The eldest is 49, has a DJ school with Begin to DJ and played in discotheques himself in the 90’s. The youngest is 20 years old, she has her own show at Studio Brussels and plays on the main stage at Tomorrowland. Joeri and Amber Broos, father and daughter.
“I remember a family holiday in Mallorca and every evening there was entertainment for the little ones. Which petoter was always standing next to the animator to take over the microphone? Amber. (He laughs) She was then five years old. My wife and I looked at each other and said, “We haven’t seen the last of it yet.”
“I never thought Amber would become a DJ. In the ’90s I played every night from Thursday to Sunday. You come home in the morning, crawl into your bed and then have to go about your usual business. When Amber was two or three, I gave up. In 2015, she started DJ School, at a time when she was already under the influence of spinning club music.
“I didn’t push it in that direction just to be clear. (He laughs) She wanted it herself, even though she wasn’t aware of going out. When her friends start going to parties, she’s behind the DJ booth. She always thought she would be upset because she wasn’t experiencing what her peers were experiencing, but she always said that wasn’t the case.
“I wish I’d introduced Amber to clubs. But now she had no time for that, and she was too young to go to discos. The nightlife culture has also changed compared to my mom and I’s childhood years. Sometimes we went to three discos in one night – those were the places where I got to know people. We often went to La Rocca or La Bush, but those places are no longer there. I used to say: ‘You really have to try it’, and now it’s too late.
“Thanks to Amber, I am living my second childhood. But sometimes I also feel very old, like when you play songs that I did 30 years ago. (chuckles) She keeps my memories alive. During her sets, I regularly get flashbacks. “Remember that?” my wife asks excitedly. I accompany Amber regularly, as she does not yet have a driver’s license. I really enjoy watching her at work.
“For years I organized parties in the sports hall in Erps-Kwerps. It was a real family event. My father helped organize, my wife sold drink coupons, and I’m a DJ. Twenty years later, as a teenager, Amber stood on stage at a scouting party in the same sports hall. “I think this is a turning point,” I told my wife that evening.
“She’s now far beyond the point where I left off DJing at the time. I wish her well. I think that’s great. She’s also partly living my dream. Is it becoming apparent that she’ll soon be appearing on the main stage at Tomorrowland? Of course not. On National Day she played for the King. That’s unrealistic.” (shakes his head in disbelief) Amber still surprises me every day.
“In my day DJs were ‘special’, and now they’re big stars, right. When Amber plays somewhere, I sometimes run into my childhood idols. Now for some guys she’s the hero who was my asset. More and more girls come to DJ School and ask if I’m related to Amber. Moments like this make me realize she’s doing something special, while I’m still just my daughter eating sandwiches at the breakfast table in the morning. (He laughs)
Amber had to swallow a lot to get here. When she won a DJ contest when she was 13 years old, there was a lot of comment on the internet about how young she was. As parents, we tried to protect her from all the negative comments as best we could. Even though she still has to deal with sexism, she doesn’t care much about it. When Amber starts something, she goes 200 percent for it. Brix Van Cortenberg, but now she’s a beauty on the main stage at Tomorrowland.”
“Is this your father?” My high school friends asked me. It wasn’t until I pointed out over and over that my mom and dad looked young and hip that I really realized I had two amazing parents. (He laughs) In previous years, I was already fascinated by my dad’s stories about his nightlife experiences. Maybe I’m romanticizing that photo, but his bedtime stories of the past are a memory etched into my memory.
“I can still remember some specific stories, but it caught the imagination he had Resident DJ It was in a café in the oud market in Leuven. Mama was also completely fascinated by the club’s culture. They talked passionately about music, and it was so contagious that when I was twelve I asked my father to teach me how to play music.
“Thanks to my dad, I can feel nostalgic for a time I’ve never experienced before. (He laughs) I love the retro vibes in my collection because I brought that love home. My father owned a record store, and I regularly went to his set holes. When I play songs from the past, I feel like I can catch up on them a little bit. You always see two camps in the audience: the ones who snap into their youth and the guys who say, “Oh, what is that?” Believes. This style of music appeals to me more, which does not mean that good music is no longer being made.
“No one knows more about how I feel during a DJ set than my dad, due to his experience behind the floors. So I find it helpful to hear his second opinion. I regularly ask what he thinks of a song, or where he’d put a track on the set. It’s not that I blindly follow him. Quite the opposite. We discuss a lot, but it’s in my person to test an idea before looking for it.”
“My dad and I are stubborn and persistent. However, he dares to jump into the deep end, which is where I think twice first. He recently bought a camera because he loves filmmaking. While he currently knows little about it. He wants to try everything at least, and that’s what sets him apart. My dad simply doesn’t compromise. When I was 16, we went on vacation to Ibiza with the family. Then he encouraged me to approach the owner of one.” beach bar. “Can I DJ here tonight?” I asked. I ended up playing there for two nights.
“It’s a friend of my dad’s who pointed me to a DJ competition that I won when I was 13. My parents supported me in this. Some have a soccer dad cheering for them from the sidelines, I have my dad a DJ. Which doesn’t mean I felt obligated to follow in his footsteps. I became a DJ because I really wanted to.”
Amber on Joeri: “He uses a sticker for the slightest reminder.”
Joeri on Amber: “Amber still has a paper agenda that she works with in color.”
“Since I started DJing as a teenager I’ve felt like I’ve found a hobby that I can really excel at. That might sound like cockybut I also took Drama and Reading at SLAC (Academy and Conservatory in Leuven, ed.). And I felt less than that. As a young DJ, I felt underappreciated for a long time, which pushed me to be as technically savvy as possible. There are few peers to whom I am inferior in this regard. This is the perfect side for me, which my dad has less.
“Don’t be a wes It’s something I learned from my dad. In this terrifying world, you can’t help but grow an elephant’s skin. I work in a very masculine industry, and I’ve always seen men work with great confidence. I thought: if I want to achieve something, I must also believe deeply in myself. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given and find it amazing to do what I love to do.”
Amber Bros will be playing Tomorrowland on Saturday 22/7 and Friday 28/7. On 10/31 you will be playing in Waagnatie, Antwerp.
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