23 August 2013
Fabian Bohn, better known as Brennan Heart, has been at the forefront of the hardstyle sound for more than a decade. From Chile to Korea to Australia, he’s been taking crowds around the globe on a journey through his unique brand of hardstyle music that ranges from the rough to the uplifting. Brennan Heart has hardstyle running through his veins, just like all the thousands of fans who come to see him play everywhere he goes. Before he takes on the main stage in September, we spoke to the creator of this year’s Defqon.1 Australia anthem ‘Scrap The System’ about the making of an anthem, his most memorable moments so far, and about other recent developments in his career.
‘Scrap The System’ isn't your first Defqon.1 anthem, as in 2007 you also produced the anthem for the Dutch edition under the title ‘Get Wasted’. You've also produced anthems for events like Qlimax, Freaqshow and many others. How does producing an anthem differ from producing a regular track?
Producing an anthem is quite different, as you start with a theme and an event briefing. What’s the event like, what mood and vibe should the anthem express? As Defqon.1 festival is an outdoor event, planned to happen in sun and good weather, it should contain a euphoric and feel-good vibe. It’s also a big honour to produce the anthem for an Australian event, as the number of big outdoor events is more limited than in Europe, so it’s more unique and special to the crowd. It’s more or less the anthem of the year for the fans within this continent.
Musically, building the track is not very different from my regular process regarding melody, composition and production. However, the vocal is quite strict and is representing the theme, so that’s something I cannot change. I’d consider that’s the main difference between an own song and an anthem.
Brennan Heart - Scrap The System (Defqon.1 Australia 2013 Anthem) (Free Download)
All the way back in March 2008, you played the midnight set at the very first Q-dance event in Sydney. How have you seen our scene grow since that night?
The interest for events has seriously increased and I consider it’s essential that Q-dance added a second big event with IQON in April, to serve the demand from the fans. The next step should be that artists come back more often for touring. It’s important to feed a vivid scene with more events and touring. It’s also important to create more opportunities for local DJ’s and producers, as the Australian scene also will need to have their own heroes. With my new label WE R Music I’m really supporting Australian producers, as Code Black, Toneshifterz and Outbreak are connected. They’re all highly talented and are willing to learn and work hard.
Besides your melodic anthems like ‘Just As Easy’ and ‘Lose My Mind’, you've also made some harder and less melodic tracks in your time, like ‘Masterblade’, ‘F.I.F.O.’ and ‘Reputation Game’. Do you think variety is important in what an artist produces?
I consider it’s a combination of mood, artistic development and coincidence. Sometimes you start with a setup for a melodic track, but it isn’t working well and it might turn into a harder track, with only a few some small changes. But the best tracks are done within an hour, like ‘Lose My Mind’ and more recently ‘Imaginary’. Of course, these tracks needed some extra production afterwards, but the basic idea was done in a wink! Saying this though, I don’t really think of hard and soft or raw and melodic, but more about feel, energy, dynamics and sound. When I’m driving in the car, I listen to a variety of music, which can be hardstyle, but also pop music, hip-hop, dubstep or classic music. Also, a good movie or a conversation can be inspiration to a new track.
You've just started up a brand new label called WE R. What can you tell us about it?
We’ve presented the new label at Defqon.1 Festival in the Netherlands, which was really exciting, as well as the label presentation at Tomorrowland. My label has a family feel; kindred spirits that like to produce great music, work hard, cooperate and help each other. You can expect a lot of new releases from the actual roster, but we will also welcome some new talents to the family. Being a producer and DJ for more than 15 years, I know how important it can be to have musical and business support with your career. With my team and partners, we have a lot of experience and expertise and we can help artists to reach out to the next level.
You've been producing and playing hardstyle for over a decade now, has there been any temptation to experiment with or change to different styles?
Like said, I like different styles of music and I’m very inquisitive. So you never know what will happen, but I’m very happy with my actual career and the future perspectives.
Probably one of the coolest things to have ever happened on stage during a hardstyle event was the live orchestra joining you at Qlimax 2010 for ‘An Alternate Reality’ (the 2010 Qlimax anthem) and your remix of ‘Sacrifice’ by Headhunterz. How was that?
These were highlights in my career and I cherish these special moments. But it’s also a reward for the moments that are less cool, which you don’t share when feeling bad or disappointed. If you watch my documentary ‘Evolution of Style’ it really expresses why my life is special and precious, what music, fans and events mean to me. It’s not about one or two moments, but about a dedication for life. Not only for me, but also for all those fans around the world, that make hardstyle a universal sound and ‘one family’. There’s no other genre than hardstyle that has such a spirit, loyalty, dedication and energy!
Evolution of Style - A Journey with Brennan Heart (Full documentary) (Press CC for English subtitles)
Talking about career highlights, what would you say your best/proudest achievements are?
I’m proud of my perseverance and my continuous development. There have been many moments where I could’ve taken the easy way out, quitting the studio or my career. Get a ‘normal job’ without all the travelling, the expectations and the stress. But this is my life; this is what I like best. That’s also the bottom line for my development; I’m satisfied, but at the same time aiming for the next level, new experiences and unknown territories.