Meet Our Residents : HOSPICE RECORDS X REBOOT RECORDS
"Meet our Residents" is a series of articles designed to showcase the super projects of the super residents of the Grand Hospice temporary occupation. All the projects are divided into four themes: Sustainable Development, Community, Art & Culture, and Education & Health.
Hospice Records is not only a vinyl store, but also a place that tries to federate Brussels' alternative music scene by selling records and collaborating with the small independent labels that they promote in the store, which tends to be local and second-hand. Ben is the founder of Hospice Records and decided to invite Phil, founder of Reboot Records, to join the activity at Grand Hospice. Their projects are similar, both in terms of their underground music style and their business and events activities.
During 2020, the first year under Covid-19, only 21,429 cultural events took place as a result of the strict measures introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to Sabam. In 2019, this figure was still 92,972, it adds, a drop of no less than 77% in one year.
That's why Ben decided to set up his own project, to develop a business that could continue despite the restrictions, hence the idea of the vinyl store. He invested with his own funds, and finances himself through the events that take place there. We joined the two of them in the shop nestled in the heart of the magnificent Grand Hospice building, alongside a hundred other projects!
Can you describe your business?
(Ben) As well as selling second-hand records, we also organize events, lots of events! In-Store Sessions, as we call them, where we invite DJs or people close to us to come and play vinyl sets in the store in a super-friendly atmosphere. During the summer, we do open-air collaborations or vinyl markets in different locations. At the moment, we're working with Jardin Hospice, where we host our DJs in the central bar every weekend at the Grand Hospice.
How did you decide to become partners (and roommates)?
(Phil) Reboot Records is a project quite similar to Ben's, which is why we're doing it together to combine our strengths. Vinyl sales, organization of cultural events, and personally I'm mainly focused on all things house and techno. In terms of musical style, we have a fairly wide spectrum between Hospice Records and Reboot vinyl, with the slight difference of Ben where I have a category with new vinyl with current releases.
(Ben) In addition to our common musical influences, we met at a vinyl market since we have friends in common. We hit it off straight away, and when Phil told me he was looking for a space in Brussels, I suggested he join me. It's nice to have someone you can count on. We share costs, we share networks, so it's a win-win situation!
Tell me more about your collaboration with Jardin.
(Ben) Basically, Jardin subcontracts the programming to us because they've realized that we have quite a large network, and for them it's a lot less work. It's our job, unlike theirs, which is more of a catering business. Phil and I are part of the electronic scene, so it gives our events credibility. It helps us financially in terms of our business, so it's a win-win situation!
(Phil) Yes, on our side we do the administration, we book and welcome the artists, we're available for the event and we lend Jardin our equipment. It's a lot of work, and we have less time to devote to our own activities, so it justifies taking part of the profits for the store. I think they're happy with the partnership as much as we are, and we hope it can evolve over time!
What values do you promote through your joint projects?
(Ben) I believe that music is already the bearer of many values, given that dance music already comes from the Afro-American, Jamaican or English communities, music is the bearer of many social issues of the time. Musical fields are often born in parallel with these socio-political movements. We want to advocate inclusiveness, sharing, accessibility and respect.
(Phil) I totally agree with Ben. I'd add that what we're trying to promote is the human element in general. We've got a store and we sell, so it's a commercial activity, but when you're in music, you don't do it to make a profit. Rather, it's humanly enriching! In today's society, people are just numbers, and we want to put humanity back at the center of discussions and stop talking about money and profit.
(Ben) That's it. We put people, values and music before financial profitability, otherwise we'd be doing something else. At the Grand Hospice, it's quite conducive to social affiliations and I like to work with charities wherever possible.
(Phil) We also try to promote small initiatives and small businesses through the shop, like the small bottles of perfume we sell. We try to work only with small, local partners!
Where does this commitment come from?
(Ben) For small entrepreneurs, it's really difficult. We're in an ultra-competitive society where you're up against people with more resources, and when you're on your own it's really difficult, even if you're highly motivated. We're partners with the Zinne, a local currency resident at the Grand Hospice. It enables us to create a circular economy and support each other as small entrepreneurs. And that's why temporary occupancies and third places like the Grand Hospice facilitate this system!
(Phil) It's great because the fact that we're together geographically means that there's always an exchange and mutual support. The fact that we don't do things on our own means we have a lot more scope for developing activities. We promote what you can't see!
(Ben) Exactly. The music industry is a bit like the metaphor of the iceberg. Most people only know what's sticking out and what's getting all the media attention, whereas underneath, you've got the other 90 percent. It's like a fringed monopoly. Most of the big tops were invented in garages by people with no money, not by big industry. Big industry takes what works in the inner city (like blues or jazz) and turns it into a commercial thing. This whole musical culture is born out of despair, and in the end it gets sucked up by the industry, which wants to make a profit by any means necessary. That's what we stand for!
There must be a lot going on at the Grand Hospice. Tell us an anecdote.
(Phil) What struck me was when Ben was reassured after the first month we worked together. I was a little apprehensive about welcoming someone into his store and his little project, but when I saw the smile on his face at the end of the month, thanks to our collaboration, it was something that impressed me and reassured me too!
(Ben) The first night you did an event and I wasn't there, I must admit I looked at you on my camera every 2 minutes(laughs): "Don't forget to turn off the lights and close the door behind you"!
(Ben) As far as I'm concerned, the In-Store Sessions are key events, because it's at these moments that you find the exchange side of things, because it's intimate. I also have an anecdote about a label I work with called Stadskanker. It's a punk label that brought 50 people into the store. It was packed, people were dancing on the sofa, and I was all alone... In fact, I couldn't manage anything anymore (laughs). There were more people than in the bar. So the people from Jardin came to see what was going on, and they were a bit jealous!
If you're a fan of underground music and vinyl, you'll love their collections!
Feel free to visit the shop, drink a Gansbeek beer or lemonade, or chat with real enthusiasts!
The shop is located in the Grand Hospice and is open Wednesday to Thursday , 2pm to 7pm , and Friday to Saturday, 3pm to 8pm.
And to find out more about the Grand Hospice's resident projects, go to here !