Whether through demonstrative releases or simply influencing electro/progressive productions, we've seen hardstle slowly seep into bigger and broader acts over the last few years. Unlike in Europe and particularly the Netherlands, weening the American crowd onto the unrelenting beats, kicks, and hard melodies has proven to be a careful process led by some of the industry's most famous players. Though the group officially became a solo act this last January, Bas continues Noisecontrollers, standing at the forefront of the genre's ever-expanding movement.
Just last week, All Around dropped on Q-Dance's noted hardstyle imprint, an 18-track album mostly constituted of brand new work from the Dutch mainstay. Two tracks, "All Around The World" and "What?!", released as singles in late 2013 and early 2014, but join a number of originals, as well as a few collaborations and remixes, to give us a breadth of hardstyle sound. Whatever your pleasure, All Around has you covered: "Have You" twists the genre with heavy vocal sampling throughout the course of the track; "Down Down" features updated male vocals over unrelenting beats; or you can listen to more traditional "Faster N Further" Bass Modulators remix. These are on top of our album favorites, which include "Cats, Jets, and Breaks" with Wildstylez and the no-holds-bard insanity of "Come Wake Up".
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To celebrate the album release, Noisecontrollers will be giving away a signed copy of All Around, a commemorative tee, and has taken the time to talk with us more about the album. Enter the contest below and read on for more from Bas.
EARMILK: It’s a known fact, but why do you think dance music has flourished in the Netherlands?
Noisecontrollers: How it all started I don't know as I was too young but since big names started in Holland it probably inspired more producers and djs to start. Like a snowball-effect :-)
EM: How did get into the hardstyle scene? Was there a song or event you can remember where you just decided, “This is what I’m going to do with my life ”?
NC: My interest in hardstyle must started around 2003 when I heard somewhere a track with pounding kicks with reversed basslines and amazing screeches. I loved the offbeat basslines in combination of hardcore sounds. It gave so much energy that soon I start to try to make some myself.
EM: What are 3 hardstyle tracks that will always be classics?
NC: Donkey Rollers – "Followers"
Deepack – "The Prophecy"
Zany – "Science & Religion"
EM: What are 3 hardstyle tracks that are the future?
NC:That is impossible to say. Its not a producers or a djs choice in my opinion. In the end all the hardstyle-fans out there decide whatever becomes the future. I hope and try my best to be a part of it for sure.
EM: Q-dance just returned to the Shrine Auditorium in LA. Do you think it will expand even further in the Americas this year?
NC:I just came back from a North-America tour which was awesome. I see the scene is growing there and the people are so enthusiastic. I love the atmosphere and energy during those gigs and I'm sure the hardstyle-virus will spread much more.
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EM: From an outside perspective, the Q-dance series appears pretty dark. Would you say this is true or is it a misconception?
NC: Total misconception. I never experienced a dark atmosphere or feeling during a q-dance event. Even when it was themed raw or the music played was dark. I would label the parties Euphoric myself. Always happy and partying people. Exactly how I like it.
EM: We saw a retreat away from faster BPMs until recently. What made producers turn away from them and why are they returning?
NC: Hardstyle is really constant 150 bpm for many years now. Some tracks have some slower parts and some producers go like 2 bpm slower in the studio. This has totally no effect as soon djs pitch them back to 150 or higher. I think hardstyle could be much more diverse by changing the bpm. Not only the feeling will be different but it also allows other kind of melodies. Noisecontrollers – sludge is an example.
EM: Now to the album at hand. How do you feel All Around demonstrates hardstyle’s breadth of sound?
NC: It has some hard and raw tracks on it but mostly its Euphoric with a very deep overall sound. I really tried to let it sound as “fat” as possible.
EM: Some of my favorite tracks are “Light”, “Cats, Jets, and Breaks”, and “Come Wake Up”. Where did you get the inspiration for these tracks?
NC: "Cats, Jets and Breaks" was an idea me and Wildstylez had planned a long time to make but never got into it. The idea came from an guy playing keyboard somewhere on the internet. The vocal filtering up in “Africa” from Chemical Brothers inspired me to “Come, Wake Up”
EM: Compared to other genres, what special qualities does it take to be a hardstyle producer and come up with something like All Around?
NC: The kicks are really difficult in hardstyle. I used a lot of new techniques for that in All Around. In the end most important to produce anything is passion in doing it.
EM: What goals do you have for yourself this year on top of this album release?
NC: More music for all Noisecontrollers fans out there :-) I have planned a huge collab which has to remain secret. And I want to have as much fun possible at every gig Ill play.
EM: Anything you want to say to your fans and followers?
NC: Like always thanks so much for supporting hardstyle and Noisecontrollers :-) The fans are the ones who make it possible for me living the dream.