Back in 2002, the hardstyle world was introduced to a larger-than-life producer from Belgium. By 2006, he launched the Dirty Workz Record Label, which is now one of the leading labels in the hardstyle/jumpstyle industry. In 2013, his collaboration with Dim Mak brought the rest of the EDM community closer to the hard hitting 150 tempo we know and love as the harder style of EDM culture. We're talking about Coone. Few know him from the very beginning... from the nights built by moving our bodies to the drum in dark, underground venues to Protect the Innocent and The Name of My DJ. Some of us recognize him by singles such as Xpress Yourself, D.W.X and Free Again. The vast majority o today's fans didn't get to know Coone until his defining release Times Gettin Hard dropped in 2013 and took over hard dance waves - and the rest of the dance music community found out what he was all about post-collab with Steve Aoki for Can't Stop The Swag.
Whether you were there from the beginning, or you're just now jumping on Coone's crazy train, one thing is for sure. Once you've boarded this ride there's no going back. We had a chance to get with Coone post-Defqon performance in the Netherlands and talk about his upcoming projects, his involvement with the Defqon.1 album & Survival of the Fittest, as well as what his thoughts were on the growing love of hardstyle. There's a message in here for all fans... can you find it?
Niceto talk with you again! Thanks for taking some time out to touch base with me. Hope you're well and ready for the summer!! Let's talk about your involvement with the Defqon 2014 album, released on June 27th. How involved were you with the creation of the album? And what can listeners expect to hear on this compilation?
I wanted the mix to have all aspects within Hardstyle. So that's why I searched for the most ideal balance of Euphoric tracks, harder stuff and tracks from upcoming talents. The build up is great and I'm sure it will get you dancing. Too be short, it will suck you into the world of Hardstyle.
The anthem --Survival of the Fittestis such a phenomenal track. It has really blown up and become so much more than a festival anthem. Did you produce the track specifically for Defqon 1 or did it become the anthem by chance?
Yeah, I produced the track specifically for Defqon 1. But of course, it was my intention to make into a classic. A track which you can play for years...I hope it will stick around for a while, because I really love the atmosphere and melody of Survival Of The Fittest.
What is your connection with Defqon 1 in The Netherlands? How does it differ from its sister festival in Australia, and moreso with other hard dance festivals around the world?
Well, Defqon 1 is still one of the biggest outdoor festivals with Harder styles only. So if you’re in love with Hardstyle and you have no connection with Defqon.1, you have a serious problem. The show, atmosphere, location... everything is mind-blowing. The Australia edition is doing a good job as well. For now it's a smaller sister festival, but Hardstyle is getting more popular each day over there. So my guess, it's expanding as a equal brother of the Netherlands edition real fast.
What is one of the most dramatic changes you've seen in the hardstyle movement over the last year, Positive or Negative?
I'll start with the most negative one, and that’s the hate against DJ's who try to try new things. Hardstyle would not be this big if the producers didn't do things like that. The audience is and has been really dedicated for years. But that's also the reason why it gets a lot of criticism. The most positive thing is that the style is expanding. I speak with people from all around the world saying they fell in love with this style of music, just because it's different from everything they heard so far. That's really cool. Because I felt the same way, only for me it happened more than 15 years ago!
Your signing with Dim Mak Records has been hugely successful - what are your future plans with the label? What direction are you moving in?
My collaboration with Dim Mak is going really good. I'll keep on moving in the same direction as I'm doing right now, and that is trying to get my music worldwide. Dim Mak knew this from the start, so they know what to expect. The reason why I could make remixes for example "Linkin Park" is because Dim Mak. So here's a shout out to my homies in LA, thanks fellows, one love!
The collaboration with Wildstylez & Cimo Frankel has been getting a lot of attention, currently at #3 on the Beatport Hard Dance charts. What is this tracks meaning to you, personally? Take us behind the scenes with it if you can.
It was a track for my recent album Global Dedication. Our intention was to make it the summer anthem of the album. That's also the reason why I have not played this track throughout the year already... Because it's a track that breathes summer. If you listen to the lyrics, you will hear that it's about walking into a festival venue and getting overwhelmed by positive vibes, being untied as one, and that wherever you are in the world, it feels like home.
There is a lot of really great hard dance music coming to the forefront of EDM... but with that comes a lot of mediocre music as well. Hard dance releases are getting more attention than before and hardstyle artists are gaining recognition from fans outside of the original hardstyle base. There are also many house/electro/tech producers tapping into hardstyle techniques. Do you think that this growth in popularity risks an over-saturated market? What is the best way to approach this rapid growth?
I will embrace it with open arms, I'm really open minded. As long as we keep on protecting the quality of Hardstyle, I don't see the problem. The best way to approach this growth? We all have to keep making our style of music the best way we can, that results into the most awesome tunes. So am I afraid of Hardstyle losing his identity... No. As one of the ambassadors of this genre, I will do my best to expand it the best way I can.
Who is standing out to you the most right now in the industry - who should we be looking out for/listening to in your opinion?
As you may or may not know, Hard Driver is one of my best friends. But, I wouldn't support him this much if he was not super talented. I think this guy is one of the most promising names with the Hardstyle scene. The quality of his productions are phenomenal! When it comes to other music - Listen to the songs and especially the lyrics of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They are almost preaching, I love it!
What can your fans look forward to for the remainder of 2014? Any special projects you're working on?
Well, I just finished a remix for Yellow Claw, Diplo & LNYTNZ called Techno (Coone Remix) which will be released real soon. I'm also working on three new solo tracks. One of them is the ultimate summer track and is one of the best tracks I made so far (in my opinion). They are all really different from each other, I like that. You also have to keep an eye on my social media, because I'm working on a new project!
Anything else you want us to know? Ready, and GO!
At the moment we are working on the new Coone campaign! New artwork, merchandise, flags, stickers -- Too be short... A lifestyle!
Thanks again for your time.We're looking forward to seeing you this year! Best of luck on all your endeavors, and hope to talk again soon.