When we talk about quality hardstyle with different influences and covering a wide variety of different elements in tracks, there is no way around Hard Driver. Lately there is a huge separation between raw and euphoric – which I personally don’t understand – but Hard Driver keeps on putting together euphoric and raw elements. Still, sticking to his unique and energetic sound. We’ve had a little chat with him – will he be ever back on stage with his helmet?
If you ever wanted to know, how it is working with Hard Driver in the studio, read through this interview with the vocalist behind ‘Echoes’ and – Szen!
You’re in the scene for years now, still signed at Dirty Workz and keeping up the quality tracks we all love. You already released a very nice album – is there a chance of Point Break 2 or maybe a whole new album? What are your goals for 2015?
To be honest, I’m already looking forward to doing another album, but at the moment I want to focus on single releases. My album got some really nice feedback and the overall response was great! Before I will start a new one, I want to have enough ideas and concepts for new tracks.
Your tracks cover a wide range of different elements – you can be pretty raw, but also very euphoric. Is there something you prefer? And if you look back to your productions in the past, are you satisfied with your musical evolution until now?
I finally found the sound that I like and want to produce. In 2012, starting out a bit harder, then a bit more euphoric, and now in between. It’s hard for me to make the choice between the 2, and I don’t really feel that I should make that choice. I wouldn’t say I play euphoric like (for example) Wildstylez, but more the harder euphoric stuff, and build up from there to the real raw tracks.
For me that’s the thing I like to do the most. I also like to play some more 2010-2011 tracks, the ones that people might have forgotten about. There is a lot of awesome music from that period, and I feel it should be played more often.
You recently released a very euphoric and atmospheric track together with Szen, called ‘Echoes’. It’s not you first collaboration with her – how is working with her in the studio? Can we expect more in the future? What do you find interesting or amazing about her voice or better how would you describe it?
I got the demo vocal from Szen and I really had a good feeling about the idea for the track. When we met in the studio, we changed some lyrics, recorded the takes and from there I started working with the vocals. Szen is a really nice singer and a nice person to work with! I’m sure we will do more together in the future.
Why did you let go of your helmet? Do you recognize a difference compared to the performances with helmet? Would you maybe do it again – for a live performance? How did it feel under the helmet while mixing?
The helmet was only a way for me to make the transition from jump (Fenix) to hardstyle. I felt that I needed to do something new to make a good start with this project.
The helmet was a cool trick to get the hype going, and stay ‘hidden’ for 1 year. After that, at Reverze 2013, I removed it, and officially showed the world that it was me. I was even on national television in Belgium, which was an epic moment.
How was Defqon.1 for you? What do you think of this year’s edition – which one is your favorite edition so far?
Defqon 1 was seriously the best weekend I’ve had in a very long time. With a big group of friends we had a bungalow next to the festival. I felt that there was a really nice energy in every area and you could feel that all weekend long. My set in the Blue (Saturday, 18.00-19.00) was another highlight in my career. Packed and ready to rock!
Your new track with the video, recorded at Reverze is now online – how long did you work on the track? What do you like about it and are you satisfied with the video? Is there a special meaning behind the track? What inspired you?
I think I worked about 2 weeks on that track. I found the vocals in a TV series and I instantly got goosebumps: I had to use this! So the day after I started playing some chords under the vocal and it gave it such an epic feeling. When I got the news that we could use video footage from Reverze, I knew that this needed to have that big, anthem like feeling.
This, together with the shots from Reverze made an epic video!
What do you think of Noisecontrollers, Phuture Noize and Wildstylez album?
All 3 cool albums and unique in their genre. I am and always have been a big fan of Noisecontrollers and Wildstylez, so I was pretty sure I was going to like their albums. The Phuture Noize boys have their own unique sound and the album tells a really cool story. They put a lot of work in the album, respect! Side note: don’t forget our track ‘Everywhere’, it’s on the album! 😉
Besides your Dj career, what is your week about? Do you have a regular plan? What are you doing if you’re not playing at a festival at the weekend?
My week is (if I don’t have any appointments) 5 days studio. I usually work from 10.00 till 18.00. Next to my productions I have a production company and I do a lot of mastering work for other artists. This together with my own tracks keeps me pretty busy. When I have a free weekend I like to relax, do some shopping, go out for dinner,… basically taking it easy.
What is your favorite track of yourself and why? Do you have an ‘overall best hardstyle track’ ?
My favorite track of my self is Exploration, the Hard Bass anthem 2014. It still has everything a track needs in my opinion, I wouldn’t know what to change about it. For the overall best track… the first one that come to mind is Noisecontrollers – CTRL ALT DELETE. Amazing track!
Anything else you want to tell the people, your fans, your family and your cat/dog/bird whatever?
Euhm, I just finished the Decibel 2015 anthem! I’m really happy with the result and I’m really looking forward to rock the mainstage for the first time. I’m also working on new tracks with B-Front, Radical Redemption and Zatox. There is a new solo track coming up, POW!, which is getting really cool feedback lately.
So, you’ll be hearing a lot more “Hard Driver” this year for sure!