American hard psy pioneer STARX about creating hard dance music: “I strive to unite our two scenes”
As both DJ and producer STARX has been working in the American music industry for over a decade now, and is known for being one of the pioneers in hard psy music. Today he officially released his brand new track ‘Temple of Life’, which marks his entering of the European hardstyle scene. We talked to the Mexican born DJ now residing in Miami Beach about the American hard dance scene, his new track and much more.
Daniel Fernandez, better known as DJ and Producer STARX, entered the American psytrance scene over 10 years ago. “I used to tour México and Israel within psytrance. I always felt like using European hard dance sounds in my productions but at the time, the scene was conservative so I couldn’t express myself as much as I would like.” This therefore led to the creation of his alias STARX. “It wasn’t until 4 years ago when I met my team whom I started Harsh Records with. This led me to get to know more about hard dance – it caught my ears, I could feel the energy within the music! I started mixing my psytrance roots with hard music, ever since it has been evolving into producing full hardstyle/rawstyle records. I feel this is the beginning of a new journey for me.”
“I like to go from cinematic intros to full hardstyle old school anthems then onto the most neo-rawstyle out there”
But, what exactly is hard psy according to one of its pioneers? “It’s like a blend of the hardstyle world and the psytrance world. Honestly, this sound has evolved into also rawstyle with psytrance, psycore and more.” Even though STARX feels he has evolved into more of a hardstyle sound, he keeps his rhythmical psytrance patterns. “I use certain sound design elements to bring the original psy sound without using the common rolling bassline all the time. I do like to use rolling basslines on certain productions when I feel this fits with the proper energy – of course it also depends on my mood when producing.”
So even though STARX is a hard psy DJ, hardstyle music is frequently incorporated into his sets. Daniel wants to entertain the crowd as much as possible and take them on a journey of sounds. “The true STARX experience would be described as an energetic driven, crowd interaction and emotions flowing. I like to go from cinematic intros to full hardstyle old school anthems then onto the most neo-rawstyle out there. I’m looking to raise the inner energy within the crowd and make the crowd rage so they can let go and forget about the daily life.”
“The hard dance and hard psy scene in America have been growing exponentially”
Since STARX lives in Miami, he is able to tell loads of things about the American hardstyle scene. “The hard dance and hard psy scene in America have been growing exponentially with artists working together, parties are growing, exposure is becoming larger and so on. We have been doing Harsh Records label parties along with our friends, Wasted Presents in the California area with a great response. There is also Hard Dance movements happening across Chile, México, Brazil, USA and Canada. You have the festivals such as EDC, Beyond Wonderland, Project Z and Escape – Basscon bringing the loudest and the largest crowds.” Even though the sound isn’t playing in regular clubs yet, according to STARX there are more and more mainstream acts playing hardstyle in their American tours.
Daniel has yet to discover the true difference between the European and American hard dance scene, since he hasn’t performed in Europe yet. “But, I feel we are both passionate people looking to connect with the music and have a great time.” He also believes every scene has its own uniqueness, so you can’t really compare them. “Hard dance has its uplifting energy with a lot of passion. I still remember Asia had an amazing crowd with lots of love for the music.”
“I present you my sound with respect and much love to our hardstyle community”
With his brand new track ‘Temple of Life’, which has been released today, STARX officially entered the European hardstyle scene. “I have found the energy and drive that I have been looking for over the years and I am extremely happy to be able to produce hardstyle. I am still learning and bettering my craft but now I am able to say that this is my take on hardstyle music and I present you my sound with respect and much love to our hardstyle community.” It has been 3 years since he started producing hard music, but STARX feels like his journey has only just began. “I love how connected the hardstyle family is and I definitely identity myself with that type of vibe. I’m an artist who loves to break boundaries and feel unique in certain elements – I also strive to unite the scenes together.”
In the new ‘Temple of Life’, STARX combines multiple genres into one track. “I like to blend in all these genre styles into one big dish and using different ingredients of each genre to create the new, unique and fresher sound. In Temple of Life, I also used sound FX’s that are well known in the American dubstep scene – trying to represent a sound coming from the America’s but a take on that European sound that I much love.” There are several artists who inspired STARX the most while finding his place in hardstyle. “Artists such as Coone, TNT, Brennan Heart and DJ Isaac are all still killing the game! The records that I love most are ‘Coone ft. K19 – Times Gettin’ Hard’ and ‘Brennan Heart ft. Jonathan Mendelsohn – Follow The Light’.”
Since the new track was definitely a success for STARX, he is planning on releasing even more hardstyle. “I have many unreleased tracks – some are ready to be released, so check those out when they drop! I also have some tracks with artists that people are familiar with.” Lastly he also wants to mention one of his latest tracks called ‘Moksha‘. “It’s a huge hard dance track and it was released on KSHMR’s imprint Dharma WorldWide with Spinnin’ Records. Do check that one out!”
‘Temple of Life’ has been released officially on STARX’ label Harsh Records. To be kept updated on STARX, you can keep an eye on his socials. “I just want to say thank you to all the people in this Hard Dance scene with amazing, passionate, energy driven people. I would like to propose a toast for the great times ahead for both of the scenes!”
Footage via Facebook-page STARX