Let’s get to know American Hardstyle producer, Markove a bit better! This creative DJ plays one of those genres that has grown pretty fast in a few years. Check out the interview below.
1 – When did you start producing Hardstyle music?
I started producing hardstyle at a serious level in early 2012. Personally, I don’t consider the several years prior as “serious” enough. Everything before then was very simple and lacked solid focus. 2012 was when the switch flipped. Hardstyle and audio production became an obsession.
2 – What were your main challenges as a DJ and how have they changed over time?
My first challenge as an artist was exposure within the genre. When you’re a new name in anything, breaking through to someone is so important. I’m proud to say the promotional channels within hardstyle are very welcoming to newcomers and helped me build a foundation. Huge props to everyone at The Legendary Uploadzz, EuphoricHardStyleZ, and Hardstyle – EDM.com for their work!
Over time, exposure has still been a major challenge for me albeit in a different form. Rather than struggling with exposure in the genre, I’m now facing a challenge with the genre’s popularity in the United States. In Europe, crowds go to hardstyle shows in massive numbers. In the States, we’re slowly getting there. Even shows with the major names from Europe struggle to break even and often lose money. All of us in the American scene are building a movement rather than jumping into something already alive. At times it can be a struggle, but we love this music dearly and that keeps us going.
3 – How big is Hardstyle today in America?
In comparison to genres like trance and house, hardstyle has a very small following in the States. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though. The dedication and passion from this following is limitless. Most of us with the hardstyle obsession in America are part of a Facebook group called QSA. It’s basically a discussion board for everything hardstyle. As an artist and a fan, QSA’s become a significant part of my daily browsing. If you want to stay updated with anything hard dance here or abroad, QSA is the place to go.
Another benefit of a smaller scene is I’ve been able to personally meet and chat with a lot of people on the American side. I’m proud to call many of my American colleagues friends. I love being part of such a close-knit community.
4 – What’s your perspective about drugs and music festivals?
Unfortunately, dance music is plagued by the perception that anything involving it will be accompanied by drugs. I can’t deny there’s some truth to the stereotype. Most shows will have a random someone trying to sell drugs somewhere. It could be the obvious sketchy guy in the bathroom asking “wanna buy some stuff” or even a girl in the middle of the dancefloor passing around mystery pills. You never know.
Personally, I’ve never had an interest and am generally oblivious to it. If that floats your boat, do you booboo. Just don’t be that person who ruins the experience for someone else. There’s always ONE.
5 – What are the best music festivals for Hardstyle fans?
Q-dance’s Defqon.1 will always be considered the prime festival to visit. Every major act you can think of plays there and then some. There’s also Intents Festival, Emporium, Decibel, Wish Outdoor, XXlerator… the list goes on. During the summer, you can pick any weekend and find a nice hardstyle festival in the Netherlands!
For the United States, the best harder styles festival out there is shaping up to Fantasyland. Fantasyland takes place this August outside of Pittsburgh. Q-dance usually has a stage at the major events like Mysteryland and Tomorrow World as well. Hopefully, we’ll have more festivals soon! The American movement grows stronger each year.
6 – Do you have a dream that you haven`t been able to realize for technical or financial reasons?
I grew up watching aftermovies for the major Dutch hard dance festivals. Even through YouTube, the awesome atmosphere and energy comes through. I feel it’s only natural I’ve always dreamed of throwing my own as a result. Unfortunately, throwing a festival is a rather expensive venture. Due to the cost, I haven’t been able to organize one on my own yet. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to throw Markove Outdoor!
7 – Could you describe your creative process on one of your latest track “Our Journey”?
I went through a seven month period of struggling artistically. A few changes happened in my personal life that took time to sort out. Nothing seemed to come out right during this timeframe and producing became a huge burden. Once I sorted out the personal side, everything started clicking again. As a result, I wanted my return from the short hiatus to be something powerful and full of emotion.
Along came the morning of January 28th, the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Upon realization of the anniversary, my thoughts jumped to the space shuttle disaster I remember as a kid – the Columbia. I guess you could say the wave of inspiration I needed finally hit me. The next few hours were spent on the very early stages of “Our Journey”.
8 – How often do you share mixtapes or songs as free downloads?
I make an effort to release a free bootleg remix at least once a year. Usually, the remix is of an old personal favorite. In the past I’ve made bootlegs for ATB’s “Ecstasy” and CosmicMan’s “I Love You”. Recently, two of my biggest tracks – “Reawaken” and “Dreamscape” – were remastered and released for free. I also have a bi-monthly podcast that will always be available as a free download. My next episode is this month!
9 – Hardstyle music is very loud…Have you ever heard ringing in your ears after DJing? Do you protect your ears?
I’ve definitely experienced ringing in my ears after events. As a teenager going to see my favorite bands play, I regrettably never used ear protection. Thankfully, I learned early on from my colleagues in the industry that ear protection is an absolute must. Ever since I’ve been involved with hardstyle, I’ve protected my ears. I always remind myself – you’re only given one set of ears, why destroy them?
10 – How do we keep up-to-date with Markove?
My social media below is the best way to stay informed! I’m constantly updating Facebook and Soundcloud.