Bassjackers discuss working with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Mortal Kombat 11 theme track and Indian gigs
Sidhantha Jain · April 23, 2019 · 4 Minute Read
When a track description has the names Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Bassjackers in the same line, you know it’s going to be a boss tune. As expected, their anthem for Mortal Kombat 11, the video game is no different!
While the topic of best Fatalities is an eternal debate, we can easily conclude the fact that the trap-infused beat on “You’re Next” drops harder than the health bar of Shao Kahn’s opponent post the Emperor’s Bash.
After getting to know the ‘Kings of Tomorrowland,’ Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike a little more, we got in touch with the Dutch duo of Marlon Flohr & Ralph van Hilst, formally known as Bassjackers to discuss everything from their new track to the current situation of the dance music circuit and much more!
Starting with your latest release, “You’re Next,” how was it getting back in the studio with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike?
Ralph: Awesome! Dimitri and Mike and we know each other really well by now as we have done so many projects in the last couple of years. The best aspect of working with them is that we know how to explain what’s in our heads to each other. That’s so important when you’re doing a collaboration with somebody. Besides that, they always have the best (and craziest) ideas!
Tell us something about the production and the choice of sound for this one.
Ralph: We wanted to match the vibe and tone of Mortal Kombat to what Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike and Bassjackers stand for. Mortal Kombat is harsh, energetic, and a bit dark but still has a little humor to it. So we used grinding synth leads in combination with deep dark drums, which really adds power to the awesome art of Mortal Kombat.
It’s not the first time that you guys have worked with the Belgian brothers on a track. How is “You’re Next” different from your previous team efforts?
Ralph: It’s a bit different from other recent collaborations like “Bounce,” the record we did with Snoop Dogg, and “The Jungle” in terms that it doesn’t have the 4 to the floor drops we usually do. We felt that it didn’t match with the game, so we chose the dark heavy beats.
With four brains working on a track, how do you guys work on differences in opinions?
Ralph: We just try everything! Making music is about trial and error anyway, so you’re never sure one or the other idea is better or not. You have to hear it! And luckily we’re always on the same page when we hear the winning combination.
What does the title “You’re Next” signify here?
Marlon: “You’re Next” is the tagline for the new Mortal Kombat 11 video game after Mortal Kombat X had “Who’s Next.” Since our track is the official anthem for Mortal Kombat 11, this title came naturally!
You’ve produced theme tracks for multiple games previously, what goes in your mind when you’re working a track for a video game?
Ralph: You take into account what the game stands for and try to get into the vibe and tone it’s in. Then when you play it, you can set a tempo and from that point forward you fill in the melody and so forth! That’s also why the tracks for Destiny and now Mortal Kombat are a bit different from our other tracks but that’s actually one of the aspects why we like doing it so much!
The popularity of electronic dance music has exploded in the last few years and we’re seeing more Hollywood/Video game projects incorporate electronic music. Can you tell us a little bit about how you think that’s affected the scene and the music being produced?
Ralph: Music and images go hand in hand, they really complete each other. And EDM is such an energetic music style, that in my opinion, it is a logical match for Hollywood and gaming projects. As a fan of both movies, games, and EDM I really like seeing them paired and it makes the experience so much better! On our next project, we’re actually pairing classical movie trailer music to EDM, but that’s something for later.
Marlon: I think because of the fact that EDM exploded it also came on the radar of the Hollywood/video game people and they also recognized it is a great fit. Music can really complement a scene of a movie or video game and with electronic dance music, you have endless possibilities and especially for those high energy moments.
Would you agree with the fact that a lot of people don’t consider DJs and electronic dance music producers as serious musicians? How do you think we can bring a change in this thought process?
Marlon: I do understand that a DJ doesn’t necessarily need to be a musician but to say an electronic dance music producer isn’t considered a serious musician is something I don’t agree with. The music need to be written, composed, and sound design and mixing are also involved. Even if some electronic music producers don’t play an instrument there is definitely a lot of musical talent involved in the process, which in my opinion makes you a musician or even more than that!
What according to you are the essentials to stay relevant in this ever-evolving industry?
Marlon: I think it’s a combination of staying true to yourself, your sound and your fans and at the same time evolving and keep it interesting for everyone!
Talking about your live performances, you’ve come down to India a couple of times. Do you have any memories or experiences that you still remember from your time spent here? Also, are you planning to back any time soon?
Marlon: Whenever we do shows in India the energy is always amazing. We had a lot of great shows in India, from big festivals to massive college shows. One thing that is also always a big plus is the amazing food that India has to offer. We can’t wait to be back!
Wrapping up this interview with your plans for 2019, what can we expect from you in the coming months?
Marlon: We have a lot of new music coming up, our first album is actually almost finished so keep an eye out for that! On the show side, we have a lot of big festival stages this summer and of course, we will continue to tour non-stop all over the world bringing the energy!