From the age of 19 he was producing his vocals. Starting at the raw hardstyle label ‘Seismic Records’ he published his vocals on 12inch. His voice, vocals, and style of presentation got noticed by big labels, organizations and DJ’s in the scene. He is for sure one of the unique voices in the scene. Did collaborate with the biggest artists such as Neophyte, Mad Dog, Tha Playah, Radical Redemption, Angerfist and more. He is ‘The Real Voice’.. Let’s have a chat with Jeffrey van Opstal, better known as MC Jeff!
Hi Jeff, Thanks for your time. How are you doing? Can you give us a small recap of 2015?
I’m fine, 2015 was a good year for me, saw a lot of different countries and made some cool collabs.
A few of the highlights were: making the anthem for Masters of Hardcore 20th anniversary, hosting Mysteryland in New York US, Closing the Mysteryland NL Qdance stage with Mad Dog, performing at Qlimax was also sick. I really liked the new event Unlocked from b2s that I hosted.
Let’s go back to the beginning, you did start at the age of 19. When did you decide you wanted to be an MC?
I actually never decided, I was a DJ in a local club and we also organized events so the DJs that we booked had to be announced, someone said my voice was dope and it went pretty fast from there.
You did start creating vocals for the raw hardstyle scene but today you are often seen during hardcore acts, is there any difference for you as MC between these two styles?
I make stuff for all kinds of music, the difference is the bpm and the feeling on some tracks.
You did produce tracks together with the biggest names. With Mad Dog you did produce a lot, how did you guys meet and how is it to work and perform together with him?
He asked me in 2012 I think, He knew me through Neophyte Records and from some events that I hosted. We have a great chemistry on stage, later on, this chemistry also developed in the studio. He is a great producer and we just click onstage and in the studio.
Besides hardstyle and hardcore, do you listen to other genres of music as well?
I’m a music freak I listen to a lot of electronic stuff and rock and hip-hop.
Who is your favorite musician?
Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
Do you like writing new songs, tracks and vocals?
I hated writing, I still do sometimes, haha. I started practicing it when I was 20 years old because I wanted to have new material so I won’t get bored myself. Later on, I learned that my voice is capable of doing more than I ever thought.
Right now I can really be enthusiastic about the beats producers send me or when I made a concept for a song. When that happens, the lyrics come by itself.
How do you get inspiration to write lyrics?
For me, it just goes by listening to the feelings of a track, or sometimes I just have a melody or rhyme in my head.
Besides writing lyrics for hardcore and hardstyle, do you also write lyrics/songs in other genres?
Yes, I do a lot of stuff lately, writing and recording wise. Actually, recently one EDM track I worked on got on the playlist of Afrojack and Blasterjaxx.
I can’t see myself making vocals for just one sound, I like too many styles for that and otherwise I will get bored. But my passion for the harder styles is the biggest.
Talking about the production process, how do you start? Do you start writing when the producer delivers his music or does it also work the other way around?
It can work out both ways, but I prefer when they send me something so I can get the feeling right.
Looking back at your own tracks, which is your favorite?
Right now I have to say Wolfpack with Frequencerz and Tartaros. The feeling of that track fits perfectly with the vocals I made, very happy with it.
Lately, there is some discussion about RAW hardstyle claiming a stage at a hardcore event. As the voice of raw hardstyle and hardcore, what is your opinion about this?
I really don’t care, haha. It’s music! Enjoy it! If not, go the other area’s ;).
Hardstyle is growing, even house DJ’s like Hardwell and Armin van Buuren play hardstyle tracks during their sets, mostly at the end of it. Do you think the rising popularity of hardstyle is a good thing, or will it become a negative thing?
As long there are people on those parties who like to dance and have fun on that music I don’t see why not.
I remember when I visited Beat The Bridge and Frequencerz dropped Prison Riot from Flosstradamus (Trap) in the middle of their hardstyle set, I fucking loved it!
You are on the scene now for almost 10 years. What is the craziest thing you have ever witnessed?
A few times people started a bonfire in the middle of the crowd when Mad Dog and I performed that was pretty sick, haha.
We can remember one of these bonfires at Mysterland Q-Dance stage indeed, these guys are always there to create this crazy vibe!
You did perform at a lot of great events. Which event is still on your list, and why?
I have seen many events over the years, not only as a host but also as a side act with other DJs. I have to say Defqon Chile because I love Defqon and some relatives of mine live there.
Do you have any tips for youngsters who are willing to become an MC?
Discover your voice, practice and take timing seriously.
Did you ever wanted to be a DJ, or did you always prefer the mic?
I actually still play sometimes, my last set was at Defqon 2015 white stage as 2faded. But I like to beat the sound of the mic to much 😉