You know it’s been a good year when you have to charter a helicopter to take you across three gigs in six hours spanning festivals in Belgium and Holland. Then again, if you play 51 shows across three months as hardstyle DJ Radical Redemption (aka Joey Van Ingen) did, then you’re going to need all the help you can get.
The summer’s festivities were just the warm-up for his Road To Redemption show. “After doing two sold-out shows in the Heineken Music Hall for 5500 people over the past two years, we will now do my new show in 'The Radical Dome' that can hold 12,000 souls,” says the Dutch DJ, proudly.
With a new album to celebrate — with the on-brand title of 'The Road To Redemption' – he’ll be bringing his live show to the party alongside support from Minus Militia, Warface, Digital Punk and more, a celebration of the best in hardstyle headlined by one of the scene’s true stars.
Da Tweekaz have had quite a year. The Norwegian duo, made up of Kenth Kvien and Marcus Nordli, have long wanted to DJ in the US and, after many years on the hardstyle circuit in Europe, they finally got their wish in June, playing at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.
Back home, the size and stature of their bookings have also been growing. In the past year, the pair have appeared at Kings Of Hardstyle and Defqon.1 Festival. The latter was a dream come true for Kvien and Nordli, who tell us
After a prolific 2014, in which the pair released a song every month, Da Tweekaz have focused on honing and developing their sound. ‘Wodka’, released in August, comes after a period of bunkering down in their studio and has been Kvien and Nordli’s most successful single to date.
Back in 2008, the two were releasing music on internet forums for a small but dedicated following. In the years since, they’ve cemented their place as one of Europe’s most loved hardstyle acts.
Koen Bauweraerts, better known as Belgian producer Coone, is one of the elder statesmen of hardstyle. It’s been over a decade since Bauweraerts put out his first single, ‘Protect The Innocent’ on Hardball Records, making him one of the longest-running DJs in the scene.
In 2006, Bauweraerts launched label Dirty Workz, which has since become one of the foremost outlets for jumpstyle and hardstyle in Europe. By the age of 24, he was already commanding a devoted following in his home country, drawing a crowd of several thousand fans to his Coone & The Gang events.
He’s since become an evangelist for hardstyle, helping to spread the genre around the globe — his last album, released in 2013, was aptly titled ‘Global Dedication’.
“Every year I’m trying to convince more people of my style. And it’s working, I’m playing at the world’s best clubs and festivals this year,” he tells DJ Mag. Recent collaborations with Steve Aoki and remixes of Linkin Park have no doubt exposed new audiences to hardstyle and won him new fans in the US and further abroad.
Dutch hardstyle producer Brennan Heart has had one of those years. “I thought 2014 was madness, but 2015 topped it… crazy”, he sighs. “At the beginning of the year I took one and a half months break in Bali... to recharge myself, regarding my future, plans and ambitions.”
That rest was warranted, surely. In between broadcasting his radio show on SlamFM (‘WE R Hardstyle’) and manning stages at EDC and Defqon.1, the producer’s been heading up his own WE R Music label, and is revered by his fans for arena smashers such as ‘Follow The Light’ and ‘FIFO’ (standing for “fit in or fuck off”).
To get away from the madness of the jetsetting lifestyle of an international DJ, he’s just treated himself to a new crib: a “beautiful cottage in the countryside, enjoying life with my girlfriend. But no worries for the fans: there will also be a new studio next to the house!” he assures DJ Mag.
“My passion for music is the thing that keeps me going, but I need to make sure that any spare time I have is spent with family and friends.”
Angerfist makes music that matches his name. Known for crafting fast, brutal and, well, angry beats, Angerfist's music sits somewhere between hardcore, raw-edged techno and old school gabba.
He released his fourth LP 'The Deadfaced Dimension' at the close of 2014, and has spent much of this year working on his upcoming world tour for his popular event Raise & Revolt, where he'll debut a bunch of new slammers and collabs, plus some new visuals.
He's also dropped full-throttle mixes for Defqon.1 and Masters Of Hardcore, plus spun at mega-fests including Dominator, Partyraiser and Las Vegas's EDC over the last 12 months. A big fan of Jaegermeister and “his morning omelette”, it seems Angerfist's sonic (if slightly aggressive) boom is here to stay.
From: The Netherlands
Style: “Hardcore techno.”
Best known for: “'Raise Your Fist For Angerfist'.”
Tune of 2015: “Furyan 'For What?!'”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: “Furyan.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?
“The ability to adapt to the atmosphere.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?
“Sure, it might shift shapes a bit but it’s definitely here to stay.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?
“I can feel that the weekends sometimes take longer to recover from. Maybe I should cut down on the Jaegermeister a bit, who knows?”
What cause is closest to your heart?
“Well, I take my morning omelette quite seriously.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?
“I can’t really think of any club that has died that didn’t have it coming, and the clubs that I really like are still there.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?
“I’m not sure. The amount of female DJs is definitely growing. It’s probably a matter of time.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?
“It’s so integrated in the music business. Who cares?”
Hardstyle has never been more popular than it is right now. One man who’s helped bring the genre to unforeseen heights is the inventively named Radical Redemption.
Still only 25 years old, 2015 is the second year in a row the burgeoning Dutchman has made the Top 100. With his own show coming up in November at Amsterdam’s infamous Heineken Music Hall, it seems the only way is up for the “Prostitute” producer…