Category: Interviews

Mark Archer Interview (2017)

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If the picture above doesn’t cause mayhem, or doesn’t make you loose your mind completely, you are not a full-on raver. The legendary Altern 8 dominated the 90s with their perspective on the newly formed Rave scene, and one half of Altern 8 (the one I’m about to interview) is the mighty Mark Archer, one half of Altern 8. A legend within the scene, with many years of experience as a producer, DJ and rave pioneer.We talk to the man who made the 90s memorable, and who still to this day continues to play all over the UK and the world. He might be a bit older and not on Vicks Vapo Rub anymore, but he’s still determined to get you all raving. Raise your hands in the air, and dance like a monkey on acid: Mark Archer!!!


Mark Archer, how are you doing sir? How’s life at the moment for you?
“I’m very well thank you and life is particularly good at the moment, after a few years of it being a bit difficult to say the least, things are looking up.”

Mark Archer, or is it already sir Archer? You must have been knighted by her Majesty for your contribution to the Rave scene…
“Haha – I wish :)”

Let’s go back in time, way back in time. When Mark was a little lad, and wasn’t focussed on DJing or raving the night away. What did Mark do when he was a young kid?
“I used to live in a really small hamlet called Bishopswood so had a small group of friends and everyone knew everyone really, kind of a quite idylic childhood growing up in the countryside playing in fields etc”

No disrespect, but I’m young. I don’t know what the wonderful music had to offer when you were young. What kind of music did you listen to growing up, and was it music that you really loved and adored, or disliked?
“I pretty much listened to everything, you either liked or disliked a tune, I wasn’t into one specific thing really, just whatever was on the radio at the time.

I’ve recently done a series of mixes called ‘Back To Mine’ where I’ve added some of these old tracks that maybe part of a film soundtrack or country and western, just tunes that I remember well from when I was little.”

DJing wasn’t a thing, because it’s wasn’t fully developped yet. Music was there, dance scenes were also present, but someone playing records non-stop was obviously not a full on thing. What attracked you to the music scene in the first place? What kind of connection did you have with music?
“It wasn’t until the late 70’s I guess when there was a lot of Disco on the radio that I kind of started veering toward liking a certain sound more than others and then when Hip Hop and Electro Funk came over to the UK that was it for me, the idea of the tracks being mixed on the Streetsounds Electro series had me fascinated and it’s from then I started reading all the credits on who produced and mixed tracks and got really into things.”

What did you as a kid imagine to become when you were older? Was it something to do with music, or something completely different?
“When I left school the only thing I could think that I wanted to do was be a DJ but that came after the production really (and after becoming a painter and decorator too).”

Paul Farmer (C)

According to your own website you started your production career back in 1988. 1988, that’s a long time ago! You started alongside Dean Meredith and formed Rhythm Mode D, being a Hip Hop/sample House group. How did you get into producing as such, and what did you use to make records back then?
“I was laid off from my job as a painter and bumped into Dean who was on work experience in Stafford town (I’d known Dean a few years earlier when we used to be in to breakdancing etc). He said he had a set of decks at his and i’d just got a small sampling keyboard so I went to his and we just made some tracks messing about, nothing serious.

We took this tape with our tracks on to a newly opened studio in Stafford and were offered a deal there and then, amazingly lucky when you think about it.”

The majority of artists started listening to Hip Hop and slowely moved into the dance scene, listening to House music. But is the transition that easy? How come you went from Hip Hop to House music?
“It was pretty much a logical thing and everyone who was into the same sort of music as me at the time did the same. We were listening to a lot of 80’s Soul and R&B so the transition to house wasnt so great as it was a lot more vocally than the Hip Hop and Electro of the time.”

What was the scene like back then? Was the scene as memorable as we believe it was?
“It was very exciting, House music was brand new – it’s now been around for over 30 years so people are used to it but then it was like ‘what on earth is this?’ Then with the start of Acid House it totally turned clubbing upside down.”

Rhythm Mode D was your first adventure, another adventure was Bizarre Inc (founding member). How did that happen?
“Dean and myself were recording loads of different things at the studio we were working at, from Hip Hop to Acid House and doing loads or remixes for the label that ran alongside the studio. We wanted to do a more Techno styled track and so came up with the name Bizarre Inc. Our first release got to number 100 in the UK charts and so Dean kicked me out of Bizarre Inc.”

Nexus 21 was the next step. And you had multiple releases on big labels. But first of all: where did the name come from? And wasn’t producing for Bizarre Inc. And Rhythm Mode D enough work on its own?
“As I’d stopped working with Dean after he kicked me out of Bizarre Inc I was on the dole for a while. I’d firmly got the music making bug so contacted the studio to see if I could do a new project, which became Nexus 21.”

Paul Farmer (c)

The music progressed, and so did you. You formed a side project, which became one of the biggest duos in the UK Rave scene. The name is known for many things, but the main focus was the music. The group became an instant success overnight, and you took the UK charts by storm. And this happened at the beginning of the 90s. How did the success of Altern 8 effect you? How did it make you feel?
“We started Altern 8 in 1990 when we signed to Network records and released the Overload EP. It sold well because it was 8 tracks at a single 12″ price, so when we release The Vertigo EP in 1991, people were already waiting for it. It was a complete shock that it charted in the UK top 40 but I think that was due to the power of the Rave scene. Radio was no longer breaking these sort of records, they were just being catapulted into the charts because of the amount of people who went to raves and bought the singles.”

How did the act come about? The mask, the suits?
“It was all accidental, the name was wrong as we were supposed to be called Alien 8, the suits and masks were to stop people recognising us as Nexus 21 as we had done a fair few PA’s under that name so wanted to look different.”

Two tracks appeared in the UK charts, ‘Infiltrate 202’ and ‘Activ-8’. And the true ravers know the tunes and they know the legendary video for ‘Activ-8’. How was it, making a video with the equipment back then? And what was the focus of the video? Is there a hidden story behind it? Or were you just mocking about (because of the Vicks)?
“It was supposed to be us at a club/rave then jumping into this parallel world where it all goes crazy with the violins and robot in a country park. It was all very funny and a great laugh to do it, but at the time we never thought the PA in the car park would go down in rave history.”

Not only were Altern 8 known for their music, but also Vicks Vapo Rub. How in God’s name did that happen? How did it come about? And did Vicks ever contact you two, because you made the sales go through the roof?
“After wearing the masks for a while they begin to smell so it was purely by accident when we went to a club in Newcastle Upon Tyne that people were using vicks in the club, we decided to put it in the masks so it would smell nice and last a long time.

I wanted to see if Vicks would sponsor us untril someone told me the reason why people were using it in clubs, then thought maybe contacting them wouldnt be such a great idea.”

You must have seen quite a few weird things during the 90s, being Nexus 21 or Altern 8. What’s the most memorable thing you can think of, the most funniest moment, the most beautiful moment, and the most shocking moment?
“Being spat on as we left a club was probably the worst moment (can’t please everyone eh?) but playing infront of 40,000 people in Birmingham while we were in the charts in 1991 was a great memory.”

Paul Farmer (c)

Obviously you kept on producing music, and the next step was obviously an Altern 8 album, which was called ‘Full On Mask Hysteria’. How was the general reaction to this album? And how were the sales?
“It went top ten in the UK album charts so we were very pleased and it’s seen today as one of the two biggest albums of that era. It’s something i’m very proud of indeed.”

Talking about the word general: the general election of 1992. You were participating during the election. That must have been the weirdest thing you’ve done? Who’s idea was that, how many Vicks did you us on that day the decision was made, and how many people voted for you?
“It was actually Chris who did that and not me, but we didn’t come last in the local elections which was funny as we beat someone who was being serious about a political career.”

Altern 8 as a group decided to call it a day after those succesful years. Was it the right decision to make? And was it the right decision, looking back at it?
“We decided to stop Altern 8 on a high as there had started to be a huge backlash against the whole Rave scene and we were going to concentrate on Nexus 21 but by then mine and chris’s working relationship had gone bad and it never happened.”

You continued in the music industry, and your next project was Slo-Moshun, and success continued. Was it hard to maintain the level you reached when you were part of Altern 8?
“We weren’t aiming to emulate the success that I’d had as Altern 8, we were just making music that we liked and luckily ‘Bells Of New York’ was a massiver club track and it silenced a lot of doubters at the time that Altern 8 was pure luck.”

The 90s progressed, and you continued in the DJ scene. Producing wise it all became a little bit more quiet than the previous years. After those memorable years, what happened in Mark Archer’s life?
“I got married in 1992 and soon had my first child which make it difficult to be in a studio all day. When in 1996 my second child was born and the label I was signed to folded it sort of halted my career (not that regret having children of course, I wouldn’t change that for the world)”

The party scene evolved, and became bigger and bigger. You’ve played at so many events, and I reckon you do have some memorable moments you would like to share? What was Mark Archer’s biggest moment as a solo artist on stage?
“Over the years I’ve been very lucky to play in so many different countries at amazing clubs and festivals but I think that closing the Arcadia stage at Glastonbury 2015 was the best gig of my career. the stage is a huge robotic spider so the crowd is 360 degrees all round you and even underneath the stage and there was around 40,000 people there.”

Paul Farmer (c)

The internet emerged during the late 90s, early 00s, and Facebook came and made you closer to the fans you adored you since the early 90s. I’ve not asked this to anyone before, but how does social media affect the artist’s life? How is it to be under constant pressure (in a good way) by the fans?
“It’s great that social media alows you to get closer to people who years ago you’d only be able to see on tv or at a concert and it’s fantastic some of the messages I get especially about the book that came out last year, the fact that people can relate to things that have happened in my life or it’s maybe inspired someone to keep trying at music, it’s fantastic.”

Towards the end of the early 00s tracks began to be released on several labels, such as ‘Frequency remixes’, ‘Microdots’, ‘Flections’, ‘Joints’, and more. Did the producing side of Mark got him back into releasing records?
“I’d done a few things through the 00’s but mainly engineered by other people as I’d not kept up with engineering after the late 90’s when I’d sort of stopped making music.

After meeting Josh from I Love Acid, he got me back into producing slowly so I’ve been doing more things but I don’t think I’ll ever be as productive as I used to be in the early 90’s.”

Did you use your ‘old’ equipment from the 90s, or did you move with the flow and used modern day equipment?
“These days I just use a laptop as I had to sell all my equipment years ago.”

Ok, hard question: if you had to choose between making music back in the 90s and now, and we’re talking producing wise, what would you choose and why?
“The 90’s for sure, I knew what I was doing then haha.”

It’s like you never stop! After releasing an album and many records and also contributing to mix compilations, you released your own book last year! Who would have thought that? Who came up with that idea, and was it hard to remember everything that happened in your life?
“It still blows me away that I have a book out, it’s mental!

I’d had people tell me a few time that I should write a book but I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I had to say and had no idea how to go about it, so when Billy Daniel Bunter asked me if I wanted to do a book to follow up his own I jumped at the chance. It was a great experience and I owe a lot to Dan and his wife Sonya for getting me to do it.”

A book? Who reads books nowadays? For those youngsters who don’t read books, what would you say to persuade them to get a copy and indulge themselves into Mark Archer’s rich history?
“It’s not justy a book about Altern 8, it’s the whole story of how I got into music in the first place, how I got into production, about the success of Altern 8 and the very difficult years that followed, but also about how things are now a lot better and like a lot of good books theres a very happy ending :)

Ok, so we’ve established that you are a very talented man, who’s gifted with the gift of producing music, contributing to his own book, and also DJing non stop. What will be the next step? Are you going to get your own reality TV show? Your own cooking show? The Altern 8 Vibrator? The Mark Archer toeclippers? Nexus 21 comic book?
“I’ve no idea haha, I just want to continue DJing and producing and should any opportunities come up that I think will work then I’ll go for it.”

When you were a little lad, you probably never thought you would be where you are now. If you are given the power to change anything in your past, what would it be, or would you leave it as it is?
“I’d not change a single thing, there has to be bad times for you to appreciate the good times and bad decisions to make you learn not to make them again.”

Where will Mark Archer be in the near future? Where can those dedicated fans see you/hear you?
“Between now and June I’m pretty much booked up every weekend playing up and down the UK as well as gigs abroad. For gig updates it’s always best to visit the Facebook pages.”

Could you clarify for me the saying “real DJs play vinyl records”. Is that true? What’s your thought on this debate?
“Yawn (I think that covers it)”

Random question: if asked, would you still be able to dance like a monkey on acid?
“I do, regularly :)

Last question, and it might be the most difficult one of this interview, but if you could rate your life from the moment you stepped into the music industry until now, what would you rate it, and why?
“I’d give it a 7 out of 10, not that it hasn’t been amazing but it’s not been easy and it’s far from perfect (very little is).”

Thank you to the wonderful Mark Archer, who took the time to answer these questions as honestly as you would expect. And if this interview has sparked your enthusiasm, why not check out Mark’s own book, which you can get right now, and read about his whole music life, and hopefully it does have a happy ending, as he mentioned before. CLICK HERE and you’ll go straight to the website!

Again, many thanks to Mark Archer. The legend. If you want to know more about him and follow him, check out these websites right now:

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DJ Penta Interview (2016)

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London, United Kingdom

TCD is honoured and proud to introduce to you the next artist: DJ Penta. This name only came to my attention a couple of months ago, when I spotted his Defqon.1 promo mix, and from that moment on he gained a new fan, me. This Belgian DJ and producer has taken the world by storm, and due to his dedication and passion to bring the rawest Hardcore to the masses, he was signed to the mighty label ‘The Third Movement’ back in 2015. It’s time to talk to this upcoming artist, and who will gain more followers and fans in the near future: ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you…. DJ Penta!

 

Hi Penta, how are you? Have you recovered from Defqon.1 yet?
“Hey, I’m fine thank you. Héhé yes I’ve managed to recover just fine.”

Normally at this stage I talk to DJs/producers about their artist names, and I think it’s suitable to ask you where the name comes from? It sounds quite dark and edgy….
“Well, my name is actually a shortened version of what I had originally planned. Lets start from the beginning. In the very beginning, when everything was still far from serious, I mixed under the (horrible) name:”X-razor”, but as soon as things started to get a bit serious, I knew It was time for a more professional name.

Back in the day, during my day-time-job, I was working on this client-portfolio and all of a sudden I saw very cool company-name “Penta Core Industries”. It was a manufacturting company to whom my client had leased several huge “next-gen”-machines. But the name really gave me the feeling like it could be some Hardcore concept. At the time, one of my “trademarks” was that I always mixed several styles into 1 set and my entire track-portfolio covered 5 styles. As I don’t believe in coincidences, I just knew this was the way to go.  After some thought (and good advice), I figured Penta Core Industries was way too long, so I decided to narrow it down to something easy & catchy: Penta.”

You are a DJ and a producer, and you literally live and breathe Industrial Hardcore. But let’s go back in time, time to find out when it was you discovered Hardcore (in general) and when the love for the rougher and tougher stuff grew?
“Haha this my favourite and probably most told story I know. I remember like it as was yesterday: I was +- 14 years old and we we’re in the recreation-room at our school, when all of a sudden, one of the older students puts on his CD, a some serious nasty electronic music started pounding. somehow it instantly “took” me and I just had to find out what it was. I found out it was a CD from a local club called “Lagoa” and afterwards I started looking up all their music. The funny thing is that from the very beginning , even withing the “harder styles”, I always found myself liking the harder/aggressive and more distorted sounds. This quickly led to me discovering Hard Techno & Footworxx, which on its turn, led to me discovering an even harder version of electornic music: Industrial Hardcore. Looking back at my youth, the one thing that stuck to me was always wanting that harder, filithier sound and hearing the filhty distorted screech cut through everything else, leaving all “normal” music far behind.

The peek of my musical youth was around 2006, when I really started “investing” more time in music and I started to realize that music was just more than a fase to me. It was also around that time I just couldn’t accept any music that wasn’t as hard as hardcore. Throughout 2007 untill 2014 I think 99% of what I listened, was Hardcore and eventhough I researched the entire genre with all its subgenres & era’s, the dark & filthy sound always prevealed over all the rest. So I guess that’s the story (in a nutshell) of my musical journey into Industrial Hardcore.

Where 2006 was the year of my Hard Techno peak, 2009 was for my Industrial Hardcore-peak.”

Many DJs start raving on the dancefloor, and so did you. When you were a raver, going nuts on the dancefloors, which DJs made you rave the hardest? Who were your idols?
“Well, throughout the years, discovering all the things Hardcore, I had many idols. But I do have a few who I will always consider “lifetime” idols. The first is definitly Sven Wittekind. In my Hard Techno fase he was my ultimate hero. I consider “Maybe we’re crazy” & “Sunstorm” to be 2 of my life-time-top-tunes. Promo, obviously, is also one of those idols that I’ll respect my entire life. I looked up so much to him because of his sound and what he had already achieved back then with The Third Movement.  Aside from Idols, I also have 2 albums who I will always consider to be the best of the best: D-Passion’s Data Recovery & Negative A’s – Modern music is destroying our youth”

Penta

Penta

You started listening to TTM from 2004 onwards, but it took 9 years for you to leave the dancefloor and start DJing/producing. What took you so long?
“Héhé, well I’m somebody who thinks and thinks and overthinks, and in this case, I doubted very long to start DJ’ing. I don’t remember when I had the first thought but I remember considering buying technisc and Hard Techno on vinyl, so I think  I’ve had the idea for a long long time.
Aside from that, I’m also somebody who likes to do things properly. I either go for it completely or I don’t do it all. In this case I suppose I waited for the exact moment when I was ready to really launch myself into it and that moment finally arrived in the beginning of 2012. I actually did the research, because I remember exactly what party made me “change sides”. We celebrated NYE at “Raving Nightmare” in Gent, 2011. and after the party I realized how much time I spent analyzing & commenting the sets instead of partying. I propably considered starting for the 100th time but then I just cut the cord and said fuck it, lets do this. So, the day (literally) after I got myself some gear and I also immediately grabbed fruity loops and the rest, as they say, is history.”

There must have been a reason why you ‘left’ the dancefloor and joined the DJ scene. Why did you make the transition from dancefloor to the stage?
“Well as I said, I noticed myself, being more critical, analyzing the music and sets. And slowly but surely that led to me thinking: I can do this better (well or at least do it so that It fits my own vision)”

2013 you started DJing, and even though it is only 3 years ago, can you see progression in your mixing skills? If you listen back to your first ever mix, is it different mixing wise to your latest mix?
“Oh yes, I notice a huge difference. Over the years, my sets have evolved in very different ways. To be honest, I’m very happy to see such a evolution in my sets. It just goes to show I’m still growing & learning.”

DJs are always very picky when it comes to equipment, so what is your favourite setup?
“Well DJ-wise, I’m not very picky, as long as they have the latest Pioneer gear. As long as the equipment is failproof and I can do my thing. I’m happy :) but if I would have a favorite setup. It would be a live-setup. But more on that later :)

When did you receive your first booking, and which event did you play at?
“Well, my first gig, was a DJ contest, and my first booking came not long after. The DJ contest was somewhere far in north of Holland (Groningen) : Kings of Core DJ contest . it was a 6-people contest and my first performance ever. I was nervous as hell and practiced set as crazy. We ended up having a really nice time and eventhough I didn’t win (as to be expected) it was an amazing experience which boosted my motivation as crazy.

Kings Of Core – Partyflock Event Page

My first gig/booking, was Brutal Sounds ! I’ll never forget this one (or the dj contest). We had such an epic time there. We got welcomed with open arms by the BS-Crew. We even had a nice afterparty afterwards and when we finally drove home (yes all the way from Hengelo) we got pulled over by the police (which also was my first pullover). But thankfully I was sober (enough), and I could continue my 3hour drive back to Belgium. Over the years, the guys from BS & me always stayed good friends and its always nice to meet up whereever we can ! Actually I’m the secret 5th member of the crew haha (or the international version of the crew is with me included haha).

Brutal Sounds – Partyflock Event Page

Producing was the next step. But what made you decide to ‘leave’ the decks and start producing your own music? Wasn’t DJing enough for you?
“No it wasn’t, as I was already kneedeep in the scene before I even started, I was well aware of the fact that in this era of the scene, you needed to be a producer to get somewhere. That’s why I grabbed Fruity loops as soon as I could. On the other hand I have to admit my producer-level stayed very low in the beginning due to the focus on perfectionising my DJ-skills. As soon as that was where I wanted it to be, I focussed more on producing. if I recall correctly, that switch came around august 2013. I decided it was time to get serious about producing and bought my Mac and Ableton and just went for it. Nowadays I can say that I feel more like a producer than a DJ. 75% of my free time goes to producing. And then whats left over goes mostly to track-selection, -research and trying out new combo’s.”

Penta

Penta

Were you a sell taught producer, or did you follow any producing masterclasses?
“I was/am a sell taught producer and DJ. I started alone, I learned alone, and today I still do my own thing alone (but I think that’s basicly the case for every solo-artist?). Most of what I know comes from researching & reading (yes I’m a nerd and theorycrafter).  I started from scratch in terms of producing & dj’ing, but obviously, I had my fare share of conversation & feedback-session with various experienced DJ’s. And of those, Promo is definitly the person from who I learned the most via feedback on my projects (and the occasional random theory-discussions).”

Your first EP which was called ‘Stormrage’ and it got released on the mighty The Third Movement. But before it coming out, how did you get recognised and signed? Did it go the way artists get signed in the good ol’ days, by sending out mixtapes?
“Yes It was exactly like that, I just sent my demo to Promo and he really liked it. Even though we’ve been talking for a while before, I think I never got a reply as fast as when I sent the Stormrage demo (haha).”

The EP literally set your name on the map. But when it comes to your tracks, do you have a specific style, a signature sound?
“Well I don’t know, I don’t purposely aim for a certain “sound”. I just do my thing and what comes out seems to always be within certain criteria. I do have a lot of rules and things in my head to which every element has to comply, so maybe that’s kind off my sound. I think the most important thing for me, is to have something that I’ve never heard before and sounds original to me.”

For DJing you already mentioned your favourite setup, but producing wise: what’s your favourite setup? What’s really necessary to make a Penta record?
“Lots & Lots of Coffee ! Aside from that, I just use a Mac, external sound-card and a normal midi-keyboard. Nothing fancy really, but I do have some stuff on my wishlist but I don’t really feel like I need something more at the moment, otherwise I would’ve bought it.”

Fairly new to this scene, but if you could work with anyone on a record, who would it be and why?
“That’s a hard one, my collab-wishlist is very long. I have so many hero’s I’ld like to work with but I think I would prefer to wait untill I’m a conformtable level of producing, so I doesn’t feel like I’m leeching of the other artist. I want to be able to contribute in an equal way.”

You have recently played at the mighty Defqon.1, and the set blew me away. How was it to play at Defqon.1?
“Pure magic! It was so intense and such an amazing experience. Everything was just so amazing, especially the crowd !! this is easily my most favorit set I ever did (so far).”

Penta

Penta

Do you ever wake up and think ‘this is all a dream’?
“Haha, it is a privilege to do what I do and to just imagine what lies ahead, it sometimes does feel very unreal. But I guess that makes it all the more special! I really look forward to see where  this all ends up. Meanwhile, I just sit back and grab whatever comes at me. I’m very happy to be able to take this amazing journey.”

Random question of the day: Industrial Hardcore, is there a market in Belgium for it? I thought Belgians only liked cheesy pop music, and the occasional Techno tune?
“Well, what used to be a big underground scene, today, is something completely different. But I guess the generation that created the underground scene is replaced by a new generation, with different priorities & tastes. Business-wise everything has become more difficult, more legit, inhibiting smaller/less-legal raves. Aside from that, many of the old underground “sanctuaries” have been closed down/destroyed. So this combination of crowd-movement, location-shortage and legal-hassle, has made it very hard for our scene to stay alive. But If its destined to continue, it surely will.”

Penta, what will happen in the future? Anything exciting you want to mention?
“Well, since I took ages to finalize this interview, I made a lot of new music that will be coming out in 2017 (which is also a reason why it took so long to reply haha). Aside from that, there are some nice bookings coming up in countries I’ve never played before like Denmark, Spain and some others which I cant disclose yet.”

If people are interesting in what you do after hearing the mix underneath the interview, where can they find you playing next?
“Well my agenda is always up to date @ the concrete website, currently I have Belgium, France & Denmark coming up next. And for 2017 everything is still undisclosed, but I would recommend everyone to keep an eye on my artist-page !”
Belgium, not only famous for their Belgian waffles, chocolates, small kid who urinates constantly, or their contribution to the Techno scene since the early days of the 90s, but also famous for their Industrial Hardcore and their artists. Penta is a name you should already follow and worship. Thank you a lot for this insightful interview.
To fully understand his capability and his strength as a DJ and as a producer, we’ve added Penta’s set, recorded at Defqon.1! Make sure you check it out, and turn up your speakers! Whilst listening, why not check out these links:

Penta

Penta

Interview: Krystal RaveGirl (2016)

Krystal1

London, United Kingdom

If you haven’t been online recently, or you are not a true UK Hardcore fan, you have probably missed it: the rise of Future State Music. They’ve been pushing UK Hardcore forward for a long time, but they’ve decided to up their game, and decided to set up a Youtube page and came up with a wonderful idea: interview people, and ask the questions no one dared to ask. One of the people who’s in charge of doing the interviews is Krystal. You’ve probably seen her face passing by. If you haven’t, let me introduce you to Krystal Ravegirl, a name you will and must remember, and the label she represent, Future State Music! A interviewer, a raver, a vocalist…. let’s find out what goes on in Krystal’s world!

Hi Krystal, how are you? How’s life down South? (and for those who do not know, she’s Australian)
“Great! It’s just starting to warm up into spring, it’s been cold but still not as cold as the UK so can’t complain 😛 ”

Before we start talking about your career in the UK Hardcore scene as a presenter, let’s talk about you before your face travelled all over the world. You are female, Australian and a fan of UK Hardcore. When did you hear UK Hardcore for the first time, and who introduced you into this magical world?
“I was introduced to Happy Hardcore in 2004. The first songs I heard were ‘I Can’t Stop Raving’ and ‘24/7’. A friend from school introduced me to these songs as he was taking to me to a rave and I needed to know what I was going to expect. From that moment I fell in love.
My mum always listened to high energy and Techno dance music so I was familiar with the faster Techno sound.”

How was your first reaction to UK Hardcore? Is there anything similar when it comes to the beats, basses and melodies in Australia you could compare it with?
“To be honest I can’t remember, all I know is I loved it (obviously). I guess the closest thing would be Freeform but that’s not just in Australia.”

What attracks you to UK Hardcore?
“I like the positive and happy vibes that happy hard delivers because that’s the kind of person I am. Even though other music can be happy and positive, Happy Hard is fast and energetic on top so it’s the perfect combinationI really love the nostalgia it brings. I love the buildups and melodic catchy vocals… actually I love all of it.”

If you had to compare the scene in Australia and the UK, is there a difference?
“Well I’ve never been to an UK event but from what I’ve seen is we wear a lot more kandi and dress up/cosplay a lot more than the UK scene. One day I hope to go over there. Being up close and personal with the big guys would be so awesome!”

Krystal Ravegirl

Krystal Ravegirl

The music scene is not just a scene, it’s a culture, it’s not just a hype, it’s a way of living. Looking at several pictures of you enjoying music to the max, it’s your way of living. Imagine a day not hearing music (in general), what would your reaction be towards the end of the day?
“Well I listen to UK hardcore every day. I actually don’t listen to any other genre. (My friends try to persuade me haha) So a day without music/ Hardcore ummm I would probably feel a little lost maybe even a little sad. But I’m constantly singing so does that count? So my reaction at the end of a day without music or singing, probably cranky (angry) as. That’s a hard question 😛 ”

Music is important, but also promoting labels which aren’t as big as the labels who dominate the scene. You promote not only Future State Music, but also DJs and events. But how come you became a presenter/journalist for Future State Music?
“I decided to jump on board with Future State because I wanted to do something different. I wanted to support the scene in a different way. I talk a lot so I thought interviewing and presenting would be fun and would come kinda natural to me.
In January I jumped on board as the first presenter now I’m the head presenter with my own awesome offsider Kara. It’s just amazing how Future State Music has taken off in the last 7 months and it’s only going to get bigger and better.”

Krystal Ravegirl

Krystal Ravegirl

I remember years ago someone asked me to do interviews in front of a camera, and I said no. Stage fright they say. Never nervous when you stand in front of the camera?
“Of course I get nervous. I even get nervous when I do my own update videos at home. But I usually have a drink to calm my nervous when interviewing someone. Once I start waffling on the nerves subside. I get way more nervous when I have to sing live. That’s why I don’t do it very often.”

Any tips for upcoming interviewers?
“Just relax and have fun with it! Do a bit of research and be prepared for technical difficulties. I always say it’s not a Future State video without some piece of technology screwing up on me lol!”

You have interviewed several artists such as JTS, S3RL, Sc@r and more. How was it to meet these legendary artists who shaped the scene?
“Well to be honest because I’ve been around the scene for a while, I already knew these guys and were friends with them making the whole interview experience easier!  I chatted regularly with Zoe VanWest online but meeting her on Skype and interviewing her was pretty amazing (I fan girled pretty hard) !!! Keep an eye out for that video . But coming up I am hopefully going to interview some internationals soon and I am getting sent to Brisband to interview  a UK producer so I’m super keen for that!”

Krystal, Technikore/Technikal & JTS

Krystal, Technikore/Technikal & JTS

If you could have the opportunity to interview anyone you like (and adore), who would it be and why (doesn’t need to be a UK Hardcore DJ/MC)?
“GAMMER!! I think he would be pretty quirky and fun to sit down and chat with, or Darren Styles *blushes*”

You do all of this for Future State Music, but why? What’s FSM’s motto?
“Our aim for Future State Music is to unite the international Hardcore scene. To bring ravers from all over the world together to interact, learn & showcase how Hardcore is celebrated in their area. If we all work together we can support this strong, but fragmented scene. We can help introduce the music to many new people while supporting the producers, DJs, promoters & ravers that work so hard to push Hardcore in their area.”

Not the only presenter for FSM, the label is quickly growing. An album has recently been released, which is called ‘Nightfall’. And how amazing is it to see your name on it! How does it make you feel, seeing your name on the back of an album?
“So amazing! I actually saw a post from M-project holding the physical album in his hand, got so excited. Can’t wait to have my own copy! Just the feeling knowing people will be listening and singing along to my vocals is so special in itself.”

If I get my copy, will you sign it for me?
“Of course haha!  *gets pen out*”

Back to reality. You are not just a raver, a presenter, but also someone who loves listening to music AND making music. How did you get into that side of UK Hardcore?
“As much as I’m as massive S3RL fan girl over the years I’ve become pretty good mates with him. A couple of years ago he asked me to do the speaking vocal for the song BFF. I recorded it and sent it to him. He told me to give it more “attitude”. Unfortunately at that time I couldn’t give attitude, anyone who knows me or has seen my videos knows I sound like a kid 😛 I’m all about sunshine, rainbows and the PLUR. (I may actually have a chance to give this style another go but it’s too early to explain anything so my lips are sealed).

So after that failed he asked if I could sing so I sent him over something and we went from there. We did Flame Princess and R4V3 B0Y then from each song I released I came into contact with more producers and artist (Like a snowball effect).Then I started writing my own lyrics. Jole has been a massive help with my vocalist journey.”

Krystal Ravegirl & M-Project

Krystal Ravegirl & M-Project

Many will start their career as a singer in front of the bathroom mirror, holding the shower head (or anything that resembles a microphone) or a hair comb, when you did you first start singing?
“I’ve always sung around my house and in the car.  I’ve always loved singing along to hardcore vocals.
I only started singing professionally about a year and a half ago S3rl’s tracks R4v3 B0y and (Flame Princess) But recently I’ve started up vocal coaching  to help with a few things.” 

Who was the first to spot your talent? And how did you become a vocalist? Did you train for it, or was it a natural gift?
“As mentioned above Jole was the first one to “spot the talent” I didn’t really train for it. I wouldn’t call it a gift haha I just have a unique sound that suits happy hardcore. People have described my voice as very “anime, cartoon, kiddish, S3rlish” haha “ 

If you could expand your vocalist skills, what genres would you like to sing for? And have you ever done a live P.A., singing your tunes to a crowd?
“To be honest I think I mentioned it above but I only listened to Uk hardcore. Everything I sing and write is UK hardcore. I tried to write a melody for a Hardstyle track once and completely failed HA! But I feel that’s because I wasn’t passionate about it.

Maybe one day I could see my self doing a bit of trance or electro stuff but right now I’m 100% focused on UK hardcore.

I’ve done a few live P.A’s the first one I ever did was at Defqon the S3rl set I performed When I die with Razor Sharp and I was so nervous I downed 2 drinks quite quickly then fell over a light mid performance . There is a video on Youtube (somewhere) haha. The second one I did was with M-Project and that one went more smoothly and was actually heaps of fun :)

Guilty pleasure question: every singer has got one track (a well known track) they adore and can sing along nearly as perfect as the original. For me it’s the theme tune for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, what song can you sing to and know the full vocals and nearly reach the same level as the artist who originally sang it?
“Any S3RL song ever.  Ha just kidding I do know pretty much most S3rl tracks and lyrics back to front but I can’t sing them perfectly 😛

I have a few songs I love to sing and I feel I sing them well but probable Eye Opener the Zoe Vanwest and Synthwulf version
Sounds weird but I love to sing You & I by Darren Styles and Gammer. I obviously can’t reach the same level of that vocal because it’s sung by a guy and I’m a chick but I put my own little spin on that vocal.”

Krystal & S3RL

Krystal & S3RL

Any plans for the future (music wise?)? Any releases/collaborations planned?
“My song with Sash Dee called ‘Life’ is going on the Night City Music Label.

A cute little song I wrote called counting down the days with Daneil Seven is in the works. Working with AOS too.

S3RL and I are playing around with a few ideas, nothing set yet.I have few things going on at the moment but it’s all early days. There’s a lot’s happening in the world of Krystal Ravegirl!”

If you could work with ANYONE, who would it be and why?
“I would pick Al Storm or Macks Wolf. I love both of these guys but I feel because my voice suits a particular type of UK hardcore track, I think these guys could make something amazing with my vocals! Oh and of course Gammer because you know Gammer is god!”

The label is obviously growing, and we all follow the label and yourself on Facebook, but what will happen next? The album will be a success, the interviews are well received….
“Well we have some long term goals in mind which involve Future State Events around the world  but it’s too early to even be mentioning really. For now we are going to keep going with our videos. Albums releases & podcasts. I’ve been working around the clock coming up with new ideas and fun things for our channel.”

What’s next for you? Is there anything you can’t do?
“Well next for Krystal Ravegirl is Djing! I’m in the process of perfecting my mixing skills so watch this space 😉 ”

Krystal Ravegirl

Krystal Ravegirl

Any raves you are going to, and people in Australia should go to? And will there be a camera and a mic, and you holding pieces of paper with questions on them?
“OneSeventy, Rocket Science and the Revamped parties! If you’re in Sydney and you’re not at these parties you’re missing out!”

Final and quirky question of the day: you are a full time mother and a raver.  How does the family (and the little one) respond to it? Does she already listen to UK Hardcore, or is that maybe still too much for her delicate ears?
“My family are so accepting of all my raveness. My mum and little sister listen to my tracks, they have a cd they listen to in the car and they know all the lyrics.

As for the little one, she loves her Uk hardcore! I used to play hardcore into my belly when I was pregnant (lots of S3RL). I would also blast the music in the car. When she was a newborn she used to fall asleep to happyhard. From the moment she could sit unassisted she would sway to music. Now she is 15 months and she full blown dances and twerks when she hears music.  She even dances when I sing 😛 When she starts telling me to stop singing or turn the hardcore down in the car I’m going to cry! (hopefully that’s never)”

Thank you very much, Krystal, for this very interesting interview. This interview has answered a lot of questions for all of us. The Australian Hardcore scene is one to watch, and if you live in Australia and want to experience it, why not search for more information, where you can find Krystal. Bookmark these pages, like them, and basically be obsessed.
As an added bonus I’ve added the interview Krystal did with S3RL, you should definately check it out. And also the latest album ‘Nightfall’, which you can find clips underneath the interview.
It was very interesting to read this whole interview, and I would like to say thank you (again) to Krystal. Keep it Hardcore, and hopefully we will see you soon in the UK, raving away!


——

Finnbarr Interview (2016)

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London, United Kingdom

I’m about to interview the quirkiest Freeform DJ and producer out there, and his name is Finnbarr. You might have seen his tracks passing by in many mixes, and if you are lucky you probably heard a few of his own mixes. And if you were in Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago you might have seen this man doing his thing at BMH Freeform, where he played for the first time in front of a crowd. As I’ve said in many reviews he’s the future of Freeform, so it’s about time for me to talk to this mysterious, quirky, yet very talented producer. 

Finnbarr!!! How are you doing? How’s everything in your life?
“Hey man, everything is going really well thank you. I can’t complain about any thing at the moment.”

Finnbarr, a name you should write down. But where does the name come from? It doesn’t sound like an English name to me.
“It’s an Irish name which means “the fair haired one.” Funny because I don’t have fair hair. I did when I was younger.”

Explain to those who are unaware who you are and what your talents are what it is that you do for a living.
“I’m 25, Live in London and for a living I used to cut hair at a Barber shop for a year and now I Dj every week with my girl friend  and friends at the nights we organise. The reason why I stopped hairdressing at the Barber shop was because I knew my talents lay where my dreams have always been and that is to create music that I love.”

DJ and producer, and also someone who likes to have fun whilst making promo videos. But there’s another side to you that many people might not know (we will talk about that later). But if you could describe yourself in a few words, which words would you use and why?
“I am difficult to categorise..Maybe I am just an Artist..I studied for many years and graduated from Winchester School of Arts in 2014.”

You are a very talented producer and DJ, and you are a rising star in the Freeform scene. With many excellent tunes already on your name you will rise quicker than anyone ever before. But what got you into Freeform/UK Hardcore?
“Thank you. What got me into UK Hardcore/Freeform is a mixture of things.

 Firstly I was brought up with late 80’s early 90’s House music and Acid House. My parents used to go to the infamous Hacienda in Manchester. My mum told me when I was in her womb I used to kick and move about when House music was playing. So I think that has played a massive role in me being a slave to the 4/4 Kick drum.

In my teen years I was a Heavy Metal fan, but that changed when I started going into Cyber Dog a lot in Camden. Every Weekend I saved up money to buy a different compilation cd. They were mainly either Psy Trance, Hard trance or Hard House cd’s. At that time I didn’t really know what UK Hardcore was but I was always searching for something a bit faster.  

I came across “Bonkers XI Forevolution,” in HMV. By the cover of the album I knew the tunes would be interesting.  Once hearing the album I knew this was the sound that I was looking for. It gave me a feeling like no other music has given me. Pure Euphoria. No drugs were needed. I listened to Scott Browns mix religiously. I was always bad at reading, I am dyslexic ,but his mix for some reason helped me read the books I needed to for my GCSE’S.  

After Hearing that Album I never looked back. I was and still am in Hardcore Heaven.”

I find it always quite difficult to explain to people what Freeform is, but seeing as you live, breathe and basically have become Freeform (24/7), what is it? Can you describe it?
“Freeform for me is like a fine whiskey or a good quality wine. I think the appreciation for the taste comes form age and understanding. When I was younger I much preferred drinking “Alcho Pops” such as “WKD” and “Smirnoff Ice,” just like UK Hardcore. As I’ve got older I prefer a purer taste of Bourbon or wine that has a variety of flavours, just like Freeform has. I still like Alcho Pops and will drink them every now and then I just prefer Whiskey. 

Freeform for me stands for rebellion and shoving the norm under the carpet to create something that flows naturally from the human soul , but still has enough control and order (kick drum and percussion) to create a piece of music or a piece of Art.

I think  the famous artist “Jackson Pollock’s painting “Number 11”  is very Freeform. The painting for me has order and chaos  in it and that is how I see Freeform.”

How come it’s so unique? I’ve been to many raves, and yet the atmosphere at a Freeform event is always unique, very friendly. That’s one of the reasons I like Freeform, but how come it’s so good?
“Freeform raves is a place where people can let go. It doesn’t matter what clothes your wearing or where you come form. The ego doesn’t exist. You can dance as crazy as you like, you can get as messy as you like  and for one night the ravers are one big mental family.”

BMH Freeform

BMH Freeform

You started producing, and already make tune after tune without breathing, and you are currently signed to Stamina Records. But how did you get their attention?
“I was making tunes before I got in touch with Stamina Records, but I wanted to push my name further and get more noticed in Freeform scene. I have always been a fan of what the label brings out to the ravers. I decided to book a studio session with the founder of “Stamina Records” A.B .We made a tune called “The Cabal” it’s out now on “Stamina Records”. During the Studio Session I thought it would be a great opportunity to show A.B what I’ve been making and he took a liking to a few of my tunes. One of them was “The Bornless one” which is also out now Stamina Records.” 

From then Stamina has been releasing my tunes . Stamina also has been promoting my tunes as well as many other Producers and Dj’s so I thank you all for the Support.”

What was their response to your first tune (and which tune was it?)?
It was “The Bornless One.” Stamina said they were blown away by how dark it is.”

Finnbarr - Havin' It Larger/The Bornless One (OUT NOW!!!)

Finnbarr – Havin’ It Larger/The Bornless One (OUT NOW!!!)

You decided to focus your life completely to Freeform. Wasn’t it a bold move, and is it paying off yet?
“At the moment I am living with my family so I am lucky to give my full commitment to making Freeform/Hardcore. The neighbours haven’t complained about the music so they must like it..

I think it is paying off. My name is slowly getting more popular and people are enjoying my tunes.”

Basically everything you make is released on Stamina Records’ label. I think you release more than any other artist before in such a short notice. What’s the secret behind Finnbarr and him producing only quality tunes? Would you like to share that with all of us?
“Don’t Think Just Do….”

Which track are you the proudest off, and why?
“It would have to be “Havin It Larger.” It’s such a feel good tune and the feedback for the tune has been great.”

When can we expect a Finnbarr album? Isn’t it about time for you to release it?
“It is something I have been thinking about for a while. I will most definitely get one sorted out for next year. I want to get more of a following before releasing one.”

Producing wise you don’t need to be taught how to make music sound amazing. You’ve already worked with A.B, but who would you like to work with and produce records with, who would it be and why (besides A.B ofcourse)?
“I would like to work with Scott Brown one day. His tunes have inspired me through out the years and his music has put me in a good place when I’ve been low. I know he makes more UK Hardcore, but I think it would be interesting to combine our styles and see what we can create. It would be an honour to work with him and to create something epic.” 

Recently you played at BMH Freeform, and it was your first DJ set. I had a wonderful time, and your set literally blew me away, the hamburger shirt just made it even more special. But how was it for you?
Glad you like my shirt. It was awesome I felt really relaxed. I was in my zone, it was a great feeling seeing ravers dance to my music that I make in my bedroom.”

Being a magician behind the decks or behind a computer, Finnbarr is a crowd pleaser. But you are not just a Freeform producer… tell us all your little secret: you are also make and Dj Rockabilly music ! How about that?
“I also make Rockabilly / Garage Punk which is raw 1950’s / 60’s Rock n Roll music. I go under the name  “Rookie Finn” and have had one of my songs released on OHA Records which is on 45 Record.” 

Finnbarr

Finnbarr

Two completely different worlds. How did you get into 50’s and 60’s music? Most people jump from one style to the next if they are similar, but these two are just the complete opposite?
“Well I was into Freeform and Hardcore before I got into Rockabilly and Rhythm & Blues ect.. I’ve always liked a wide variety of music and have always dug deep to find music I’ve never heard before. There is some amazing music from the 50’s and 60’s that is as raw and dirty as the music that  the ravers listen to. The sound of the genres are different, but they both have the same attitude to celebrating rebellion and freedom.”

Back to the Freeform world: what’s next for Finnbarr?
“More Tunes of course. And hopefully get booked to play at more raves.” 

You keep on producing and uploading mixes. One for BMH, one production showcase mix, and also the SummerBash 2016 mix. Which mix are you the proudest off, and why?
“The Summer Bash mix because I had such a funny time making the intro at Stamina Records Studio.”

What are your future goals? What will be your ultimate goal?
“My future goals is to really push my self into being the best that I can be in producing and to expand my artistic ability. Also to sort out a monthly Freeform / Hardcore night in London. It will be amazing.”

Finnbarr, you are truly an inspirational DJ and producer, and genuinely nice bloke. But if you have to share one little secret no-one knows, what’s the secret?
“My farts are not human….”

Ok, last and most difficult question: Freeform or 50s/60s music?
“Hard question the genres of Rockabilly and Rhythm and Blues  gives a different feeling to Freeform and Hardcore ,but it’s going to have to be FREEEEEFORM!!!!”

Thank you “ The Crazy DutchMan”for interviewing me and showing your support and interest in what I do . It means a lot and it makes me and it makes me want to expand and get better in what i do and thats making Freeform . 

I would also like to thank the Dj’s, Producers, friends and family that have showed their support.

Cheers 

Finnbarr 

I would like to say ‘thank you to Finnbarr for such a wonderful and exciting interview. I was thrilled when he said ‘yes’ to an interview, and after reading these answers I have become a bigger fan than I already was. Finnbarr is the future of Freeform, and he’s worth checking out!

Also, check out his latest mix, one he made for this year’s Hardcore Summer Bash! I would review it, but it would be a boring one, seeing as Finnbarr only gets 5 out of 5 stars. Check it out and spread the Finnbarr love all over the world!