Let’s not act like we don’t know this guy. N-Vitral has been around for quite some time now! With his first release dating back to 2002, time’s have definitely changed. N-Vitral is a big name today. And the key ingredient to this success seem to be his never-ending will to create and deliver some of the loudest hardcore tracks to date. From your experiments back in the day to the crunchiest of kicks, the proof is now right before our eyes with the release of his album: Louder Than A Bomb, available: 27.06.16! Let’s find out what motivates the mastermind behind this hardcore artillery.
When did you decide to focus on making an album?
“After the success of the last few EPs, I felt it was time for a bigger statement. Over the last three years I’ve been polishing and refining my studio skills to another level. I finally felt comfortable of delivering a bunch of tracks that totally represent the new N-Vitral: pure bred dance floor killers with huge kick drums.”
The new N-Vitral: pure bred dance floor killers with huge kick drums.
With all pieces seemingly falling together these past years, what would you define as the biggest change to the N-Vitral sound as a whole?
“The biggest change is definitely the accessibility of the sound. Although everything is still very distorted, rough and crunchy, I try to play around with more clean and light hearted elements as well. My current tracks are more tailored to the dance floor, while my older tracks are more tailored to the listener at home. This was a very natural and gradual progression. Back in the day – when I started producing – I almost never visited hardcore parties, and made weird hardcore techno noise collages, to a time where I visit six parties per month, and make full on dance floor tracks with bigger accessibility. Also, I became much more experienced and knowledgeable in the studio. This allows me to make my sound more clean and controlled, which makes it also easier to listen to.”
Any track(s) in particular to back this up?
“Just listen to any of my new tracks and compare them to my older tracks. The differences are huge!”
You’re pretty deep in the production game. You really seem to get the most out of your tools in the studio. Listening to your music, we notice the quality mix-down of your tracks. Is this something you’ve learned the hard way, by experience? Or is it a strict science?
“I learned the hard way – by making long and long hours in the studio, producing all kinds of different genres and trying out different techniques. Producing and mixing music is never a strict science. Of course there are a few basic rules that you best follow, should you want to acquire a certain type of sound. But for the most part, it’s a free zone with lots of room for experimentation and exploration.”
Probably a difficult one to answer, but which album track comes to mind first? Let’s say: which album track is your current favourite?
“That’s a hard one. I love each and every one of the tracks because every track has their own unique story of creation and their own way of dance floor interaction. It’s very difficult to highlight only one, but if you put a gun to my head, I’d say ‘Bassface’. I love its grandeur and powerful sounds, which make it a great track for big rave arena’s. I made it in just under two days, which is actually really quickly for my standards. I normally work three to five weeks on a single track. But everything came together so fast; the ideas, the kicks, the leads. And I’m really happy with the end result.”
We were told you chose the album title pretty close to the deadline. Did you had a set of titles to choose from, or did (title) inspiration kick in late in the game?
“Yes I had a big list of options, but it wasn’t until a few days before the deadline that I came up with ‘Louder Than A Bomb’. It just suddenly clicked and everything fell into place.”
No secret code / project name you used while producing all the tracks for the album? Why, how do you name your tracks while you’re producing them?
“Well every track starts out as a “Version1″. It’s not until 80% of the track is finished, that I know what its title is going to be.”
Now that it’s known, Louder Than A Bomb fits the music and artwork perfectly. For those who don’t know, it’s actually your second album. The first album (I AUDIOASSAULT U), better said the teaser EP released beforehand was the first to contain the bomb as its cover. What was the idea behind it? What inspired you to use this metaphor for your music?
“I can’t recall exactly what urged me in the direction of a bomb. I can remember sitting in a public library digging through marketing- and logo books. I actually still have the sketch designs I made back then. I passed these sketches to Stephan Boom – TTM’s in-house designer back then – and he made the first actual design which appeared on the album. After that, we made the logo – with the help of a good friend who is in marketing – into a stencil and this came to be the definite look which appeared on all the N-Vitral releases after 2010.”
“I’m very inspired by art and design in all its forms and shapes. I actually have a masters degree in Art History, which allows me to clearly pinpoint the power of images. Take for instance the most famous symbol on earth: the cross. The catholic church was one of the first big institutions/corporations which understood and exploited the power of logo’s and images. I took quite some inspiration from their propaganda.”
The bomb is inspiring many people. Your logo, in the many forms it is known today, has been tattooed. People dance around in shirts featuring your artwork. I guess you never envisioned this when picking a visual for your music?
“I didn’t expect it to blow up like this no.”
The album features several collaborations. Some you released in the past year, others as album exclusive. While working on the album, did you have a wishlist of collabs to create?
“Yes I did.”
Did you check of all the names on it?
“No, there are definitely a lot of names that didn’t make it on the album. Obviously there wasn’t enough time and space to make all of them happen. But for the future, there’ll be more collabs with more interesting producers!”
Any cool album track background stories to share?
“The track that took the longest to make: ‘Crack Ya Neck‘ with I:Gor.
The track that was the hardest for me to make: ‘Prednison Attack Remix‘.
The track that was the most fun to make: ‘Dogfight’ with Thrasher and ‘Getverherrie‘ with Aux Raus.
The track with the most sound design craziness: ‘The Lion’.
The track with the best kickdrum (imo): ‘Cannonball‘.
The track with the best vocal sample (imo): ‘Fist In Your Face with Angerfist.”
You seem to be pretty creative at creating (vocal) samples. I recognise your girlfriend voice here and there? Any special mentions?
“In ‘Bassface‘ I spent most of the time working on the vocal/scream samples. It’s the voice of Corey Taylor (the singer from Slipknot). But there is no Slipknot song in which he screams ‘Bass’ or ‘Bassface’. I had to search and cut and paste the ‘B’, ‘S’ and ‘F’ sounds to various scream samples in order to make him say the words ‘Bass’ and ‘Bassface’. It took me at least four hours straight to find the right material, glue everything together and make it sound natural.”
Listening to your intense Prednison Attack remix, how come there are so little N-Vitral tracks remixed?
“Because I never asked anyone to do a remix before. Time for a change I guess!”
At times when artists flock around from label to label, you seem to be pretty loyal to The Third Movement. A respectable feat, and one to cherish. Would you say dedication is a big part of N-Vitral?
“Yes it is. I’m incredibly free to do what I want to do. Promo (TTM’s A&R Manager) is ok with almost everything I make. This freedom is something that every artist should have. In order to cultivate a unique and individual sound, it’s necessary to explore all the possibilities and limits yourself. And TTM facilitates that freedom. You can be who you want musically speaking. And that makes it my home.”
The N-Vitral sound has always been dirty and uncompromising. It may sound a bit more polished, but it’s far more heavy than five years ago.
You seem to have found a perfect balance in combining raw style with hardcore and your own dose of industrial influences. How does the crowd react to this mixture?
“They absolutely love it. I think a lot of rawstyle sounds like old industrial/millenium music but with better mix-downs, catchier breakdowns and heavier kick drums. Rawstyle and industrial are fairly comparable. More so than rawstyle and mainstream hardcore. For some reason, a large part of the rawstyle crowd loves my type of hardcore. They recognise the same filthiness and directness in my music as they do in rawstyle. I think a lot of mainstream hardcore from around 2010 till 2015 strayed too far from its purpose. Hardcore has always been dark and loud and abrasive. I think it’s not suited for female singers, happy melodies and lyrics about summer and love and relationships. It became too happy and too soft. I think that is one of the main reasons so many young people started listening to rawstyle instead of hardcore. There was a point in time, when rawstyle was dirtier, darker and rougher than hardcore. So I can’t blame them for abandoning or ignoring hardcore music.”
“The N-Vitral sound has always been dirty and uncompromising in that respect. It may sound a bit more polished, but it’s far more heavy than five years ago. That’s also why I love a lot of rawstyle, and I guess why a lot of rawstyle people like N-Vitral.”
Did or do you experience any backlash on the moves you’ve made? Creating a more “dance-floor friendly” sound if you would. The hardcore scene can be pretty (sub)genre focused from time to time.
“Yes I do. And I’m actually really happy you ask this, because I can finally speak my mind openly about this. When you become more popular, people will not like you. Mostly it has nothing to do with the music. It has to do with them being afraid to be a part of “the masses”.
To me, music is an art form that works best when the reaction is pure and devoid of analysis. I’m myself a fairly analytical person, and sometimes I notice it gets in the way of my actual enjoyment of the world around me. People who see themselves as music critics or purists don’t really enjoy listening to music. They mostly enjoy being acknowledged in their taste-superiority. They aren’t really experiencing the music, they’re constantly measuring new music against their historical awareness. It’s pleasing them as some kind of conceptual dogma rather than experiencing music as a beautiful integral part of human life. That is also why I enjoy my current music more. It’s because people go absolutely apeshit when they hear it. They lose themselves in the experience, which to me, is the most beautiful and important thing music does.”
“I’ve always been quite sceptical when it comes to people who proclaim themselves to be musically educated. Basically 2% of every genre fanbase is insufferable. There’s always some dude out there that has like industrial t-shirts, industrial posters, a million hours of industrial music playtime. And if you’re like “Dude I love industrial too”, he’d say you have no idea what you were talking about. “You like industrial? Have you heard this guy? Have you seen this band play? Have you travelled four countries to attend a party with five other guys to see this obscure artist make noise with sandpaper and a microphone? I bet you don’t even collect industrial vinyl! I have been listening to industrial since I was two years old!” That’s the upper 2% of every interest group. It’s weird how they convinced themselves this suffices for an identity.”
Now that you’ve finished Louder Than A Bomb, its release is imminent and you’ve got a pretty packed summer of performances ahead of you… what does the future behold for N-Vitral?
“Lots of new solo tracks, lots of new collabs, lots of pummelling performances and lots and lots of huge kick drums!”