There's a pummeling sound slowly seeping through the borders of the United States; pounding underground rhythms, heavy reverse basslines, and the distinct deafening kick-drums melded together in one revolutionizing movement - Hardstyle. With roots planted heavily in Europe and Australia, hardstyle has sought to bring forth a diverse following to the dancefloor, united hearts beating at a very different BPM than traditional EDM counterparts.
At the face of this musical evolution stands Barry Drooger, a Netherlands man with a passion for hard dance. You might know him by his more famous stage alias, Frontliner.
Back in 2006, Frontliner made his first appearance on the hard dance charts alongside the legendary Headhunterz with End of my Existence, released on Scantraxx Recordz. Since then, he has been blowing the hardstyle community away with several chart-topping releases, telling a story with each new track. His live performances are unparalleled and his energy is pure, raw and innovative. Unafraid to diversify his sound, Frontliner has solidified his presence behind the decks, leaving the masses breathless, speechless, and wanting more. Frontliner is scheduled to grace the stage of The Sound of Q-Dance in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 8th. We had a chance to catch up with him, just another day in the life of a hardstyle mastermind...
MAGNETIC RECOMMENDSFebruary's Top 20 Hardstyle Releases
What is your personal connection with Hardstyle? What drives you to continue in this lifestyle?
For me it's just the only kind of music where I can place all my creativity in, powerful build ups and amazing drops that you feel deep inside. It just feels right! The love for this music is the only reason to walk down this path.
What do you think draws the fan-base into this community, separating it from any other genre?
I don't really think about that to be honest, but if I had to take a guess it is the same reason I am in here, hardstyle is not mainstream music, you either feel it, or you don't...
Hardstyle in the US is growing exponentially in popularity, do you think that this demand will produce hard-dance festivals beyond Q-Dance in the near future? For example- do you see Defqon, Qlimax, Q-Base, etc branching out and extending to accommodate the US fanbase?
I wouldn't know, no matter what happens, where in the world, hardstyle will always live. I'm just happy to play for an energetic crowd! Although; I must say spending a day or 2 in Los Angeles is a very nice extra!
What are you most looking forward to at the Sound of Q-Dance in Los Angeles? What do you think separates this event from others?
I think it's good that Q-Dance produces these events in Los Angeles, Q-dance has known hardstyle since the beginning of hardstyle and the quality they offer will be the same all around the world. Playing at such a high end production is always an honor!
Each producer represents something a little bit different in this community; what do you plan to bring to the Q-Dance stage in March as a whole?
Back in the days hardstyle from different artists sounded still pretty similar. Nowadays all artists choose their own direction and that is something the audience can experience in Los Angeles. This really broadens the scene and I think its mainly the reason why it gets picked up on in other countries than the ones in Europe. I'm not too sure what I represent to you, I like to believe I don't represent any specific type of hardstyle, some tracks are closer to mainstream some are more raw. I don't plan on what to produce, I just produce and see where my mind takes me. As long as it keeps its power, the track stays tough and credible and most of all, I try to have all my tracks tell a story.
Had this career not worked out for you, what would you be doing? What was your plan B?
A year ago I would have said I would go back to being a webdesigner. Hardstyle is one of the most difficult genre's to produce. I like to help all producers by giving them guidance through the difficult aspects of the genre; i.e. the well known 'kick-drum'. I believe when you put your mind to something you can achieve everything, so if my career didn't work out I would probably have to start focussing on a less appealing genre, in the end producing music is producing music.
Plans for 2014? Releases, Events, etc?
I'm dedicating this year to helping young producers. Of course you can expect my own projects on a regular basis with the same versatility you are used to with me. My next releases will be with a greatly talented rapper “Sway” and the lovely Canadian “Seri”. This year I will again stick to the 1 every 5 weeks releases. Apart from my own releases I will also release some additional tracks with the talents I get to work with!
Much of this culture is based on the right to be an individual in a cookie-cutter world, the right to be yourself, stand up for yourself and be your own revolution. The beats, lyrics and messages are some of the most powerful in the entire music industry. Many of the fans take the songs, and apply them to their lives personally. What is the most powerful piece of advice you have ever been given?
I think in every genre people try to relate to lyrics and sounds. Isn't everyone trying to be accepted? The only advice I can pass on is to keep your conscious clear, makes your life a lot more satisfying oh and let's not forget; Listen to hardstyle!
If there was one thing you could change in the world, what would be? Why?
I wish for the world to treat animals with respect, eating them or exploiting them isn't respectful. If people would pay more respect to animals, they will most definitely pay more respect to each other too.
Last question. You get to have one super power for 24 hours, what is it?
Read peoples minds, I would love to know if people feel my music the way I do, just to know if the message will come through or how else they experience it.
Thank you for spending time on our interview! I am looking forward to seeing you at The Sound of Q-Dance in March.
It was a pleasure, See you in LA!
Tickets for The Sound of Q-Dance are still available! Click Here to purchase!