SZ : Is hardcore still ravy ?
Drokz : We don’t use the word rave over here. When I think of rave, I think of big parties.
SZ : Is rave still alive ?
Drokz : In my definition yes. Thunderdome in October will be big as always (at least 15000 people).
SZ : Is hardcore still hardcore ?
Drokz : In my opinion hardcore is at its best on this moment. It holds so many styles now. From cheesy till speedcore, it’s all there. The younger generation DJs are playing different styles in one set (finally !!!) and the production level is really high.
But... some records are losing that raw flavour hardcore’s supposed to have. But that happens to all forms of music, from rock & roll till hip-hop. They’ve started out as hard, unpolished and raw, but then made big by sweet nice productions. For example : take N.W.A.’s "Dopeman" and compare that with a Ja Rule & Ashanti’s track.
In the end... Hardcore will always be hardcore I guess, he he.
SZ : Your productions such as Headfuck 16, Rebelscum11, North Radical Ltd 01 show that as time passes you program deeper music. Very personal kick sound & deep frequencies for story-telling tracks. Does this mean that you reach a kind of musical wisdom, after years of speed kill ? (knowing that you often spin speedcore).
Drokz : Deeper music ? I think if people listen to some old Creatures Of The Occult stuff like "Warriors Of The Evil One" or Sikko (a group I am member of), they would be surprised how deep speedcore can be. The reason why I’ve started making slower stuff is because the time was right. If I had put things like the Rebelscum 11 three years ago, probably no one would have had listened to it, because it was too different. Now they are ready for it. I must admit that I was extremely inspired by the regular U.K. bookings I had, where I’ve heard guys like Producer, Simon Underground and so on... Also by (I think he is Hardcore #1 DJ by far) Manu le Malin who gives us a hard, deep and groovy style.
Even in Holland things have changed. I would have never expected the R_AW stuff from Promo a few years ago and guys like Ophidian & Void Settler are talents that make the right hardcore for me so I can be inspired to make more. I’m trying to say that for everything there is a time and space (except for hardstyle and trance hahaha) for me. It’s just a road I’m walking on.
Oooh... And I play slower stuff only in France. Usually I play strictly over 200BPM and higher. Serious !!!
SZ : How would you explain that most of dutch DJs play short-phases mixes between two records ? In France DJs play the two records together a longer time (which absolutely doesn’t mean that they’re better). Is it a question of efficiency culture ?
Drokz : The records the regular DJs play are more made as songs instead of a techno based track, so they’re built to chop. Our culture is based on chopping and short mixing. It also depends on the soundsystem. I’ve played a lot of times on horrible sound systems with shitty monitors (or no monitors at all !!!) so I have to make short mixes. Get me a nice setup and I’ll play more and more long mixes.
SZ : Tell the truth : do you think of eating brains when you compose your tracks which are for most of them, very mental ? Are you hungry of brain cells ?
Drokz : I could have the use some extra braincells hahahaha, but no I’m not hungry hehe
SZ : Do you agree with some of these dutch people who consider that, as the dutch hardcore scene is the best, it had to protect itself from the rest of the world (i.e. From other forms of hardcore techno too) to be able to survive ?
Drokz : Hell no !!! That is bullshit !!! We are not the best and we mustn’t protect ourselves from the rest of the world. For myself I like to listen to hardcore from around the globe, it’s an inspiration and competition keeps me sharp.
SZ : Are you more into hardware & machines or more all-PC made music ? What is your technical set up, and what are its advantages ?
Drokz : Both, I work at home on my PC (a damn slow one hahaha) and also in the General Noise Studio with some serious hardware, including Roland Alpha Juno 2, 505, 909, JV2080, JP-8000, Juno 106. Other stuff like Nordlead rack, Supernova and so on. The three mixing desks wa have are the Yamaha Pro 02 and Pro 01 and a Beringer (just for the 909 drummachine). The advantage of a PC is that you can edit like a maniac, but I must say that hardware just sounds a bit more warm and phat... Oh yeah, I only work with Cubase !!! No logic allowed hehe.
SZ : What makes DJ Drokz doubt of his art and how does he get out of such bad moments ?
Drokz : Hhhmmmm, that is someting I can’t explain. The moment/feeling is there or not. It’s a mystery I guess. And I’m always in doubt of my art. That is the most strange thing of my character. Normally I’m really sure of what I do or say, but when it comes to make music... I always wonder if the people like
what I make.
SZ : What was the first hardcore party you’ve been to ? Who was young Richard Koek before this event ? And how did he feel after ?
Drokz : Hehe, now I have to reveal my age... It was in 1989 or 1990 (bad memory card in my head) in a club called Paradiso in Amsterdam. There was only house music (no club, techno or hardcore). I was around 18 years old and I was witnessing a performance of a band called Quazar. They played a track called "Seven Stars" 100% live with a two-minutes break... Then the kick came in and I will never forget that energy at that moment. My first hardcore party was Eurorave 2 in Rotterdam. A huge outdoor event, which got me hooked for hardcore.
SZ : Now that hardcore has an history, what elements do you consider as important to be transmitted to new generations of party-goers ? Is it more musical or more a state of mind ?
Drokz : An open mind to all its forms and a rebel attitude. "It’s my music and if you don’t like it just fuck off".
SZ : You might know that in France lots of hardcore fans think this music mustn’t have anything to do with money (free party / underground mentality). So, a typical french answer to your answer would be :
- How can you tell about a rebel attitude when you’re so close to the Thunderdome-and-co. stuff ?
Another answer could be : where in a Drokz’s track (or any good hardcore track) can rebellion be heared ? As there are no lyrics, it seems difficult to locate this rebel attitude you talk about. Isn’t rebellion a matter for rockers ?
Drokz : Yeahhh, well, the attitude is more like "If you don’t like my music, tattoos, my look, etc., etc., just "Fuck you"". I honestly don’t care what you think. The same for making money. What’s wrong with that ??? I come from what they call "the working class" of society and I’ve learned that if you work hard you should earn money for it.
Don’t get me wrong, money isn’t in the first place, music will always be #1 !!!
But promotors of parties are making money, record labels and CD distributors are, so why can’t I get my share ??? For the music part, making money means a better studio to make even better and crazier tracks. The free party scene is more idealistic and I respect that. I think it’s good for the people to hear more different stuff. Without the free party scene I guess that I wouldn’t be listening to some true underground stuff like Hardcoholics, the Deathchant cru and so on.
Maybe it’s also the hardcore culture I’m in. Since the beginning gabber was really big (and at its peak in 1997 there were around 300000 gabbers in our small country) and big means big business in every scene... Also the free party scene is not so big here.
Rebellion in tracks with vocals ? The biggest example I can give is all the old D.O.A. stuff (Industrial Strength) that I still play. Without vocals, an example I can give is some early Micropoint tracks. The feeling that you wanna raise your hand in the air, give everybody the middlefinger and say "Fuck you !". That spirit !
SZ : Do you have any kind of relationships with north America ? What is your look on its scene ? A virgin territory to conquer ?
Drokz : I met some artists from the U.S.A. and the scene is small there. There is too much hip hop, R&B and rock overthere. When it comes to hardcore, the main crowd likes lalalala hardcore with glowsticks and stuff. But I have to do a remix for a metal band, strong speedcore, so who knows ???
SZ : What is going on when you reach 350BPM when playing ?
Drokz : Hell on earth !!! And (to me) good speedcore has a second tempo. That’s
the secret. Dance on the percussion or sounds on 150 bpm and let the "no mercy"
kickdrums on 300 bpm hypnotize you !!! With most people it takes some time
to get into that.
SZ : Do you still go on the dancefloor during parties ? Do you often have the point of view from the other side of the decks, the crowd’s one ? Is it important to keep an eye and an ear in the audience side ?
Drokz : Letting you into a secret.......I’m not really a professional DJ, that’s why I do not have too many bookings a month and not, like back in the old days, more than one booking a night. I want to enjoy to spin my records and most of the time I come early to a party to have a party. Some "pro" DJs play a lot every weekend, come and go real quick to a party....mmmwwaahh, that’s not me. The connection with the crowd is one of the most important things to me.
SZ : What did you notice as main points of difference between the behaviors of female ravers and male ones when you play ?
Drokz : Females like to groove a bit more, men want it straight on ( just like sex )
SZ : Are you into another form of art than hardcore/techno ? Can you tell a little - now that you are not completely a stranger to our readers - about your favorite book and your favorite movie (it looks like we’re preparing a biography : "Richard Koek - Drokz behind the scene, the story of a modern man") ?
Drokz : Hahahahaha... Is sex an art ? Drinking alcohol and smoking ??? Hahahaha. No I’m too busy with music to do something else. I think tattoos is an artform I’m into. I got books and magazines about that and I can enjoy if I see nice one. For example Manu le Malin has a screaming speaker tattoo-ed by Tin-Tin. A masterpiece. One day I’ll go to New-York to get a tattoo by Paul Booth (he is the tattoo king to me). I collect tattoos instead of paintings.
Drokz : I don’t read a lot of books but when I read them, it’s mostly a biography of someone. My favorite is "Monster" by Leon Bing. It’s about a crip gang leader. The hardest !!! My favorite movies are Hellraiser 1 till 4 ( 5 sucks ). Clive barker is the sickest. Did you know that he actually dreams that kind of stuff. ?/<"^@(&* sick mind !
SZ : Why did Cunt Records die ?
Drokz : I’ve stabbed it, shot it and dig the grave. For the rest no comment.
SZ : 10 years of gabber - is it a lethal disease or an inheritage ?
Drokz : Disease and we’re all infected, hahaha !
(Interview realized in august-september 2003 by Dronnzz)