Hi Mrotek, first of all we would like to congratulate you on your signing at the almighty label Dirty Workz, on their raw label Anarchy. How are you doing today?
Hey guys. Thanks so much; it’s such an honor to be with DWX! Doing great, another day in paradise!
I think the last few months must have been amazing but also a bit hard maybe, since you need to keep your mouth shut for a while to tell the big news right, haha?
Oh man, you guys have no idea 😛 It’s been tough keeping it a secret, but obviously all worth it! The warm welcome I received from fans and artists around the world was really incredible!
How did you come in touch with Dirty Workz?
Well the whole story is, my best buddy MC Heretik was working with Riiho and Digital Mindz on a few tracks. Then when I traveled to Defqon NL 2015 I met Riiho and we got along really well; thus, Fallout happened. Then similar chemistry was there with Digital Mindz, which lead to Dark Forces. I had a few demo tracks for sending (which included Slaves to the Clock) and I loved everything having to with DWX, so I asked them to put me in touch with someone at the label. The rest is history 🙂Can you describe the feelings you had when Dirty Workz contacted you about signing with their label?
I will never forget that moment. I was actually in the middle of recording a mix for The Magic Show when I got the email. I SPRINTED upstairs to show my girlfriend. We started jumping and laughing; we were both so excited. Some people may laugh, but I was giddy like a little school girl 😂 I felt a huge sense of relief actually. I guess when you are working for years to get on a legendary label you can now call ‘home’ it’s hard not to feel a sense of relief when it becomes a reality.
For all the new readers, can you give us a little introduction about yourself and your alias?
Coming from a background in metal and classical, I aim to bring strong elements of these to Raw Hardstyle. What drew me to the genre in the first place was that it hits hard and crunchy like Metal, but can also lift you up with soaring complex melodies like Classical. The combination makes so much sense to me. What you should expect from Mrotek is a deep/twisted progressive take on heavy Raw Hardstyle.
You released many tracks with your american buddies MC Heretik and Arctus, now you are signed at Dirty Workz and your first release is Substance Abuse. Instead of the magical, storytelling vocal lines by MC Heretik this track has a metal flavour all over the place. Can you tell us something about the track and the style of it, what did you use as inspiration for instance?
So, whenever MC Heretik and I work together, he writes on the track as well, not just the vocals. We agreed that I needed to do a track as just ‘Mrotek’. So for me Substance abuse is a very personal track. I had a serious boute with drug addiction when I was younger, so for me the Metal elements were meant to bring the listener to the sewers, filled with grime and sludge, much like how addiction feels. Hence the title ‘Substance Abuse’.We think Substance Abuse is an amazing killer track, rough as f#ck, and powerful till the end. We also noticed some wicked guitar sounds, can you tell us something about that, how do you create them?
There are a few ‘Dive bomb’ sounds you hear in the breaks, and a few other subtle FX sounds. I recorded those myself with one of my guitars. Once recorded I just processed them and threw them in the track 🙂 I have LOADS of ideas for making my guitar work more present in future tracks; all while still staying true to Hardstyle. I’m really excited about the ideas in my head!
Speaking about your unique style of producing, which instruments, software and hardware do you use, what does your studio look like?
I have a handful of guitars, but my prized ‘ax’ is my Jackson SL1 Soloist USA in transparent black.
For software I am a diehard Cubase addict. Some of the plugins I can’t live without are Ozone7 and Trash2 by iZotope, Pro-Q2, Pro-L and Pro-MB by Fabfilter, Serum by Xfer, and Lexicon PCM for reverb.
Hardware for me is Genelec 8030B monitors, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 interface, Virus TI Snow, Akai MPK49 MIDI Keyboard, Lexicon MX200 Hardware Reverb/FX unit, and a few other random oldschool rack hardware FX units
And most importantly, a tall cup of coffee nearby and some nice colored lights for the atmosphere 😛
Mrotek - Substance Abuse
Do you have any tips for youngsters who are willing to become a producer?
I like how you say ‘willing’ to become a producer, because it’s a lot of hard work IN the studio, OUT of the studio doing research, late nights, lots of sacrificing time with friends, family, gym, sports, sleep; it all gets put to the side when you decide to go deep with producing. If you get in into it to become rich or famous, it will be torturous, but if you are in it because you love to create music, it’s all worth it, and doesn’t seem like ‘work’ at all.
I go into Cubase every day to escape the world and express what I’m feeling inside. A perfect ‘day off’ to me, is spending all day in the lab. So if you’re in it for the love of the music, then my advice is simply to use your ears, do LOADS of research and experimenting, and spend AS MUCH QUALITY TIME IN THE STUDIO AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!
For some Hardstyle lovers, tracks like ‘Substance Abuse’, with massive screech drives, become too cheesy and standard. Well in your case, you added so many ingredients, you did create your own recipe, your own sound. How would you describe your sound, and how do you wanna use these ingredients in the forthcoming tracks?
For the people saying the screech is standard: that is like people in 1791 complaining when they heard ‘Mozart’s Requiem’ because he used yet another 16 person choir accompanied by another symphony… The ‘screech’ is a part of the ‘Rawstyle’ genre. You can only do SO much before it isn’t true to the genre anymore and becomes something else. For my first track on DWXAnarchy, I wanted to stay true to the genre.
The specific ‘recipe’ is always changing. What was my recipe for most of 2016 is about to all change in the next few months. But what must remain for me always is: The Darkness, The Heavy, and track idea’s that make you think deeper the more times you listen to it. Expect more complex Classical inspired melodies, and a bigger fusion of Heavy Metal (not just vocals).
Digital Mindz & Mrotek ft. MC Heretik - Dark Forces
If you could pick any artist, also a metal band and other producers outside the hardstyle spectrum, who would you like to collaborate with?Well, the 2 Hardstyle artists I’d love to work with are Regain and Delete. Regain and I have very similar taste I think and I’ve been a fan for years. Delete and I have totally different taste, but his quality is SO high, I’d love to see what we could make.
As far as other genres go, I would love to get Phil Bozeman from ‘Whitechapel’ to do some Metal vocals for me. Writing with ‘Dream Theater’ (Progressive Metal band) would be next level! Producing with ‘Tipper’ would be the biggest learning experience ever. And composing something with the legendary Hans Zimmer would be a dream come true.
As you mentioned above you really love metal. Who are your favorite bands?
I grew up listening to Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Pantera, all of that. Then in High School I discovered Deathcore. Today some of my favorite bands are SPECIFIC albums from Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Job For A Cowboy The Contortionist, Dream Theater, Norma Jean, and The Faceless, just to name a few. All a bunch of super edgy American Deathcore Metal for the most part 😛
Riiho & Mrotek ft. MC Heretik - Fallout
You are a producer from the USA. How is the scene in the USA? We don’t see that much on socials about Hardstyle over there.
The scene here has been growing slowly for a while. It is definitely not as lekker as The NL, but we have something, and that something is growing into something we can start to become proud of. The number of fans is on the incline, and our artists are starting to gain some kind of respect from the rest of the world, which is more than what we could say for the last 10 years I think. Bigger shows are happening here as the months go on, and the companies throwing shows are stepping it up as well. Like I said, no NL level yet, but I know it will keep growing into something great someday soon.
We heard rumors that you are planning a european tour, at least you wanna move towards europe this summer, can you tell us something about that?
I’m working with my agent to get a possible tour together around June this year. It’s not for sure, but it’d be great to play in Europe and meet everyone in person 🙂 Trying to MOVE to either NL or Belgium in 2018 at some point. That’s the plan at least!
Do you already have any events planned on the schedule for the summer?The only one that I can mention at the moment is Basscon: Wasteland in late April. But a few more are just about ready to be announcedWhere do you wanna play sometimes?
Anywhere in NL really. There are WAY too many festivals to mention, but really anywhere! I love blasting some heavy shit for a crowd of fanatics, so any party is great to me!!
Speaking about previews, when can we expect a new track coming up?Besides the remix with Deimos of Sub Sonik – To Hell (which is coming out on his ‘Strike One’ album) I have 2 tracks in the bank ready to release in the next month or two! Keep your eyes peeled.
As the new generation of artists, which new artist do you recommend to keep an eye on?
As far as really new artists go, The Wicked, Arctus and his new Hardcore alias ‘Sythys’, (MC/The) Heretik, Insidiouz, Deimos, Imperatorz, Imperium, Tarec, and for some uptempo Tim Shopp is beast mode!
If you could choose one superpower, what will it be?
*has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now it will have been* 😀