Dirty Workz-signed duo NSCLT have gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years! Consisting of long-time buddies Jasper and Pieter, they launched the NSCLT project back in 2014, and have since gone on to secure an unprecedented status in the Hardstyle scene as an innovative, reckoned-with sonic strength.
After launching their ‘Cultivate’ project at the end of 2016, the boys have now welcomed in their next challenge with open arms. Taking on the mighty task of opening the 2017 summer festival season with their Rebirth Festival anthem, NSCLT have blown away fans with the feel-good masterpiece, “REBORN” feat. LXCPR.
With Rebirth Festival fast-approaching, we decided to drop NSCLT a line on Skype to chat about the anthem, as well as their ‘Cultivate’ project and their brand-spanking new sound.
– Hey guys, thanks for this interview. First of all, how’s the New Year been treating you so far?
It’s been alright so far! Things have been a little quieter during the winter months, so we’re really focussing on and looking forward to the festival season now. However, one event that’s kept our momentum high this winter is Reverze; last weekend we performed in the Lotto Arena and were programmed in the transition slot between the euphoric and raw names. This was exactly what we’ve been aiming for with our music and was the main idea behind our ‘Cultivate’ project, so it was amazing to have the opportunity to showcase our music on such a huge stage.
– Before we get into the big stuff, can you guys quickly recap some of your biggest memories and highlights over your careers so far?
Performance-wise, our first big memory was playing the opening set at Rebirth Festival, which was the first time we had the opportunity to perform at a bigger festival. The funniest part was that we had our first performance before we even had any tracks; this gig served as huge motivation for us to begin producing, with the incentive to be given a later time slot and perform in front of even more people.
Other highlights for us include Intents Festival, Defqon.1 where we performed on the Purple stage, Q-BASE and of course, Reverze 2015!
– You just mentioned that you had your first performance before you even began producing… Really?!
Yeah, that was back in 2011…
– That’s crazy! The standard of your tracks reached such a top level in such a short amount of time. How did you guys manage that?!
Oh thanks! Well, by the time we began producing we were both studying at university and had a lot of time on our hands seeing as we skipped a lot of classes, haha. We spent many hours together in front of the computer in Pieter’s little student room in Tilburg. From the beginning we were so determined to do it ourselves, so we started watching every tutorial we could find on the web and after days and nights we made our first track. It sounded pretty shitty, but by that time we’d learnt so many fundamental techniques.
Nowadays you see numerous artists who have a lot of skills in the studio, and because of this they’re pushed onto big stages. For us it was the opposite; we’d already performed quite a bit before we even made music, so we knew what we had to make and what the crowd enjoyed. We think that this served as a major advantage for our development.
– Surely it hasn’t been an easy ride though – can you also speak about some of your biggest challenges whilst on the break-through?
Our biggest challenge has been to combine producing music with work, relationships and friendships. On the side of music we both have jobs, and sometimes there’s periods of time where doing everything at once is difficult. At times it can be really hard to combine and balance your private life and work life with the thing you love the most.
Another thing is that during the winter months it’s a lot quieter, so we don’t have a huge income from music. We work in the studio a lot during these quiet months, however, we know that we won’t see the fruits of our effort flourish until the following season. This is okay though, because we know that hard work always pays off.
In terms of breaking in to the Hardstyle scene, one thing we’ve noticed that’s difficult is getting your music played and pushed by established names. Nowadays, Hardstyle isn’t particularly a scene where DJ’s play tracks that aren’t their own; sometimes a big name will play one or two tracks by another artist, however it has to be a hit and really get the crowd moving. This makes it quite challenging for up and comers to get their music across.
– At the end of 2016 you guys announced your ‘Cultivate’ project; what motivated you guys to come up with this new idea?
Before the summer of 2016 we began noticing that towards the end of our sets was where we’d generate the most energy – for example, when we played our harder tracks such as “Freight Train” and “Darkness.” When we spoke about this to other artists and professionals, they pointed out that our sound is so varied; we have really euphoric tracks, but also rougher stuff too and sometimes people find it difficult to know what ‘sound’ we stand for. Although we love to produce everything, we realised that our sound was simply too broad and we wanted to be clear about what we stand for musically as NSCLT.
When developing our sound, we focussed more on producing something that was right in the middle of ‘raw’ and ‘euphoric’ as we feel as though Hardstyle should contain melodies, but remain hard and tough.
– Stating that you want all of your tracks to follow the same ‘style’ – for you, what’s the importance of artists having their own signature style?
Well, for the bookers it’s difficult to place a DJ on a timetable who plays all kinds of Hardstyle. As an artist, you are somewhat pushed into a ‘box.’ In order to be successful, we believe you should be clear and specific about your product, so people know what to expect when they’re going to see NSCLT.
– The tracks you’ve released and previewed are quite surprising; in fact, they’re a lot harder than what I’d expected! What was the process behind discovering and choosing this new sound?
After discovering that we preferred playing tougher and more energetic Hardstyle, we began the process of cutting off the ‘start’ of our sets and focussing on the end part, both on stage and in the studio. We wanted to launch Cultivate in the winter months, so that our fans and the bookers had a better idea of what direction we were headed into for the summer festival season. We’re excited to see how the crowd reacts to hearing this new sound during our upcoming sets!
– Alright, I believe you guys have some other big news you’d like to share…?
Yes! We’re proud to announce that we’re responsible for the 2017 Rebirth anthem. This has undoubtedly been our biggest project yet.
– That’s huge! How did you react when you were first asked to produce the Rebirth anthem?
We were like “no, no way…” Like, have you seen the artists who’ve done the Rebirth anthem in the past?! We were quite nervous at first, however once we started thinking about it a little more we were excited to accept the challenge.
– How did you create the anthem to fit the exciting vibe of the festival and what specific elements did you use?
We were really inspired by the festival’s trailer and even used some of the text from it, which we feel adds an extra dimension to the track. The organisation also gave us a sneak peek of what the mainstage is going to look like, so we tried to heavily incorporate that element as well. All in all, we feel as though our anthem fits well with the theme and the festival itself, do you want an exclusive listen? 😉
*I was then treated to an exclusive listen via Skype, and boy, I must say that NSCLT have really outdone themselves with this one! Their Rebirth anthem is definitely going to be one of their most defining tracks.*
– What were the biggest difficulties you had when producing the anthem?
The vocals, for sure. It was difficult to write a text that really hits the spot, contains a catchy hook line, yet isn’t too ‘simple.’ The thing we realised is how differently Electronic music producers and rappers work. For example, when a rapper is working he wants to be the best and create a rap that’s deep and insightful, but dance producers just want a nice, simple vocal that fits the track and something to capture the crowd.
For the anthem we worked with LXCPR, who featured in Ran-D’s Decibel anthem “United.” We provided him with the concept and the text from the trailer and from there we tweaked the text and experimented with different possibilities until we came to the end result!
But yeah, meshing the actual track and the vocals together was definitely the most difficult part of the anthem, however now that it’s finished we feel as though the rap makes the track even stronger!
– As the grand opening to the summer festival season, Rebirth Festival is one of the most anticipated events; can you guys share your excitement for the festival?
How can you express excitement with words?! From April until September are by far the best months of the year; every week you get ready to go to a festival and the excitement never seems to fade. Kicking off the season is Rebirth Festival, and for us it’s one of our favourite festivals as we have a really special connection with the concept. Held in our home neighbourhood by some of our closest friends, we’ve seen every edition – however, this year is extra special because we’ve worked incredibly hard on the anthem!
– All in all, what does Rebirth Festival mean to you?
Rebirth Festival is really special to us. It’s held Haaren, which is the town we both grew up in, meaning that we get to catch up with local fans and our friends there. We also know the organisation really well; we actually started organising events with them before we decided to pursue our productions. They’ve made us really proud over the past couple of years; Rebirth has grown to become one of the biggest festivals of the summer, and to be asked to produce the anthem is one of the biggest honours we could receive!
– Before we wrap it up, what are some other projects you guys are currently working on?
At the moment we’re working on the final track from the Cultivate project. Originally we had planned to release it before the Rebirth anthem, however the anthem took a little longer than expected, so we’ll be dropping “Be Loud” with MC DL very soon!
– Finally, it’s time for our signature AAN question – what did you guys eat for brekkie today?
Jasper: *eating a banana during the interview* I ate a banana.
Pieter: I had two sandwiches with peanut butter. Do you guys eat peanut butter in Australia, or only Vegemite…?
Thanks to NSCLT for this exclusive interview! We’d like to take a moment to congratulate the guys on their remarkable anthem for Rebirth Festival 2017. Craving summer vibes? Well, be sure to check out the track, as well as jump online and grab yourself a ticket for the festival!