As a self-professed ‘disco dinosaur’, Joost van Bellen has been turning up tunes and banging out beats his entire life. His passion for playing music emerged way back in the eighties. In the ensuing years he has become one of the most respected and revered figures of the international club scene, with a résumé that reads like an encyclopedia, and a musical spectrum that goes from underground psychedelica to acid house, from ambient to techno, from New York garage to speed garage, to bringing us the newest wave of today’s electronic music. Serving up an insane mix of indie dance, fidget house, rock ‘n’ rave, hipster noise, baile funk, Baltimore breaks and beyond, his singular style is simply inimitable.
As resident DJ and artistic director of legendary club RoXY in Amsterdam (1991-1995), he was one of the Netherlands’ earliest supporters of house music. The unique vibe of this time is alive today thanks to the massive success of his annual revival parties, the Original Warehouse Acid Party and O.H.A.F., which have featured house music legends Danny Rampling, Graeme Park and Mike Pickering (The Haçienda), Mark Moore (S-Express), Phuture, Todd Terry, and Kevin Saunderson.
During the mid-eighties Joost van Bellen began running his own club nights. He currently hosts the internationally celebrated Rauw (rhymes with “wow”, translation: raw), at the Amsterdam Melkweg and Tivoli in Utrecht. The night is known for pioneering new music, and has become the number one spot for artists including Erol Alkan, Boys Noize, Crookers, Headman, Larry Tee, Motor, Goose, Felix da Housecat, The Glimmers, Tommie Sunshine, Digitalism, Princess Superstar, and Soulwax.
A longtime alliance with artist 00-KAAP, resident VJ at Rauw, has seen the duo collaborating on many noteworthy (and occasionally controversial) projects, such as an audiovisual remix of Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” (“Matthäus Passion”), and the video for Junkie XL’s hit “More”.
Joost van Bellen spins at clubs all over the world, including New York’s Ruff Club, Razzmatazz in Barcelona, Maria Am Ostbahnhoff in Berlin, Radost in Prague, Vienna’s Lifeball (2006-2008), Miami’s Rokbar, and Lowclub in Madrid. He has played at Arthur Baker and Sean McLusky’s Return To New York in London and Miami, Peaches’ Club Rio in Berlin, Fatboy Slim’s Boutique in Brighton and London, Culture Club in Ghent, and Larry Tee’s Outsider Electronic Music Festival in NYC. In the Netherlands, he headlines all the main music festivals, such as Lowlands, Mysteryland, Rockit, Solar, Extrema Outdoor, and 5 DaysOff.
Together, Richard Cameron (of Arling & Cameron fame) and Van Bellen produce music under the name Cowgum. Following their hits “Filthy and Raw” and “Rollercoaster Rodeo”, the duo is currently working on an EP, scheduled to be released this summer. Their tracks “Drugggssszzz” (with an Edu K fidget-house-meets-baile-funk remix), “We Love Amy”, and “Countryside” (with a remix by Christopher Just) are already red hot in blogosphere.
Joost van Bellen’s latest endeavor, with DJ Sanyi, is Star Studded Studios, which produces sound scores and provides musical direction for fashion shows, including Diesel (European shows and New York Fashion Week), Marlies Dekkers, Tommy Hilfiger, Elle Style Awards, Elle Prêt-à-Porter, Lancôme Design Awards, Daryl van Wouw, and Björn Borg. Star Studded Studios is currently also working with a select number of talented young Dutch designers.
As co-owner of events organization and creative branding agency Meubel Stukken, Joost van Bellen recently joined forces with MTV to produce a brand new festival called Valtifest. Scheduled for the 5th of September 2009, Valtifest will take place again in the city’s docklands. It is the only innovative outdoor electronic music festival in Amsterdam.