Zanthrax

Maurice Pinkster

This is the first in a series of interviews here on the Killing Playground. Zanthrax, from the FIX label, is the first producer who has been interviewed! Read on...

Gold How did you get into hardcore music?
Zanthrax The radio got me in. I used to listen to the pirate channel "Channel X". From the beginning of hardcore hardcore/classics now were played there. My cousin used to listen to this type of music too and he gave me tapes of for example Parkzicht. That's how it started for me.

Gold When and how did you decide to make this music yourself?
Zanthrax I was DJing for some time and got more and more interested in tracks, how where they put together, how where they build up? etc... At a certain moment I got my own vision on the music. Someone got me a tracker (mono 8-bit) and I started to work. Back then it all still was Rotterdam-like, so I made that kind of stuff (like Neophyte, etc...). I've done some live performances with that, which were great successes. Later I started to produce with someone in Midi, in which I could work out my ideas.

Gold Give a short description of your carreer as a producer (e.g. which records you've released, and which labels you produce/produced for).
Zanthrax Like I said I was the producer for a live act for a long time. Some CDs were released of that, but nothing worth mentioning. When it got professional I ended up with 80aum, which gaves us our own label. 1 EP was released of that: Dark Earth - Wisdom of the Grave (Unknown Species records). After that hardcore collapsed and a second release hasn't come out yet. Then I started with trance, because hardcore wasn't released here anymore, because it didn't sell, so we lost money on it. After making a lot of trance tracks I ended up on the trance level of nowadays, and my first record was released under Radar Records (Combined Forces). Meanwhile, 80aum had became AMP, because it was now a company which licensed its tracks to other. I was producing on my own now. Hardcore came back again, because all commercial shit had gone away, and the lame companies with it. Of course I still produced hardcore, so I had some stuff ready. E-Rush, the ex-producer of FIX records had stopped producing, so I could take over. In the beginning of december FIX 14 was ready to be released at Mid-Town, as we had arranged. Mid-Town, which had asked for the FIX label themselves wasn't interested anymore, so the FIX releases will now be brought out under Combined Forces. The waiting is now for FIX 14. Soon a lot of 12" will come out under the names of: Zanthrax (hardcore), e-MP-hasis (hardcore/techno), iMPact (hardclub), Maureece (pumping trance). e-MP-hasis is really hard but not hardcore. There's also my project with Lorenzo Nash (the voice of Dominator). The first one will be released soon: iMPact feat. Lorenzo Nash - Stronger than Steel (the classic of 80aum renewed).

Gold What apparatus are in your studio?
Zanthrax
  • Zoom 1201
  • Boss RV-70
  • Cheetah MS6
  • Roland A-880
  • Roland U-220
  • Quasar
  • EVS-1 (Evolution)
  • BBE 422A
  • Digitech psp 128
  • LA audio Multigate
  • LA audio 4x4 Compressor
  • Yamaha MU 100 R
  • Roland Alpha Juno (Juno 2)
  • Korg X5
  • Casio FZ-1
  • Casio FZ-10M
  • Casio FZ-20M
  • Sony Minidisc
  • Sony DAT
  • Sherwood dig. EQ
  • Tascam m-3500
  • Roland Sound Canvas
  • Roland R-70
  • Casio RZ-1
  • Technics sl-1200 mkII
  • Technics st. Tape deck
  • Magnat monitors
  • Patch-box PB-32
  • Roland R-8
  • Marantz versterker.
  • PC mmx

Gold Did you invest a lot of money into your studio?
Zanthrax No, because I work in the studio of 80aum. It works perfect this way.

Gold Does it take you a long time to make a track?
Zanthrax Depends on the style, trance often takes less time than a hardcore track. It's only ready when I like it. It should sound nice. Often I have something ready, and I do the final mix not until a week after it, because then my hearing is honest again.

Gold How do you describe your own style?
Zanthrax Agitated, always dark, no frisky lines, but serious hardcore. There always needs to be a damn hard kick in it, one which makes your pants come down when you here it. Always when I was DJing people were fighting, because I was playing so aggresively. When that happens with a track it has impact.

Gold What do you think of the changes in hardcore (first it was oldstyle, then we got gabber, after that it all got happy, and now it's mostly newstyle)?
Zanthrax Changes are good, because else a style will die out, only the last changes were brought about by the wrong people. All that commercial shit has finished off hardcore. FIX invented slow hardcore, until imitations came which were less and less dark. The name "newstyle" was given to it. Rubbish, all those names, hardcore is hardcore. There's hardcore, oldstyle/classics and commercial shit. I'm working on something which I think will be the new hardcore. A really hard kick (no high pitched-up bassdrums) and dark sounds around the 140-145. I want to go that way with FIX. FIX 14 still is pure hardcore (it has a really cool bassdrum, never seen before), but I'd like to build that off to the style I'm working on now. Changes are good, but the right people should make them. My opinion is "back to the underground". Newstyle or whatever, I think it's okay, only that happy has spoiled everything. I don't understand people like Piet (Gabber Piet), I know they all have a hardcore heart, but they chose the big money and didn't think about what this would mean for hardcore music... stupid. Now we have to build it up again and make hardcore the number 1 style of the world again. I mean, hardcore is the only music style from the Netherlands that is a big success in other countries.

Gold Who is your favorite producer and why?
Zanthrax Patrick van Kerckhoven and Jayant Edoo. They started producing together and then both went their own way. They both give young new talents a chance and are 100% hardcore. They both have the same vision, they both release experimental stuff, things they like themselves, not just commercial stuff. Ruffneck is one of my favorite labels. Patrick knows how to build real tracks, aggressive, cool kicks, sweeping melodies, unexpected things and dark of course. Jayant Edoo (mr 80aum) is very creative and has a lot of hits under his name, think of "80aum - Stronger than Steel", "Human Resource - Dominator", "Mindcontroller" (together with Patrick), etc... I learned a lot from him about producing and am still learning.

Gold Which is your favorite track and why?
Zanthrax "Knightvision - Humanoid" (Ruffneck). Very agitated, aggressive, heaving bassdrum and incredibly sweeping sounds. This is a highlight in a set. When I put on this track. When I put on this track, I completely freak out.

Gold Which is your favorite label and why?
Zanthrax Ruffneck (and sublabels) and FIX. Ruffneck, because the music really appeals to me. I like different music, not the commercial shit everyone has in his case. I was declared crazy in the recordstore when I still bought Ruffneck in a later stage of hardcore. FIX, because it is different and made for a full house. It's superdark and in fact produced pretty simple.

Gold Is there anything left you want to say to the readers?
Zanthrax All of us should keep hardcore high, and bring it to the point where it belongs: dark, hard and underground. All of us together, we should do it, so keep the hardcore spirit alive! Racism, and forms of it don't have anything to do with hardcore, so fuck it! Respect to you all...