vocalists. Fear of failure is always very present, and to be clear, I don’t pretend to know everything about DJ’ing or music. 

As I have yet to release original music, there's a lingering fear of not being perceived as legitimate

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/6638ec6e259a26070e7722a5_differentclassHelena_Lauwaert_analoog_004.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/6638ec70f5827f7a97de978b_differentclassHelena_Lauwaert_analoog_002.webp"/>

You breathe electronic music. But I wonder, what do you listen to when you need a good cry? 

People always ask me this, and it’s very nerdy, but I have to admit: it’s still techno. I’ll just go ride my bike or lie in bed, feeling the beat of a trancy song, and the tears just come along. 

<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> @helenalauwaert <br/>Dour Festival is going to be crazy ⚡ we got our members with annual billing a wonderful treat: one free spot to the day of their choice (more info here) 💝 Make sure you only reserve for 1 day as we'll only take your first reservation into account. <br/> Already a member with annual billing? Reserve your spot for the day of choice as you usually do. If you're not an annual member, don't wait and become a member now! </div></div>

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