Freek van Kampen aka Hard Driver. This man has been spinning in our scene for a while. Previously he made two albums as ‘#NOSLEEP’ and ‘Point Break’. But, also in the corona time, this hero hasn’t sat still. He surprises us with a new album: Chemistry. Would you like to know more about the creation of this album, the idea behind the album, the collabs, and more? We spoke to Freek about it.
YOU’VE PRODUCED TWO ALBUMS BEFORE. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA TO CREATE A NEW ONE?
The last album I made was in 2017, so I thought it was about time again haha! At the beginning of 2020 I had several drafts for new tracks ready, so I decided to drop an album in 2021. Besides that, making a new album is always a challenge and I love that. The pressure of a deadline hanging over my head always works well for me personally.
WHAT ABOUT THE ALBUM NAME ‘CHEMISTRY’?
We were in the middle of the corona crisis when I sat down with my management to brainstorm about the album. We knew at that time that there was a chance that the album would be released in a period without events. This didn’t make me hesitate for one moment to go ahead with the album – in fact, I felt it was important to keep coming up with new music for my fans. The connection/chemistry between my fans and I had to remain strong. With that in mind, we merged the two definitions of ‘Chemistry’ into one album concept with the personal goal: going into the studio to create the perfect musical formula to strengthen the chemistry between my fans and me during these party-less times.
HOW DID THE COLLABS COME ABOUT?
I already had talked with Act Of Rage, B-Front, Sound Rush and DV8 to make a track sometime. Once the complete plan for the album was clear, I approached them to dive into the studio to make a track together. In addition, I was looking for one more euphoric name to create a good balance on the album and thus I decided to approach Joram (Wildstylez). Everyone was immediately excited to get to work, which led to all the collabs being done relatively quickly. I’m proud to have these names on my album and I’m super happy with the result as well!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO COMPLETE THIS ALBUM?
I started in early November with the theme track of the album, ‘Chemistry’. After that, a few collabs started to run and I worked on several solos in between. When I have a deadline I like to take my time because I often want to change things at the last minute. Even if I have all the necessary elements for a track, I sometimes put the track aside for a while and finish it when the deadline is getting closer. So there were also periods when I put some tracks aside for a while to make sure I was completely satisfied with the result. I worked until the last day before the deadline – in fact, I finished Get Up And Dance on the last day. In total I made the whole album in a period of 8 months.
WHICH TRACK CONTAINED THE MOST WORK? AND WHICH TRACK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I’m not entirely sure, but I think I’ve put the most hours into Chemistry. That track has a lot of different kicks which I spent quite a bit of time perfecting. Which track I’m most proud of is hard to say… so I’ll go for the politically correct answer haha: I’m proud of the whole album and process. The album has become a perfect balance and also is my strongest material so far, in my opinion. When I look back at the past months, I am proud of how the whole album came together and not just one track.
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO MAKE SO MANY TRACKS DURING CORONA-TIME WITHOUT ANY FEEDBACK FROM THE AUDIENCE? AND BESIDES THAT, DID YOU GET POSITIVE REACTIONS ONLINE?
To be honest, I didn’t have any trouble with that. Sure, you miss the live experience to see what works or not, but I didn’t had any problems with my inspiration. Thank goodness for that! Although I can’t wait to experience the live reactions again with different kicks from this album. And yes, I did get a lot of positive reactions! I’m really overwhelmed with all the support. The album almost sold out during pre-order which is sick! Also, from the moment we announced the album in January until the release, I constantly picked up a lot of signals that people were looking forward to this album. This makes me so motivated to keep pushing after this album.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF HARD DRIVER LOOK LIKE? AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST (WHEN ALL THIS IS OVER)?
Full of new music, that’s one thing that’s for sure! I still have plenty of ideas and I want to keep on pushing in the years to come. I don’t want to sit back and relax and that’s why we’re already working on the plans after this album. This album won’t be the only music I will release this year and besides that I’m looking forward to enjoy the music together again as it should: live!
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