After a whirlwind 2019 of pumping countless new tracks, collaborating with epic names in the industry, and travelling to perform a life-changing show, we caught up with Germany-based, Dutch producer and DJ, Teknoclash to talk about his hard dance style, the Dutch scene, and his fondest memories of the past year.
Electric Soul: Where does your musical story begin? Did you start off as a DJ and make your way to producing?
Technoclash: Actually, I started producing first and then DJing came in as sort of a side effect of producing. I produced a lot of records for other people in various genres like dancehall, big room and harder stuff. At a certain point, I was sick of doing stuff for others and never creating my own identity. That’s the point where I changed my perspective as an artist. Don‘t get me wrong here, but unless you’re a real sick turntable-ist, like Laidback Luke for example – who plays constantly with all four decks, mixing two tracks is, in my opinion, not a “hard-to-learn skill“, while producing is.
ES: Has hard dance always been your genre of choice? Have you dabbled in producing or spinning other genres of music?
T: I always had a heart for harder stuff. Growing up with hard rock music, I expanded my horizon towards electronic music and discovered hardstyle, hard trap, hard bass and bass music in general. My vision for my project was to blend various elements of different genres together. Having trap influences into 4/4 to the floor hard dance tracks, or having a big hardstyle melody in a bass-heavy tune which is not pure hardstyle, and then spice it up with some psy influences. I like to experiment a lot. And as I said, during my ghost producing times I worked in a variety of genres from EDM to Dancehall.
ES: Tell us about the Dutch electronic scene. Are there any Dutch clubs, parties, or producers that have had a huge impact on you?
T: I am actually based in Germany, but I figured out very early that Holland is the only option for me. I have to build all my infrastructure for my project there, due to the fact that I am not a big producer in my scene.
There are a few artists in this space (German electronic scene), for example like Broken Element, Virtual Riot or Cuebrick. But the real stuff can be found 45 Minutes going west of my hometown of Gelsenkirchen. That’s why I decided to look for management, a booking agency, and so on there.
I think the Dutch scene is something super special and it’s where you earn your international respect. Releasing on a label like my home base Wolfclan/Dirtyworkz (which is Belgium, but still counts in the BENELUX territory), or Spinnin’, lifts you up to a new stage of your career. In America, they say, “if you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere”, but for the electronic music scene it‘s, “if you can make it in Holland, you can make it anywhere”. The standards for electronic music are so high here and the community is so strong, but extraordinary producing skills will open the gates to that community. If you do not possess them, keep learning and pushing until those gates open.
ES: How would you describe your sound? Are there artists you look to for inspiration?
T: My sound is unpredictable and that’s why I like it. It can range from a very hammering hard tune to a melodic, emotional production. It can contain elements from hardstyle, trap, bass, dubstep, and then blended with other elements to make it special, though still maintaining a signature style that you can identify as my sound.
ES: 2019 was a big year for you. What were some of your major highlights?
T: The absolute highlight of 2019 was the trip my team and I did to Afghanistan. We played a secret show there for the soldiers on duty in Mazar-I-Sharif, which is one of the most dangerous places in the world to go. It was a bizarre experience for all of us, but totally worth it. Dozens of soldiers came to us after the show to personally thank us for coming and playing for them which was really heart-melting.
Another highlight was finding the musical home base for my tracks- Dirty Workz. They welcomed us with open arms and we are working on great things with the guys there. Dirty Workz really feels like home and that’s what you want as an artist: a label that understands and supports your vision!
ES: You were consistently pumping out music. Is there a track or a collaboration that you are particularly fond of or had the best time making?
T: The stuff I put out with Lost Identity is always pure fun to produce. Marius became a good friend of mine when we were producing in my studio and we always have a hilariously fun time, sharing a lot of ideas and quality music. The same goes for Rachel, aka Boogshe/GLDY LX – she’s a hell of an artist, so incredibly passionate about what she does. She has such a great voice and understanding of music, and it‘s also super fun to spend time with her. I click great with both of them and there will be some amazing music coming out soon. Recently I worked with Audiofreq – he is such a heavyweight in the production game and a super nice human being. And last but not least: RayRay – if you have studio time with this purple alien, it’s guaranteed to be crazy!
ES: Between producing and playing shows and festivals, how do you find balance in this crazy industry?
T: I actually try to structure my studio time like normal workdays. Starting early, doing 8, 9, 10 hours and then having some time for me. If inspiration hits me after studio time, then I try to catch the idea for sure, but finish it up the next day. I also go like 3 times a week to the gym. Funnily, I also study political science to a higher degree which also sharpens up my brain cells a bit.
ES: In addition to putting out tracks, you are also constantly pumping out videos, recaps, and even music production tutorials. How important do you think it is for artists to create not only music but other kinds of content for social media?
T: Unfortunately, it’s not enough anymore to just be a good producer. You need all this content to compete with others. This is especially true for acts that just DJ and cannot produce. They have an advantage when it comes to social media because they do not spend 40-50 hours a week in the studio to create bangers, rather they have more time to focus on the social media aspect.
I love to do tutorials for sure. This comes naturally to me since I also taught music production for a while at the University of Utrecht for Sound Education and recaps are really nice to look at. However, we, unfortunately, live in a totally overexaggerated social content world, where the original productions of an artist play a smaller role than it should.
ES: What can we expect from Teknoclash in 2020?
T: Releasing a lot of good music, playing good shows, always giving my best and growing my profile and my knowledge. Hopefully ;).
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