Frenchcore is taking the Hard Dance scene by storm! Despite this unusual, yet catchy genre of music owning its own stage at festivals for just a few years, the Dutch public has responded immensely to this re-vamped genre. One of the pioneering Frenchcore names who is familiar to the general Hard Dance public is no less than Steve Dekker, otherwise known as Dr. Peacock. Literally reviving and re-flavouring the Frenchcore genre, Dr. Peacock experienced a fast rise to success thanks to his boundary-pushing and innovative sound.
Now boasting an unprecedented discography, scoring placements on the most illustrious line-ups and successfully running his own platform Peacock Records for over three years, we figured that there’s no time like the present to grab Dr. Peacock for an exclusive interview! Find out more about how he re-flavoured the genre, his passion for Psy-dub and his hit-concept ‘Vive La Frenchcore!’
– Hey Steve! Thanks so much for this interview – we’re stoked to have you on Alive At Night! First of all, can you give us a quick run-down of your summer and some highlights?
This summer has been great; I’ve been booked at major festivals like Defqon.1, Dominator, Decibel, Q-BASE, The Qontinent, Intents Festival and Harmony of Hardcore amongst others. Aside from that, for me the summer is a little quieter as there are more indoor parties happening in the winter, so it’s a nice time for me to relax.
– Sounds great! Have you taken a holiday this summer or done anything special?
Yeah! I actually just got back from a 5 day holiday in Ibiza with Partyraiser and some of the BKJN guys – that was really nice, of course! Next week I fly to Hungary where I’ll attend Ozora Festival, which is a 10 day psychedelic festival. I’m really into the whole psychedelic movement; the people are so friendly, the music and culture is amazing and I gather a lot of inspiration from it. It’s my third year at Ozora and I think I’ll be visiting that festival every year until I die!
– One of my summer highlights was watching you perform at Defqon.1’s silent disco on the Friday – can you speak about this performance a little more?
Q-dance is a really open-minded organisation and I like them because of that. About three years ago they called me and asked if I was up for doing something funny at Defqon.1, resulting in the musical chairs game. I really like doing crazy stuff and the crowd’s reaction was great, so they invited me to do the chair game the following year. Before the 2016 edition, Q-dance invited me in to the office and we came up with the silent disco idea. We discussed and planned the whole thing out and yeah, I think it turned out to be a huge success! Considering it wasn’t placed officially on the map I was a little worried that it would be quiet, however the area was so packed, the visitors really got into it and I also really enjoyed it!
– At Defqon.1 you also played in the Big Chill area under your other alias St. Benhard. What’s the story behind this alias?
After visiting Ozora Festival for the first time and experiencing the psychedelic movement I really fell in love with the music, unique atmosphere and people! This sparked into a curiosity to explore the genre Psy-dub, so I began experimenting with something other than Frenchcore and came up with an alias. I wanted to perform and make music for the fun of it, not for the money.
Last year at Defqon.1 they had the ‘chill out’ area and throughout the weekend they just played Bob Marley and other reggae music, however this wasn’t how I envisioned this area so I approached Q-dance with a plan and they were enthusiastic about it. I ended up organising the artists for this years’ ‘Big Chill,’ made some ideas for the area and also played a psychedelic chill-out set under my alias St. Benhard.
– Another huge day for you was your ‘Vive La Frenchcore’ event; can you tell our readers a little more about this concept?
Yeah, sure! The ‘Vive La Frenchcore’ concept is created by me because I figured that we needed to do something with Frenchcore in The Netherlands as most of the parties are quite small. My aim was to think big and bring back all of the old Frenchcore heroes to Holland. Vive La Frenchcore is now a successful party held in a nice venue with a great selection of artists and this past edition in July was extra special as we booked Micropoint, who was one of the first Frenchcore acts to exist. With Radium and Al Core behind the wheels, they also came with a live band with a rock guitarist and crazy singer which was something truly special!
Seeing as it’s my goal to bring Hard Tek alive in The Netherlands, I also tried to include the alternative style of Hard Tek in the line-up by booking French artist Harry Potar, who’s one of the best artists in that scene. He played such an awesome set and although half the crowd was like “What the fuck?!” the other half went totally mad! I’m always trying new things at Vive La Frenchcore and really want to do something to differentiate it from other Frenchcore parties.
– Let’s get down to some nitty-gritty. Can you describe Frenchcore for our readers who aren’t familiar with it?
I’ll tell you why I liked Frenchcore in the first place and I guess that will explain the genre a little more. I began listening to the old Thunderdome stuff when I was about 9 and got into mainstream Hardcore as the genre developed; it was quite aggressive and dark music, however sometimes it was a little more melodic. As I used to play with vinyl, one day I was browsing a record shop in Eindhoven and stumbled upon a record from Radium – that music was definitely something else! You had a reverse bass-kick, just like in early Hardstyle, but it was faster and had more distortion on the tail. I also noticed that there was different use of percussion compared to Hardcore; Frenchcore is a kick and a clap, which makes it more rhythmic and makes you want to dance, differently than dancing to Hardcore. It has high tempo like Hardcore, but had a completely different vibe and flowed so nicely. I think that’s the best way to describe it!
I’m aware that I made the style totally different and some of the older Frenchcore listeners from 2002-2010 may even hate me for it. I changed the style and I did that on purpose because it was really time for an evolution within the genre. I basically did my own thing and made my own ‘Peacock style.’
– Can you speak a little more about how you’ve sparked Frenchcore’s development over the years and created new opportunities with your label Peacock Records?
The evolution is very simple; I combined a bit of the Dutch Hardcore sound in the Frenchcore kick and just tried to create my own interpretation of the genre. A lot of younger guys liked the sets and started to make music of their own, sending their demos to me. I always provided feedback and tried to help them create a good sound, but I knew that there wasn’t many opportunities for them to release their music seeing as it wouldn’t exactly fit on Audiogenic, which was pretty much the only Frenchcore label at the time. I then started looking at the possibilities of starting a label and just over three years ago Peacock Records was born.
I received demos every day and a lot of people approached me with interest in joining the label, so I chose some promising new producers and helped them develop in the studio. Now it really feels like a big Frenchcore family; we go to Amsterdam together, go to parties and last year we even did paintball together! We all pump out music like machines and have lots of fun together!
– What are the biggest misconceptions people have about Frenchcore?
The biggest misconception is that people think I invented Frenchcore, and I didn’t. It’s nice to hear something like that, but it’s not the truth; I just made the style different and welcomed it into The Netherlands. The real legends are guys like Radium, Randy and Le Bask (to name a few).
– After seeing you perform at Dominator in a packed area, it’s evident that Frenchcore is a force to be reckoned with. What are your hopes for the future productions and also the scene’s sub-culture?
That’s a good question. I think about it a lot; I think about the future and what steps we need to take to revolutionise and grow Frenchcore. It’s only been a few years since Frenchcore claimed its own stage at major festivals which has been a huge achievement, but now we need to think about staying at this point and expanding onwards.
My idea (which I haven’t told anyone before) to transfigure the genre is to combine two styles together: Hard Tek and Frenchcore. I don’t want to melt them together 50/50, but I’d really like to use hard, deeper kicks like Fant4stik – those guys make absolutely insane music with loud, massive kicks! In terms of Dr. Peacock’s development, I want to experiment with aggressive, Hard Tek kicks, but of course I want to keep the original ‘Peacock ideas’ the same. You shouldn’t change the winning team, right?
– It was your birthday a couple of days ago and you celebrated in true Peacock style with a massive Frenchcore bash! How was the party and how did it feel to celebrate with all of your fans?
It was an incredible day! Leading up to the event we had a few difficulties organising it; the party was originally meant to be in one bar, however as soon as I released the flyer people went insane and suddenly over 2,500 were attending on Facebook – mind you, the bar could only hold 250 people! So, I needed to ask if the three bars next door wanted to join, however the council gave us a really hard time as they didn’t want people wondering around on the streets or people ‘destroying’ things. They also don’t like Hardcore music, so obviously they thought that everything would go wrong. It took me a lot to convince them to continue, but in the end it worked out and the event was a lot of fun! I don’t remember the last couple of hours because I was so wasted, ha-ha!
My actual birthday was on the 31st of July and I’ll be flying to Hungary for Ozora Festival, so I’m really excited about that.
– Speaking of celebrating, which artists in the scene do you enjoy partying with the most?
First of all, Partyraiser is one of my closest friends and colleagues. I was also recently invited to his wedding which was insane – I don’t think I’ll ever see such a wedding again, haha! Aside from Wesley, I’m also extremely close friends with Marcus Decks; we have been friends since we were children, we both make Frenchcore and have the same last name, so it makes sense that a lot of people think that we’re brothers! I can go on forever, but all in all the Hardcore scene is like one big family with so many great people.
– On the 3rd of December, you’ll have your own solo night where you’ll perform a 5 hour set! That’s some real boiler-room stuff right here! Can you tell me more about the event?
The event came about after speaking to one of the guys from Harmony Of Hardcore. Despite only releasing a couple of tracks, they were the first festival to book me and I had a really special click with one of the guys there. We spoke numerous times about doing an exclusive Peacock-styled event and after finally settling on a date we decided to do a solo night where I’ll perform a five hour set!
I’ll definitely play all of the ‘trips’ I ever made and my set will be like going on one big journey. I’ll also play tracks from other artists that I love and I’m also thinking about dedicating one of the five hours to early Frenchcore by playing all of the tracks that inspired me to start making music. This is still just an idea in my mind and the event is still quite a while away, so let’s see!
– You’re quite an active artist on social media and regularly reach out to your fans. For you, what is your opinion on the use of social media in the music industry?
It can make you or break you! I can say that without Facebook or Instagram Dr. Peacock would be nothing. I like to use social media, however in this modern day and as an artist it’s an absolute must. Everything is done through the internet nowadays and people are always on their phones, so you must promote yourself and your music online. Not only that, but it’s important to also show your fans what you’re doing in your free time.
– You’ve become a world-renowned name and icon within Hard Dance. What do you owe this success to?
Working hard, doing what you love and going with the flow! Something else that I’ve gathered is that it’s important to stay inspired and take a break when you need it. Making music should be an inspirational, creative process and you need to give yourself some rest in order for new ideas to flow.
– Before we wrap things up, can you share any exclusive Dr. Peacock news?!
There are a lot of things currently in the works and a lot of it will be shared towards the end of the year. However, I can reveal to you that I’ll be releasing a Dr. Peacock ‘trip around the world’ hard copy album! It’ll only be trips and will also contain re-masters, re-fixes and of course, some fresh, unheard trips!
Another piece of news I can share is that within the next few months I’ll be coming out with a new record label. All I can say is that it’ll be a new, evolutionary step for Frenchcore!
And finally, some huge news is that this October at Unlocked I’ll be presenting a brand new live-act called ‘Peacock In Concert.’ It’s going to be totally next-level, exclusive and something really special.
– Finally, what did you eat for breakfast today?
Since a few weeks ago I decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle, thanks to the guys from Fant4stik. Whilst I was staying with them they asked if I wanted to join their diet so I decided to give it a go. It turned out to be really inspiring and changed my whole outlook on healthy eating. So, with that being said this morning I just finished my breakfast which was a fresh juice with cherries, apple, carrot, mandarin and some ginger!
Huge thanks to Steve for chatting with us today, what an awesome interview! For those who want to discover the Frenchcore sound a little further and stay up to date on everything Peacock, follow the social links below!
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