25 Years of Neophyte: “The passion to create music, comes from the core of my soul”

Wouter de Vink
By Wouter de Vink

One of the biggest artists in hardcore music is celebrating his 25th anniversary this year. Back in 1993, Neophyte started to build on his very own brand and now he has become one of the most famous hardcore DJ’s around. We had the honour to catch up with the record label owner about his milestone, career and future plans. “Uptempo hardcore is very popular at the moment, but I won’t produce that kind of music. I just keep on doing what I like to do: making hardcore.”

Together with Danny Greten and Robin van Roon, Jeroen Streunding – better known as Neophyte – was blown away by the first hardcore tracks that came out back in the day. The three of them decided 25 years ago to create their very own track and work together on it until it was good enough for Paul Elstak to listen to. Back then, Elstak was the manager of the infamous first Dutch hardcore label called Rotterdam Records. “We kept on working on our track and after a few tips from Paul, we had our very first release: The Three Amiga’s EP.” This is the very moment that the act Neophyte was born.

25 years of neophyte hardcore vroeger “I never imagined that I would actually celebrate 25 years of Neophyte hardcore, that’s a dream coming true. However, it quickly discovered that I would like to do it for the long run. I’ve a passion for music since the moment I was able to breathe”, says Jeroen about his anniversary. Over the years, Neophyte has been making music continuously. “Honestly, I didn’t realize how popular I was in a certain phase of my career. To me it is just a consecutive story for 25 years non-stop. I can’t help my self: every time I hear a distorted kick, I instantly get goose bumps. After all these years, there’s nothing I’d rather do than make music.”

“A creation makes you immortal in some ways and I’ve managed to so”

“Highlights are ofcourse the countless of insane performances, numerous of interesting people I’ve met and the music I’ve made – which will always be there. I think that I’ve made lots of people happy with my music and that’s worth a lot to me”, says Neophyte humble.

Nowadays, he’s still playing all over the world to celebrate his 25th anniversary in hardcore music. Like closing down of the mainstage of the world’s biggest hardcore festival: Dominator. “I’ve remasterd all of my 400 tracks, which will be re-uploaded later this year on YouTube. In addition to that, I’m doing an episode of my podcast ’25 Years of Controlled Chaos’ every two months”, says the DJ enthusiastically. Every episode of this podcast contains about five years, containing anecdotes and behind the scenes footage by the main man himself. And that’s not it. “I’ve also launched a brand new, interactive website. Fans are able to upload their own content to show what they’ve been through, together with us over the years. I’m thinking of a dedicated event as well, which I’m working on as we speak.”

It sounds like a busy schedule to us. But besides all these activities, Neophyte is also running his own label called Neophyte Records. “At that time I was ready for a change, the scene was nearly dead”, he says. So Jeroen founded the label in 1999 and it has been here for almost twenty years already. “To be honest with you, it’s quite hard to combine all of those tasks. I have very little time for myself, because I live for my music and career”, he explains. The life of a DJ is very irregular and you have to travel a lot. “I’m getting sick of traveling, but it’s absolutely the best way to get in touch with your fans..”

“I want to help new artists developing themselves and give the scene a boost again”

“I’ve got an ear for new trends in the scene and upcoming talent”, Neophyte explains. “I always surround myself with young people that are in the middle of their lives. It keeps me sharp and hungry for success. These talents learn from me and give me a new, fresh view on certain matters in return. It keeps me on a level where I want to be at.” Neophyte is telling us that he has considered to stop performing and focus completely on the label. “I didn’t like to perform at that time, everything annoyed me back then. But it was just a phase. I now see clearly that playing gigs is a part of me. It’s just who I am. I assure you that this guy will be rocking on stage for a very long time!”

Neophyte 25 Years of Hardcore interview

The hardcore DJ has made tons of music in the past 25 years. “I’m determined to make various productions constantly and look for something new. I’m enormously driven. That has brought me releases of more than 400 tracks, one of the most beautiful things my drive has led me to”, says Neophyte. The love for the music is a reason for him to keep going. Even after all these years, in which the scene has drastically changed, the DJ is handling it very well. “I just keep on doing my own thing. I don’t keep an eye on others and stay true to myself, and the music that I like. Uptempo hardcore for example is very popular at the moment, but I won’t create it. I’m not going to follow someone else like a sheep. I just make and play what I like the most, which allows me to see someone smile when I take a peek into the audience. Besides that, I would also like to get to the production level I had in the first five years of my career. Back then, I released like 15 tracks a year. That’s not longer possible for me, but I do want to release more stuff.”

“I’m going all out to make it an unforgettable year: there’s a new Neophyte album on its way”

The last album by Neophyte – Maniak Chapter 2 – was released in 2013. Neophyte mentioned in an earlier interview that he’s dropping a new album every five years, which means that he’s coming with a new one this year. Right? “It’s true, you’ve done your homework well. I’m doing this every 5 years because I don’t want to repeat myself. If I would release an album on a yearly basis, it would be in full automatic pilot mode and the tracks would be like a dime a dozen.” Despite his urge to release as much tracks as he can, Neophyte thinks on another leven about an album “The sound and style in hardcore music starts a new cyclus every five years, which results in new artists at the surface. I want to sound fresh every time, which explains the long breaks between them”, he explains before he reveals the big news.

Neophyte Interview 25 Years of Hardcore Neophyte Records Dominator mainstage
To celebrate his anniversary, Neophyte is coming with a brand new album for his 25 Years of Controlled Chaos. “A new album is on his way and it will most likely be a double album. The first album includes mostly new tracks by myself and collaborations with several artists throughout the scene.” The second party will contain remixes of all those legendary tracks by the man himself. “The first remixes are in the making as we speak. There’s one which is already finished: my track ‘Hardcore To The Bone’ has been remixed by N-Vitral.”

“I’ll keep on going for at least 25 years”

“The love for the music gives me the motivation to keep doing this after all these years”, Neophyte continues. But we have to ask him what will happen when he does decide to quit as an artist. Who will continue his legacy? “The guys from my label all have a little bit of myself in their style and performances, they will absolutely fill the void. But that’s not an issue at the moment. I’ll keep on working in this scene for at least 25 years.” There is still a couple of things to do according to his bucketlist. “I would like to make track with a top producer in rock music, like Rick Rubin. Or remix something officially for Nirvana or The Red Hot Chili Peppers. They are absolute heroes to me.” For now, the full focus will be at the celebration of his 25th anniversary. “Because there’s a lot about to happen!”

This saturday (21th of Juli), Neophyte will close down the mainstage of Dominator Festival with a special ’25 Years of Neophyte Hardcore’-set. More info about the new album will be revealed later on.

Footage taken from High Energy Events, b2s, Rebirth Festival & Supremacy

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