Theracords is perhaps the most famous, energetic and toughest rawstyle label in the scene. This year, they hosted their own Theracords bunker at Q-base, what a great success! We like to know more about the founder and producer Pieter Heijnen. Let’s have a chat with DJ Thera!
Hi DJ Thera, We hope you’re doing great! You played a great set at Q-Base. What was it like to host your own Theracords stage at this event?
Thanks very much! It really was a dream come true. It was actually even more awesome than I expected. Our area was filled from the beginning to the end and the atmosphere throughout the whole event was one of the best I have ever experienced!
For the new readers, can you give us a little introduction, Who is Dj Thera?
I am Pieter Heijnen a DJ & producer from the south-east of Holland and I started releasing and spinning hardstyle actually before the word hardstyle was even invented, haha! In 2008 I started the label Theracords which has now grown to be one of the leading (raw) hardstyle labels in the world.
You are processing many music styles in your tracks, Hard-trance to Rawstyle, from Techno to Industrial. How would you describe your style?
I have always enjoyed experimenting while producing which resulted in productions that are sometimes more trancy and sometimes more industrial. But actually, since this year I have worked hard to bring 1 specific typical “Thera’ sound. This particular sound combines the great trance feels with the power of raw hardstyle. I really feel I now found the exact sound I want to bring to the people. Giving the crowd goosebumps during the breaks and going as crazy as possible when the drop hits. Good examples of my typical sound are my tracks “Desolation” and “The Paranormal”.
Thera - The Paranormal
Many people don’t know, but in the beginning of your career you worked together with Brennan Heart, using the alias Brennan & Heart. How do you know each other?
I would actually expect people know it by now, because pretty much every single interview I do, brings up the old days, haha! We met through high school. Since we are both from the same region (small villages in the north of Limburg), it was bound to happen to work together since we were one of the few busy producing dance music.
What was the reason that you guys did go separate ways?
In 2005 our project really got popular quickly and we did have a lot of discussions which road to follow, which resulted in going separate ways. We both ended up pretty good though, haha! We still have good contact and we both have great respect for each other.
Then you did start your solo career under the alias DJ Thera. How did this name arise
Actually, it’s an anagram of my former name Heart -> Thera 😉
At the beginning of your career you had some difficult times. Record labels did not want to publish your numbers. Subsequently, you founded Theracords. What were the reasons and thoughts behind this?
Since I quit the music business in 2005 and started again in 2008 the whole hardstyle scene had changed. Instead of the type of hardstyle, I enjoy, the most popular hardstyle at that time was extremely euphoric. I was used in making way more aggressive hardstyle and I didn’t want to change that. So the best way to follow and believe in your own music, is to just do the whole label thing yourself and that paid off big time!
What are your future plans with Theracords?
We still feel we could get more international recognition so we are working hard to expand our market and try to show as many people as possible how incredibly awesome our music is!
Theracords always discovered the many talents around the world. So we all know Delete, from Australia. In addition, you have Exit Mind, from Austria, signed as a producer of Theracords. There are certain points where you look for? How do you discover these talents?
Well, first of all it is extremely important that an artist sounds like no one else. Uniqueness in its own way. Every single artist at Theracords sounds unique in a different way. There is no such thing as a Theracords sound, because a Delete track is very different than a Prefix & Density track for instance. That’s what I feel is incredibly strong about our label. Discovering new talent can be done in lots of ways. The easiest way to go, is simply email a demo, though!
The rawscene continues to grow and so does the Theracords fan base. What is the best thing that fans have done for you so far?
The very best thing of our fan base is actually that they are a fan of Theracords, haha! Without them, we cannot exist! We simply make the music we love and that’s never a guarantee other people will love it too. I always keep that in mind!
Besides Theracords you have also established Therabyte. In 2013 Therabyte unfortunately stopped. What was the main reason for this?
It may sound stupid but there are only 24 hours in 1 day. And it also reflects a bit on my answer of the previous question. The fans make or break a label. Theracords was gaining popularity, big time, which resulted also in more demand, which took that much time there wasn’t time left for Therabyte. When you only have 24 hours a day, would you work on something that is successful or ignore the success and keep on working on the thing that hasn’t got any success and is unlikely to have any success ever?
At the end of 2014 you have released your album Training Sessions. The album is a real training session, including experiments. Was it difficult to make so many different tracks? Are you satisfied with the album?
It was a great experience to have a conceptual album making it as diverse as possible. I really wanted to build it up from hardtrance to hardcore and that is exactly what it has become. However, it wasn’t that easy. For instance, I made different kicks for each and every track which is very time consuming, of course, and this also makes it harder to have a good connection throughout the track on the album as a whole.
As a perfectionist, you are never satisfied, but I learned to give it a place. I am very satisfied though that I made an album that is that diverse which makes it completely unique in the hardstyle scene. It’s simply the most diverse album out there! But if I do an album another time I would stick way more to that one particular ‘Thera’ sound I was mentioning earlier.
Do you have anyone on your list you would like to collaborate with?
Always and I am actually already working on collabs with those artists, haha! Currently in progress are collabs with Ophidian and with Regain. Furthermore, I will make a new track with Delete soon!
In the coming months you have few bookings. Is that because you have less time? So can we expect a new album or something big? 😉
Haha, wow, that’s very well found! After the festival season it is always a little bit less busy, so it’s actually quite normal. But it indeed gives more time to produce a lot of new music, so who knows what will happen!
You’ve performed at many nice places. In previous interviews, you have indicated that you would like to host your own bunker at Q-base. And you did! Is there anything else on your wish list?
I really love to play in countries I have never played before. I played in Finland a little while ago and to experience foreign hardstyle scenes is really incredible! So, I’d like to do that more!
Final question; Is there anything you would like to share with us and your fans?
For those who like their hardstyle a little bit rougher, never miss out on Theracords! We will bring you the goods, haha!