Hardcore. What a word. When we see things in this world that make us step back, scratch our heads in disbelief and wonder to ourselves “how in the hell……”, that is when such a word comes to mind. Underwater nuclear explosions, someone freefalling 65,000 ft with a low open chute, scuba diving into a pack of Great White sharks, and, in my opinion, DJ Tron. In the never-ending world of DJs, very few get noticed unless they cater to the masses with pretty, sickly-sweet, flowing tracks that are breed into the “top-pop name” club circuit or when E laced kandykids blown out of their minds make out to it in the dark corners of nightclubs to it.
Now, enter a guy, who like the songs he creates and the mood he secrets, is one step beyond what most of society considers “safe” and “sane”, someone who would strap you to a twin jet engine of a B-52 bomber, take off, blow up some quiet neighborhood, and make you scream for more… That is what we have here in DJ Tron. The mad jester, the magician, the devil and the lunatic wrapped up into one dark package that makes you realize there is more out there than you are aware of, and maybe, just maybe, within the darker depths of your sanity, you want to look.
He has gained much notice over the past few years with his hard-edged style and “in-your-face” sound that ushers forth like so many nightmares under the bed. You think you know what “techno” music is? You think that all ravers are blissed out 16 year olds in baggy pants and glow sticks? DJ Tron is here to explain a few things about that idea and inform you as to what the real story is, from the struggles of being an underground DJ to the inspirations and dreams that he has.
The “Underground” scenes of our society,
be it goth, industrial, techno, or primitive have always been separate
from each other and very few times has the genres merged into something
that is understood by each other. Now more than ever, we are becoming dependant
upon each other and our sounds have been unified at club events and live
shows more times than not. There has been a much wider range of acceptance
within the underground scenes and as this happens, we grow stronger and
understand more about who and what we are. You may not understand gabber,
some of you may not like it, but you cannot ignore it and the power it
creates. Embrace this dark DJ and give him your undivided attention…..in
my mind he deserves it!
StarVox: For those who are not familiar with your style and sound, how would you, DJ Tron, describe it?
DJ Tron: I would begin by calling it industrial hardcore. However, that is only the exo-skeleton covering the undefinable chaos that lies behind the beats. I have described the songs as psalms for the inner-tortured because, like the artist, they contain a myriad of layers hidden in places only found by those cursed with the over-analytical mind. The music is really geared towards them, the people that will look so deep that they will find things that the normal "straight" wouldn't hear with 10000 listens....
StarVox: I understand your first gig was in 1994 at Nebula. Care to go into how that was? What kind of reaction did you have? What was the major influence you had to start spinning and creating music?
DJ Tron: Yes, my first gig was at Nebula. The only reason I got that gig was because my close group of friends were the ones throwing the party. Nobody knew who I was, except through mixtapes that I released previous to that night...all of which sucked though.... The mixing was, well, tolerable... My fucking hands were shaking SO much that I could hardly hold the needle. The response was great, but you also have to realize that at the time, hardcore was not like it is now. It was more accepted by the masses, and was even the main draw for a while. My reaction went over well because I played ALL of the hardest stuff that I had, right from the get go, and I think people respected that I didn't mess around with the weak shit, and went right into the hard stuff.
At the time, my major influence was DJ Hyperactive. He was the guy playing the hardcore techno that I listened to when I went to raves. Granted, that music was not nearly as hard as the music that was to cum, but for the time, it was aggressive dance music. He also incorporated elements of hard acid into his sets that really got the bug in my ear that there were different styles here, and I can go in many directions. He also got me records, listened to my tapes, and gave me feedback when nobody else would. I will ALWAYS have the utmost respect, and admiration for Joe Hyperactive.
StarVox: You're now on Possessive Blindfold. How did that happen, what was the connection between Scott, yourself and the label?
DJ Tron: It actually happened very quickly. You see, while I was locked up here in my studio trying to create this hardcore sound, I lost track of what was going on in the industrial world, which I hold very dearly. My friend reintroduced me to the sound, and when he saw the direction that I was taking my music, he suggested that I contact Scott, and see if we can work anything out. So, we are working things out, and hopefully I will have a full length coming out with him very soon.
StarVox: Do you think there will ever be an Imminent Starvation, Savak or any other Ant-Zen/Hymen/Possessive Blindfold PA remixes done by DJ Tron?
DJ Tron: Shit man, I fucking hope so... I love that shit. I have not heard as much of it as I would like to, but the stuff I heard, I was VERY into. I would love to tweak out some of the vox in some of that stuff, and do some really creepy stuff to them. Oooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh, I thought you would never ask!!!! I only hope that I could do the music justice....
StarVox: Skinny Puppy was noted as being one of your inspirations of your music, any specific album? What other artists inspired you?
DJ Tron: My god, do i have to pick ONE? Everything they did redefined how I interpreted music from that point on. Im talking LIFE CHANGE here, kind of stuff, a rebirth if you will. I found the music that was perfect for ME, in every possible way. It was dark, it was digital, it was angry, it had a message that paralleled my passions, Ogres voice, the horror, the haunting, the song with no beat, etc... These guys were making digital sounding noise back before the gear was even made for that. They explored variations in song structure, abandoning the linear format of most popular music. Ogre spoke from the HEART, and spoke to ME in particular at a time in my life when his words paralleled my inner pain. Adding to the genuosity of the vocal content, was an endless selection of filters with which he mutated his voice in ways still unmatched. The vocals became instruments on their own. Not to mention the BRILLIANT work of cEVIN KEY and Dwyane Goettel (R.I.P.) on the keys. Some of the more exhilarating, sophisticated rhythms, and intelligently arranged soundscapes came not from the studio work, but from the live shows ... in between songs, the two of them would improvise some of the most incredible textures that the interludes themselves almost became just as much a focus as the actual studio pieces. In that, no two SP shows were ever alike!!
I WILL GO TO THE GRAVE SAYING THAT I NEVER HEARD ANYTHING BETTER THAN SKINNY PUPPY!!!!!
But, if I MUST pick an album that would be MOST influential, I will list the top 5, in order from MOST to 5th MOST. (It must be noted that this is not to diminish the other releases, and this is influence rating, not overall album rating)
Cleanse, Fold, and Manipulate
I, in my life, have found ONE, and that is DrainingFaces....
Other artists that inspire me:
StarVox: With all the labels of your style of music; gabber, hardcore, acid hardcore, speedcore, terrorcore, etc. which do you prefer?
DJ Tron: I have actually been trying to get away from all of the "styles" within the "style," and just do my own thing. I guess you could say that I am partial to industrial hardcore, and the darker stuff. It does not have to be fast, and it does not have to be slow. If its HARD, and dark, i am into it. Unfortunately, due to all of the spreading of these "supposed" new styles of hardcore, I found myself in a spot where I did not like ANY of the music coming out, and I did not want it to represent DJ TRON when I performed. It came to a point where the crowd expected one thing from me, and that was the REALLy fast stuff. But, I was not happy, in the least, with the speedy stuff coming out. It all seemed cheesy, wanna-be dark, and just fast for the sake of being fast. There was no depth to the music, and no design, which is OK, but these songs seemed thrown together in a matter of minutes, and the quality just SUCKED. This was at a time when my gear was unusable, and I was not able to produce. But, when I was able to produce again, I made the decision that the only way that I was gonna be able to achieve the sound that I was looking for was to do it on my own ... so that is why I now play my OWN music, and I mix them off of my CD players. I am not sure which label they will put me in, but I really feel like I am doing something different, and something that will be continuously evolving and giving the people something different every time.
Not only that, but I can finish a song on Friday, and perform it on Saturday without waiting the 8 years to get the fucking thing on vinyl...
StarVox: LenNY Dee and his Industrial Strength label has been quoted as being the father of hardcore here in the states by various people. Any comments on that and some of the ridicule he is getting these days?
DJ Tron: LennyDee and IndustrialStrength ARE the fathers of hardcore in this country, hands down!!! All of the new people in the scene have no clue that without HIS records, and LennyDee, hardcore wouldn't be where it is. Lenny got me into REAL hardcore the first time i heard him spin, IN A BARN, in fucking Wisconsin!!!!! Anyhow, he really jump started the shit not only here but worldwide.
The slack he has taken lately has mostly been coming from people who know nothing of the real situation, and are going by here-say. There are some artists that have legitimate concerns with IndustrialStrength, and are fully in the right with their displeasure with how certain situations have been dealt with... I know this... But, I am not one of those artists, so that does not concern me, and is no business of mine.
As far as how Lenny is morphing styles a bit, I say, "Hey, if he is happy, then great... I don't have to like it, but if he is happy, then good for him..." What has been happening over the passed few years is that a lot of DJ's became known for one style, and that was it... The crowd seemed to box you in immediately, and every deviance from that style brought an unfavorable crowd response, and even ridicule. Now, us as DJ's, not wanting that response, would find ourselves playing shitty records, or records that we really did not want to play just to appease the crowd, or avoid that unfavorable ridicule. Its very difficult to be happy when the expectations you are forced to meet are ones that you just are not enjoying. What has happened with ALOT of artists (and I think I can include Lenny in this even though i don't like to speak for anybody), and myself included have had to overcome this mental speedbump of expectations and just try to allow ourselves to follow our hearts, and souls, and do what makes us happy... genuinely happy... His path took him one way. It just so happens that my happiness trail has kept me on the hard/dark path. I mean, if we are doing music simply because of expectations, the genuosity of the piece gets lost, and who wants music with no heart, blood, sweat and inner pain behind it? That's what the popular Top40 musicians are for....
StarVox: Where do you see your genre heading into over the next 5 to 10 years?
DJ Tron: Fuck, I hope into theater near you ... or at least one that would show Cronenberg movies ... Shit man, if my shit ended up in one of his movies, I don't know what I would do with myself. I could probably cash it all in because anything from then on would be a downfall. Unless of course Kerry Wood breaks the K record. It'd be worth the stretch if that happened...
No seriously, I see this style legitimizing itself on its own. It might take the full 10 years for this one, but its GONNA happen.... More and more people are becoming aware of the style, and its starting it's disassociation with the rave scene already. I mean, shit, as much as I love to play raves, they are too cool sometimes... Anyway, the hardcore areas are getting smaller and smaller, going from the hardcore room, to the hardcore hall, to the roped off hardcore section near the port-a-poties.... really... We used to be on stages, pumping the crowds at prime time, now no promoter allows it... AND THE PEOPLE WANT IT!!!!! So we are finding other avenues to force this down peoples throats. The Tunnel in NY will be doing events with CoalitionManagement every Friday night to try and reintroduce the dark/hard sound back into the club environment, where it once was. I will be a resident DJ there twice a month, for now, and this should hopefully spark the awareness of the masses that this sound is here to stay!!!
As far as out of the whole rave/club environment... C'mon, shit man, is there music more suited for a horror/sci-fi movie than this shit???? Or even in some (in sarcastic tone) Hollywood club scene where they wanna make it all dark and spooky, yet accentuate the aggressive nature of the action sequence where the cop busts the cocaine dealer in the VIP leading to a huge gun fight, many killed, innocent of course, for effect,..... (end sarcastic voice) ... you get the picture...
Even though I think it is more suited for a horror, or even satire flick, I would have given a fingernail to have written for "eXistenZ"....
StarVox: What state and/or country do you like to play at? Any memorable performances?
DJ Tron: LA-
people are NUTS!!!!!!!!!!! good pot and rolls.
I have so many memorable instances, but the most memorable are the ones that I could not recall a single event from if my life depended on it....
StarVox: I understand you are also a producer. Which do you prefer, Djing, producing, or playing live?
DJ Tron: I LOVE producing.... I love the feeling of control there... I mean, you are in total control of where the sounds go, when they arrive, when they depart, when they freak out, the mood, the aura, etc. Building sounds is an incredible experience as well, if you allow yourself the patience and the time. I try to build mostly all of my sounds from scratch. I fucking LOVE it. But, even more than that, I love the new way in which I am presenting it. I love spinning the CD's of songs that I just finished. Hearing them alone is one thing, but hearing them mixed together takes on a whole new identity. They are SO much fun to play with, and mix with noise and weird stuff. Its so much fun, and it is so satisfying to know that it is my own music up there that I am doing this to, and that the people are enjoying, or not enjoying, or being annoyed by, or having a bad trip to. its very gratifying to know that my mind did that.
When I used to DJ, I would play a lot of records that I really did not want to, or did not fit within the realm of noise that I wanted people to know me by, and identify DJ TRON with. So, when someone would compliment me on my performance, it always left me with mixed feelings. I was presenting other peoples music, yet I was the one getting the props... it did, and still does, seem weird.... Now, I can take those compliments, and criticisms, to heart because it represents input into my own personal art.
I WILL NEVER PLAY 100% LIVE EVER AGAIN!!!!!! unless we use other peoples gear, and even that I don't trust.
StarVox: Do you feel that you are limited here in the states vs. being overseas or do you find that the party scene is very open and receptive of your style?
DJ Tron: No, and I am very glad you asked that. This is one of the things that we are working extra hard at, is getting this style the recognition it deserves here in THIS country. For so long, the overseas market has been a constant morphing of styles that seemed to dictate how the rest of the world SHOULD present THEIR hardcore as well. We are pushing forth our own style of hardcore, a NEW style ... and NO, do NOT CALL IT NEW STYLE....I KNOW WHERE YOU ALL SLEEP... Its an evolution of the sound. We are trying to turn it into a more listenable medium, while keeping it dancefloor friendly, and even PIT FRIENDLY!!!!!!! The point being no matter how ya like it, we want you to be able to take this home and actually sit and listen to the individual songs as well produced, intelligently written masterpieces, as opposed to three minutes of repetitive synth lines surrounded by 2 minutes of mind-numbing drum rhythms built to ease the tension of the DJ. I think that the people of this country would REALLY embrace the sound if it was presented in an organized fashion, and given proper exposure... Shit man, there is a whole LEGION of people out there who like their shit HARD, and some of this shit is pretty hard.....
If anything, and I may or may not be alone on this, I think we are trying to separate from that "new style hardcore" scene entirely, and take REAL hardcore darkness to a new level... I see that scene as a perpetuation of itself that is close minded to new things, and scared to advance... However, Noizecreator has been doing some crazy stuff over in Germany, and I would love to fuckin play at one of their industrial festivals.. Man, that would be KILLER. I really think that crowd might appreciate the aggression of the sound.
StarVox: Lots of people think that gabber/speedcore is a dying art, what do you think about that?
DJ Tron: Its only a dying art if the artists give up on it. We, as artists, created that style, and we can kill it... Its all up to the individual.... I only hope that those that choose to get into hardcore take it seriously. I cant think of anybody that takes it as seriously as I do ... ask anybody, I ALWAYS look pissed off. I have not smiled in 5 years, and if I had a nickel for every time somebody said to me, at a show, "Are you OK man?", I would be able to buy a nice chunk of Maui, lemme tell ya. And that is probably what I would buy. But, things are happenin', and this sound is evolving into something that just cant be avoided.
StarVox: In forms of techno like goa trance and various house styles there seems to be a strong spiritual side to it all. Do you think your style has that same edge or does it come at you from a different direction?
DJ Tron: No, no spirituality in my stuff... More insanity than anything. It ALL comes from within. Rage, I have lots of to misplace, so i channel that into something audibly disturbing... Shit that bothers me, making sandwiches, the cops, losing to Mike Hampton with juiced up Jeff Besler on the mound, memories of people lost, guilt, guilt, guilt, anxiety, the fucking counter velocity of the earth, my need for chemicals to adapt to this human climate, and what it means to global warming and the addition of a day to the calendar year within 23 years (i damn near have proof), all down to my lousy Perfect Dark performance, burnt cookies, 26 not 27 K's, and the koolaid is just too warm to drink without me having to go, get up, get the ice cube, break the concentration of a thought in motion that cannot be recaptured by a memory erased through the introduction of the same chemicals with which I REQUIRE to live.... that is where the music comes from....
StarVox: On your CD, you have a touch of "satanic" imagery. Care to share your views on that and religion as a whole?
DJ Tron: I am a dark motherfucker, but I am not qualified to answer.... still exploring... The facts are not in, and I refuse to proclaim anything until I can back up what I say.
StarVox: How are the crowds different in a gabber party vs. the crowds at a D&B, or house party? What is the energy that is being passed around and do you usually get a warm reaction at those parties?
DJ Tron: Actually, I like parties that host a variety of styles.. I love playing like between a D&B DJ and a trance DJ. I think it opens up the ears of "style stickers" to other styles. The only difference that I see in the two crowds is that the D&B fans seem to really wanna groove, and just let the music take control. Whereas the hardcore fans seem to wanna slam, pit, get down, and just get nutz. Both to me are equally as cool as long as you are getting into the music, lettin' the MUSIC work its magic on your body, and just FEELIN the music, then you got the right idea ... and its all good...
I get reasonably warm receptions from both crowds, and I get along with everybody, so I love experiences like that. Either that or they are all scared of me... Plus, it allows me to get to enjoy the talents of some other DJ that might expose ME to something new that I could potentially enjoy. The more things that you can find to enjoy in this shitty fucking place, the better.
StarVox: In your cd "Chrome Padded Cell" you use lots of movie samples. What are your favorite movies, past and present?
DJ Tron: I can put these in no particular order ... to do an actual top 10 would take me weeks of soul searching and viewing. It would drain me. I take it that seriously!!! But, here are the cream of the crop for now:
StarVox: What is in your cd player right now?
DJ Tron: Slipknot
StarVox: Is there ever a chance that we will see a down-tempo/chill/ambient side to DJ Tron?
DJ Tron: Yeah, actually I will be producing/spinning hard techno/acid under the name DemonSlut. I will begin a bi-monthly residency at The Tunnel in New York, on Fridays starting October 13th ... that should be killer... I will also be coming out with releases under that name that will fall more in the hard techno realm.
StarVox: Over the past three years I have noticed a big merging of industrial and techno, and new forms of this hybrid sound are becoming widely accepted in both scenes. What are your thoughts on that? Do you feel within 5 years the lines will be gray as far as techno and industrial go?
DJ Tron: I think its great... I mean by exposing each crowd to the music of the other can only bring exposure way up. Then those people will tell more people, and an awareness, on both sides, will grow among both groups. I think the two groups are almost parallel as it is, its just the industrial crowd has been scared off by the stigma of the rave, and the fucking big hats, pink teddy bears, and glow sticks. I don't blame them, I cant FUCKING STAND that shit, but those are the people gettin into the hardcore. I think a fusion of the two styles is imminent. That could lead to industrial/hardcore shows, instead of raves. This music was made for the industrial crowd. Shit man, I came from that, and my heart stays with gears and spikes. And, I am even trying to add some sort of Goth edge to some of the music by making the tone more somber, as opposed to aggressive. However, I have yet to really hone in on a sound that can fuse the two, without doing an injustice to the Goth sound as a whole. I have SUCH a deep admiration and respect for the Goth artists of the past, and the sound they put forth, that I would not want to make a mockery of the sound just for the sake of it. It will or either will not happen. But, I am commin' industrial and heavy as a motherfucker.
I think the lines between industrial and techno itself began blurring a long time ago. I mean, that is how I got sucked in. I just think that now there are SO MANY new artists getting into this particular genre, and they are bringing all of their new ideas with them from listening to CD's passed, that we are gonna hear some INCREDIBLE crossover experiments... Its going to be an interesting age for music....
StarVox: When and where was your worst DJ set? Your best set?
DJ Tron: Worst.... hmmmm... I have to pick only ONE? There are SO many....
I would have to say that I played once in Kentucky, outdoors, on some beautiful land... only thing was that the bugs were INSANE!!!!! I mean INSANE!!!!!! HUGE MOTHERFUCKERS.... and they were coming in armies at me while I was playing. They would land on the record THAT WAS PLAYING, and ride it into the needle and smear the guts all over the grooves of the record.... The whole set went like that.... BUG after BUG, it was like fucking Starship Troopers. When I got home, I had to clean all of these bug guts out of my records, it fucking sucked!!!!!!! But the crowd was enthused that I stuck out the whole hour. After me, then they brought the insect candles... go figure...
Best.... actually, just last week I played in Madison, Wisconsin at a dropBass party ... it was fucking AWESOME!!! Being only the third time that I did my CD thing, and being the home crowd, it went over so well!!!! Kurt had me on the main stage, prime time, had a nice set up, and it was REALLY FUCKING LOUD... so, I was very pleased with that one....
StarVox: What live PA or DJ do you like to work with? Anyone you won't work with again?
DJ Tron: I am somewhat of a recluse... I prefer to work alone... But, if I find the right person, who knows? People soon find out that I am not a fun person to be around for a lengthy period of time. I am VERY QUIET, I take writing music VERY seriously... I WOULD drive the other mad.
I will be collaborating with DJ Siege (Coalition) in New Jersey on some future projects; I think he understands my mental proclivities, and is able to cope with a person like myself, but other than that... NONE.
I would love to do shows with some of the European industrial bands, like do my CDj thing between bands or something. That would be fun...
StarVox: Over the past few years there have been several female DJs standing up and throwing down gabber and hardcore despite the odds of people who think they couldn't do it. What do you think of that and do you have any advices to give for those DJs, male or female, who are having a hard time getting booked because of their style?
DJ Tron: Yeah, I think its killer to see more female hardcore DJs. Shit, DoubleD has been spinning hardcore in Canada for a long time now. I would say the same thing to every DJ, up and coming, male or female, human or not, just DONT GIVE UP... Give tapes away, and give more tapes away, because you know they play those tapes for other people, make copies, etc... Pretty soon your name is in 50 car stereos just from 5 free tapes... PROMO!!!!
StarVox: Thank you for your time, it was great hearing your views, and please, give us a quote to finish this off with.
DJ Tron: "...i'm just not there..."
DJ Tron is Jeff Besler. firstname.lastname@example.org
Top 10 (current rotation)
Top 10 (all time)
DJ Tron Discography