New Beat was the music that originally started off by slowing down existing records, more precisely from 45 rpm to about 33 rpm. Mostly those records were early New Wave tracks of the late 1970s and early 1980s (among which synth pop, electro and EBM). Some sources report the Antwerp based club "Ancienne Belgique" as the origine, where DJ Ronnie supposedly created this specific style of music for the first time. This caused early New Beat tracks were also referred to as "A.B. Sounds". Other sources consider the creation of New Beat a pure coincidence (where the slow turntable speed was nothing but a mistake) and also not the act of 1 single individual. The name "New Beat" was first used in an interview, given by DJ Marc Grouls. Since New Wave was the original source of the tunes and the basic idea of this style was the heavy Beat that name obviously makes sense...
People who were fan of the original songs weren't all too happy with the fact DJ's were "abusing" their kind of music. In several music magazines, among which Fabiola, reader letters appeared by the dozen, all from people that were either pro or contra the concept of New Beat and who wanted to have their say about it.
Despite these kind of disputes New Beat kept doing its business and original tracks were also being produced quite quickly. They used the same characteristics as the ones of the slowed down songs, more precisely a slow and heavy beat with repetitive electronically created tones and some additional bits and pieces of text. Usually those last ones were samples from various origin, like TV-shows, movies, other people's songs, and so on...
Because of the ever growing succes of New Beat more records were getting released. Everybody wanted to know whether they could come up with a New Beat hit themselves. A lot of different producers/musicians didn't have a problem with that and sold records by the thousands. One of the biggest crowd pleasers was the band Confetti's. It was presented to the public by bringing together one gentleman (called Peter, see his photo on the left) and 4 ladies. Their example was followed by plenty of other projects as well. Most of the actual producers didn't have the appearance they wanted to give to New Beat artists, so they changed the "package" of the project.
The clubs, where New Beat music was played for the large number of party people, were having the best time ever. The club in Destelbergen called Boccaccio was on top with its New Beat nights held on Sunday. A lot of different clubs all across the country had New Beat programmed during the weekend as well. Other "places to be" were for example Carrera, Prestige, Confetti's and La Rocca, but there were plenty more to go to.
Due to its growing success, also the media was starting to pay attention to the phenomenon called New Beat. However, the "alternative" (rock-)magazines didn't care much about it and the more popular wide-spread magazines only had something to report on rare occasions. The magazine "Fabiola" was one of the very few which published at least something in every issue : from small and short interviews to extensive articles about a certain aspect of New Beat. The information they offered was almost unique in its kind and I can only thank the entire team of this (ended) publication for their excellent work. When it comes to New Beat their articles are priceless. That's why the decision was made to incorporate this almost impossible to find treasure right here. You can find a translation of the articles that appeared from November 1988 upto April 1989 at the "Articles"-Page of this website.
A web page with a lot of examples concerning New Beat in the press (both newspapers, magazines as TV-shows) can be found at the personal NetLog page of Marc Grouls.
He is known for being a member of the New Beat band In-D and also Mac Sample, and from being a DJ at the La Rocca club in Lier during the New Beat period.
The other side of this, namely the media used by New Beat, was taken to its high point after former-member of parliaiment Van Den Boeynants had been abducted and held a press conference about it. Of this conference samples by the dozen were used in tracks like "Qui" by B.S.R. and "Welcome Back, Mr. V.D.B." by KL 303. The guy's "pipe" will never be the same because of it (you'll need to hear one of the tunes to know what I'm talking about ;-)...
Because of the undeniable succes of record sales, an over-exposure occured release-wise. A lot of "junk"-releases hit the market as well, making things even worse :-/ Also the world of so-called "big business" got into taking advantage of this great opportunity, as proof a well-known Japanese brand's full-page advert, which you can see on your left (click on the photo for an enlargement). Also, this ad is for audio cassettes, which were the "big baddy" for the record business at that time. Those things were being used by almost every single teenager to tape their favourite music instead of buying the records...
During those years your webmaster had the honour of serving his country by doing his military service located in Germany and that's why he didn't have the opportunity to experience the best period of New Beat in person. Instead he had to do with the stories of his fellow soldiers, who exchanged their military life for the homestead during the weekend. Luckily, to accompany those stories there was always audio material at hand so I could still hear what they were talking about. Also the purchase of a New Beat CD-collection didn't take place until years later (still expanding it to date) mostly because CD's weren't all that cheap overhere (they still aren't) and because I didn't have a player at the end of the eighties anyway. In that period audio-CD's had just started their future dominance and not everybody got on board from the early start. With a little patience you'll get there as well though, as you can judge by this site ;-) Any (big) hype has never been able to catch my interest however, but in New Beat tunes there was definitely something that intrigued me. Electronically created music had always been my thing, so that was only to be expected. The whole "circus" surrounding it did more bad than good I think, but that's the way it all evolved...
More information can be found on the other pages of this site.