14.3.2014 – FSRECS Label Night with EYE-D – at Favál / Brno
INTERVIEW WITH EYE-D
FSR: Hi, Frank. Would you please be so kind as to introduce yourself to our audience and tell us what kind of music you dwell in?
My mother named me Frank, but when I play or produce drum & bass I go by Eye-D.
FSR: You have been present in the music scene for how long, 22 years? When would you say was your real start music-wise and how long do you think you are going to last?
Ha! I started trying to make music in 1991. I learned how to play records in 1994, or maybe even 1993. I released my first record in 1996. Technically that makes it 23 years. I think I should be good for at least another 23 years. I take it easy most of the time and I’m pretty indestructible otherwise. Justin from Counterstrike would tell you my secret is that I do everything super slowly.
FSR: This one is gonna sound obligatory, but which do you prefer: hardcore or drum & bass? I’m asking because being a few years older than the general drum & bass and hardcore audience myself I know you particularly as a drum & bass producer. I fondly remember your releases on Piruh and Citrus. But I know that you started out with hardcore and you still produce it.
With hardcore and drum & bass being played at the same nights so often now and since hardcore has almost replaced hard drum & bass or skullstep I don’t get that question very often anymore. I actually started out making hardcore and drum & bass at around the same time. They are still the two genres I feel most comfortable working in. I truly love both equally. For me they are ideal escapes. When I really don’t feel like working on drum & bass I will start a hardcore track and vice versa.
FSR: You are also one half of The Outside Agency. You’ve done many releases and three albums. Please tell me which releases were really important to you. I mean, which ones made you pursue the path of music production and which ones are you always going to remember for whatever reason?
I was always influenced by the darker hardcore with breakbeats, and an aggressive edge. No happy melodies for me, I guess. It’s hard to pick records from the early days, but I’ll give you two. When Gizmo’s Guestlist came out in 1994, I think, it totally blew me and my friends away. It was so brutal and we’d never heard anything like it before. Another record that had a similar effect was Fuckin’ Hostile. The reason I’ll always remember that one is because I brought a friend who actually only liked metal along to a rave in 1994 and just as we walked into this huge hardcore arena the DJ happened to play Fuckin’ Hostile. There were no real sound limits back then and my friend became a fan within a few seconds.
FSR: Could you also choose one of your releases as The Outside Agency which you think really did well and made you guys famous and established as a name?
I think we did a pretty good job of establishing ourselves early on with our first releases in the late 90s, and then again in 2001/2002 when we focused on slower hardcore. Those releases led to us starting our own label. It was around that time we noticed we were in increasingly higher demand. In recent years we’ve had some ‘hits’ like Hell’s Basement, Primitive and the Fuckin’ Hostile remix, which we followed up with what we think is a really strong album. After those releases our name, or brand, or whatever you want to call it, saw really explosive growth in 2012 and 2013. Last year we had a monstrosity of a hit with our remix for Endymion, so perhaps 2014 will see us in even more demand or maybe everyone wants us to take it down a few notches and stay home more. Whatever the outcome, I’m ready for it.
FSR: You guys have the Genosha Recordings label and it’s predominantly a base for your own material. It is well known that Genosha Recordings is really keen to keep the original and distinguishable sound. In what way is ‘your’ hardcore better than others’?
I’m sure this interview would get read more if I said that Genosha Recordings is better than any other label. I would never say something like that, though. Publicly.
FSR: What releases can we expect from Eye-D and The Outside Agency in 2014?
I’ve got a new track together with Evol Intent that’s almost done and I’m remixing Suicide, which was one of their biggest hits and one of my favorite drum & bass tracks of all time. Those two tracks will either be released as a single or they’ll be part of a larger project. We haven’t decided yet. I’m also going to release a 4-tracker on PRSPCT this year and I’m super keen to get back in the studio with Black Sun Empire. The record I made with them a few years back is one of my favorites and we worked together very well, and very expeditiously also. I hope I’ll have time for more drum & bass than that, but The Outside Agency project keeps me pretty busy and occupies the majority of my time.
FSR: How do you perceive the contemporary scene? My feelings are that the so-called underground in all its beauty and nature is evaporating more and more. Not just from the clubs, but from the whole of music. Drum & bass has been going downhill for quite a few years already and hardcore is gaining strength slowly but surely. At least that’s how it looks over here. What are your thoughts on this topic?
I hate to be all positive here, but I’ve been hearing lots of fun drum & bass recently. The rise of hardcore and its influence in and on drum & bass through crossbreed has left a pretty big hole where hard drum & bass used to be, but some of the modern neurofunk out there is tough. I am personally most comfortable bridging harder neurofunk, the hole and hardcore influenced stuff. My track Choice Mission on last year’s PRSPCT Family LP is intended as such.
FSR: Is hardcore about to get widely recognized beyond the borders of the Netherlands? Can it become mainstream?
I find it very difficult to predict such trends. I could never have guessed that electro house guys like Porter Robinson would start playing our music. Now that’s nice, but it hasn’t resulted into us being booked at parties that normally book electro house artists. A lot of popular mainstream hardcore artists have resorted to making more accessible music in hopes of getting wider acceptance, like hardstyle has. I personally don’t think that is the way to go. Hardcore is surely gaining overall popularity again because there are fewer and fewer countries in the world that haven’t had hardcore hardcore events. I don’t know if it will ever get to be as big elsewhere as it is in some of Europe.
FSR: Please tell our readers what your stage performance looks like. What do you use for playing and whose tracks do you play most?
I use three decks when I play and they’re all three constantly in use. Most of the time you’ll hear two or three tracks playing at once. The music is a little wilder than I am, because playing this way requires a lot of concentration, but I will try to do some lovely dancing for you all in Brno and I’ll throw up some gang signs when I have a few seconds to spare!
I’ve never played a set without tracks by DJ Hidden, Counterstrike, SPL, Black Sun Empire, PRSPCT material, Audio, Mefjus and some of the other harder neuro dudes.
FSR: Your current top 5?
SPL – The Sickness
Black Sun Empire & State of Mind – Unconscious
Katharsys – Nothing Left
Hakkuhbar – Tips van de Kenner
The Outside Agency – The Sunrise
FSR: Your favourite drink and backstage activity? :)
I’m a big energy drink fiend. I believe I have a very healthy addiction to Red Red Bulls. Backstage I usually relax and try to confuse the people who are there by saying outlandish things. My least favorite backstage activity is wondering what is wrong with those people who are always backstage and never go out on the floor to have a quick dance or enjoy the music.
FSR: Thanks a lot for the interview and we are looking forward to see you in Brno!
No problem. I can’t wait!