There’s a new label in town! NOX is proud to introduce LUX, featuring various genres. One of the artists that’s featured on their upcoming EP is KOARSE. We had a talk with him about his release and about what he has been doing these past few months.
First thing first: how did you end up at LUX?
I was booked for BEATS ‘N BASS, a multigenre party organised by NOX, and there I started talking to Twan (half of Alora and the founder of NOX) and I found out we had a decent bit in common. So a month later I sent him some music to play out. He was really excited about that so I sent some more stuff over, Stortbak is the first of those to get released.
Can you tell us a bit more about Stortbak?
Yeah definitely. I was very inspired by loud and aggressive tracks that have a very loose and off beat pluck rhythm and I always try to find a way to make these kinds of tracks more digestible. Getting this to work was a real challenge as you’re really riding the line between making it too straight and uninteresting or too loose and hard to follow. I’m stoked I found a way to get it moving correctly and also flip it into something completely different on the second drop.
LUX is featuring diverse genres, is that something you want to experiment with, as you already produce a lot of different tracks, like the hardcore track last month?
For sure. I’ve always been quite all over the place when it comes to creativity both in what I do as well as for what influences me. I find it really difficult to keep doing one thing for years straight so I’m glad to have a place where I can be as diverse as I want. So as for what I’m working on, while it’s mostly Drum & Bass I’m also switching it up with a bunch of Footwork, Dubstep and Hardcore, influences from these genres also find their way into my Drum and Bass work quite naturally.
The reason I like experimenting with different genres, is because I get bored quite easily, aside from that I just listen to a lot of different stuff so inspiration comes from just about everywhere. As for picking what to work on it’s honestly not that conscious of a process. I work on like 20+ tracks at a time, some get finished, some don’t. I tend to just work on what feels right at the time but I don’t really feel all that in control when it comes to what gets to the 100% mark and what stays stuck somewhere below.
You graduated this June and for that you played a four-deck set at EKKO, with an impressive lightshow as well, how did you prepare and arrange all that? How were the reactions on this? And do you have the ambition to do this more often in the future?
Yes, the main goal of the Master I’m currently doing, following up on my Bachelor, is getting more proficient in creating A/V experiences, mostly in the realm of synced sound and light. The end product of all this hopefully being a fully thought out and connected light and video experience following my DJ set, without me losing the ability to improvise.
Creating all this is pretty tough, especially on a budget, so I’m exploring as much as I can trying to find a flexible system that allows for as deep control as I want. In the case of the EKKO, the visuals were programmed by a friend of mine to be audio-reactive and this adds a very unique flair to the whole thing. This and other projects I’ve done earlier this year have received very positive feedback from people which has in turn motivated me massively to keep going down this path. There will definitely be more.
On the 19th of September you tweeted about some new stuff, can you tell us a bit more about that already? At the end of July you posted something about a remix as well, is that another release we can look forward to?
Haha yes, I’m working on a little EP, lots of varying styles of Drum & Bass and some different genre stuff as well. All very old-school rave/techno/trance inspired which is a sound I’m really excited about. As for the remix, I’m working on putting that out alongside some other bootleg/remix stuff I’ve done over the past few months, all free download on SoundCloud of course!
Now, a bit more about yourself. At what age did you decide you wanted to do more with music?
Around the age of 13 me and my best friend were super nerdy and just trying to get into anything we could get hands on (programming, video/photo editing, etc.) so eventually we cracked an old version of FL Studio and started to make really horrendous sounding beats. Over time the beats became less and less horrendous as we were learning from all the music we were interested in at the time, mostly Deadmau5, Justice and The Prodigy.
After a while that friend also bought a Numark DJ Controller and we started to play around with that a lot too, this continued pretty low-key for a few years until I had to look for what I wanted to do in university. I couldn’t find anything that really made me happy and I was pretty much at the end of my wits until I stumbled onto the HKU and found out that I could study music and sound. Since I had nothing else I just decided to go all in on it and now 5 years later we’re here.
How did you roll into the world of drum and bass?
Slowly but surely. After going through my UKF Dubstep & Deadmau5 phase I became interested in more niche sounds. I scooted over to the DnB channel more often and through Chase & Status and Pendulum this over time took me in the direction of Noisia, Fre4knc and Current Value. Pretty much everything with a raw and dark edge really caught my attention primarily. After a while the list of names expanded as I found more odd stuff in and around the genre, the main later inspirations being The Outside Agency, Former, Rockwell and Proxima.
While in the beginning I was mostly interested in making hard-hitting bombastic dancefloor material I think over time I started focussing more and more on the intricacies of rhythm and sound as opposed to just trying to make the largest sounding drops. It became more and more about doing something I hadn’t heard before and less about impressing others.
Where do you get your inspiration, when writing new tracks?
It used to be mostly through events I went to, I would hear some interesting stuff absolutely stun a dance floor and I’d have fuel for weeks. Now I look to other art quite often, books, film, architecture, paintings, etc. It also helps me a lot to imagine a story or world around the sound of the track.
Which events / festivals that you already played stick with you the most?
A few different ones come to mind: I played a closing set at WTF 2 years ago in the second room where so many people showed up I’m pretty sure nobody else could fit, the energy was absolutely mad. Another one was last year in October when I was booked for Machtig in Groningen which was also an important bucket list item as it allowed me the space to experiment quite wildly which the people were completely up for to my surprise. Last but definitely not least I joined my friends IMANU and Buunshin on their way to the Noisia Eurosonic Noorderslag after party and they said that I could also join in and play a couple of tunes if the energy was right. Which it was, as the entire event was a really intimate b2b2b2b2b2b2b2etc type of deal, with us, half of the Vision label, Noisia and their staff. To say that was very special would still be a big understatement.
Any plans or wishes for the future?
Obviously things like Let it Roll, Rampage and EDC Las Vegas come to mind out of the sheer scale of it all, but my main bucket list event is BangFace Weekender. I feel like that’s one of the few places I could get away with playing to the full extent of my musical eclecticism without people leaving within the first 5 minutes. I would also just really like to play some more outdoor festivals, there’s a big extra energy to that that I just love.