Coming up now : Around Town.
In our regulalar "Sound Box" feature, Dominique tries to introduce as
wide a variety of Belgian artists as possible. But of course it's impossible to
cover everything. Music fans who want to know more about the flourishing Belgian
music scene, can obtain loads more information from the website of the Belgian
Pop & Rock Archives. For "Around Town", which is today "Around
The Net", Dominique tells us more.
From dEUS, K's Choice, Hooverphonic over Soulwax and Praga Khan,
it can't be denied that Belgian rock is doing great these days, both here and
abroad. The website of the ... was started about two and a half years ago and
is in fact a one-man project. Dirk Houbrechts, a young man from the province of
Limburg is behind it. He has always been a big music fan, and also has a way with
computers. One day he decided to combine his two hobbies and let the world on
the internet know what great music we have here in Belgium.
There are already a few similar projects, but those are always limited in one
way or another, and are rarely in English. Originally, the Belgian Pop & Rock
Archives looked back on Belgian music from the sixties 'till the eighties. Later,
following the success of the site, weekly or daily updates were made on Belgian
music as well. Now it's one of the most complete sites in English about our vivid
rock and pop scene, featuring over 200 artists and bands, extracts from the songs
in real-audio, photo's, biographies and reviews.
We spoke with the man behind the project, Dirk Houbrechts, who's working on the
site almost daily, when he comes home from work. We pointed out to him that two
less obvious names amon the artists are Jacques Brel and Soeur Sourire.
They were in the charts at their time. It's not always so easy to make a
distinction between rock music and chanson or other genres. I mainly make the
distinction on the feeling I get from the music. If I think it appeals to a lot
of people without being overtly commercial, I consider that pop & rock.
And surprisingly enough, they are also the artists which are most
popular, I think
Yes, strangely enough, or perhaps not so strange is that artists like Adamo,
Jacques Brel, Soeur Sourire are really he most sought after artists . I also have
a link on the site that leads to an internet cd-shop, and I can see that the things
people buy most coming from my site are Jacques Brel and Soeur Sourire.
And the people reading the site, are they Belgian or coming from
abroad, I mean now for the Jacques Brel-pages ?
For those kind of artists, most are coming from abroad. All in all, the
spread is almost 50-50, or a bit more from abroad than from Belgium.
And the users from abroad, which countries are the most frequent.
Of course the neighbouring countries : there's a boom going on of Belgian
artists in Holland, so there are a lot of Dutch people coming to the site. But
of course, the larger countries come more than the smaller ones, but I get visitors
from the stranges Isles and republics.
I was wondering the the American and the English users, are they
interested, because they have a reputation of being a bit reluctant towards foreign
I think the public in general in the U.K. for example couldn't care less
about Belgian music, but there are some artist, like Jacques Brel, who are respected
troughout the world. But nowadays, there are a number of artists which are released
abroad : For example Soulwax is now going to America, and I can see already there
are more people from the States coming to see the page about Soulwax.
It's a one man project, don't you never get the criticism that
this is a very personal site, that it's not really "objective".
The only problems I've had so far is with bands that would like to be on
the site, groups wanting to have their bio included, who have released just one
or two singles or so. My most difficult time is how to say no to them.
That was Dirk Houbrechts, the creator of the excellent and useful
Belgian Pop & Rock Archives-website, and you can find the website on houbi.com/belpop.