Technoboy: Hardstyle's #1 fashion don
Wed 9th Dec, 2009 Featuresin
The unique hard dance anthems of Italian fashion maestro Technoboy have struck a note with clubbers all over the world, but the pioneer of the hardstyle genre won’t rest until he reaches Madagascar and the North Pole – after he pays a visit to Australia, of course. Later this month he’ll be heading up the next installment of the X-Qlusive parties – where a particularly special member of the global hard dance fraternity is showcased, and given the reigns to host the evening. Mega.
Technoboy definitely has a reputation as one of the best dressed DJ/producers working in hard dance, but it’s one that’s matched by his consistency in the studio. He put these skills to good use when he hammered the European crowds at X-Qlusive Technoboy in Amsterdam earlier this year, and you can be sure he’ll be bringing his A-game for the Australian edition. ITM finds out a little more about what we can expect.
What were some of the first parties/clubs that you played at?
One of my first parties where I performed as Technoboy was Qlimax 2001 in the Heineken Music Hall in the Netherlands. I remember that night very well, since Q-dance built a DJ booth that looked like a rocket, but to get into the booth the artists had to jump over a gap. I was waiting backstage on a platform and the movie that kept playing in my mind of the new promising DJ Technoboy falling into that gap just wouldn’t stop. I was nervous about everything in that period. I knew I could mix though. What not many people know is that I have been performing as a DJ long before I changed my name to Technoboy. In the early 90’s I already spun music like Italohouse and electro funk in clubs in Italy. I have played in unknown gay clubs for crowds of only 50 people. Mostly men, yes. Friends told me that people on the Internet sometimes call me gay because of the way some of my tracks sound. Or because I wear classy outfits instead of baggy t-shirts with my logo on it. I couldn’t care less. The first visitors of house parties were gays and blacks. The first parties I played at were gay parties. Dance music unites people, for me everyone is equal. Being a ladies lover though I’m happy to see women on the dance floor as well. Especially blondes: after all I’m a real Italian!
Back to Technoboy: spinning hardstyle was new for me. Hardstyle was new to everybody so I had no idea how the reaction of the crowd would be. I hardly spoke English, I never travelled before and now I had to get into the plane to perform in places I never heard of. If anyone would have told me back then that 8 years later I would have my own exclusive party in Australia, I think I would have asked if he was living in cuckoo land. That is, if I would have understood his English in the first place.
What drew you to the sound of Hardstyle?
I wasn’t drawn to the sound of hardstyle; I am one of the people who created it! We were already producing the music that we nowadays label as hardstyle in our Alternative Sound Planet studios before the millennium. If you listen to our first productions, you can already hear what kick and bass mean to me. It was a new sound that was influenced by styles like hardtrance, hardhouse and hardcore and what we were making (while some other pioneers in other parts of the world were doing the same) turned into a style on its own. Someone labelled it hardstyle and that’s what we are still creating today.
How do you think Hardstyle is currently travelling on the world stage?
I think the fact I’m having my own X-Qlusive at the other side of the globe already says enough. Australia is for sure one of the countries where hardstyle will get bigger and bigger in my opinion. The same goes for the UK. Both countries have massive crowds that remind me of the crowds in Holland when I just started playing. Lots of neon colours and people that dance from the first to the last beat. I’ve been in countries like Russia, Ireland, Austria and Spain and people went nuts on hardstyle! Thanks to our artist websites, YouTube, Facebook and other community networks, people in all parts of the world can get in touch with other hardstyle lovers, see our parties and hear our music. I remember I was asked in an interview for Q-dance some years ago what my ultimate happiness would be and I answered “bringing hardstyle all over the world – even to Madagascar and the North Pole.” That’s still the same, so I’m really happy to see how hardstyle is progressing. Now let’s hope some promoters in Madagascar will read this interview…
You are touring Australia with X-Qlusive, what can an audience expect at a Technoboy show?
At X-Qlusive I will bring them a perfect blend of how I like to see hardstyle in the future, of enjoying today’s music and of looking back at how it used to be. When I have a regular performance, I mostly play current music, but it totally depends on my mood. Sometimes I feel like diving into my CD-map and playing only old floor fillers, sometimes I play a lot of new and unreleased stuff. It depends on my mood and on the crowd of course. It’s not something that can be described perfectly; it’s something people should experience. So it would be better for them to buy a ticket and come see me perform. Then they can answer this question as well.
Can you pick out three or four tracks that currently have people rushing to the dance floor?
Just take a look at my Top Ten on my website and you have even more than three or four. I don’t put tracks in my Top Ten just to support colleagues; I only put music on there that I really like. Two tracks I do want to mention separately are Rock Civilization (Technoboy’s Undersound Mix) by Headhunterz and my new track together with Ruffian The Undersound. It was time for something new in my opinion. Music has to progress. The undersound is the name for a new style we created. It combines the best of two worlds. I’m not a big fan of hardstyle getting harder and sounding more like hardcore. The higher the BPM, the less you can really feel the most important element in a hardstyle track: the kick. Lento Violento, a style created by Gigi D’Agostino, honours that kick. When you slow down the tempo, you stretch out the kick. I started experimenting and the result was magic to me: it was like I could almost touch the kicks filling up the studio. It’s hard to always stay sharp as a producer; you need new challenges to keep performing at the top. I’ve seen the effect of both tracks on the dance floor and I witnessed that energy. Technoboy will always be hardstyle, but he just thinks that the borders of that style can be stretched every now and then, just like the kicks.
How does fashion fit in with your music?
Hardstyle is like fashion to me, both in the way I dress and how I make my music. I’m a trendsetter, not a trend follower. I like to take risks and that means sometimes I shock people because I’m wearing flamboyant colours or because I added a slowed down beat to a track. I want to keep surprising people. I couldn’t imagine always wearing the same shirt, nor can I imagine always producing the same sound. Fashion was the perfect theme for my X-Qlusive. People can see that event like a fashion show of a designer that combined futuristic new clothing with a touch of vintage, in a way that is wearable for normal people but that still gives them a touch of uniqueness. It will be exclusive, high fashion and totally Technoboy.
How is the dance scene currently travelling in your home country of Italy?
House and electro are very big here. Hardstyle is still pretty underground. Unfortunately, this also attracts people to the scene that don’t belong there, in my opinion. They think it’s cool to pogo or to build human pyramids on the dance floor and don’t realize they bother the rest of the crowd with it. But apart from those people, the hardstyle crowd in Italy is great. Because it’s not so big, most people know each other and this always creates a special atmosphere on the dance floor.
X-Qlusive Technoboy hits Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on Saturday December 19th, and check out ITM’s Exclusive Mix for a taste of what to expect.