Catching Up With Vicetone at Prysm Chicago
We caught up with Dutch duo, Vicetone, at Prysm Nightclub in Chicago to chat about their beginnings as artists, passions, and thoughts on the music scene. Somehow the topic of video games came up in conversation as we sat down to chat.
Sensible Reason: What games have you been playing lately?
Vicetone: Rocket League.
SR: Is that an old game?
V: It’s about two years old. It’s cars playing soccer basically.
SR: I remember Deadmau5 had that as his visuals during his last tour.
V: Our song just recently got released on that new album so that’s really nice. It feels good to have our song on a game we really like to play. It brings both worlds together.
We used to play Dying Light together in co-op mode. That’s fun because it’s two people going through a world together.
SR: Is there one person that carries the team?
V: It’s in the dark and it’s all zombies and you’re just two guys trying to survive and save people but it’s too scary on your own. If you’re two guys, you can do it.
SR: So how’s the tour going so far?
V: Amazing, amazing. We started the tour about a week ago and we’re just excited to get back on the road. We’ve been in Europe for a month and a half and it’s great to be back.
SR: You have been to Chicago before. This city has a huge electronic scene and following but it’s obviously different than back at home. What is the starkest difference between the Chicago dance scene and the Dutch scene?
V: Well, we obviously know about the scene in Chicago from all the dance gigs we play. We don’t really have an idea about the entire scene in Chicago, it’s a big city music wise. I would say the biggest difference is that the young people here are still discovering the different dance music scenes while back at home in Holland everybody knows everything already. We grew up listening to this music, literally, when we were 9 or 10 years old we bought our first dance album. That’s different. I like playing here better than at home.
SR: Why is that?
V: Because the crowds are better, they’re more energetic. The Dutch crowd…bless them, but they’re used to this. We’ve all seen DJ shows. Most of the time they expect a really huge production show and if we don’t meet that they’re not going to be as excited. In Chicago they’re more excited about it I guess because it’s more new. The Dutch are a little more jaded, maybe.
It could also be a culture thing. All the big DJs come from Holland. Everyone is spoiled.
SR: I remember talking to Sander Van Doorn and he said if you can make it in Holland, you can make it anywhere because the crowd is so picky.
SR Photographer: Do you remember your first dance album? I remember my first dance album being blown away thinking “Wow, this isn’t Led Zepplin.”
V: It’s completely different in Holland. They’ve been putting Tiesto, Eric Prydz and Swedish House Mafia on the pop radio stations for years. These were the albums we grew up with. When we were 16 we would go to all these trance and dance parties. That’s the equivalent to the rock and roll festivals Americans go to.
SR: You two haven’t been back for a while, what brought your return?
V: We recently built new studios over the past three months and that’s been a ton of work and planning. Those are almost done, so that’s very exciting for us. It allows us to work much faster and mix better and technically we will make better music. Of course, that is subjective but it will be better quality. That’s exciting for us to make new music in these studios and test it out. These are our dream studios we’ve wanted to work in for quite some time. Music style, it’s important for us to keep learning new music and never stand still. That will show in our music.
SR: How would you describe your creative process as a duo? Is one person coming to the table with an idea and you two tweak together?
V: There’s no rule, really, it’s a dynamic process. I sometimes like to be in my own studio, he likes to be in his own studio. We work separately, we come together and combine sounds and ideas. It’s nice to just vibe in the studio and get things done as quickly as possible when we’re together. When it comes to the mix/sound process, the boring stuff, adding high and low frequencies, then it’s something we might do separately.
Most of the stuff we do together because it’s more fun. Even the mix sounds because it’s such an integral part of the song. it’s not like an afterthought so a lot of the time we’ll do nitpicky details separately, but most other things together. That’s the only way it’s going to become the best it’s going to be.
SR: You have been making music since you were pretty young. How did you two meet and decide to make music together?
V: We met when we were 15 and we had no idea that we were going to do this, but we knew we loved dance music. A couple years later when we became friends we went to a couple festivals when we were underage and we loved that whole atmosphere. I remember going to school after one of them, what you would call “raves” and I would feel so sad that I wasn’t there anymore, I wanted to go back. Post party depression if you will, so I knew at that point that I wanted to do more and get into that.
How did we start together? It was around 19 or 20. He built a studio and I was fucking around with other music production. It felt natural to make music together. We were vibing and played live at a small party and got really confident and into it. We threw everything in one basket to make it all happen. o you feel you’ve grown as artists from
SR: How do you feel you’ve grown as artists from the time you were 19 until now?
V: When you’re 19 and you make 5 songs you already think you’re the shit, but you keep learning new techniques and new plugins every day. I picked up playing the guitar, I’m learning piano. You keep learning new stuff to create with, it’s really techincal as well, the evolution keeps on growing.
SR: Do you feel like the technical part of things is the most challenging to learn and master as an artist?
V: I love the technical part of it.
SR: So what is your greatest challenge?
V: Working creatively. Making songs flow together. The arrangement is the challenge, it takes longer than the technical stuff. Once you have the technical part down it’s easy, the creative part…you constantly change things, you get burnt out on a song, that’s a struggle. When you can’t get a particular part or sound right, that’s the most challenging.
SR: What do you hate most about the music scene?
V: Everyone wants a piece of the puzzle.
SR: Where are you best received in the US?
V: Los Angeles and San Diego are always a great crowd. Houston has always been very good to us. Austin as well, Texas in general.
SR: Why Texas?
V: They have a huge EDM crowd there.
SR: Never thought Texas would have a big dance following.
V: Just feels nice to play there, I guess.
SR: Which artist is on your bucket list?
V: Justin Timberlake. He’s fucking awesome.
Eminem. He was my childhood hero. I love his music. I don’t think there’s ever been a rapper who has had as much emotion, power, and energy as Eminem. I love the raw anger in his music. I’m not an angry person at all but I love listening to his story. That power is what I love.
Following the interview, Vicetone took to the stage at Prysm to give the crowd the best that Holland can offer. These two were clearly having a blast as they dropped their own flare flawlessly. The club immediately lit up as soon as they entered and remained full of life throughout their set (which felt far too short). We hope to catch these two again soon and see what this dynamic duo has to offer.