Deep in the heart of Holland, the cradle of house music, a small but mighty faction of artists are leading the charge in a different arena of dance music. Call it what you will - future bass, chill trap - the synthy infusion of sweeping euphoric drops, strong melodies, and emphatic bass are the signature of bitbird, and no label is doing it better. Representing the imprint as one of its flagship artists is 21-year-old Belgian producer Taska Black. Discovered by label figurehead San Holo in 2015, the Antwerp-based artist represents the more brooding side of the label's offerings, as indicated by his stage name (more on that later). "I feel very lucky to be a part of the family," remarks Taska. "From the moment I started the Taska Black project, bitbird, and especially San, have been so supportive. It feels great to see bitbird grow and play a role in their story. This gave me the opportunity to take my music career to the next level."
Today Taska Black and fellow bitbird prodigies DROELOE (Hein Hamers and Vincent Rooijers) release the intriguing and innovative collaboration "Running Away," featuring the vocals of CUT_ (of "Lines Of The Broken" fame). The track unites the elevated sound design, sweeping composition, and nostalgic tonality that is hallmark of both artists, creating something truly otherworldly. "They have such a unique sound that’s so recognizable," says Taska. "We both release with bitbird and have the same managers so it didn’t take long for us to meet in person and get together in the studio. They had this insane idea for a track and we decided to work on it together." It's a jarring yet elegant infusion of raucous trap and shimmering bass, accented by palpable Eastern influence. "Running Away" is a rare collab that truly allows the talents of each artist to shine - DROELOE's knack for crafting uniquely recognizable sounds and Taska's prowess with juggling light and dark tones with ease.
Thrust into the spotlight with his soul-stirring bitbird-released originals "Dreaming" and "Leave Me," Taska Black's unique amalgamation of poignant melody and dark tone craft a memorable, and versatile, listening experience. From underground venues to storied clubs and tiny sneaker shops, Taska Black can light up any crowd (3/3 confirmed by the author at Amsterdam Dance Event). This unique creator has presence beyond his years, and an impactful style equipped to elicit a truly staggering range of emotion.
Taska spent his childhood in Antwerp taking music lessons from a very young age. But the rigidity of the curriculum bored him. A young innovator was born, as exhibited by his compelling current-day compositions. "Honestly I used to hate going to music school because you were forced to play certain songs exactly how they were written down on sheet music," Taska recalls. "When I was about 12-years-old I started improvising melodies on my old keyboard and wanted to record them. I bought my first audio interface and starting digging deeper in the music production world. I really didn’t know what I was doing for over two years but that’s where everything started."
Fast forward to 2017 and the name Taska Black is on every bass aficionado's lips. But from whence did the enigmatic nom de plume originate? "A friend of mine directed a short film about a homeless street musician from my hometown Antwerp," explains Taska. "He always had this black dog with him called Taska. At that time I was looking for a stage name for my music project and I thought Taska was really cool. I added the word Black that refers to my style and aesthetic so that’s where Taska Black comes from."
As the biggest year of his career comes to a triumphant close, expect major moves to come from this talented sonic craftsman. On the horizon for 2017 is "lots of new music! Some exciting new originals and collabs coming out on bitbird and other labels. We’re also working hard to get everything in order to start touring, very excited about that. Expect to see me touring both North America and Europe soon enough if all goes well!" With a finger firmly on the pulse of the genre, and support mounting from the likes of Zeds Dead, Alison Wonderland, and Marshmello, Taska Black is one to watch.