Nina van Zelst
By Nina van Zelst

During the final edition of Hard Bass last Saturday, a brand new act suddenly appeared behind the booth in front of a sold out GelreDome. Right when I AM Hardstyle quit their live-set a little sooner than expected, Aftershock made his debut for almost 30,000 people. We talked to this mysterious DJ about his very first performance. “I believe I can offer something a lot of people are waiting for.”

No one was expecting this to happen, until Villain suddenly grabbed the mic and announced: “This man has been working in the shadows for a very long time. But tonight, he’s stepping into the light.” An unknown DJ, dressed all in black with a mask, hoodie and a hat, appeared behind the DJ booth. So what does the name of this brand new DJ stand for? “A sudden movement of the earth’s surface that often follows an earthquake and is less violent than the first main movement”, Aftershock answers. In absolute secret, this hardstyle DJ has been preparing himself for his grand reveal at Hard Bass.

His very first performance in a sold out GelreDome

Aftershock admits there was a huge amount of energy running through his vains when he finally entered the gigantic stage. “It felt so good”, so he explains. “I can’t deny I was pretty nervous beforehand. And to be completely honest I had never even been to the GelreDome before. It was a personal goal to be able to perform there as an artist one day. Not as a fan, as an artist, and I told myself I would never visit the Gelredome before this would happen. Even though I knew it would be very hard and chances were slim I would ever set foot to the Gelredome, I pulled it off in the end. It has left a deep impression, and it screams for more.”

On the internet you’ll find various theories about who’s behind the mysterious mask. Fans are thinking about names such as Devin Wild, Zatox, Shockerz, Outbreak and even Hardwell. However, Aftershock chooses to let his identity remain a mystery for a little while. “For now I want to let the music speak”, so says the newest member of the I AM Hardstyle-team.

The long and secret road to Hard Bass

Aftershock explains there’s a lot of work that goes into a first performance. He tells us more about his preperations for last Saturday. “The most important thing is and will always be the music”, so the masked artists starts. “When I had the feeling I had the sound 100% down, and I wanted to share this with the world, I started talking. Talking to the right people to see what they think, but also hope you can make them believe in your music as well. After loads of talks with Brennan Heart we concluded we really want and should make this into something amazing. For the opportunity to do my first show at Hard Bass – and therefore all the trust that has been put in me – I am extremely grateful to him.” 

The good feeling he had about his music was confirmed and ever since then Aftershock has been focusing on the future. “What do I want and what can I do? You start forming a team with people who believe in you. Work together for the ultimate goal. That first performance.” Even though such a first performance is the ultimate dream for young boys, it became reality for Aftershock. “And then, after a months of just preparing the act, you suddenly get a call. If I wanted to do a mini-show at Hard Bass…”

Ever since that phone call everything started to go extremely fast. “And it was paired with a lot of stress and emotion”, Aftershock explains. “Presenting yourself as an artist within 8 minutes is extremely difficult. Choosing those 4 tracks for almost 30,000 people is almost impossible. I adjusted the tracklist well over twenty times before I was happy with the set, and that moment was Thursday before the event.” And this is how his first performance became a part of the Hard Bass legacy.

aftershock interview hard bass 2019 i am hardstyle

“This is a revolution. We are rising up”

Aftershock takes a good seat and starts to explain his vision behind the act. “I believe I can offer something a lot of people are waiting for: a cool sound with a high party caliber. Exciting and melodic, but also banging. Hardstyle in a way I believe Hardstyle is supposed to be like. That’s the feeling I want to share with the world.” His music has to comply to certain things. “A lot of drive, nice melodies and hard kicks. Energetic and tough, music in which you can lose yourself. Party hard I like to call it.” And this is how his tracks ‘Party Like A Rockstar’ and  ‘Revolution’-remix were blasted through the speakers of the biggest indoor location within our scene.

Here, the visitors of Hard Bass – and people all over the world who were watching the livestream – first came in contact with the hardstyle DJ. “All of the reactions have been praiseful so far”, so Aftershock says after his debut. “You are secretly hoping for this of course, but what the hardstyle community thinks of you  is very nerve-racking. Especially if you get to be in front of such a big crowd with your new act, you feel loads of pressure.” The new hardstyle act explains he has way more in store for us. “As I said earlier, selecting four tracks to present to all of you has been very difficult. This is partly because I have way more new music ready, so I can’t wait to let you hear it!”


Even though the year has just begun, the festival season is right around the corner. The concept I AM Hardstyle, with Brennan Heart, Code Black and the other colleagues, is soon planned for 10,000 people in Germany, Austria and festivals such as Parookaville and Kingsland. Does this mean we’ll see Aftershock soon as well? “Hard Bass was only the first part, which I have desperately tried to keep a secret. Only close friends and my family knew about it, so I was able to surprise as many people as possible. There are certainly more things on the way, but I can’t say anything about this yet.”

Aftershock is very grateful now he has revealed himself to the scene. “Thanks for all of the messages and support I got to receive from all of you! It’s amazing! I’m very busy getting all my music ready to be released. I hope I can share it with all of you soon, but until then… keep an eye out on my socials.”

▼ Follow Aftershock on:

aftershock interview hard bass 2019 i am hardstyle

Footage via Facebook-page Aftershock & Hard Bass

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