DJ Drokz Interview (2015)
This man doesn’t need an introduction at all. A legend since day one, a pioneer and one of the hardest DJs on Earth, a man who’s mission it is to bring only the hardest and finest music to those who can handle it. The voice of a nation of Gabbers: his legendary ‘Thunderdome’ shoutouts still give every gabber goosebumps. To most he’s known as Opa Drokz (or Grandpa Drokz, if you aren’t Dutch), and some might even know him as Richard K, Richie Gambino, Creatures of the Occult, etc. We will talk to this legend, ask him those questions most of us are afraid to ask him, and will indulge ourselves into his passion for the music, getting crowds to go mental, and his love for sneakers. Ladies and gentlemen, we are honoured to interview the legend that is DJ Drokz!
Drokz, how are you doing? Enjoying the weather with a nice beverage? “Nah, sitting nice and comfy on the couch with a heinie (a.k.a. Heineken). Mazzel the diva dog is doing a beauty sleep next to me and a DJ set of Current Value is on the speakers. Pretty relaxed setting to do an interview.”
You are a well known name in the Hardcore/Terror scene, seeing as you are a producer and DJ, and used to be an MC aswel. We could ask you the standard question, but we won’t: if you sum up who Drokz is in a couple of words, what would those words be, and why? “Dedicated, Loyal, Music maniac, Down to earth…but to be fair, people who know me well can give you a better description.
And to keep it real, also impatient and grumpy at times hehe. But grandpa’s are allowed to be grumpy at times hahaha.”
You’ve been in the scene for many years, as a producer and as a DJ. You’ve been playing since the early 90s, and had your first release back in 1995 (according to Discogs it’s ‘Bier EP’ by you and Conabis). Back in those days, when you were a bit younger, what was your goal? What was the reason you decided to change from the dancefloor to stand behind the decks? “My first EP was out in 1992 on my own 289 records label. Musical vandals ¨Hakke¨ (btw the first record with the word Hakke in it ;) ). When I was 15 I played Hiphop. The reason was that I wanted to share my taste in music and that is still the reason today.”
What possessed you to choose for the hardest style known to mankind? Why does it appeal to you so much you made it your way of living? “I always tend to like the harder end of genres. For example, with Metal I like: Deicide, DnB Current Value & and Hiphop Onyx. It´s just natural to me that I like the harder end. But I got a wide taste of music. A way of living, I don´t know, I just do what I got to do and music wise nobody tells me what to do. Maybe that is the mentality of a terrorhead, I do and like what I like….don´t like that, phonk you!!”
A few days ago a memorable moment passed you by without knowing: your 400th performance as a DJ. Currently you have played 402 times so far. Ever look back at what you have achieved in all those years? “There are 3 things that I´m proud of. First of all, that I´m still active in a scene of the music that I love. Second that I arranged that Akira, Noisekick, The Vizitor got their first records out. Not that I started their carreer or something, they would succeeded anyway, no doubt, but I´m proud of that I helped them just a little bit. Third, when I was young people believed I would end up to no good, so I proved them wrong biaaattccchhhhh hehe.”
You were and still are an inspiration person. Your music has touched many souls. And during the 90s people were able to witness you in a show on a music channel (TMF) called ‘Hakkeeh’. For those who haven’t seen the show, it was focussed on Hardcore during the heydays of Hardcore. It had live registrations of Hardcore parties, and also interviews with DJs/producers. Your section of the show was called ‘Ouwe Hoeren Met Drokz’. You were clearly enjoying yourself when you recorded it, but how do you look back at this period in your life? “It was wild & strange. Wild because everything I dreamed of as a young boy came true. Being able to perform on small and really big stages, lots of ladies, lots of drugs and making enough money. Strange, because TMF ´Hakkeeh´ did put everything over the top. Recognized everywhere, 2 hours before and after shows signing autograhps and all that. From being an anonymous dude just before that, it changed everything too fast. I had conversations with MC Mouth of madness (who also presented the show) like ¨wtf is happening here¨. We improvised everything, there was nobody to guide us, nothing (what gave us maximum freedom). The whole ¨ff ouwehoeren¨ thing i´ve made up while just smoking some weed and writing some ideas on paper. Went to a partyshop to buy a hat and a beard and just started with that. So I enjoyed it a lot, but i´ve learned also a lot. It was crazy times x 666.”
Hardcore went down the drain, and nearly disappeared completely. The music changed, and many left the scene. Only a handful remained active, and kept the scene alive and kicking, but more focussed on the underground side of Hardcore. Was there ever a moment in your life when you thought that ‘it has been good enough, I’ll quit’? Or was the love for the music strong enough to keep you going? “I´m a supporter for life, not a succes supporter (not footbal related, I´m not a hooligan, but footbal supporters know exactly what I mean). I always say to people with big mouths…I was there when you came into the scene and I will be opening the door when you leave. 2012 was a really bad year for the Terror scene, there was no music coming out. Most producers had legitable reasons for it (building a new studio, private issues ect.), some had give up and it made me work harder to put music out there. But the foundation in the Terror scene is strong, we stand our ground. What I sincerely hate, is when everything is on the rise again, the leeches pop up. Blurrrghhhh.
DJ wise I will perform in the next years lesser and lesser, because it´s not easy to combine with my dayjob plus I ain´t getting any younger. But I always keep those tracks coming, can´t stop won´t stop.”
Edit: when I´m coming home at 9 o´clock in the morning (drunk, trashed and looking like a truck ran over me) I like to qoute Danny Glover as Rodger Murtaugh from the old Lethal weapon movies :¨I´m getting too old for this shit¨ hahaha”
Over the years you have produced many anthems like ‘Clear The Air’, ‘Bust That Ass’, ‘We’ve Killed The Pengo’, ‘Home Of The Sick’, ‘Time To Unite’… the list goes on and on. Which production you made still takes your breathe away, which is the one track that still gives you goosebumps? “There is not just one track…but I will make a Top 3.
Bust That Ass, because it got the mid 90´s big hall sound and flow. Tried to remix it, complete waste of time. Btw the track is a remix, the original version I didn´t like enough to put it out and due to time pressure I remixed it in 1 day.
Shotta, timeless gangsterstyled track, kick, vibe and vocal just fit perfectly. Destroyed a few dancefloors through time with that track and gives me that special attitude behind the decks.
Our Song, last track on the last Thunderdome, really special track and moment with DaY-már. Long break, but when it hits, it HITS, that special feeling.
And ofcourse a lot of genuine terror tracks…..Creatures of the Occult allways nice to hear back and gives me that dark feeling.”
Who inspired you when you were producing those tracks? “I just get inspired by a lot of music in general. I get inspired by people who are doing what they like and stand firm doing that. Also people who think outside their genre/substyle and got the balls to step out of their comfort zone. Lately there are too many producers/DJ’s judging other producers/DJ’s while they are prisoners of their own style. I listen to a lot of styles and if you listen closely to my tracks you can hear that. Reggae in ¨Henkie Lives On¨, Metal in ¨Heavy Narcotics¨, Hiphop in the ¨Stealing Yo Shit¨ series to name a few.”
Not only has Drokz released anthem after anthem, but also albums. Yes, this man is a very busy bee. His first album was released back in 2003, and many have followed. One even got released as a free download, for all those Terror freaks out there. And that’s something I am curious about: you do give out a lot for free, from mixes to EPs. What’s the reason behind your generosity? “Several reasons. Tickets are nowadays expensive enough (people have to work hard for the tickets), music must be easy acessable and they are on free download sites within 24hrs anyway. When I started to make music/noise it was for myself, but I also wanted to share it with those who appreciate it. So nothing changed. That´s why I always ask kindly ¨like it, share it¨ when I drop a release. If you are a loyal follower of my pages, you´ll get rewarded with free music. Play it LOUD!!”
Once you’ve witnessed the legend that is Drokz, the impact will change your life. Many have witnessed you over the years, and there’s a cult following. You have become the inspiration for many, and 36k+ fans do agree with your passion and enthusiasm for the music. There are even fans who tattoo themselves with your logo. But looking at your Tweets and Facebook statuses, you are still a down to earth guy. Hasn’t being famous affected you at all? “I explain it always like this. Someone who is really good in construction get´s compliments if his works’ finished and showed to the customer. I´m horrible with building stuff, I could not get a nail right in a piece of wood. So everybody got a skill they are good in, only with the difference that music will touch your hart, balls, clit whatever. So my talent is that I can play & make some music, that´s it. I´m not the type that is ¨oh so artistic¨, making things more important then it accually is. I think that is pure bullshit. A firefighter puts his life on the line doing his job, an airplane pilot got the responsibility over hundreds of people. You can´t compare those jobs with entertaining people in a club or sitting behind a pc listening to a kickdrum over and over. So being famous isn´t that important to me.”
“Also I have a day job where I´m Richard not Drokz. They don´t care what I do as Drokz, so that keeps my feet on the ground. But don´t get me wrong, I totally respect and appreciate my followers (even I don´t have time to answer messages, sorry). I´m blessed with such dedication of people!!!”
“As far with the tattoos, that is the ultimate dedication. The Drokz tattoo club get some merchandise for free as a appreciation for their dedication. It´s the least I can do back for them!”
Drokz is well known for his passion for everything hard and tough, but also for his passion for sneakers. A specific brand to be precise (just do it). Is this the result from the 90s, when ravers/gabbers wore those sneakers? How many sneakers do you actually have? “No, I loved sneakers all my life, but never had enough money to spend it on. I started to collect a few years ago and now I think I got around a 120 pairs. Funny detail is that I’m always busy, so to relax I hunt for sneakers on the internet.”
Have you got a shoe fetish? Do you find women in sneakers the sexies sight you’ve ever seen? “Nah I just like to wear fresh sneakers, that´s it. And for woman, yeah, I like it when they wear some supercute Air Maxes, no competition for boots, Uggs, ect.”
Back to the music. You’ve recently released ‘DROKZ015 EP’ as a free download. After many years you haven’t lost your production skills and strength, but what is the secret behind a Drokz track? How come you make each track sound unique, fresh, raw, unedged, tough, etc? “Nothing, I just sit and start. Sometimes I have a plan what kind of style I want to make (like Industrial, Gabber, Funky, BPM range), sometimes not. I always make sure that the track is good to mix and most important that it will work on the dancefloor and gets you moving. I don´t give a phonk what is credible or not, new school/old school or flavours. Ofcourse there is a certain sound that I have, like some say ¨a typical Drokz kickdrum¨ or so, but that is what I like I guess, not doing that on purpose. Production skills can always be improved, so I will keep learning.”
What’s your equipment set up at home? Do you still work on ‘oldskool’ equipment, or do you work on the latest hardware? “Everything in the box. Worked with hardware in the past and phonk that, phonk midi bullshit. It was always playing tricks with me, giving me errors, or not well saved sounds. It killed a lot of times my vibe. Plus a lot of synths nowadays are digital anyway, so I love to start up my computer and start where I finished the last time. Keeping my workflow high.”
Many don’t know that you do have a full-time job, and being a DJ is some kind of hobby. You don’t perform that often (maybe twice a month). But if there is one reader who hasn’t seen you live before, what can he/she expect? “Yep I only perform twice a month. Expect energy!! Not a flawless set (I mix quite like a caveman hahaha), but with a lot of tracks building up from hard till harder.”
Your musical knowledge is unendless, and you have worked/played with many artists over the last couple of years. Artists such as Akira, Partyraiser, DaY-már, Noizer, Angerfist, and the list goes on. At Masters Of Hardcore 2014 you played with an upcoming artist Mithridate. You introduced her to us all, as your protogé. Is there a specific reason why we all should follow Mithridate, and why is she the next best thing to hit the Terror scene? “Glad you ask, because there is some confusion about that subject. People that went the last few years to Terror partys in Holland probably seen her on the dancefloor already. And after some pictures (when she was behind the decks) posted by her boyfriend Paranoizer, Akira & I invited her spontaniously to play with us at Masters of Hardcore during our set. She was nervous as phonk, but played very well. Most wanted booking agency saw the response and we started talking. The reason she is supported by me is that she is FROM the dancefloor, UNDERSTANDING the dancefloor and has that energy that I sometimes mis with other DJ´s. She loves terror so much and that is the complete package to me. ATM she is learning to produce, but experience can´t be learned, so she still has a path to walk, but didn´t we all? I strongly believe that she is a great add-up to the terrorscene. Full support!!”
“Angernoizer is back and stronger then before. Danny Ovington is the hard kick supplier and still making progress. The Sinner is improving his sound & production and working hard. Deterrent Man is dropping great tracks. Khaoz Engine signed with MW and is full focussed on a mission. And at the hard end of Hardcore I really like what Dave Dope is releasing. So things are looking good!!”
You keep on releasing new music, and with Mithridate you’ve released ‘Haters Gonna Hate’, which people can find on ‘De Nederlandsche Terreur BV’ EP. The thought behind it is a nice one: all proceeds will go to charity. (ik zet hier links naar de EP). The top 5 Terror artists worked on this EP, and the result is a 5 track EP, with the slowest track being 220BPM. An excellent track, if I must say. But how come your track is the ‘slowest’? And who are actually the haters? “Because we love the 220bpm tempo haha. The other tought behind the project was also to unite/connect the older big name generation with the newest generation. United we stand!!”
“The haters? Well…. let´s say that some people didn´t understand my support of Mithridate or disagree. Phonk that!! Also the usual rumours when a chick is supported, even Paranoizer is her well-known boyfriend and a friend of mine. So we tought it was a good subject for a song, case closed hehe. Also people can relate to the song, there is a lot of hating on the internet, so people remember…..Haters gonna hate anyway, phonk em!!”
You’ve once said that ‘Holland Is Godverdomme Het Hardste’. You still stand by that quote? “Ofcourse, we are the hardest. What would the Hardcore scene be without Holland? It´s not only about BPM´s 📷 ”
Still got a hate against Hard House? (mentioned in Holland Is…..) “Still don´t understand the word HARD .. Hate is a big word, but I will never perform in a leather jacket so to speak hahaha”
What can we expect in the near future (production wise)? Any releases coming up? Or maybe an album you are secretly working on? “No secrets, currently I’m working on a team up ep with Goetia, some remixes pending and then drokz016.”
Oh, something people might want to know: if anyone wants to purchase a Drokz t-shirt, where can they get them from? Are they still available? “At the Masters of Hardcore store. And I must say, it´s always superdope seeing someone rock your shirt at a party, seriously!!”
Last question, and I’ve saved the best for last. It’s quite tricky to answer this correctly, but if anyone could answer it correctly, it has to be you. Can you explain to someone who thinks that it’s just a lot of noise, what Terror music actually is? “Hard, faster than average, sometimes funky, but most of all in your face music.”
If you want to thank anyone at all for becoming who you are, or do the complete oppossite, here’s your chance. “Mr.Courage, Akira, The Vizitor, Noisekick, Masters of Hardcore, Marilys of MW bookings, ID&T (incl Waxweazle for the introduction), GNS crew, my old homeboys, my new homeboys, my dead homeboys, Sjoerd (known as the boy on a lot of album covers) and everyone involved in the Hardcore/Terrorscene + my lady aka Grandma.”
We would like to say ‘thank you’ to Grandpa Drokz, for this very interesting, and very insightful interview. As I said before, this man doesn’t need an introduction, but only admiration for the achievements over the years. If you are still unaware of who this pioneers and legend is, make sure you check these websites out, bookmark them, and if you don’t (I’ll use a Drokz quote) ‘phonk you’.
Also, check out his latest track on ‘De Nederlandsche Terreur BV‘ EP, which he made with the talented Mithridate.
Drokz, a pioneer, the voice of a generation.