Dutch entertainment enterprise b2s is known for a collective of parties that represent the Harder Styles as a whole, hosting parties like Decibel, Euphoria, Pussy Lounge, Knock Out! & Loudness, each recognized across the world for their dedicated crowds, energetic acts and fast BPMs. However, at the end of the day, b2s’ true gem is their event Hard Bass.
Hard Bass is an event like none other. It takes place at the Geldredome in Arnhem, the Netherlands (the same venue as Qlimax), but has a totally different feel and energy to it. From 10pm to 7am the following day, the Geldredome packs out from front to back with devoted Hardstyle fans, who have undoubtedly been waiting for the event all year. For each installment of Hard Bass, b2s selects the most influential Hardstyle acts of the year and organizes them into four teams: Team Blue, Team Green, Team Yellow, and Team Red. Historically, Hard Bass has been a showcase of the best of the best within the Hardstyle genre, with lineups over the years that included Showtek in their hardstyle days, Headhunterz, Wildstylez, Noisecontrollers, Technoboy, and the list goes on and on. In order to understand how truly crazy this party gets, check out last year's aftermovie:
This year, b2s once again packed the lineup with innovators and game changers of the Hardstyle genre. Team Blue consists of the Euphoric sounds of Audiotricz, Code Black & Toneshifterz, with a special live act from Bass Modulators. Team Yellow is represented by Brennan Heart, Atmozfears, Zatox, and a live act demonstration from B-Frontliner (consisting of Frontliner and B-Front). Adaro, Crypsis, and Outbreak are Team Green, with a live act from the Frequencerz. Team Red stands for pure Rawstyle energy from Radical Redemption, Titan, Warface, and a special liveact from the mystery act Freakz at Night.
The Hard Bass 2015 CD, mixed by Adaro, Audiotricz, Brennan Heart & Titan is now available here. This 4 CD compliation spans from the most euphroric tracks to the rawest tracks of the moment! The Hard Bass 2015 compilation features tracks from all the artists on the teams, as well as their colleagues. The compilation also features many exclusive tracks that haven't been released yet, so make sure you get your hands on it now.
These four teams will face off on February 7 at the Geldredome. The party is already sold out and the hype is as strong as ever behind the event. Dedicated Hardstyle fans are excited to hear the many edits and DJ tools all these artists have been working on for this special night, as well as the revelation of the identity behind the mystery act “Freakz at Night.” Each year, the production is even more stunning than the last, and many are awaiting b2s’ stage for this year.
I had a chance to speak with several of the acts playing at Hard Bass. First, I talked with the Bass Modulators about their live act and what they are planning for the party, as well as the Team Blue anthem.
(EDM = Alan Mandel ; BM = Bass Modulators)
EDM: Hey guys! How’s it going?
BM: Pretty good, actually! How are you guys?
EDM: Doing great, thanks. So, Hard Bass is one of the biggest Hardstyle parties of the year. You guys have definitely seen a lot of growth in your careers in the past few years. How does it feel to finally be on the stage with your own live act at Hard Bass, and producing the anthem for Team Blue?
BM: That's a big honor! We played for team Blue last year and team Yellow before that. Both in teams with big names like Tatanka, Frontliner and Headhunterz, but the opportunity to take the stage as a live act is really something else! 25k+ partypeople, 30 minutes of your own music, it's going to be fantastic! We also did the anthem for this year's team Blue. Definitely the cherry on top for us, because it gave us the opportunity to create something suspenseful, a darker and harder sound.
EDM: How would you guys characterize your sound? What do you have to bring to Hard Bass that is strictly something that only the Bass Modulators have?
BM: That's a hard question, but we think we have a complete package. We can do the summer sound we love, but we can also go full throttle, if you know what we mean . Through the years we've developed some characteristics but we love to produce in a wider spectrum. This years OST is pretty much the example of us having no real boundaries in hardstyle.
EDM: What does Team Blue stand for?
BM: Hardstyle. Melodic, touching, well-produced hardstyle.
EDM: Tell us about your anthem. What emotions are you conveying?
BM: We've tried to use this year's theme of “being watched by the government.” We think it worked out pretty well. With the newsbroadcast samples, we tried to make some kind of movie trailer feel in the break. We are happy with the result! You?
EDM: Love it! How long did you spend on it? What inspired it, and what is the story behind it?
BM: The story is that we finished this track in approx. 3 days. Due to moving our studio, and poor planning, we didn't give ourselves much time. But in the end, pressure gets the job done. In this case it even helped us stay sharp and create another thing we are very proud of.
EDM: After such a successful 2014, it looks like 2015 is gonna be even more crazy. What do you have planned for this year after Hard Bass?
BM: 2015 will be fantastic. We will be present at a lot of festivals this year, which we love playing. We are going to visit some countries we couldn't before and besides that we will be making a lot more music for you all.
EDM: Great to hear guys! Thanks for the chat guys. See you at Hard Bass!
Next, I spoke with Audiotricz, the duo responsible for mixing the Team Blue CD for the compilation. These two entered the Hardstyle scene only a few years ago when their remarkable production was noticed by Atmozfears. Since then, these two have had numerous releases on Scantraxx Recordz and have performed at several high profile festivals.
(EDM = Alan Mandel ; A = Audiotricz)
EDM: Hey guys! What's new in the world of Audiotricz?
A: Currently, we're on the plane to Melbourne. This weekend we join Noisecontrollers for his “All Around” tour in Melbourne and Sydney! Besides that, we're really busy in the studio finishing some new music before Hard Bass.
EDM: Tell us a little about Audiotricz. How would you describe your sound?
A: Euphoric and energetic! Furthermore, we always try to come with something fresh and we really love to be creative in sound design.
EDM: Where did your music careers begin?
A: That's a long time ago. We met each other at a local football club and we didn't know that we had both the same interests in hardstyle music. We start to hangout together to learn how to produce hardstyle and a few years later Audiotricz was born!
EDM: Nice! How are you guys feeling about Hard Bass? What tricks do you guys have up your sleeves?
A: Like we said before, we're really busy at the moment to finish a lot of music. You will definitely hear some edits and new tracks as well! We can announce that we made a track which is a bit harder than you normally expect from us.
EDM: Tell us a little about mixing the Hard Bass CD. What tracks did you select to represent Team Blue?
A: We have selected some tracks which we like, and in our opinion, perfectly fits in the Team Blue atmosphere! Of course you will hear our track “Reawakening,” which we made with Atmozfears. We're really proud of the result of the track.
EDM: Awesome. With 2015 in full swing already, what do you guys have planned for the future?
A: We're really proud to say that we made a track together with Wildstylez. He inspired us a lot so it was a honour to work with him. At the moment, we're working on another crazy collab, but that's a secret for now. We also have a lot of gigs coming up which we didn't play before so we're excited for that as well. Keep an eye on our Facebook page!
EDM: Thank you guys! Can’t wait to see Team Blue in full force.
After Audiotricz, I spoke to two very well known names in the Hardstyle scene who have come together to do a special live performance. B-Frontliner, the anthem for Team Green, is the name of Frontliner & B-Front’s new live act, although they have been producing and performing together for years.
(EDM = Alan Mandel, F= Frontliner, B= B-Front)
EDM: Hello, B-Frontliner! It’s a pleasure to speak to you two. How’s everything?
F: Loads of new projects coming up. I’m a bit unsure how everything's going for me but my studio is doing very well. I should move my bed here.
B: I’m doing great, thanks for asking! I am very busy at the moment with alot of things coming up, and of course Hard Bass with Frontliner!
EDM: Great! So, how did you two meet? What is B-Frontliner’s story?
B: In 2009, Q-Dance asked us to do a set together as a Dutch duo named “Bassie & Adriaan” for the party “X-Qlusive Holland.” So, we went into the studio and we created a couple of tracks. We didn’t know that the tracks would have that big of impact on the scene. For example, “Magic.” We have a great connection musicwise, but also outside the music we are good friends.
F: What Bob says, on top of that he’s always so much fun in the studio, great to work with him.
EDM: Frontliner is known for mostly euphoric tracks, while B-Front is known more for rawstyle. Do you feel that the B-Frontliner act is a good fusion of the two styles?
F: Yes! Personally I’m not into Rawstyle that much, you can give power to a track without raping kicks, you know. I’m also not a big fan of antisocial lyrics either, which seem to pop up in rawstyle a lot. However, Bob is not only rawstyle, he pays great attention to his mixdown and in my opinion, he is a well-skilled producer. When you match on a personal level you tend to match in the studio as well, to me that’s the case with mister Magic too.
B: Please just call it Hardstyle. Yes, I’m doing more “harder” tracks with darker atmospheres. There are also euphoric feelings in my tracks too. Its a bit in between. Yes, to be honest, we don’t produce the tracks and tell ourselves “oh this has to be a harder track” or something like that. It’s more that we just start on the track and see what happens. Of course we talk about it, but I think the tracks are something else than a normal Frontliner or B-Front track.
EDM: Great insight, gentlemen! For everyone, the preparations for Hard Bass are in full swing! What do you guys have planned?
F: A rocking stage and some ground-shaking hardstyle, we will rock!
B: Our managers are busy with the things around the act and we are producing the tracks. So of course we’re gonna play the old tracks with some new stuff.
EDM: Tell us a little about your anthem for Team Green. What inspired the anthem? What is the story behind it, and what kind sound did you give it?
F: Wait what? I don’t know of any anthem...
B: The title is “Space Warrior.” We had the idea that everybody in the audience is a warrior! Hard Bass always has some kind of theme with space or computers - future style. So we all are space warriors! We want to create a party style track because we miss that sometimes these days.
EDM: What should we expect from your set at the party?
F: Like I said, WE WILL ROCK THE GELREDOME!
B: Party with a lot atmosphere. Old and new tracks. Different than the others!
EDM: Thank you guys! Can’t wait to see you at Hard Bass!
Then, I spoke with Adaro, who mixed the Team Green CD. Adaro is no stranger to the Hardstyle scene, as one half of the highly successful duo Gunz for Hire and a formidable career as a solo producer. This guy is a raw hardstyle powerhouse. He’s played all over the world, either as a solo artist or touring with his partner in crime Ran-D as Gunz for Hire. We discussed his new label, musical history, and of course, what he has planned for Hard Bass.
(EDM = Alan Mandel ; AD= Adaro)
EDM: Hey man! Great to speak to you, what’s new in the life of Adaro?
AD: Hi guys! Thank you for this interview! Everything is fine here, nothing really new, haha, just spending hours in the studio and dropping raw bombs on the dancefloor in the weekends!!!
EDM: Awesome. So, tell us about your story as a musician. Where did it all begin for you, and how did you discover Hardstyle music?
AD: Well, it started for me just for fun when i was about 15/16, producing on a cheap tracker programme. When it got more serious, I began to collect more equipment. Had my first release in 2001. In 2002, with some friends we produced a track, “Freeloader” under the name Driftwood. And that became a big clubtrance track. I discovered Hardstyle at the start of it, but it became more interesting for me around 2007 when it became harder.
EDM: Were you always into the darker/rawer side of Hardstyle?
AD: Yes, always. I also listened a lot to Hardcore when I grew up, and I get the same feeling from the raw dark Hardstyle as the old Hardcore that I loved.
EDM: Where do you feel Rawstyle is headed? What trends have you noticed?
AD: It has become a lot harder over the last year. I don’t know whats going to happen, but an important thing to me is that the scene won't be ripped apart. Let's keep it 1 big hardstyle scene. Euphoric and Raw don’t have to be 2 apart scenes. One Love!
EDM: Well spoken! What do you have planned for Hard Bass?
AD: I will select the best raw tracks of the moment! Also right now I'm in the studio with my buddy E-Force working on a new track that you will hear for sure at Hard Bass! Also, I cannot wait to drop “Dark Universe,” my track with Rob Gee, in the Dome! You can check this one out in my Freaqshow set, on my Soundcloud page.
EDM: Good stuff! So, how’s 2015 looking for you? What are your plans?
AD: Lots of plans for this year! First of all; Ran-D, me and some colleagues are starting up a brand new label to release our tracks on. So lots of awaiting releases are coming this year, like “My Soul to Take,” “Raggamuffin” and “Dark Universe.” Lots of collabs are planned, for example the one with E-Force, a track with Crypsis and much more are coming! And with Gunz For Hire we have already started with producing a lot of new material for a new tour planned somewhere this autumn. Gig-wise, it's looking good! My health is good again and I don't do as many gigs as before to prevent new earproblems, but the agenda is looking great with lots of great stages coming up! There will also be a large Dark Universe hosting coming up on a festival this spring!
EDM: Great! Last, but certainly not least, please tell us about the mix you made for the Team Green CD! What are some of your favorite tracks that you featured?
AD: Yeah it was an honor to mix one of the Hard Bass CD's! Some of my favourites are Regain - Push it to the Limit, Sub Sonik - Look At Me Now, Alien T - The Hammer of the Devil, and I'm also very satisfied with the latest Gunz For Hire track that my buddy Ran-D and me produced, called "May God Be With You All".
EDM: Thank you, Adaro! It was a pleasure speaking to you. Hope you have a great day, and see you at Hard Bass! It was my pleasure! Have a great Hard Bass, and keep it up!
Venturing further into the world of rawstyle, I spoke with the duo responsible for the Team Yellow anthem, Frequencerz. These two guys have been around for a while, with an iconic and cinematic sound that incorporates euphoric elements for a primary raw mix.
(EDM = Alan Mandel ; F = Frequencerz)
EDM: Hey guys! Great to talk to you about the upcoming party. What’s new for you two?
F: Everything is going very well at the moment. We're finishing our new studio as we speak. It took a while, but the result will definitely be worth it. We already came up with fresh and cool ideas for new tracks.
EDM: Cool! So, first off, tell us about your act. Who are the Frequencerz? Where did you guys begin your careers, and how did you end up finding Hardstyle music?
F: We both got into hardstyle, because we got hooked to its sound. Pepijn was producing tracks that he wanted to be aired on an internet radio station back in the day called FEAR FM. Niels at that time, was a resident DJ there and that’s how we got in touch. We started talking and decided to try our luck at a collaboration. Things just picked up from there. During the week we're in the studio and in the weekends we rock on stage.
EDM: Nice! Now, it’s 2015 and you were given the task of creating the Team Yellow anthem. Tell us a little about it - what inspired the anthem? What significant moments happened during its creation?
F: To be honest, it's not really an anthem. We were asked to create an anthem, or in this case a soundtrack that represented team Yellow. So we came up with an energetic track with quite a rough climax. We wanted to experiment with some influences taken from outside the hardstyle sound. We ended up with Drum ’n Bass, which we both really like. Eventually we used some of these elements for our track “Noise.” Fun Fact: While working on this track, our studio was still under construction so we had to sit onlittle plastic chairs. You can imagine how much we enjoyed those chairs.
EDM: Now, of course, you aren’t only responsible for the soundtrack, but also for a whole new liveact. You guys are no strangers to liveacts - what do you have planned for this round?
F: We always try to make our live-acts as special as possible, using edits for example, but mostly we try to add a lot of drive in our set. Our goal is to exhaust the audience in 30 minutes time. We have plenty of sounds ready to tear the roof off during our live-act at Hard Bass. So the audience can definitely expect something special.
EDM: Epic! Now that 2014 is over and we are going into 2015 full swing, what would you guys like to share about the upcoming year?
F: As usual, we can’t say too much about the future plans. But as most of you have probably heard, we're launching our new label somewhere in the upcoming months. Also, lots of new tracks will be coming your way and of course we're in preparation for the festival season. Cool stuff!
EDM: Sounds great - see you at the party guys!
Finally, I spoke to one of the members of Team Red, Radical Redemption. Radical Redemption is one of the biggest names in the Rawstyle scene, and has an extensive production and collaboration history. He is also one of the members of Raw Hardstyle supergroup Minus Militia.
(EDM = Alan Mandel ; RR = Radical Redemption)
EDM: Hey Joey! How are you? What’s new in the world of Radical Redemption?
RR: I'm fine, thanks! Well, I'm spending a lot of time in the studio. Finished some new solo tracks and just finished a new track together with Crypsis and Digital Punk. Last Saturday we had a 'Minus Militia presents' night at Time-Out, Gemert. Sold-out, the atmosphere was just amazing, a level of dedication that I cannot describe. I'm still hyped because of that night.
EDM: Great! So, first off, tell me a little about yourself and your music. What does it stand for, and what does Radical Redemption stand for?
RR: Well, my music stands for Radical Redemption and Radical Redemption stands for my music. I only produce what I like. Don't get me wrong, it's nice when, for example, your colleagues like your work. But in the end, the only thing that matters to me is that I like the tracks I produce. Radical approved, if you will, hah! You need to stay true to yourself. And the most, most, most awesome feeling is, when you play it for the first time and you see all the people in the audience go mental. I cannot get used to that feeling, because it's just the most awesome, insane feeling in the world!
EDM: Tell us a little about your tracks and the energy behind your music.
RR: Well, I started making music, because music is the red line throughout my life. When I was 10 years old, I got my first drum kit. I started playing all by myself. Some years later I joined a band, we played 3-4 times a month. Wedding parties, small venues, clubs, tents, that kind of stuff. But, I also discovered the music making part. I really loved the hardstyle and hardcore sounds. So I started, exploring, spending countless hours in my studio. Trying to make the style I liked most. Eventually it became what is known as the "radical sound." Pick 100 random tracks but, put 4 Radical tracks in it. I think almost everyone will recognize my tracks. You can clearly hear my past as a drummer in all of my tracks. A lot of rhythmic elements, snares, drumbeats, that kind of stuff. But I also love the feeling that a sad, minor melody brings. It's a combination of rough sounds, powerful kicks, sad melodies, straight in your face vocals and a lot of rhythmic elements.
EDM: How did you discover hardstyle music?
RR: That's a good question. I remember some kids at school listening to hardstyle and hardcore. Almost everyone (well, the boys) in school was listening to the classic Angerfist - Megamix. But also youtube brought us video's of parties like Dominator, Decibel and Defqon.1. At some point I was like, what's that, let me see?! I immediately liked it and that was the beginning. I started to listen to FearFM radio, I bought my first turntables, vinyls. When I think of it, that was an awesome time man. Going to the first parties with my friends, oh I miss that so much, hah. Just visiting the parties. But well, as you gain one thing, you have to give up something else. That's how it works. No regrets, just great memories.
EDM: What do you have planned for Hard Bass? What should we expect from Team Red?
RR: I got a lot of stuff planned. I made a special track for Hard Bass (Radical Redemption - Hard Bass Tribute) and I'm still in the studio for like 15 hours a day, to finish the other tracks I'm working on. I want to play a lot of new tracks, I think Hard Bass is the ultimate platform to let your new music be heard. We are the last team, and with that position comes a certain amount of responsibility. After our set, the whole GelreDome has to get home in a wheelchair. Unable to walk for at least 2 weeks.
EDM: And finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year? What would you like to tell the readers of EDM.com?
RR: Well, I can tell you that I got big plans for this year. It's time to take it to the next level. But I can't tell you guys to much about it, yet. Keep an eye on my social media, that's for sure!
EDM: Thanks, Joey! Looking forward to seeing Team Red rock the Geldredome. Cheers!
RR: Thanks for having me. Well, me too, time to tear the f*ck#ng roof off!!
The energy and excitement levels within the Hardstyle scene are indeed high. The people are ready for hard bass, and it looks like this year will deliver in the typical b2s fashion, with amazing music and absolutely insane production. Tickets are already sold out, so it’s bound to be one hell of a show.
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