Brennan Heart is one of the leading names in the global hardstyle scene.
With productions like 'Lose my Mind' attracting over 6 million views on Youtube he has no shortage of fans and in 2011, he ram raided the DJ Mag Top 100 Poll which was a massive win for the rave scene.
Trackitdown is very proud to speak to the maestro and see what he recommends as this week's Guest Reviewer...
1. Thanks very much for taking time out to speak to us! Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you’ve been up to over the last 7 days?
My life is kind of living in the fast lane these days. My schedule is quite busy and I’m travelling a lot (Recently I flew to 5 different countries in 7 days to play at several gigs & festivals).
The best thing about my job is playing in front of all these excited crowds, it gives back a tremendous energy. Next to this, I’m working in the studio on new tracks. Some big things coming up, a few new videos and collabs in the US.
2. Your set at Defqon.1 was one of the highlights of the event for us. Can you describe to the readers here what it’s like playing on that big stage?
Defqon.1 is for most collegues a moment to enjoy music, good times with frieds/collegues and be part of this highlight of the year.
Playing at Defqon.1 is very different than playing my club-shows. I like to feel the energy of people that are close to the booth and reach out their hands. The energy at the big stages like Defqon.1 is different, but I still get shivers when thousands of people sing along with ‘Lose My Mind’ and ‘Running Late’. Besides, the visual elements, décor and light show are top of the bill with Q-dance events, so it’s really exciting to be part of these shows.
3. You have a long association with Q Dance of course, how did that come about and what do you think has been the secret of their success?
It all has to do with the perseverance of constant improvement and a close analysis of your crowd. What do people expect and how can you exceed their expectations? Q-Dance keeps investing in the quality of their events and is really open for dialogue and innovation.
For example, back in 2010 I had the idea to perform with a live orchestra on Qlimax. They are the only organisation who can realize huge productions like this and make sure the show and all elements have the right balance.
4. In ten years you’ve released something like 100 productions, which means that you must have the studio business locked down! Can you talk us through the process of conceiving and creating a new Brennan Heart anthem?
When I started as a producer, I was very productive and I pushed myself to finish the tracks as soon as possible. Nowadays I can work for more than a year on a track. Have a basic idea, put it aside, bringing it back when I’m in a different mood or have an additional melody.
It’s more a ‘process’ and it also has to do with my intensive schedule: I can’t spend 20 days in a row in the studio. But I can also work in hotel rooms or in planes, when I’m suddenly inspired by people or surroundings.
However, it’s still a big thrill to finish a track after a long day and night of working in the studio, and leaving at 6AM in the morning…with a big smile!
5. Vocals and raps feature all over hardstyle anthems, perhaps more so than any other form of dance music. How important is it to have that catchy vocal and do you usually collaborate on writing with the guys and girls who feature or do you present them with the lyrics usually?
I’m listening to a variety of music and I’m inspired by various artists, songs and genres. I’m a music lover, but I’m also listening to specific productional elements, which might be useful for my own tracks.
Though I still produce instrumental tracks, vocals and melodies have become a ‘trademark’ for me. I like to cooperate with other producers, composers and singers, as this enlarges your view on creating new music. It’s great to work with a team and enjoy the results together.
6. Over the last few years Youtube has undoubtedly become the best way for hardstyle producers to reach their audience. What goes into creating Youtube content to help market and promote Brennan Heart projects and activities?
I agree, Youtube is a great platform for sharing content. My best viewed content are the official videos of ‘Lose My Mind’ and ‘Running Late’. But the audience wants more: previews, reports, aftermovies etc, and I consider it’s nice to show insights of my life and work.
Connected to social media like Facebook and Twitter, it’s also nice to see how my audience is informing their friends on my music, so my fans have become important partners in distributing my name and music.
7. The global reach of Youtube in particular has helped hardstyle reach all corners of the world. Are you doing a lot of international travel in 2012 and what new parts of the globe have surprised you with their demand for the hard bass!?
Where haven’t I been!? Japan and Africa haven’t been on my travel-schedule yet, but I collected quite some airmiles with travels to Chile, Mexico, US, Canada, Australia, South Korea and almost all European countries. And internet is doing its work, as the audience knows all the tracks when I play there for the first time. They do a lot of efforts to come to the shows: some fans have travelled for more than 2 days to see me performing. It makes you realize that music can be really special to people and it makes me proud and humble at the same time.
8. Recently you’ve been name-checking people like Dash Berlin on your fan page. With the likes of Showtek crossing over into the trance and electro arena of late can we expect to see some new sounds and collabs from Brennan Heart?
Like said: I’m a music lover and I listen to a variety of music. The producers of Dash Berlin are friends of mine and we love to share and exchange new tracks and ideas. Electronic dance music is very dynamic and people that like trance or electro, can really appreciate hard dance music nowadays. I’ve always been a pioneer in music and I’m not afraid to look for new sound and angles.
9. This year we are definitely going to see more hardstyle acts take over the DJ Mag Top 100 Poll which has probably taken some of the traditional scenes by surprise. Now that hardstyle is up there in global popularity with house and trance acts, where can the scene go and what are your predictions for the next 12 months in terms of sounds and growth?
Going into new markets is always thrilling, but this year has been crazy. In Europe the scene for our music is still growing and my music is reaching out to new audiences. But markets like US and South America are very big and promising, so we feel that the sky is the limit. I consider my job is to deliver great new tracks, cause new music is the best push for my career.
10. Finally, we’re definitely having a renaissance of the superstar DJ age! What’s the most superstar thing Brennan Heart has done over the last 12 months?
There have been so many moments that are special to me, but I’m not living a superstar life...yet;)hahaha!!!. With all the travels, shows and studio days, there’s no time to hang around and throw pool parties every night.
Brennan Heart Track Recommendations
This is one of my favorite tracks of this moment! I can fit it in anytime in my sets, as this track is the perfect bridge between euphoric and dark sounds. This sample never bores me, despite the vocals have been used many times (including myself...Masterblade)
Founding master of hardstyle/hard dance, Antonio, has developed a new refreshing sound again. Instead of the typical 'distorted kick', he's using a different drive regarding his kicks. A very 'international' track, which rises the hands in many countries.
I produced this track as the anthem for Intents Festival in the Netherlands. I know the promotors and their dedicated team and the festival is only a few miles from where I live, so I'm very connected to this event. I wrote the track during my USA-trip. It's strange, but it feels like this track is still 'improving': I'm getting great feedback from the crowds.
Good news: after a quit period without releases, Donkey Rollers are back with a signature DR-track, representing the Fusion-sound in the best way. It's a nice balance between energy and atmosphere!
After his album 'Producers Mind', mastermind Barry (a.k.a. Frontliner) is getting loose! I instantly fell in love with this break and the structure of this track. Full support! And I like to put the qlimax of the track on repeat...!
It's a great summer anthem, with balls: this can only be Gerardo! I was stunned by the impact of the rap, when I listened to it for the first time. One of the best Decibel-anthems ever!
Tatanka's new summer release, though it's very different from his 2011-hit 'Afrika'. That's why I admire and respect Tatanka: every release has a completely different sound and drive. Especially the mid-intro is appealing to me. Old acid-rave vibe!
A big BAM from Alpha2! This is quality: a delicious break and a mature sound. It matches very vibe, sound and moment, so this is an ideal track to add to any set.
Dozer is back! It has been silent for a long time, but this Last World-anthem is very dynamic and I like the way it's structured and composed. Please, hurry up with new tracks!
Vibe and atmosphere of this track are outstanding! Naming Ran-d, everyone connects him to the overwhelming success of Gunz4Hire. Both Ran-d and Adaro are very dedicated to real music and deserve our respect. I can add almost every track they're releasing.
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