Before we get to the Winter Circus’ plans, what has been Democrazy’s role in the Belgian music scene so far?
Democrazy is unique because we are a music promoter without a permanent home. Due to that nomadic existence, we had a broad impact on the music landscape in Ghent. In terms of programming, we booked both big names as well as small up-and-coming artists. We once booked Michael Kiwanuka in the Charlatan - crazy when you look back on it now. The goal is always to find the right venue for the right artist. Furthermore, we look for the outskirts of the conventional in the music world, the more edgy stuff.
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How did the idea of moving to a fixed venue come about?
The advantage of being in many places at once also has the downside of not feeling completely at home anywhere. This venue is right in the centre of Ghent and the building has a long history. The place really captures our imagination. About half of our concerts will take place there. Our DNA, though, is to have a presence in the rest of the city too. You can’t book a scruffy punk band in a brand-new venue, so we will also continue to organise events in the Charlatan, Chinastraat,...
We look for the outskirts of the conventional in the music world, the more edgy stuff
Democrazy is collaborating with VIERNULVIER in this venue, how will that take place?
The programming is entirely in the hands of Democrazy and VIERNULVIER. The first series of concerts will happen in co-production, so we’ll do everything together. From September 2024 on, it will be a mix of concerts and nightlife, sometimes together, sometimes separately. We were already working closely with VIERNULVIER anyway, now we get the chance to continue this collab in a unique location. In the future, external parties will also be able to host their concepts in the venue, which will provide a very interesting mix.
The venue is called Music Club Wintercircus, right?
That venue has been called Wintercircus for a long time because there used to be an actual circus happening inside the building when it was too cold to have it outside. Elephants were brought in via the water! The people in Ghent have known that place as the Wintercircus since forever.
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The official opening is still some time away, but what are the plans this month?
The official opening is in September 2024, but the hall downstairs is ready. It would be a shame not to organise anything yet, that’s why we are hosting the pop-up series in November. Through this, the public (and us) can get to know the place. In September next year, everything will be completely ready. It will be the venue we dreamed of.
This month’s programming ranges from jazz with Sdban, to techno with Butternut and more experimental electronica by Weval, how did this come about?
We mainly looked for artists we fully support and we also felt it was important to get a local slant into it. The programme covers a wide range of genres. I'm sure everyone can find their own thing, but I feel that many people, especially the younger generation, do not think in terms of boxes or music genres anymore.
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You will be working with an immersive sound system, what does that mean?
With a ‘classic’ sound system, the sound is mixed in two boxes. As a result, you only have the best sound right in front of them. With an immersive sound, there are lots of boxes throughout the venue and the sound is perfect everywhere. Furthermore, the possibilities for producers are endless. The sound can be manipulated as if it goes around in circles or comes from outside. We believe this is the next step in the concert experience. It will be interesting when artists start creating music specifically for this, like KRANKk and Tsar B are already doing.
People are looking more and more for a total experience and we strongly believe in that
Besides the sound, do you also want to work with visuals?
Yes, we can do 360° projections. For nightlife, we can put a DJ in the middle and do projections around the stage. If producers anticipate that combination of projections and audio, it will be very cool. The overlap between image and sound can reinforce one another and stimulate the senses in ways that weren’t possible before. People are looking more and more for a total experience and we strongly believe in that. Therefore, we are fully committed to this technology.
<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> @democrazy_ / @viernulvier.gent <br/> Photos shot by Wouter Rawoens. <br/> Find out more about the Wintercircus via democrazy.be </div></div>