With the start of Code Black you left the era of Bioweapon behind you, to move on into a career as a solo artist. What has been the biggest change for you?
It has allowed for so much more freedom in the direction of my own music, obviously working in a duo you both need to come to a compromise on what you like, and how you would like to paint the picture. As a solo artist I am completely free of this. I just need to keep a close eye on my fans, as I have to make sure they like it too what I’m doing (laughs).
When you say freedom in music, what does this mean to you?
It’s the ability to create music with whatever ideas float in to my head, and not have to think about how the people will respond to certain elements of it. But music nowadays is criticised more than ever, and I guess with a huge selection of music styles, artists and tracks, fans have so much music to choose from, so you have to really give them something unique.
But obviously as the years go on with electronic music, it becomes harder to come up with original ideas, because chances are, even if you created a brilliant concept or melody, it might have already been done before in another track. So there will never be complete freedom in music, but that also makes it a nice challenge.
How would you describe the Code Black sound?
That’s a difficult question, because I’ve made hardstyle that’s dark and hard, but some of my more recent tracks tend to be more melodic. At the moment I am focusing on a more commercial sound for the summer festivals in Europe, as it just feels right with the whole vibe an atmosphere at those parties. I’ll likely be saving my rougher productions for the winter season and its indoor night events.
What is the mission statement of Code Black?
Since starting Code Black I told myself that with this project I was going swear by quality over quantity. So far I have been making sure that every track I released was the best I could get out of it at that stage. So my mission statement: Quality over Quantity!
Besides your new solo productions and collaborations with artists like Wasted Penguinz (SWE) and NitrouZ (AU), you have also made a few very popular remixes like Noisemaker (Zatox), Get Your Hands Up (Black & White) and Running Late (Brennan Heart). What is it that makes a remix successful?
For me, a good remix is still using at least 1 main element of the original track, and then give a complete different twist to the track. For instance, in the Noisemaker and the Running Late remixes, the only thing I kept from the originals were the iconic vocals, the music was a completely different experience in every way.
What have been your 3 biggest milestones up to date?
1. My first big hit ‘Red Planet’. Wherever it’s played out you can hear the crowd singing loudly along to the melody. Myself, and most DJs that play it tend to turn the volume down half way through the melody to hear the crowd singing along in perfect harmony. That feeling is indescribable, especially when it’s in a stadium with 30.000 people.
2. The amount of gig’s I’m currently playing. I have an average of 8 gigs a month at the moment. There are also some very exciting gigs coming up shortly like my performance at the Q-dance stage at Mysteryland and Tomorrowland, Decibel, Q-BASE, and my performance at WiSH Outdoor Festival, for which I created this year’s anthem together with Slim Shore.
3. My fanbase, which has been growing amazingly quick in such a short period of time. I love you guys!
What is it that you enjoy most on stage?
Definitely the feedback from the crowd, I love it when people sing along to vocals and melodies, or to see their facial expressions when you drop something that has just blown their minds.
You are signed to the Fusion Records label, which is by many artists often described as a very close family. Does this feel the same to you?
Yes it does! It’s like nothing I have ever experienced before with a label. Whenever I walk into the office/studio’s it’s always a house full of friendly people who are ready to have a good laugh. No one is ever too busy for you, even when you just pop in unexpectedly, which I tend to do a lot. Those guys have helped me a lot in order to make my feel at home in The Netherlands.
You moved to The Netherlands at a similar time as Elie and Olcay (Toneshifterz). What’s their role in your life?
Elie and Olcay have been with me from the start. We started this dream together some years ago, when we were still experimenting with many different genres until we both finally found a home with hardstyle. We now live in the same house in The Netherlands and I really couldn’t imagine living here without them. I suppose there is nothing better than having the feeling to be at home when you are living with your Australian mates in a foreign country. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like we are living overseas.
Last but not least, what can we expect from your set at Defqon.1 Australia?
I suppose there is nothing better than playing at home for the biggest hard dance event Australia has to offer, so there’s no doubt you can expect a huge smile on my face!
Aside from that, you can also expect some new tunes and special edits, especially made for my favourite Australian fans. I can’t wait till September. Defqon.1 really has a special place in my heart.