With just a few days left, Defqon.1 is about to receive more than a hundred thousand Weekend Warriors at The Holy Grounds. We spoke to Sander Bijlstra…
D-Block & S-Te-Fan and Isaac about Alive
D-Block & S-te-Fan and Isaac are two of the biggest Hardstyle acts that have also been in the scene for quite a while. They made several tracks together and recently their latest collaboration ‘Alive’ has been released on the label Derailed Traxx. Hard News had the honor to ask these guys a few questions.
1. Your latest collaborations has recently been released, congratulations. It wasn’t the first track you made together (In The Air, Speed of Sound), how did this collab happen?
Isaac has always been one of the founding fathers of the present ‘Hardstyle-sound’ to us. We have also been a fan of his work since the beginning. During our studio-days we came across a signed copy of a Isaac record that we have from 2004. We wanted to do several collaborations for our album at that time and Isaac was a name that was very high on our list. Fortunately he thought it was a great idea and that’s the reason why we started with ‘Music is Why’. Eventually the track ‘Alive’ was made a few years later and approached Chris Madin for the vocals. We immediately felt the right vibe and started creating the track.
2. For this track you’ve also made a big videoclip, how did you come up with the story?
We thought of this story for the videoclip because we wanted to make a video that really helped to support the track. For us the track ‘Alive’ is about the fact that it’s time to see that no matter how dark times are, we must not forget to live! You choose what you make of your life for a big part yourself, so you have to make it into something big!
Eventually the clip became very dramatic, which also helps in adding a load to it all. We’ve received a lot of positive reactions from people that have experienced these kind of situations theirselves, where they didn’t have the choice to make something out of their lives anymore. They are all behind the message of the clip and that makes us feel really good. Take some time and think about what you have in your life. Stop worrying about the things you don’t have..
3. How do your collaborations work out?
Well they actually go really smooth. We all have strong opinions about our music, but we also manage to get to a point where we are all happy about it. It’s also nice that we are all very free in making music. We try to make something that wè like and that’s why we’re very proud of the result of ‘Alive’.
4. Do the lyrics of ‘Alive’ also regard your own lives?
As we said above, the lyrics are not just about the story in the videoclip. So we think that the lyrics affect everyone in a certain way. Everyone sometimes thinks ‘I wish I had..’ or ‘If only I could…’. To be honest we have only been aware of everything for the past three years. We’re really enjoying everything and love life. It gave us great peace and a lot of fun!
5. You are all big names in the hardstyle and travel all around the world to perform everywhere. Do you often run into each other in other countries?
That’s funny that you ask, because last week we were together in the plane to Canada and after that Los Angeles where we’re literally answering the questions of this interview together. We are also signed to the same bookings agency so it does happen that an event organizer books us both for their event. We try to find each other and hang out. You could call it a good friendship.
6. In what way does performing in front of a Dutch crowd differ from a crowd in let’s say America/Canada?
The Dutch audience is more generic. Because hardstyle belongs to the biggest movements of music in Holland, everyone kind of knows about it. In countries like America and Canada it’s still a bit of an underground movement. Still there are a lot of big organizations very interested in the style and they notice that people are quickly picking up the music. Let’s be honest; there is nothing better than some nice hard beats at a party!
7. Do you think that hardstyle will grow bigger in America than in Holland someday?
That’s hard to say. We just did a show in San Bernardino together with Isaac and Adrenalize. There were 4000 people there, while there was another show only three weeks ago in LA. So there is a pretty big hardstyle community in California. The rest of the country is a bit behind, but the beginning has been made!
8. You all have a successful podcast podcast (SLAM!Harder and Hardstyle Sessions). Do you notice that people listen to podcasts a lot less than before, or is it the opposite?
The podcast is relatively new to us, so we can’t really be the judge of that yet. It’s a fact that there are a lot of podcasts, but we think that it’s good for the scene. Every artist has it’s own sound and they can show that to people whilst trying to bring some fresh other stuff in the show. Upcoming talent also benefit of these podcasts, because it’s becoming more and more of a platform for them to expand their reach. Some people may call our podcast ‘Commercial’, but for us it’s just an acknowledgement that the music we’ve been making for the past 10 years finally gets what it deserves!
9. DBSTF: What do you think of the fact that more and more artists are splitting up? Because you guys have been a duo for a very long time. Why hasn’t this happened to you?
It’s natural that the fans of these duos are not always amused, but just as in relations of friendships sometimes you just lose the chemistry of the fun with people. DBSTF has always had a clear line of our strengths and weaknessess and how we divide our tasks. There is also one rule that has always helped us: When one of us doesn’t agree with something, it just isn’t good enough. That way you keep on looking in the same direction together. Splitting up has never been an option in the past 10 years for us.
10. Isaac: Do you ever wish that you were a duo?
In all those years I’ve learnt to travel alone and I also like it. From now and then I bring my tourmanager with me to fully focus on my music. Besides that, my collegues are around my most of the time so it’s never boring.
11. DBSTF: People are talking about a ‘Remix EP’ from you. When will it be released and can you tell a little bit about the tracks that will be on it (as far as we know Crypsis and Ran-D have already made something)?
The last remix is ALMOST finished and it’s made by Luna and E-Force. They are making a remix of the track ‘Underground Tacticz’. As soon as it’s finished we won’t let our fans wait any longer and start planning the release. Besides that we want to make another Remix EP with a bit more euphoric artists. It’s nice to have a fresh version of those tracks during a performance.
12. Isaac: You recently made a remix of the track ‘Last Night Ever’, which makes the people go crazy on the dancefloor. How did this remix for the guys from Yellow Claw came together?
I really liked to original version of ‘Last Night Ever’, but I couldn’t play it in my sets. I told this to the guys form Yellow Claw and that’s when the idea for a remix came up. The video edit has been online for a week or so. If you’re 18 or older, I’d advise you to go and check it out ;).
13. For our last questions we’d like to ask you both if there are any upcoming names in the scene that we need to look out for?
DBSTF: We are positive that the guys from Noisecult will make some big steps the next couple of months. They have very nice productions, they’re very relaxed and have a fresh look on the music.
Isaac: Fortunately there is a lot of new talent at the moment. I’m a big fan of Audiotricz. There productions keep on getting better and that’s why I support them on a regular basis in my Hardstyle Sessions Podcast.