JDNB Interview - Koarse
Nijmegen / Utrecht based Koarse rolled into drum and bass listening to everything raw and dark. His enjoyment for dark music drove him to learn how to make it himself, picking up music production at the early age of 13 years old. From that moment onward, he never stopped developing his skills, creating a signature style with high technical standards.
His production skills improved even more when he started studying Music and Technology at the HKU in Utrecht, adding impressive DJ skills to his resume.
Inspired by loud and aggressive tracks with a loose and off beat pluck rhythm, Koarse always finds the golden mean. As the multi-talent that he is, this DJ is not scared of challenges and experiments with different genres like techno, footwork and even hardcore. Having already received support from the likes of NOISIA, IMANU and Buunshin, he’s well on his way to become the next big name in the game.
He describes his own music as ‘loud and distorted’, so expect to be knocked out of your seat!
JDNB talks with Koarse! We go into depth about his creative processes, chat about his new release, and where things are headed for this talented producer from the Netherlands!
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! How have you been been coping with the Covid-19 Pandemic and what have you been doing to fill your time?
It’s a pleasure, plus any sort of social contact nowadays is more than welcome. I can’t lie, it’s been quite the struggle. I love clubs and raves and living without them for this long a time really put a dent in my motivation. Club music got harder and harder to write and the output felt less and less inspired. However I decided to try and move on and diversify, I started doing a Master’s in Music Design as well as picking up a synthesis teaching position at the HKU. This kept me close to a community which I feel is a necessity when it comes to producing art of any form and before I knew it I found enjoyment in producing Drum & Bass again.
Tell us a little about yourself and where you are from?
I'm originally from Nijmegen, a medium sized city in the east corner of the country but I currently live and study in Utrecht. I’ve always been interested in a lot of different things at the same time and I often bite off more than I can properly chew. I work a few different jobs in the audio field and aside from that I’m interested in stuff like engineering and philosophy. I started producing music at 13 and really got serious with it at 15, I was completely hooked and haven’t really taken a break since, it has pretty much replaced all my other hobbies but I’m perfectly satisfied as I can do what I love for a living.
Talk a little about your style, and the influences that drive you to compose and produce your music?
I’m very much inspired by the more dissonant/industrial side of music, I’d say my main inspirations in the dance world currently are The Outside Agency, Former and The Bug. My music doesn’t sound anything like what they do but the unique characteristic sound they all have pushes me to experiment more and find the boundaries of what an audience can consider musical. Compositions that constantly shift from one idea to another and put emphasis on texture and rhythm rather than harmony. I’d say I always try to make something I haven’t heard before. Sometimes I’m more successful, sometimes less, but the result is always interesting to me and that matters most in the end. I’ve been producing for quite a while now and have seen many people with the same amount of hours in surpass me but for me it’s not really about that. I’ve always known I’m not particularly musically gifted I just really enjoy doing what I do and I let the craft take me where it takes me.
Where do you draw the inspiration for your productions from?
The club scene, something about the atmosphere of events just fills me with energy and the music I write is very directly about this energy. Nowadays without clubs the inspiration comes from random life experiences, I just moved for example and all that made it’s way into the tracks somehow. A new environment or activity tends to be the main driving factor behind my output currently.
What would you say your top 3 musical achievements are so far?
I'd say playing at Noisia’s Machtig event is one of the biggest ones, it was one of the most fun gigs I’ve ever done as the crowd was very receptive to all kinds of weird deep cut/left field material. I love going off the beaten path so this was a wonderful experience. Outside of club music my final project at the HKU was an 8 speaker audiovisual composition with synced lighting that I programmed myself over the course of a year, this work received the highest possible score and allowed me to graduate with honours. And as a final one, last week I noticed I had passed 100k plays on SoundCloud in total. This came out of nowhere as I never really payed attention to the counter and it just made me suddenly aware of how many people my work has reached throughout the years. It seemed completely unreal and is something I’m eternally grateful for.
Koarse's latest EP 'Dissonance' has just landed and is exclusive to Beatport!
Weighty! Tell us more about the creative processes that you employed for this EP?
I really wanted to go above and beyond to make tracks that would work in the club but also be very different in terms of structure and elements. I didn’t want to have 2 identical drops in a song or completely limit myself to just writing in chunks of 16 bars for example. It felt like these limitations made a lot of dancefloor oriented music significantly less enjoyable at home. Given the rather unsure future of events then and even now I wanted to play both fields. I had to find ways to fit detailed soundscape work and weird small side rhythms with large singular big focal points for the dancefloor. So most tracks started as very barebones club tracks but slowly gained more individuality as I kept adding layers of atmosphere and percussion. To generate all that material I had long sounddesign sessions with my modular and material from field recording expeditions.
How did you get involved with the team over at LUX?
They booked me for a multigenre dutch talents sort of night in Eindhoven at the end of 2019, they liked my set and as such we stayed in contact. Later they mentioned starting a label and I really wanted to get in on that as their organisational skills in setting up events is next to none. Figured they could definitely deliver similarly on the front of putting out records.
What does your studio set up consist of?
I run everything off of a laptop so that I can also work on the go, my studio serves as a sort of glorified docking station, but a very nice one. I have a DJ setup, some modular synth gear and a nice audio interface hooked up to my pride and joy the Neumann KH310s: which I acquired while finishing the mixdowns for the EP as I could use some extra range. Aside from that I have one of those Native Instruments keyboards and a TC Electronic analyser as main companions for fast hands on workflow.
What's your go to plug-in?
Lately it has been Vital, you can hear the phenomenal free synth all over the EP. It’s not very different from Serum in function but it has a few neat extra features and since I’ve used Serum for years it’s nice to work with something that feels fresh. As for FX I’ve been super into IZotope VocalSynth 2 as of late, you can hear it on the vocals in Proceed to be Haunted for example, but it’s also good for getting weird glitchy effects from running other sounds through.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from you in the future?
A bunch of rave inspired DnB singles, I’m gonna try to cast a wide net and get some of my material on all of my favourite labels if possible. It’s a tall order but definitely a fun challenge as I can split it up into individual tracks!
When you're not making music, what else can we find you up to?
Mostly hang out with my partner or my friends, I used to play a lot of videogames but as my work is now behind a computer all the time I prefer to leave the office and do stuff outside/socialise. I enjoy casual cycling a lot as well as going for small city trips and hanging out in the park with my mates.
What would you say you like most about the www.jungledrumandbass.co.uk website?
I really like how wide the coverage is, there is activity for all subgenres in the scene and in all types of formats as well. Big up!
Thanks for talking with us! Lastly, any shoutouts or dedications?
Yeah for sure, massive thanks to all the Discord crew who helped me throughout writing this EP. People like MISSIN, latesleeper, Dauwpunt, Wavolizer and the crew from IMANU’s Discord server.
Interview by Dj Onit