Bringing his extraordinary blend of oldschool hardcore with post-millenium production skill, Painbringer a.k.a Lammert Brouwer is a name to watch when you’re looking for that Early sound.
On the verge of releasing the Superior Firepower LP, we sat down with Painbringer to get some much-needed answers.
Could you explain those, in case they’ve never heard of the Early Hardcore genre before, what Painbringer stands for?
“Painbringer stands for pure Early Hardcore. Hardcore with a feeling, lots of energy and a nod to the 90’s. My sets can be very fast, dark, hard, slower yet also happy. Early Hardcore has a very broad sound, and that’s what attracts me to this style.”
How did your passion start?
“I started DJ-ing when I was a kid, say 8 / 9 years old. I recorded cassette tapes. By cutting and pasting Top 40 tracks I heard on the radio or by using vinyl records from my parents. You could say I was already mixing a bit. During high school, around 1995, a classmate had a mixer and I tried to mix with CDs. No pitch control yet! I got really passionate with DJ-ing when I started buying vinyl and a decent set of turntables. You know I actually still have those turntables at home, and I still use them?
As a DJ I’ve been playing at parties for 15 years or so. Early on I played illegal raves and at small venues. But after I started producing I got more bookings and everything went really quick from there on. Now I play at almost every party which supports Early Hardcore. And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking crowds of 5000 or 200, I always give 1000% when I’m behind the decks. You’ll probably notice me jumping around and bobbing my head on stage. I really get into the zone when I perform. Most of the times people really respond to that. Normally I’m a normal quiet guy, but when I start mixing I seem to get possessed.”
Normally I’m a normal quiet guy,
but when I start mixing I seem to get possessed.
You say you produce, isn’t it true you’ve also started your own modern Early Hardcore label?
“Indeed I did. At this one point I started creating modern Early Hardcore tracks. After the gabber age in the 90’s the whole hardcore scene collapsed. A time when many producers started making other styles of hardcore music, often called new-style. Me, as a gabber, couldn’t really handle the sound. It just wasn’t my thing, except maybe for a few tracks. After this the Millennium period passed, but even then I had trouble fitting in. So I started making my own tunes, just for fun. I had done this before in the 90’s with a program called Fasttracker (those out there know what we’re talking about ;). And I noticed that people really liked this new old sound. I released a couple of tracks and really got motived. Yet I couldn’t really combine my vision of Early Hardcore with the vision of others and in the end decided it might be better for me to just do my own thing. So in 2013 I decided to continue alone and start my own label called Painbringer Music. That motivated me even more, having all this freedom and no vague contracts to deal with. I also started getting more bookings and a lot of positive feedback.”
“Painbringer Music was the first label that started releasing vinyl again in 2014, a period in time when digital had become the standard. The vinyl releases were received with a lot of enthusiasm and support from fans all over the world. Several releases ended up being sold-out in no time. A compilation CD and cassette release followed. In the meanwhile I also created some new merchandise for the fans.”
Do you play with vinyl or digital? Which one has your preference and why?
“I play with both nowadays. That’s because 10 years ago suddenly no attention was given anymore to vinyl and everything had to be digital. Something I hesitantly did. If there was a turntable present, it often was used as a table for drinks of the DJ playing before me. Fortunately during the past year and a half, promoters are seeing the benefits of vinyl again and have begun setting up decent setups. Also other labels have started releasing vinyl again.
Going to a record store, having a talk with other DJs and followers is something that I miss sometimes and this is something you can’t really have with an online MP3 shop. Of course everything has gotten so much easier to find, but I myself don’t value a digital file as much as I do vinyl. That’s why I stopped buying or downloading MP3s. I do stream every now and then, but vinyl will always be my favorite. I hope to get more vinyl bookings in the future.”
Painbringer will release a new LP soon. What can we expect and where can we buy it?
“The new release will be released on coloured 12” vinyl on my own label, Painbringer Music. It will contain 6 tracks. It’s a modern Early Hardcore release. Containing the familiar “rolling” sound, hi-hats, breakbeats and fat melodies. Without long breaks or short hardstyle-like kicks. The first two tracks lean a bit towards the old rave feeling and “Carlito’s way” is really an ultra hard track supported with vocals by Al Pacino from the similar-titled movie. An all-time favorite! My two anthems for Pandemonium can also be found on the release, which I made for the 10 year anniversary. “Children of Pandemonium” still receives lots of plays, and the one from the most recent edition “The religion”. The other two tracks “Split second (remix)” and “Final annihilation” are fan favorites which haven’t been released before on vinyl. The title of the release is Superior Firepower LP. I guess I don’t have to explain that title! Real hardcore with an authentic sound and feeling.”
“A lot of effort has gone into the release and the quality of the vinyl. I’ve made multiple test pressings until I was happy with the end product. Because I buy vinyl myself I think it’s important the release a product that a lot of attention has been put into. Not only for the DJs, but also for the fans and collectors. The releases is limited and will not be repressed.
The vinyl will be for sale through Painbringer Music on Bandcamp, Discogs and a couple vinyl shops will sell it exclusively. If people buy the release through Bandcamp they’ll also receive a free digital download. Other than that, no digital releases are planned.”
How do you see your Early Hardcore style continue to evolve?
“I notice a lot of young producers are giving Early Hardcore a go in the studio, or they start playing vinyl in their mixes. A good sign and a good development. Several small labels have started releasing vinyl again. So it’s fun to see and hear that, in a certain way, I’ve inspired people.”
“Looking at myself the most important thing to me is to have fun, that’s where my love for DJ-ing and producing started. For the fun and love of music, something that is still present. And if the crowd also enjoys this it’s a win-win situation for everyone. New people get addicted to Early Hardcore every day. On the dance-floors I always notice new faces giving it their all. Music that I released has sold out quickly and I received lots of orders, not only from The Netherlands, but also from the USA, Japan, Australia, Spain, Italy… you name it! Things are up.
When I started releasing vinyl in 2014, people called me crazy. “It won’t sell”, was a response I heard many times. But I followed my gut feeling and the first release (Words of ’95, 7″) was sold-out in a week.”
When I started releasing vinyl in 2014, people called me crazy.
“At parties and festivals Early Hardcore is often the most crowded area, I think because the crowd is really dedicated. And like I said earlier, the crowd continues to grow. Every party new people discover the Early sound. For instance at Pandemonium the Early Hardcore stage was the main stage. The smaller, not necessarily less important, parties like Ouwe Stijl Is Botergeil (literally translated “Old Style Is Horny”) have a really dedicated crowd from all over Europe. The atmosphere in the Early room is always unique, fun and there’s a feeling of togetherness.”
What’s your goal for the future and what do you see as a real challenge?
“The next release is almost finished. It’s a co-production with Mystery Motion. This record will be more Trancecore-like, even though the tempo of some tracks will be lower which makes it interesting for me too. I expect this 10th release on my label to be released somewhere this fall. Also a new compilation CD will be released with all the tracks that have been released (on vinyl) on the label. Maybe even an cassette.”
“In the future I’ll continue to play hard and represent Early Hardcore. I’ll continue to release vinyl. How things look from there, I don’t know. But I’m sure things will get bigger and better!”
– S. Boom –