September is all about keeping it real, Authentic! The new album by Promo hit the streets last week and the impact has been exciting. Mr. accessible dark is on a rampage with his new release, featuring 18 brand new tunes to rock stereo sets and sound systems alike. With a music career spanning over 20 years, you never know what’s coming next. Let’s dig into all that’s real.
It’s been 6 months since your last release on TTM and now you hit us with 18 new tracks. Pretty intense! It’s a known fact that you can be very productive when it comes down to creating beats, but this is certainly a new achievement. Would you say you have something to prove?
“It might surprise you but this actually came together because I finally felt like I had nothing to prove. I think I came to realise lately that I better do what I do than to try and do what others do. On Analog Mind in a Digital World you clearly heard the struggle with that. On this album I let that go and focussed completely on the emotion of music and what I like to do and not worry if others would like it. I think only then you get the most pure form of music from an artist. Surprise your audience with what you want to tell in stead of constantly trying to make what you think they want to hear. In the same time that gives you an unique place in the scene. Like the text in the cd album booklet says: when you are your authentic self, you have no competition.”
When you are your authentic self, you have no competition.
Let’s talk Authentic. What’s the concept behind the album?
“Well clearly I refer with Authentic to realness. Not to point out others are fake but to emphasize that staying true to yourself is the most important thing. Authenticity also has a link with classic, old and genuine things for me. Hence the return of some classic Promo elements in the songs and the stamp cover idea. But the biggest mission with this album was to try and bring back emotion and feeling in hardcore music. So I set aside the need to experiment because that would only make it too complicated. It’s just a lot less easy to bring across emotion with weird offbeat industrial beats.”
Did all pieces fall into place as you worked on it or was it ‘a hard birth’ as the Dutch would say.
“I always approach an album with a theme. Once I have this theme and rough sketch of what the artwork should look like the whole thing comes together. You find more and more samples and ideas that tell the story of the theme. Of course there is the odd track among there to bring some humor but if you listen well to the tracks you clearly hear what I have to say about the hardcore scene in 2017. Most tracks I made in a couple of hours, so no lack of inspiration!”
Isn’t it risky to release an album in the age of ‘release fast and release often’? Some tracks might get overlooked.
“I know that it’s always a risk when you do an album, but I think if you want to tell a story it’s just better to tell the full story. If you skip some chapters the message might get blurred and I have a strong believe in my fans that they will take the trouble to listen to all songs. At least once ;)”
When you take a look at the astonishing artwork of Authentic, there seems to be a balance between value, credibility and hints at the person behind Promo. You’re pretty tight lipped when it comes to personal life, yet the photos in the booklet do reveal a family man. Did family life change you as a person?
“Yes it absolutely did. It’s weird but when you get kids you sort of start to understand the circle of life and its importance. It also made me a lot more social I think. When you become a parent you need to let a part of your ego go and realise it’s not only about you and your career anymore. I was really blessed and achieved pretty much everything I ever dreamed of so it’s great to discover a new and different chapter of life.”
So after producing and dj-ing for over 20 years, what keeps you authentic?
“I always followed my heart and never did anything that didn’t feel right. After 20 years that is still my guideline. It never let me down.”
Here is the trailer of my new album Authentic! OUT NOW!
Posted by Promo on Tuesday, September 5, 2017
You’ve been pretty occupied with the Thunderdome revival. Spending all that time in between the classics and b-sides, this must have influenced your new productions. Could one say there’s a Thunderdome vibe in the album?
“I can only presume that you heard a Thunderdome vibe somewhere? 😉 No to be honest, that was not at all on my mind. I let the chosen theme of the album totally absorb me. I can imagine of course that the Promo File like atmosphere in some of the tracks give you that link. Of course the Files were made in my prime Thunderdome era so of course those two are linked.”
Let’s look at the 18 new tracks. Without choosing a favourite, let’s say you could brag about some trick, a kick drum, a mix you made. Something that really stands out on this album when compared to your earlier productions. What would it be?
“Well of course there are some favourites on the album. “The Lion’s Roar” being one of them. That track embodies the classic Promo sound but in a 2017 vibe. A more clean, digital kick but with a typical Promo melody and arrangement. And if I may brag, there are some samples that I think are pretty next level. In “Paid My Dues” for instance: “They’re looking for the next vagina to sign” how can you round up the current situation of the hardcore scene? Well in one sentence apparently hahaha”
You’re damn creative with the sampler. Did you ever experience a backlash, an author claiming their own work? Or is this a topic best left unspoken.
“Sampling became such a part of making music that I think there is not one band or singer that did not sample something him -or herself once. It’s pretty much accepted now as long as you do not rip off complete songs. I never got into trouble anymore since doing “Shut up”. Luckily we pressed that on white label without catalogue number back then hahaha. I do sample a lot but mostly not the most obvious things, so that helps 😉 “
We are the alternative, the resistance. If we stop doing our thing hardcore will be lost. I know that sounds mega pretentious, but I really feel it like that.
Like Analog mind, Authentic also features a co-production with Ophidian: Born to break (feat. Myréan). Without judging ahead of time, both are highlights on the album. How do you guys complete each-other in the studio?
“Well I feel a great connection with Conrad (Ophidian) on several levels. First of all he is a big musical inspiration to me. His last song “Running on empty” literally gives me goosebumps every time I play it. We actually never openly discussed it but I think we also sort of strengthen each other to keep taking risks and keep doing our own thing. I told him already a few times that when he quits I’ll probably also quit. We are the alternative, the resistance. If we stop doing our thing hardcore will be lost. I know that sounds mega pretentious, but I really feel it like that. Conrad is a very good musician, but that can also limit you. It gives you too many options. He’s very good at playing melodies and I think I am in taking decisions in the production process. For now that works very well together.”
Authentic is about credibility, being real. Past, present and future. Where do you see hardcore going in the coming years?
“Well there is where I think it will go and where I hope it will go. You hear hardcore is getting more simple again, with the very popular uptempo tracks as a good example. A more deep, well produced variation of that will be the thing for the next years alongside the blunt semi-dark pounding mainstream like N-Vitral. I’m still hoping for the return of the goosebumps feeling like we had in the millennium, the return of actual music in hardcore. The combination of those two would result in a strong well balanced hardcore scene I think.”
Thanks for your time! See you again in 6 months? 😉
“I don’t think it will take that long. 😉 We have some more stuff up our sleeve for 2017!”
Promo – Authentic is now available on The Third Movement! The limited edition Compact Disc (wrapped in a slick Digipack with artwork by Art against Hate and including a free sticker) can be ordered at the TTM Shop.
– S. Boom –