Erwin van Kan, or better known as hardcore heavyweight Nosferatu is an interesting guy, to say the least. Being absorbed in the hardcore world since the early 90’s, Nosferatu is recognised as a steady player in the scene; he’s seen hardcore go through various changes, experienced some of the most legendary parties and he’s definitely got some interesting tales to tell!
As our first ever interview with a hardcore act, we had the honour to pick the brains of this spirited producer and find out more about some of his biggest milestones, the early days of hardcore, his variations in tempo and of course, his creative mind! He’s got some incredible things to say, so keep reading and be amazed!
1. Hey Erwin, thanks for chatting with me today! First of all, can you give me a recap of your 2015?
Well, I guess the switch to Neophyte Records is obviously the full recap of 2015. That switch gave me a lot of inspiration during the year, which resulted in tracks like “Not Giving A Shit,” and “Sanctity Of Space.” Also my collaboration with Tha Playah, “Riders Of Retaliation” (Dominator 2015 Anthem) was a truly inspirational trip and together with the production of the anthem and closing up the Dominator stage together with him was unreal (shout out to Art Of Dance & Q-dance!)
Another highlight was my ‘millennium set’ with Endymion at the Defqon.1 preparty; I still get thrills when thinking about it! Also, Masters of Hardcore, Decibel and many other events were all highlights from my career in 2015! I mean, I just love festivals man! Nice weather, awesome people and a high dose of hardcore – what more do you want?!
2. Let’s take a little trip into the past. What was it about hardcore that inspired you to produce and perform?
Damn, that would’ve been in the early 90’s… Back then, you couldn’t even call it Hardcore.
Anyway, my dad had a studio at home and I was inspired by all the knobs and lights on the equipment. One day I started playing around with the computer and a small cartridge which was a small sampler and I went nuts! I was already playing music from an early age; I mean, hell, I started to play a friggin’ piano when I was three, but this was different.
Early Rave was a style of music that was really new; it was electronic and incorporated sounds that I’d never heard before. At that time there were a lot of tunes that inspired me to make music and during those initial years I created several tunes, just for fun.
3. Can you tell me about the early days in the scene?
The early days were nuts, man! It wasn’t as professional as it is now, but we had so much fun! Back then I wasn’t a full time DJ yet, however I went to A LOT of Hardcore events; Hellraiser, Megarave, Thunderdome, you name it! You could find me wearing an Australian training suit, sunglasses on the back of my head (wait whut?) and of course, dancing my ass off, haha!
Music-wise, the style was more monotonic than it is now. You had a kick drum, some percussion, a pitched up vocal and the infamous ‘Alpha Juno’ sound, backed up by additional stuff. I looked up to the ‘main’ guys like Buzz Fuzz, DJ Paul, PCP, Bass D, The Darkraver and lots more! Hardcore wasn’t just music; it was a culture, a way of living and I was really into it. Actually, I still am!
4. What are some main differences between hardcore parties back then and now?
Back then, people would come for the event itself; they’d dance their asses off and have a good time. Nowadays it’s still the same; however most people now come for one or more artists in particular and not necessarily for the whole line-up. There’s still a good vibe out there and I see people having a good time – that’s truly a good thing.
5. One particular event I’d love to hear about is Thunderdome! Can you share some memories from this legendary concept?
Where do I start?! Thunderdome parties were LE-GEN-DA-RY to say the least! I went to a lot of TD-events, tours and more and all of them were just amazing.
One time I went to ‘The Final Thunderdome’ in Groningen (it wasn’t the final yet, haha!) and alongside several friends, we took a tour bus there. The whole party started in that bus; the driver told us that we could do ANYTHING, as long as we kept his vehicle clean… I think you can fill in the rest yourself. *laughs*
6. Your sound is quite diverse and ranges from ‘mainstream’ hardcore to harder and faster tracks; what influences you to explore the spectrum of hardcore?
Everything, really. If I have a good sound or a sample, I try to place it in a 200 or more BPM tune, or a slower one at say, 170BPM. To be honest, it just depends. My personal taste is to make tracks that are around 170 or more; I’m not into the slower BPM’s anymore.
If I’m having a good or a bad day, I will always be inspirational. I can express my feelings in my music, whether it be a 200BPM tune or one at 170. Like I said, I’m inspired by a lot of things, I have a creative mind and it’s awesome to have an artistic freedom to make everything I want.
7. You’ve released three albums as Nosferatu; can you tell me the story behind each of them?
Actually, there isn’t much of a story; I just wanted to make those albums, not knowing that it was a bit of a struggle when I started the very first. To be honest, it’s always a struggle in some way; the mixes, the sounds, the samples, everything! Most importantly, as an artist you need to be heard every now and then and when you are making an album its radio silence most of the time. In my honest opinion, it’s not a good way to keep your career in shape.
8. Do you have plans to release another album?
I don’t know… Like I said, it’s a struggle at some points. I think it’s better to release my music more often rather than to lock myself up in my studio for, let’s say, 6 months and give my fans the silent treatment.
However, I am now making an album as my raw hardstyle alter ego High Voltage and it’s the first time I’m making an album for that project. My reason for this album is to let my fans know what my style of raw hardstyle is all about.
9. Can you tell our readers a little bit more about your #jebentzelfterror and #jebentzelfmellow ‘adventures’ with Furyan?
It all started in a video that we posted on our Facebook pages. We were working on some kick-drum edits and the result was a bit dull. At some point, Furyan said “I think it’s a bit mellow” and right after that I replied “you’re mellow yourself” (in Dutch: “je bent zelf mellow.”) In another video with Furyan, I made a mistake by setting the locators on Cubase too narrow, which resulted in a massive tempo increase. So Furyan reacted with: “I think it’s a bit terror,” and I think you know how I replied, haha!
After these hilarious videos, the fans took both phrases to another level. Every time we posted something, they replied in their comments with “#jebentzelf…..”
So, as a token of appreciation of some sort, we decided to make shirts out of it, haha! They will be available soon, by the way!
**Nosferatu & Furyan wearing their kick-ass shirts**
10. Your latest release “Sanctity Of Space” is an amazing, melodic track. What inspired it?
Space, of course haha! When I worked in the studio one night, I returned home at around 3 o’clock in the morning and at one point, I looked at the moon and my creative mind went nuts – I was suddenly inspired to make a euphoric tune inspired by our cosmos! I have always been a true enthusiast about our solar system and the depths of space, so this track was inevitable for me to make. I needed to put both passions in one audible piece of work, which resulted in a loooong period of studio work and lots of try-outs and frustration.
However, the end result was immense; I received huge amounts of positive feedback and the track took the #20 spot on the Masters of Hardcore Top 100 of 2015. I was especially proud because the track was released on November 26th and the Top 100 was revealed a little more than a month later.
All in all, I just love making those tunes; it expresses my way of making music.
11. What does it mean for you to be a part of Neophyte Records?
It was one of the best things that has ever happened in my career. Neophyte Records are professional, they have their priorities right, they’re driven and they do their work, but they also really enjoy what they do. I’m dealing with spectacular artists who are eager to contribute their work to this Hardcore era and that’s awesome to participate with.
12. You wrote a personal statement on your Facebook a few weeks ago that shared some personal milestones. For you, what’s the importance of being honest to your fans?
Fans only see what’s happening on stage and on the dance floors, so what’s happening ‘backstage’ with us artists isn’t relevant. I think that true fans deserve a peek into my personal existence, so why not? I sometimes want to know their interests too; It keeps life fun, I guess. I don’t want to be in business 24 hours a day and keep it all a secret. I mean, if I want to post a screenshot of a conversation with my beautiful mom just saying ‘OK’ for the last 4 years and nothing else, I will do that. I want to keep the fans smiling and not have them listen when a new track is coming out, you know?
13. What are your hopes for the future of hardcore?
Hardcore is a style of music that keeps going and going. It has some bad times, but then again, it needs that; just to get rid off the wrong things and get back on its feet to continue its course. I really hope that Hardcore will stay real, worldwide. The artists will definitely continue working to contribute to this scene, including myself. So let’s make the best out of it!
14. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt during your career?
Don’t trust anyone and at some point, keep your mouth shut…
15. Can you tell us about any upcoming productions, collabs or announcements?
I just finished a remix for an early Hardcore classic which will be announced soon. Also, Furyan and I just finished our collaboration which has resulted in some sort of a mix between uptempo and mainstream hardcore (a new style is born? Ha-ha!) Two other huge collaborations are in order, but let’s keep that a little secret for now. This year, I also want to collaborate with my buddy Tha Playah again!
16. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
If someone has resolutions, go ahead. Change something in your life; quit smoking, lose weight or stuff a pineapple up your ass – there are countless possibilities, haha!
Personally, I don’t have resolutions and if I even have one, I would change or would achieve my goal instantly, not because it’s a New Year. Saying that, maybe my resolutions are to make more music for your eardrums this year? 😉
**Hmm… Perhaps this pineapple…?**
17. What did you eat for breakfast today?
Watermelon juice (really) and bread with roasted chicken, avocado and tomatoes. I’m still hungry so I’ll maybe rush to a snack bar…
18. Any last words for our readers?
I just want to say thanks for the interview and that I hope people enjoy reading it! Ciao!
No, thank you! It was a pleasure to interview this iconic figure in hardcore and we’re pleased to tell you all that there’s going to be many more hardcore interviews to come! We’d like to wish Nosferatu a prosperous 2016 and we can’t wait to hear his new tracks, especially that remix. For our readers, we’d like to hear your thoughts – are you mellow or terror?!