Rembert De Smet reminisces on new beat.
Optimo member JD Twitch once called Belgium's club scene a forgotten part of dance music history. He was referring specifically to new beat, a chugging blend of new wave, acid and EBM that electrified Belgian clubs throughout the '80s and set the stage for '90s rave. A key figure in this sound was Ro Maron, a prolific artist who made reams of club hits in dozens of different projects—Phantasia, Miss Nude, Armani, Mr White and many others. Though he never considered his music "new beat," Ro Maron's records embodied that era of Belgian dance music and anticipated the rave explosion that was about to come. Now, some 25 years later, Ro Maron is in the spotlight again thanks to Collected #1, a two-disc compilation of his club tracks. Earlier this month, he stopped by our office to tell Will Lynch about the old days and what he's been up to since.