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East Coast Harddance Interview with A-Lusion - gets new energy with US hard dance scene, discusses new album

Read interviews with hardstyle artists
  

Postby Nightstalker » 15 Jan 2015, 10:47

Source: East Coast Harddance

Interview conducted by Matt Freeze

A-lusion headlined our Stomp N Shuffle event on September 19, 2014. Finding new energy and excitement in the expanding hard dance movement here in the United States, he hopes to make the trip back from Holland in 2015 for more East Coast Hard Dance events.

Discussing his musical track record, as well as insights with playing shows such as Defqon and Qlimax, see our interview below for A-lusion’s perspective and comments!

ECHD: What brought you to hardstyle?
A-lusion: Back in 2001, I produced various types of music in my bedroom studio. Like Trance and Hardcore music.
I was 18 and visited raves and clubs nearly every week. June 21st, 2001 changed my (producer) life. I visited an event called Qlimax in Amsterdam. With performing artists like: Dana, Gary D, Kai Tracid, etc. They rocked my world with their new sound, nowadays referred to as Early Hardstyle.
After Qlimax 2001, many events followed and I was on a mission in the studio. In 2003 I made my way in the Hardstyle scene when The Prophet called me after hearing my demo CD. My first Scantraxx Recordz release was born and many followed.

ECHD: What’s your favorite track, or which one of yours meant the most to you?
A-lusion: Answering this one is really difficult. There is not one track that instantly comes to mind.
Many tracks have important meanings to me, because of the time they were released in.

Of course Drummer Beat, 4 Elementz and Veritas mean a lot to me as they were the first tracks to reach a big audience. But No Regrets and Start Living also mean a lot to me as the lyrics and melodies are quite personal.

ECHD: What did you think of the ECHD show you played earlier this year?
A-lusion: I was really intrigued by your ECHD organization and crowd. It reminded of me of some event organizing groups in Holland and Australia that became really big players.

I loved the production you put up, even though it was a humble venue. What stood out most to me, was the fact that many people knew all my tracks, brought vinyls, flags and even a self made A-lusion sign. This gave me so much energy. This is part of why I’m in this game. My music, reaching all the way from the studio in The Netherlands, to Philadelphia. Music unites us!

I hope to back to do a few ECHD shows next year. So let’s start planning!

ECHD: How was it working with the ECHD crew? Were there any special memories?
A-lusion: Like I said, I really enjoyed working with your team. It was so much fun to do some city sight seeing and drink some beers together. The ECHD crew seems to be a group of people with mixed talents. Some have good ideas on promotion, some know all the music, some are good with numbers and social skills, etc. But the most important thing is.. you ECHD guys got MAD LOVE for HARDSTYLE! Seems like a solid foundation so keep on going guys!

ECHD: What is it like playing at festivals like Qlimax, Defqon etc?
A-lusion: Playing events like Qlimax and Defqon, really makes you feel special as an artist and person. At first it’s all about the excitement and name of the event. But the more you play on events like these, the more you realize how special you should feel. Special because of the enormous crowds in front of you. But also special because those events have such amazing stage designs and bring out the best shows. This makes the impact of the music we play, even bigger. But on the other hand there is a down side to this. Because of the size of the events, playing there isn’t really personal towards the crowd. And on for instance Defqon, you are one of many DJs. Sometimes it’s also great to play in a single area event, because then it’s your duty to actually be a DJ and get the whole crowd moving. And I’ve always been the type of artist that connects with his fans. So I like to go into the crowd, do some photos and have a chat. This is in my nature and this will never change. So that’s why I also like to do smaller events. So whenever you see me, let’s have a chat!!

ECHD: What do you think about Hardstyle & hard dance coming up in the U.S.? Does this have much of an effect on the direction you’re going as an artist?
A-lusion: I love it! Finally you get what we have been having for over a decade already.

Even though my sound has always been quite international, the rising U.S. Hardstyle market might have put a bit more emphasis on that.

Nowadays, in the Netherlands, many producers and events are really delivering the rawest and hardest beats. To me personally, this is not exactly the right path for Hardstyle. I like the harder sound of hard dance, don’t get me wrong. I love the energy this music brings and the way the crowd handles this energy! But I also like the music to bring a story and warmth. And as a producer I like to be challenged to improve.

I didn’t find the challenge in this music as it feels to me like it’s been done already. That’s why the more international sound appeals to me even more than before. So like I said, the growing International market gives me a lot of renewed energy. Playing at EDC Las Vegas, in Los Angeles and Philadelphia opened up a new chapter in my musical story of life!

Reaching new crowds and new grounds, can open up new doors for creativity. I spent a lot of time working with vocalists in the past 2 years. This might be a result of me getting my music out to these new grounds. I’ve learned a lot because of this. Of course I made some ‘mistakes’ by releasing some tracks I probably shouldn’t have. But now with the new album, I really notice people picking up the vocal tracks as well. One thing of for sure, I’ll be back in the U.S. in 2015!

ECHD: Could we expect to see you playing at Mysteryland USA 2015?
A-lusion: Let’s hope so. Besides the popularity of an artist, there are also a lot of other factors involved in securing a gig like this. It’s hard to say something about it because a lot comes down to the music, timing and connections. As soon as the request is made, I’m jumping on the plane to drop some beats at the event.

ECHD: Your new album: is there a special meaning behind your album title choice?
A-lusion: Yes there is. The title might sound a bit dramatic, but I can surely give some insight on the title choice.

I launched the Out In The Open project back in 2012. It started out as a digital album concept with 8 tracks per episode. And each 6 months a new episode. Simply because the days of the CDs are numbered. I started this with a lot of energy but sadly this energy was kind of gunned down because of various reasons. The main reason was the fact that I left Scantraxx and launched my own imprint called Lussive Music.

When I worked on episode 2 about a year later, I noticed that it took quite some time. Way more than the 6 months I had planned. During this time it took to produce the episode, I had not much to bring to the scene. So it was really quiet on me and my career.

I decided to do this different with the 3rd episode. During the production stage of this episode, I already released 3 finished album singles. All These Symbols, Are You Ready and Untouchable already got released earlier this year.

This has been such an inspirational year for me. I had a lot of energy in the studio. So I ended up doing way more tracks than expected. But I already knew I didn’t want to do a 4th episode in it’s current concept form. So the more tracks I produced, the more I decided to create a full length album. One final episode! The Final Act.

After this I’m going to focus on digital single releases and remixes again. But I have some plans on continuing the OITO brand in another way.

ECHD: I see you’ve bumped up your BPM, what made you decide to do that?
A-lusion: Well, I also bumped down my BPM a bit. Some tracks are on 148 BPM in stead of the common 150 bpm. And my track with Betavoice, called Get Crazy, even has some parts on 138 BPM and 145 BPM.

The reason why there are quite some different BPMs on the album, is simply because my album is telling a story. This is one of the benefits of doing an album. You can step out of the comfort zone.

From the beginning to the end, it’s a journey into my musical world. So ending up at 170 BPM, felt like a good way to end this story. To take that last bit of energy after nearly 80 minutes of Hardstyle!
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