For those who keep themselves up-to-date with the talent pool, it’s a no brainer that Clockartz are one of the most promising, creative and forward-thinking acts in modern Hardstyle. Consisting of Italian buddies Konstantin Kössler and Sebastian Schweigkofler, these guys have broken boundaries with their productions as they aren’t afraid to push the tempo or pull the reigns and create a terrific melody.
2015 was an immense year for the pair, who had their heads buried in the studio as they strived to achieve a whole new level of quality in their productions. As we look forth into 2016, it’s apparent that this hard work has sprouted into an array of bookings, a new agency to back them and even their tracks being dropped at EDC Las Vegas! On the verge of immense success, there’s no better time than now to have a chat to Clockartz about their breakthrough journey, productions and the nitty-gritty on the importance of having strong management.
– Hey guys! It’s been a while since we caught up. How have things been going for you in 2016?
2016 has been a huge year so far. Like many of our followers already know, for many years we worked on improving our studio and finally at the end of 2015 we finished it!
Since then, we’ve been on a role with our productions. Alongside Chris One, we made a remix for Ran-D’s “Crossroads” which was released on A² Records and produced several solo tracks featured on big compilations such as the Hard Bass and Qapital CD’s. Besides that, we received immense support on our new music as well as scoring some huge bookings in The Netherlands, including Intents Festival, Defqon.1, WiSH Outdoor and more!
– It’s been such an exciting year for Clockartz with many huge career milestones. One of the biggest things to happen to you guys was becoming a part of the brand new bookings agency The Wishlist. How does it feel to be such a strong catalogue of artists?
Joining The Wishlist agency was a very careful choice that we made together with our management. We strive to work with the best professionals in the scene and we feel that the team at The Wishlist are on the same page as us. Of course it’s also a huge honour to be in the same agency as artists such as Audiotricz, Alpha² and Toneshifterz. However, for us the biggest goal is to work our way up to becoming one of the leading brands that the agency has to offer.
**Clockartz with their new bookings manager Kasper – The Wishlist**
– Ultimately, what is this new agency going to do for your careers?
One of the most important things is that we have a team that’s fully dedicated to managing our bookings, freeing up the hands of our regular managers so that they can focus on other aspects of our careers. The Wishlist Agency has a huge international clientele which makes it easier for us to reach fans all over the world. Bookings-wise, things are looking really great and we are negotiating several exciting bookings, so if you want to keep up to date on our gigs be sure to follow us on social media.
– In your opinion, what’s the importance of having a strong bookings agency and management supporting you?
Being an artist in this day and age is very complicated. Ultimately we’d like to focus solely on our own music, however there is so much more that has to be handled. For that we have a team that works closely with us; for example, within The Magic Show we have Mark who handles the A&R, meaning that he guides us in the process of making a track and helping us making decisions music-wise. Over the last couple of years we have really learned a lot from working this way and can see that the quality is growing with every track we release. We’re always trying to perfect our sound and it’s important to have reliable and professional feedback available whenever you need it.
Additionally, we have Michel from The Magic Show who handles our daily business and is in touch with all relevant organisations. He solves problems that we face and goes with us on tour to make sure everything runs smoothly. We are in daily contact with Michel and regularly discuss what moves to make in our career which is really important for us.
**Sebastian with their manager Michel**
Then there is Kasper from The Wishlist, who handles our bookings. He has over 10 years of experience working in the industry and has worked for some of the biggest companies in the Hardstyle scene.
On top of that, we also do a lot ourselves; we handle our own marketing and produce our music ourselves. Besides that, everything that is done related to Clockartz is always in consultation with us. As you can see, being an artist nowadays is really like running a business in the background; a lot of people and tasks are involved and for that reason we feel that it’s important to have a strong team around you that you can trust.
– Over the past year the name Clockartz has soared. What do you owe this success to?
I think we answered this mostly in the question above. The people that have been involved in our careers have always supported us and even though it can sometimes be a struggle we always work really hard to fulfil what’s expected from us. During difficult periods, receiving kind words from some of our idols has been really helpful and support from artists such as Ran-D and Digital Punk has given us lot of confidence that we’re on the right track. Big ups for that, we’re really thankful!
– Can you speak a little more about your breakthrough journey?
If you want to become a successful artist then you really need to work hard. For us there has been a lot of frustration that many of the readers might relate to. We live in Italy which makes it hard for us to stay up to date with everything that goes on at festivals. Throughout the earlier years of our career we made music that was really cool but it didn’t really work on the dance-floor. This was quiet complicated; we tried to improve our arrangements a little so we would keep our own signature, but make it more suitable for parties, however we had a really hard time making the right adjustments. Seeing as we could only visit a couple of parties a year it took us longer to find out what exactly works on the dance-floor.
Aside from that, there’s always pressure to create a track that’s better than your previous one. We’ve spent months working on tracks that we never showed to anyone because we didn’t believe that they were good enough and those times have been very hard. We worked really hard and put in a lot of much effort to reach a certain level of quality, however it didn’t gain much recognition. Meanwhile in the Dutch scene we saw so many new names playing on big stages whilst their music was of such a low quality and everything sounded the same. We understand that artists get booked because they are hyped up, but for us it was very frustrating to see.
Another important part of our journey has been networking, which is very important to us. For example, we recently stayed in The Netherlands for two weeks to work on collaborations and set up some business meetings. It’s important to show your face to the right people and especially to show that you are involved in your own career and willing to work hard for it.
– If you could give yourselves one piece of career advice 3 years ago, what would it be?
Try to be innovative in the studio. Use new plugins in a different way, try new tricks and always keep pushing your boundaries. Besides that, try to stay in good touch with all your colleagues, plan plenty of collaborations and exchange ideas. Lastly, you can never use enough cowbells. The real producers will know what we mean!
– You guys have so much going on at the moment, including working with Envine and Hard Driver! How are these collaborations going so far?
Well first of all, it’s important to clarify that we’re not working on a track with Hard Driver. Since he does the mastering for our tracks, we decided to visit him in the studio to see how it was going. Regarding the other collaborations things are looking really good. We just finished up a test version with Envine; it’s a track that really has a 2009 feel but with a more modern approach. The midintro’s are very heavy but still driven and the main part is a masterpiece that Envine wrote. It’s full of nostalgic feelings and fits the whole ‘tijdmachine-vibe,’ which is what a lot of people love nowadays.
We’re also in the process of finishing a new track with our buddies Tartaros and MC Jeff. We’re tweaking the final details as we speak! Of course we will premiere both tracks during our set at Defqon.1 Later on in the year we have some cool things coming up, but I guess you’ll know about that soon!
– You haven’t only built a strong catalogue of releases, but you guys also are quite active on social media. What is the importance of building a strong online identity?
We try to keep our fans as involved in our careers as possible. We believe that video blogging is an easy way to show fans what we’re doing and allow them to connect with us. So far the response has been great and it seems that many of our fans appreciate the time and effort we put into them. On the other hand, sometimes information can also be useful for other producers. For example, Ran-D contacted us the other day saying that our kick tutorial was really beneficial. So if you haven’t already checked it out, then have a look below! 😉
– In a couple of days Clockartz will be making their debut on the at Defqon.1. How does it feel to have the opportunity to perform there and for Q-dance to have faith in your music?
Defqon.1 is one of the biggest festivals an artist can play at! For those who aren’t from The Netherlands, you’d know that being able to attend Defqon.1 is a dream come true, so we’re extremely proud to be able to perform there and represent Italy. We’re even bringing over 20 friends who will party with us, so we’re also looking forward to that. As Defqon marks such a special performance for us, we’ve been working hard on some new tunes and have managed to finish a brand new track called “In The Army” and have been finalising some other new music too. You’ll be the first to hear them this Saturday, so be there!
– According to your Facebook page, you guys are working on a huge remix that will be unleashed at Defqon.1. Can you give any clues to our readers?
We can’t announce what track we have remixed yet, but we already heard that it got played at EDC Las Vegas last weekend. Apparently the crowd went really wild and it got broadcasted on the official live-stream, so we’re still buzzing about that. We also heard that our remix of Tiesto’s “Knock You Down” got played there too, amazing! We will play the new remix at Defqon for sure, so if you are want to hear it then be sure to visit our set.
– Which other artists are you looking forward to watching at DQ.1?
Of course we are looking forward watching our friends play; guys like Envine, Tartaros and The Machine are very close to us, so we can’t wait to see them tear it apart. Aside from that we’re excited to witness Digital Punk and Ran-D’s sets. All in all there’s a lot of interesting artists at Defqon.1 and we hope to see and hear a little bit of everything!
**Clockartz whipped up an incredible mix in light of Defqon.1 this weekend, so make sure to blast it whilst in the car on the way there!!**
– You also just finished your very first anthem! What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when producing it?That’s right! We just announced that we’re responsible for creating The Magic Show’s anthem for WiSH Outdoor. We’re really excited because WiSH is one of our favourite festivals to play at, so we’re really proud that we could make the anthem. It’s difficult to make an anthem for a party like WiSH; the main anthem is quite euphoric, so we had to create something a little different that would still fit our style, the style of WiSH Outdoor and the style of the artists on The Magic Show stage. Finding the right melody was a long process, but we’re happy with how it turned out and hope that our fans enjoy it too!
– As producers, what are the biggest challenges you face in the studio?
Like we said earlier in the interview, it’s always hard to live up to the standard and it’s difficult to be innovative with sounds and arrangements. You don’t each track to sound the same, but you also shouldn’t step too far away from your signature style. Pressure and creativity don’t always work well together so it’s important for us to enter the studio with a focussed mind set.
– Back in 2015 you released the killer Hardcore crossover “INkA” with Tears Of Fury. Do you guys have any plans to collaborate again soon?
Tears Of Fury is a good friend of ours and also lives in the same city. “INkA” did quite well and we started a new collaboration earlier this year, however as the last couple of months have been busy on both ends, we haven’t had time to finish it yet, but we hope to do so later this year. It’s turning out to be a crazy track with high BPM’s and we promise that Alive At Night will get the first preview when it’s ready!
– Looking into the future, what does the rest of 2016 hold?
Most importantly, recently finished tracks such as “Humanity,” “In The Army” and the WiSH Outdoor Anthem will be out soon and on top of that, there’s more new music to be released after the summer. Performance-wise, we will perform at Defqon.1, WiSH Outdoor, Decibel Outdoor and some others that are yet to be announced. We can’t tell you much else, so just keep yourselves updated on our socials!
– Finally, what did you guys eat for breakfast today?
Ah, the most important question of all! Seba just had a cappuccino for breakfast and Konnie ate cereal with bread and jam. It can’t always be rock & roll 😉
A big thanks to Clockartz for this insightful and interesting interview. We wish the guys a safe trip over to The Netherlands and hope to catch them for a drink (or 10) at Defqon.1 this weekend! For those who want to catch their performance, they’ll be tearing up the Purple stage from 2:00PM on Saturday, so be there or be square!