Some of you may recognise AVIO’s head honcho Alphaverb from various Early Hardstyle concepts such as De Tijdmachine, Relive and Nostalgia amongst others, however what you may not know is that he’s still a gun in the studio!
Despite being an artist, music producer, DJ, whatever you want to call him – just like us, Daniël Noordijk is also human. Having experienced several huge obstacles in his life, some unfortunately occured during the peak of his career. Today, in this 100% uncensored interview, Alphaverb opens up about these challenges as he speaks about how they changed his career, his position in today’s Hardstyle scene and of course, his recently released album ‘Latency,’ which hits online stores today!
– Yo Daniël, thanks for the interview! Can you give us a detailed wrap-up of your 2016?
Hey guys, it’s a pleasure.
2016 seems to have been a year of reliving the past as I’ve played mostly at ‘classic’ events and have only performed a few ‘regular’ gigs. I have been quite active in the studio, but wasn’t able to play my new music that often, so for me as an artist it’s been quite a strange year.
– One of the biggest things to happen to you this year was the release of your second album “Latency.” Now, 2016 has been a year filled with albums; why did you choose this route instead of just pumping out a ton of single releases?
I’ve been releasing single tracks ever since my first album in 2010 and there’s been several moments where I’ve wanted to produce another album. As you might have noticed, a large portion of my album consists of single releases from over the past six years as ‘Latency’ consists of six new tracks, two mash-ups and twelve ‘iconic’ Alphaverb tracks.
So why now? Well, like I said before, I’ve been playing at a lot of ‘classic’ concepts, but I’ve also produced a lot of music after this so-called ‘classic era’ (2005-2010).
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to play my older music after all of these years, however I also feel sad that my recent work has seemingly become ‘lost’ within a digital world. With that in mind, I wanted to collect those memories and present them on a physical product – both for myself and my fans.
– Which track from the album took the longest to produce?
This probably has to be “MZKTRS” with Aeros and Blackburn.
Working with three people on a project really doesn’t help the workflow, but it does create a better end-result as there’s three diverse opinions that can help reach the ‘I love this’ status. Some of the work could be done individually whilst we interacted over the internet, but the biggest problem was meeting up, as we all live in different parts of The Netherlands. We also involved UK-based MC Shocker in this project to make it even more crazy, but his recordings didn’t require any meet-ups.
– What were the biggest difficulties you ran into during the production and release of the album?
I kind of underestimated the time required to have the ‘older’ tracks fitting within the album. I had to do some re-mastering and sometimes I even opened the original project files to fix some mixing errors. But all in all, the album process was fairly smooth as I knew exactly where I wanted to go with it.
– Compared to the release of your first album, what were some extra things you had to do when marketing ‘Latency?’
The funny thing is that I decided to adopt quite an uncommon approach when marketing and announcing my album.
My strategy revolved around surprising people with the release of an album; so instead of announcing that I was making an album, followed up by previews or teasers, I decided to drop the album on the market at the moment people expected to receive a teaser or some basic information.
When I see the amazing response I’m getting, I think that this approach really succeeded. It wouldn’t surprise me if people didn’t even know that the hard-copy has already been on sale since the 15th of November. The digital release is planned for the 30th of November.
– For the album, you collaborated quite a bit with AVIO buddy Intractable One; can you tell us about your friendship with him and some of the tracks you’ve worked on together?
Indeed – three of the twenty tracks on ‘Latency’ are collaborations with Intractable One. I’ve been working with him ever since I started producing my own music, so you could say we have a great connection in the studio.
These collaborations all occurred at different times and they all hold great memories for me. “Triangle Of Life” (2010) was produced as an anthem for a local party called ‘Quake Dance,’ where I played at every single edition for five years in a row. This track is our definition of euphoric Hardstyle and it’s filled with positive energy.
“Scary Voices” (2013) is probably one of the darkest tracks we’ve produced and it gained supported by some of the biggest artists in the scene like B-Front, Adaro and Crypsis.
Released in 2015, “Turbulence” is our most recent collaboration, but isn’t necessarily the most popular piece of music we’ve produced as it’s so out-of-the-box. It’s got awesome Techno vibes, but is quite ‘housey’ and straight-forward. The idea behind the track began after we were on a flight together and instead of ‘flight safety instructions,’ we had the idea to create ‘party safety instructions.’ We aimed to create a basic track that revolves around a single sound that evolves during the track. We’re both still really proud of the result.
So yeah, both Intractable One and I enjoy Hardstyle music in its widest sense and I think that’s why we have such a strong connection in the studio.
– What do you hope that your album will do for the Hardstyle scene?
To be honest, I don’t think my album will have a lot of influence on the scene, as the Hardstyle has changed a lot over the past few years. However, for me it’s been extremely important to have a physical memory of some of my personal highlights and be able to display it to others. Hopefully my fans can share these memories and also enjoy my new music.
That’s also the reason I wanted to price the CD as low as possible – so it’s accessible for everybody.
– Enough album talk – let’s chat about gigs! You are often programmed to perform at various Early Hardstyle concepts; is it ever demotivating that you don’t have much chance to perform your newer tracks?
Definitely! Even though I enjoy performing my older material, I also miss the thrill of playing recent or even completely new music on stage. For me, having a gig coming up served as massive motivation to finish new music; for example, when Defqon.1 is coming up, I could finish two new tracks leading up to the festival… It’s some kind of natural ‘drug!’
When I’m only able to play music produced before 2011, that same motivation isn’t present, so at some point I had to learn to find this feeling from the response of fans and use my own enthusiasm more effectively.
So even though it might be demotivating at some stages, I’ve learned to find a healthy drive from other sources. I believe that this has made me a stronger person.
– Between the years 2010 – 2012 you released a ton of tracks, however after that you were a little quiet – can you explain why?
It’s all about balance I guess… Whilst I just spoke about not having the opportunity to play new music, too much isn’t ideal either. From 2009 until about 2011 I was booked to play loads of gigs and in some instances I’d have three on a single night. To me, this proved to be a bit too much as I wasn’t able to fully enjoy performing anymore.
At first, I ‘blamed’ the gigs, but after I played at a sold-out Hard Bass in front of 30,000 people in the GelreDome, I kind of knew that something wasn’t right. I walked backstage, realising I’d just finished my set with Luna and Josh & Wesz, but for some reason I couldn’t even ‘relive’ it in my mind… It was as if I wasn’t even there. Sadly, I was unable to enjoy what was probably my biggest gig ever!
After that incident, I went to see my doctor and was diagnosed with depression. I stared therapy and realised that there were a lot of things that needed to change. I didn’t particularly recognise the signals your body gives to your brain; for example, I didn’t sleep when I was tired and instead kept working in the studio and when I got hungry I didn’t eat, because I had the ‘right flow’ with a project. I was also in an unhealthy relationship at the time, which I realised far too late.
So yeah, it’s been a bit quiet during that time and honestly I’ve never reached that same level productivity I had before. But that’s because I am aware of my limits now and I don’t plan to break them again. I can now enjoy my music again and I love being on stage!
– With the fast pace of releases in Hardstyle, do you ever feel as though it puts pressure on your creativity to stay ‘relevant?’
Not at all… I’ve never made music with the intention of staying ‘relevant.’ My music became relevant at a certain point, but it’s not particularly significant right now, right? I just make the music I love and I’m sure that there will always be people who feel the same vibe. Even if it’s only one person, it’s worth it to me.
– Since the return of Project One, many Hardstyle fans have said that it feels as though a new era has arisen. What are your thoughts about this?
I would love to see that sound make its way back to the normal events again, but in all honesty I feel as though music should always continue evolving. It could happen, but something fresh needs to accompany it. Project One is definitely capable of bringing that ‘something fresh,’ but I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but nonetheless it’s exciting news!
– What’s your honest opinion on the current state of Hardstyle?
The fact that I’m NOT AT ALL up to date with today’s Hardstyle is a big sign for me. I’ve lost interest in a big part of Hardstyle since it became darker and even faster. I fell in love with Hardstyle when it was at 140BPM and nowadays it’s not rare for tempos to reach 165BPM! It started to sound too similar to Hardcore and although I can acknowledge that the new generation is in love with this ‘new’ sound, I simply don’t feel a connection…
Hardstyle is the type of music that can give me such joy and energy – thankfully I still get that feeling sporadically. I also find a lot of energy in other styles, for example, the music Headhunterz is producing nowadays is awesome. You can feel the love he puts into his music, which is something you can’t re-create, even if you’re a highly skilled producer.
– AVIO Records made its comeback last year; can you speak a little bit about what it was like to play a huge role in the label’s re-launch?
I started AVIO Records back in 2008, however in 2015 the plan was to collaborate with Limitless Agency so that I could focus on producing music again. They had a few amazing artists that wanted to join AVIO, so with me being mainly in charge of the creative part of the concept, we started working together to get this re-launch off the ground.
We’ve done a lot of great things together, such as the ‘Data Fragments’ project, the MONO STEREO AVIO show, some AVIO parties and of course, we’ve also released a lot of new music!
Right now, two years later, I’m actually taking back full control over the business side of AVIO as a lot has changed internally. AVIO would not have been first priority for Limitless Agency, so we agreed it would be best for me to take over again. I enjoyed having some extra time available; however I’m ready to keep breaking boundaries with this label!
– 2016 is nearing its end. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2017?
To enjoy life! That’s something I’d advise everybody to do.
– Finally, what did you eat for breakfast today?
Nothing… To be honest, I hardly ever eat breakfast. I know, I need some structure in my life, but I can’t eat when I’ve just got out of bed. I usually have ‘brunch’ at around 10AM where I’ll eat two or three sandwiches with some meat.