Dutch hardcore producer Angerfist has been at the top of the game for over a decade, consistently ranking as the best hardcore artist in the Top 100 DJ list.
This October the DJ is back at Germany's Syndicate Festival, and we caught up with him to talk albums, collaborations and that mask...
What impact did growing up in Holland have on your music taste and your initial interest in the Hardcore genre?
Back in the 90s when I was growing up, hardcore made its first appearance over here and I instantly loved it. I was already listening a lot to electronic music, but when it slowly changed into this aggressive and violent form it just got to me. The genre became huge in Holland in a very short time. It became a culture, a way of life. I’ve always felt connected to it. But to answer your question, yes living in Holland played a big part in that connection.
Last year you released your Raise & Revolt album. How would you say this differed from your previous albums?
I wouldn't say that it's that different from my previous albums. I tried to keep the same diversity in styles as usual. It's a bit more influenced by rawstyle though, I love those heavy and low kickdrums. I also like that is has some very cool and unusual collaborations and remixes on it. My personal favourite album is still The Deadfaced Dimension though. This album took the most time and dedication of all my albums to produce.
You consistently rank as the top Hardcore DJ in the world. Do you find that this spurs you on to keep pushing your music further or does it ever risk making you feel complacent?
I'm still as big a fan of hardcore as I was when I first heard it. I like making it and playing it on events. I don't feel that I've become lazy or anything because of the position I'm in. If I would just hang around and stop producing for a year or two, people might start to forget about Angerfist. But besides that, I don't feel pressured into being productive. It comes natural to me, since it still feels like a hobby and not a job.
"when electronic music slowly changed into this aggressive and violent form it just got to me."
You produce and perform under a lot of different aliases, such as Menace II Society and Kid Morbid, and you are also part of groups like The Supreme Team and Masters Elite. Is exploring new personas something you find particularly enjoyable or is it just for practical reasons?
Menace II Society and Kid Morbid are projects that are as old as the Angerfist project. Back then I had so much music to put out, that it would be better to think of a few aliases to get it all out there without some sort of overkill. Later I sort of developed different styles for all of them. I personally always liked the name Angerfist the most, so I chose that to be the main project. As for the groups, that kinda just happened. We thought it would be cool to collaborate and go on stage together as well.
Lately I’ve been active in a group called “Denekamps Gespuis” together with Bloodcage, Crypsis, Dyprax and Radical Redemption. It's an old alias which I started quite a few years back, but lately we've been putting it back to life. We performed at Radical Redemption's “One Man Army” last year and a few weeks ago at Airforce Festival. Fans seem to enjoy it, since we like to make a big mess of the performance and go crazy to a new level. We're thinking of doing some music for that in the near future too. A cool project that we all enjoy.
What inspired you to adopt the Jason mask for your live performances?
I wanted something different and original, something that would stand out from others. At first I chose the hoodie and mask, and later on added the logo and text on the back. Looking back at it now I think it was one of the best decisions of my life, seeing how notorious it has become with the fans.
You like to sample films in your tracks. Are these a reflection of your personal interest or solely a musical device for your tracks?
It's absolutely a reflection of my personal taste. I like to watch horror movies. That genre has always been my favourite. Lately I also like to use some 90's gangsta rap in my tracks. It always give the tunes a cool vibe that makes it different from others.
"Looking back at it now I think it was one of the best decisions of my life"
One of the festivals you are playing at this year is Syndicate Festival. You also played there last year. How would you describe the atmosphere for people coming to see you this year?
Syndicate is one of my favourite events of the year. That huge arena which such a massive soundsystem. It doesn't get much better than that. One of my career's biggest highlights was at Syndicate 2011 when the crowd screamed Angerfist louder than I ever heard before. A priceless memory, and really looking forward to this year's edition.
Your style is best characterised by your use of hard bass drums and vocal samples. How do you see your music evolving in the future?
I have no idea. There are always things that will change elements in my music. It could be anything, like inspiration from other producers or music styles. I always like to evolve and keep it fresh. We'll see what the future will bring.
Angerfist will headline Syndicate Festival, which takes place on the 1st October 2016. Find out more on our guide and book your tickets and packages below.
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