Devin Wild aka Dion Mons. A young successful hardstyle producer who already broke through at the age of 15 and signed with Scantraxx. Since then, he has been at the top of the game and plays on all the major stages within the hardstyle scene. Yet he wanted to get more out of his career because he was no longer triggered by just ‘Devin Wild’ so he came up with a live act. We spoke to him about this live act, read more about ‘The_Innergame’ in this interview.
You perform during the Scantraxx live stream with the act ‘The_Innergame’. What is the idea behind the act ‘The_Innergame’?
The live act is going a bit deeper than Devin Wild. The act is a bit more abstract, a bit harder. Devin Wild is a bit more accessible and more mainstream. ‘The_Innergame’ has a bit more of a club feel to it instead of a festival feeling says, Dion. The_Innergame is more underground, not only in terms of music but also visually. You can see it as two different layers. Devin Wild is on top, which is accessible and broad. ‘The_Innergame’ is the bottom layer, the act is a little darker. You can think of it as the darker side of Devin Wild.
When you announced ‘The_Innergame’, you were only able to perform it once live and during some live streams. Was that a pity or is there more room to renew the act now?
In the beginning, I found it very unfortunate. We had a great prospect with lots of great ideas. Eventually, it only happened once. In hindsight, I am quite happy with this because we were able to test it once and I was very nervous about this. At that time it was a new sound for me, with all kinds of different influences. It didn’t felt that comfortable as it does now. Normally I used to play “normal” Devin Wild sets, but ‘The_Innergame’ was influenced by genres like ‘Drum and Bass’ and ‘Techno’. Really “hard shit” as Dion says. So, for me it was a kind of test, luckily everything went well and I got a lot of positive reactions. For that reason, I am really happy that I was able to do that. This has now given me the chance to improve the act, we are now working on a kind of 2.0 version.
How did ‘The_Innergame’ come about?
What you might be able to hear from Devin Wild from the past few years, is that I was constantly experimenting and shifting my sound. Which of course is not surprising, because I started at the age of 15. Now I’m 5 years in and in those 5 years I’ve changed as a person, but also my music changed along with it. The step was too big to incorporate that dark sound into Devin Wild. So, there was the idea of doing a live act. This was to avoid confusion and so I could still show that experimental side of me, and I fully embraced that. Eventually, The_Innergame sound also kind of carried over to ‘Devin Wild’. Of course, that’s very cool, but the first approach was to really put down a different side, a so-called “second layer” as Dion says.
Where did you get your inspiration from?
It first started with the musical aspect. I wasn’t quite content with making music anymore, as I was doing with the regular tracks at the time. I thought it was really cool, but I wanted to stay triggered. Dion says that at that time he was into genres like ‘Drum and Bass’ and ‘Techno’, and noticed that this would be an ideal combination for him to convert into Hardstyle. It’s what I listen to myself, what suits each other well, and what I like to merge and make together with Hardstyle. This I then tried in my track called ‘Mind Bending’, which seemed to go down really well. For me personally, this is one of my better solo tracks. Then I thought, “this is cool, and might work!”.
“Making music is the most beautiful thing, but the moment you get stuck in a routine and lose sight of the core and the passion that drives you, then it’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. Now I can do both ways, so this is something I want to try to keep myself triggered”.
“Maybe I’ve even ignored this idea for too long”, Dion thinks harshly. Still, I found it hard to let go of the regular Devin Wild sound. The danger in making music is that it can become a routine, and you could lose your passion allong with it. I would like to combine these different genres because this is actually quite possible. What I noticed is that the level of hardstyle I was making (mainstream) was becoming a bit of a formula. This is always the case with one genre, but I noticed that I actually liked making other music. Not so much a whole track, but in sections. Then you have something that keeps triggering you and that inspires you during the process of creating music. And that’s actually how ‘The Innergame’ was created, it’s an experiment to keep triggering myself and make myself happy with making music.
So techno, drum and bass, hard-techno and hardstyle is the combination we’re going to hear a lot of in your music? And does this give you more creative freedom?
Definitely! Especially with the philosophy of ‘The_Innergame’. In terms of atmosphere, it’s not a standard hardstyle structure, and that gives me creative freedom. No longer producing music according to a certain structure or formula. This opens new doors for me. I can now start a track in any way I want as I didn’t before. Before, I had rules in my head; “I have to start here because this works for me”. I didn’t want to deviate from that. A good example: “most have a fixed routine with cooking, then you start by chopping onion, garlic, etc. in advance. Instead, you could also boil water and just throw everything in there. I can, because now I can keep all the options open and use them. That’s how I see it with the act”.
We also see the ‘The_Innergame’ logo popping up a lot in the clips of your new tracks, does this mean that these are ‘The_Innergame’ tracks?
You can think of it as an ‘Easter Egg’. An Easter Egg refers to previous games. I want to apply something like that to my tracks, but only to ‘The Innergame’ style tracks. So, I want to use a silent hint reference to ‘The_Innergame’, but this does not mean that this is a The_Innergame track, but a ‘The_Innergame’ style track. Think of tracks like The Curse, Broken but especially Blinded. These are really typical ‘The_Innergame’ records. So, I want to reference ‘The_Innergame’ with a subtle hint, but this is not to say that this is just part of the act. I don’t want to pull it too far apart, to keep that overlap. You should really think of it as a nice quiet hint. If I was going to do a summer anthem, I wouldn’t do it. I can make tracks with a The_Innergame fill philosophy, and at the time the record is suited to it, then I’d let the ‘Easter Egg’ idea come back. Although it’s not really a silent hint now that I’m telling you this, says Dion laughing, but it’s nice that people know now so they might start paying attention.
What can we expect from ‘The_Innergame’ set on the Scantraxx Livestream? And how did it feel to be back behind the turntables for a while?
Well, the nice thing is that for once I wasn’t behind the turntables. The whole set was pre-recorded on my laptop. This so I could have the opportunity to bring some live synthesizers along with me and play around with them during the set. You can see all of this on the live stream. What you can expect is a 2.0 version of the current set that you already know from Reverze and the set that I recorded once in the studio.
Are there any other new releases coming?
Yes, nothing concrete. There are a few tracks coming, mostly collabs of which nothing is really implemented yet. I’m also working on some solo tracks but they are still in such an early stage that they are not products.
What are you most looking forward to, if it’s all allowed again?
To be able to do ‘The_Innergame’ again, very much! In a big tent or a big hall. But preferably on a main stage around dusk or maybe even in the evening, that would be really cool. I would like to develop The_Innergame further and go crazy at it on stage. Working on The_Innergame is what I’ve been doing for a year and a half now. All this new music is Innergame minded, so I’m so curious how this sounds in a hall and how this will be in a set. I’ve been working on that so much that I’m actually looking forward to that the most.
What does the future of Devin Wild look like?
If I could decide this myself and the current corona situation would be over then, there is going to be a nice progression on the current developments. Building out The_Innergame and there’s room to make a lot of music again in such a situation I can also test a lot more music. I think it’s going to be a nice 2.0 from the current form. I see the future like this: I hope it’s going to be beautiful, that it’s going to be the way I envision it. And, that above all, I can continue with the beginnings I’ve made on Innergame and refreshing the Devin Wild sound in general. Most of all, I hope for a lot of creativity and a lot of musicality in the future.
The future will be a nice combination of Devin Wild and The Innergame. And if I would ask myself where I would be in 5 years? In 5 years time I hope to be as happy and maybe even happier. Because that is something I have discovered in the past year. The moment you are not content with yourself and the things you do, it will start eating away at you. So being happy and delighted with the things you do is, I think, the most important thing.
“I hope to be just as happy and maybe even happier in 5 years.”
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