When it comes to Hardstyle, you really can't get more oldschool than The Prophet. The guy is a legend in many ways - he's the founder of one of the most iconic Hardstyle labels of all time, Scantraxx Recordz. He has been producing Hardstyle since 2002 when he started the label, but before that lie 15 years of music industry experience in the Dutch scene. He has countless releases under different monickers in different styles, many of which are classics in their respective genres.
Scantraxx Recordz is a company that prides itself on a consistent stream of quality music from their artists. This flow of music was always part of the vision that The Prophet had for Scantraxx, since the very beginning. Some of the most well known tracks from the entire genre are from the label, such as the Headhunterz classic Rock Civilization.
I spoke to The Prophet about his own artist history, as well as the history of Scantraxx. We discussed the music, the parties, the Scantraxx business model, and of course, future expansion.
(EDM = Alan Mandel ; P = The Prophet )
EDM: Hi Dov – it’s a pleasure to speak to you! How is everything going in the Scantraxx World?
P: Well hello there! It is my pleasure too! A looot of good stuff is going on at Scantraxx at the moment.
EDM: Great to hear – so here we are in 2015 – you’re looking at 28 years of being an artist and 13 years of running Scantraxx. I’m sure it’s been a crazy ride – how did it all start? Where did you get your start as a musician?
P: My DJ The Prophet story started in the beginning of synthesizers and drumcomputers around the 80's in the last century, grandma's period baby! Those years were extremely educational for me as a beginning musician. No DAW's, no plugins, no big harddrives with pre-made samples etc. Hardcore learning process in my opinion.
At a later point in time I set up Scantraxx to make a difference in the scene. Hardstyle was making it’s first steps in the Dutch dance scene and I wanted to make sure that there was something big that people wouldn’t be able to get around.
EDM: How did you discover harder music? Where did your career as a ‘Harder Styles’ musician begin?
P: I actually didn't "discover" it, me and some fellow DJ's invented Hardcore back at the end of the 80's / beginning of the 90's and again I was one of the first people who are responsible for the Hardstyle scene as it exists today.
EDM: When you decided to launch Scantraxx in 2002, what were your ideas about the company and the brand? Has Scantraxx stayed true to the image you had for it in 2002?
P: In 2002 there were few brands in the hardstyle scene. My goal was to create one that people could not get around. Besides there were no professional labels that fully focused on exclusively hardstyle. That’s where I saw my chances. Today, Scantraxx is still the #1 hardstyle label.
EDM: How would you describe the Scantraxx sound?
P: Of the highest quality. It’s accessible, made by the best DJ's and producers and represented worldwide.
EDM: Tell us little about Scantraxx’ business model, and how it manages to stand out in the Hardstyle industry. How has the company managed to maintain its reputation and position in the Hardstyle scene for so long?
P: First of all by dominantly focusing on quality. Second; we guide the next generation of musicians / producers. That means that we guide and manage them all through the beginning of their careers.
EDM: When you launched Scantraxx, how many of your original colleagues stayed on board the entire time? Who do you have on your team now that helps you run the company? How do they work together to make every release, artist, and sublabel special?
P: Originally Scantraxx was run by me the first few years. By now, a team of 10 employees and freelancers are involved in what Scantraxx has become. They succeed in making every detail special by keeping the quality high for music, artwork, Artist management, so basically everything.
EDM: How did Scantraxx’ events start off? What are some of Scantraxx’ most significant events from over the years?
P: Scantraxx events started off in places like Hemkade in Zaandam (Netherlands) in 2004, and a few events in the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam (Netherlands) too. We had a great 10 years celebration in Austria too, an insane crowd in a total sold out hall. We still do hostings on the bigger festivals and clubs all over the world.
Highlights in the history of Scantraxx have been TWO sold out Heineken Music Hall (5500 visitors) events, multiple Q-BASE hostings, Fantasy Island, Intents Festival, and many others! Both in the Netherlands and internationally. We’ve worked together with pretty much every harddance promoter, which I’m really grateful for.
EDM: Where do you see Hardstyle as a whole going? How does Scantraxx plan to be on the front lines of the evolution of the genre?
P: Hardstyle is already changed, it has a lot of subgenres already, in my opinion that is a good thing; it means it expands and more people feel that they have to be a part of it.
Scantraxx will be at the front because we can fully coach artists in the harder styles of dance music, from the start of their career to the top, keeping quality in mind at all moments. Everything we do is of a Class-A quality, which keeps us at the top.
Scantraxx will always be on top of the newer music styles, even when it will change, WE will change it for you.
EDM: Over the course of evolution of Hardstyle music, what elements have you seen stay, and what elements have been phased out? What trends have you seen given your history with Hardstyle music?
P: The kick & bass stayed! What has changed is mostly the international image of hardstyle.
EDM: Although Scantraxx has a powerful presence in the Netherlands, Hardstyle on an international level is your main focus. How are you expanding Scantraxx past Dutch borders?
P: Our sound is relatively international as compared to the sounds of other hardstyle labels. Besides we’re always looking for international partners to spread our sounds to. For example radio stations and promoters.
EDM: What are your thoughts on the American Hardstyle scene? Do you see Scantraxx doing events in the United States one day?
P: Definitely! Right now the United States is a growing market. The current events are comparable to what The Netherlands had around 2002; small, underground, but very dedicated. Eventually hardstyle will grow… I’m sure, and I’m sure that Scantraxx will be a part of those events.
EDM: What other parts of the world are you looking to expand Scantraxx to?
P: My goal is to spread the Scantraxx sounds across the entire world. Europe was first, the U.S. is currently following, Australia and even more countries will come, we are working on that.
EDM: Scantraxx is the parent label for many well known Hardstyle labels, including A² Records, Scantraxx Silver, and Scantraxx Evolutionz. What are your plans for these sublabels? What do you reserve the main label for?
P: Scantraxx Recordz will be the main label with the hit releases. Scantraxx Silver is for our newest Scantraxx family members that are still new to the scene. Look at it as a trial for the main label. A² Records is our sublabel that focuses on raw hardstyle. There’s also Scantraxx Evolutionz, which is reserved for the music of D-Block & S-te-Fan and F8trix only.
EDM: Last year, you released your album ‘LOU DER’, and followed that up with hit tracks like ‘Kikkdrum’ and your collaboration with The Anarchist, ‘Dark Matter’. What do you have planned for 2015 as an artist release-wise?
P: I’m aiming to release music every 2 months. My next release has already had a sneak preview in the latest Hard with Style episode. Can you guess which one? There are a lot of tracks finished already and they are waiting to be released.
EDM: Where do you see your sound going this year? What aspects of Hardstyle have been most appealing to you lately?
P: That is my problem, or better say my power; I like sooo many kinds of music, so I am producing that lately, so expect different influences!
EDM: What does the Scantraxx studio look like? Who all works there?
P: We have multiple studio rooms in the building where the Scantraxx office is situated. Headhunterz and Wildstylez have had these studios in the past. Right now Noisecontrollers, Psyko Punkz and myself have a studio there. In the future the studios will be occupied by the newer generation of Scantraxx artists.
EDM: What advice do you have for aspiring Hardstyle producers?
P: Always believe in yourself, don’t ever doubt anything you’re doing; and when you do, still believe in yourself! Worked for me too…..
EDM: What are your thoughts on other genres of music incorporating Hardstyle elements, such as distorted kicks in bigroom house, or supersaw melodies/screeches in trap?
P: I can only see this as appreciation of the Hardstyle sounds. It even means that our Hardstyle creations influences all the other music styles, so why not!
EDM: What words do you have for the readers of EDM.com?
P: I really like your portal, because it’s more in depth than just music itself. I’m sure that’s what the readers are looking for as well. Thanks for your interests readers!
EDM: Thank you, Dov! It’s been a pleasure. It’s been great to see Scantraxx grow over the years, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next!
P: Thank you too and thanks for interviewing me.