A-RIZE, one of the newest additions to Art of Creation’s just launched talent label. Today his very first release EVER comes out on Eternity and I was wondering: who is A-RIZE? And how did he manage to make it this far? I spoke to him about these burning questions and he opened up about the start of his career. In this interview, he is very honest about the positive points, but also about some less pleasant points such as sleepless nights and stress he sometimes experiences with going public as an artist. Curious about his story? This interview is definitely worth reading.
FIRST OF ALL, HOW ARE YOU? I IMAGINE THERE’S BEEN A LOT ON YOUR MIND THESE PAST FEW WEEKS.
I am doing great, thanks for asking. You said it perfectly haha. There has indeed been a lot on my mind the past few weeks. Positive thoughts but also sometimes a little stress here and there, but I am used to a little pressure! I had a bit of trouble making myself believe and realize all of this is actually happening.
Everything happening so fast can sometimes be overwhelming and take away some time for you to process what is going on and get used to it. But I have to say that every day it gets a lot better, especially with all of the supportive people showing their commitment.
YOU’VE BEEN WORKING IN THE SHADOWS ALL THIS TIME. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO FINALLY STEP OUT INTO THE OPEN?
It feels amazing to finally show the world what I can do. I have been working without showing my work for almost 4 years now. It was quite hard holding everything back on purpose, but it gave me time to create the single most thing I wanted: the best first impression I ever could ever give.
HOW WERE THE REACTIONS? I CAN IMAGINE YOU WERE OVERWHELMED.
The reactions were unreal. Even after the track was played on Headhunterz his demo stream, people were reacting like crazy and everyone was tagging me in his discord server telling him to sign me. After all the announcements I certainly was overwhelmed. Everything just kept coming and imagine going from 4 years getting very little to no reactions, to suddenly getting those 4 years compensated in one week. “It was something to never forget”.
ART OF CREATION: ETERNITY (OFFICIAL TRAILER)
HOW DID ART OF CREATION APPROACH YOU? AND WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND AT THE TIME?
Headhunterz wrote a message in Xense’s discord server saying he was going to check some demos on twitch and that we could upload them to his server. Over 15 people started tagging me saying I should send something, which caught Headhunterz his attention + started to build expectations. He even said: “this must be promising” when he loaded my track. With Heady being thé person I always wanted to show my music to, it made me quite nervous. When my track got played on the stream, Heady seemed impressed and after the track was done, he said: ‘where can I sign?’ I was completely mindblown and had no words. It took me a while to realize what just happened. That was the start of it all.
From that moment the track was sent to Wildstylez and the AOC team. After positive replies from everyone, the whole team agreed with Heady to sign me!
FOR HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRODUCING?
Like mentioned earlier, I have been producing for almost 4 years now. I started in October 2017 after I watched the set of Project One at Qlimax 2016 on YouTube. I didn’t know Project One and just knew that Headhunterz left hardstyle. At that time, I kind of stepped away from the genre. But this video…this set..those tracks..that magical moment. It made me stand up out of my bed, walk up to my computer and I said: “I’m going to do whatever it takes to make this kind of music myself. I want to create this unity too”. Thinking back, it sounds really weird and fake, but it actually happened haha.
From that point, I never looked back and I always pursued the uppermost quality. I never aimed low. I have always aimed as high as possible and comparing my work to the very best. This mindset has helped me so much with achieving the goals I set for myself as a producer. I have seen some speculations of people thinking what I can do is not possible in that timespan. I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, with the right people around you, an open-minded mindset, listening to ALL feedback, and always trying every little thing people recommend, that you can achieve so much more than you think. Keep in mind that this is not a race. Everyone has their own pace. It’s all about enjoying the learning curve, not racing it.
IS THIS WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF? IF SO, HOW DOES IT FEEL THAT A DREAM HAS FINALLY BECOME REALITY?
“Being on Art of Creation has been my dream since the label was created”. It feels really surreal with it becoming a reality so early on. But I have to mention that it also feels incredibly good! Being taken under the wing of the people who inspired you to do all of this is a feeling that’s indescribable.
YOU’RE ONE OF THREE SIGNED TO ART OF CREATION’S SUBLABEL: ETERNITY. WHAT MAKES A-RIZE DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER TWO NEW ACTS?
What I aim for is indeed different from the other acts. I want to bring back some elements from back in the day. The dark-spoken word vocals like in ‘Faith Of The Saint’, the triplet melodies we all loved, and track arrangements where there is room for a story to be told and moments for show elements. Sometimes, I also create music according to my own feelings. I made one track where I put all my emotion into when I felt at my lowest ever. The way I felt, is very noticeable. This one is also one of which I am really proud.
I also aim to always have something special in my tracks. It is at least one thing that always sticks to you and that stands out from the rest. If a track does not have this, I will never finish it. I also want to make it fun, but challenging for myself. I don’t get satisfied by making the same track arrangement 10 times in a row with a different vocal.
HEADHUNTERZ PLAYED YOUR TRACK AT DEFQON.1 AT HOME. DID YOU KNOW THIS IN ADVANCE OR WERE YOU SURPRISED? I CAN IMAGINE IT’S A HUGE HONOR WHEN A LEGEND LIKE HIM PLAYS YOUR TRACK.
I knew this in advance, but I was really surprised when I heard the news. I was smiling like a 5-year-old kid walking in a candy store hahaha. I also immediately went to thank Headhunterz personally, since this was a gesture of believing in my music.
Then the moment came. I saw my own work presented in the best way possible. Then you start to realize what you have been creating in those years. Seeing the fire being shot up in the sky when the lead impacts played after the melody, that gave me goosebumps.
HEADHUNTERZ PLAYING ‘A-RIZE – FAITH OF THE SAINT’ AT DEFQON.1 AT HOME
YOUR VERY FIRST TRACK WILL BE RELEASED TODAY. HAVE YOU LIVED TOWARDS THIS FOR A LONG TIME?
Yes, I have. In the last year, I got to know many producers/artists in the scene. It is not a surprise I showed them my music too. I even showed Atmozfears my music and after that we even became friends. After he heard my track, he told me: “If I was A&R, I would sign this immediately and put you on the main label”. In the last year I heard more comments like these about my music and when people say stuff like this, you start to ask yourself: “when is it going to start for me then and where am I going start?”. It begins to itch a little bit after a while.
Then the whole AoC thing came out of nowhere and now the moment is finally coming! I am so freaking excited for it and I seriously cannot wait. Sometimes I am just constantly thinking about the release + everything else while lying in bed and the next morning my head gets the error: “404_sleep_not_found” haha.
Long story short: “I have never been so excited about something in my entire life”.
CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS BEHIND ‘FAITH OF THE SAINT’?
Yes of course! It first started off with the melody. I listened to a track, I do not remember which one, but I heard the first part of the melody in my head after hearing the break of the track and also the opportunity for the switch to the major chord. At that moment I was hooked on the idea and went into my daw immediately. I started to write the melody out and realized what the melody was asking for: a dark atmospheric vibe. I started searching for spoken word vocals with a deeper voice and I found the perfect one. I made a wide gritty double layer with some formant shifting for the vocal to sound a bit more dark-ish.
But all and all, the track quickly took shape in terms of arrangement; “everything worked naturally somehow. It was one of those tunes where everything you do just works”.
I did redo some things in the track a few times, especially the mixdown. The version Headhunterz played on stream was the version I made in august 2020. Back then I was producing a little over 2,5 years and getting a proper mixdown back then was just a no-go. Today my technical level is a lot higher so I am happy I went to fix some things in the track and the end result is a lot better!
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR A-RIZE? WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM YOU IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
You can expect tracks that hold value to them. Every track I will release will be released for a certain reason. Not just because I have to show my work often because the tracks have a reason to exist. I will have a message in each tune for now. You can also expect some dancefloor tunes from me in the future as I am not always going to be releasing tracks with long breaks etc. In the future, A-RIZE will develop more into something of its own as well. The newest music is starting to take shape into something unique. That’s also one of my main producer goals: “people recognizing my sound in a second”.
If you read this far, I want to thank you for your time and I hope I gave you some fun information about me! I also want to thank Hardstyle.com for reaching out to me for this interview. I truly appreciate this! Have a great day and I hope to see you all soon on the festival grounds,
‘A-RIZE – Faith Of The Saint’ is now available for download at Hardstyle.com!