‘As a DJ, your ears are your instrument’

"As a DJ, your ears are your instrument"

Sven (29) and Wietse (28) - AKA Psyko Punkz - travel the world as a mega popular pounding hardstyle duo. From Australia to Hawaii, from Defqon1 to TomorrowWorld; just as long as the Dutch artists can follow their musical passion. And they do this completely ear-conscious!

Psyko Punkz, that sounds heavy. Are you?
‘Us, heavy? Our music can be quite heavy if you are not used to it. We make hardstyle, which is the Heavy Metal within the electronic dance music. But well, there are enough people who think our music is soft. Our life can also be quite intense for others. For example, in one single weekend we performed a show in the USA on Friday and in Canada on Saturday. We enjoy this and think this is normal. So it all depends on what you consider heavy.’

You have been working at it for quite a while now within the hardstyle scene. Of all styles, why this one?
‘We have been in love with this style since day 1. We went to the first hardstyle parties 12 years ago and immediately thought: “this is exactly what we are looking for”. We both started producing hardstyle in 2003 and a few years later we met each other. We hit it off so well that we decided to make a record together. In 2014, we fly across the whole world together and that is amazing.’

‘Bass Boom’, your song from 2010, was your final breakthrough. Can you recall some highlights since your breakthrough?
‘It is certainly true that Bass Boom helped with our worldwide breakthrough. But before that hit we were already performing on big stages. A few highlights when it comes to gigs from that year were: Reverze, Defqon1 (Netherlands), Mysteryland, Defqon1 (Australia) and Qlimax.’

And what will we be hearing from Psyko Punkz in the near future?
‘The upcoming months we will mostly be in America for our Hard City Tour, where we will be visiting cities like New York, Washington, San Diego and even Honolulu on Hawaii! In addition, a tour has been planned in Australia for December. Furthermore we are working hard on preparing our own stage at the party Thrillogy in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. The Psyko Punkz area is the main area of Thrillogy on Saturday the 25th of October. Of course, that is absolutely awesome. It is a great honour that even organisation b2s asked us for this hosting, definitely a milestone in our career! Furthermore, we are also working on a bunch of great new tracks and some crushing remixes are to come.’

What are the advantages of being a duo?
‘The advantages are that you can share everything when it comes to experience. You are on the road together and you experience the highlights together and can discuss them afterwards, which is fun and the biggest advantage of being a duo. In the studio you always have 4 ears to listen and work on a track, so you need to agree with each other. You could see that as a disadvantage during the process, but as an end product, it is certainly an advantage.’

Speaking of ears; you have only got one pair. How carefully do you treat them?
‘Very careful. In the studio the sound is never very loud, because we believe that you do not need to hear the music loud to be able to produce and mix well. The first year of our career we never wore any earplugs and that caused us a lot of problems. Pain to the ears and lots of beeping and buzzing. After that year we started wearing plugs and now we really can’t go without. We won’t perform without earplugs.’

Do your colleagues all wear ear protection?
‘We hardly know anyone who doesn’t. So it’s a very important factor for the performance.’

If you would go to a party as guests, would you be wearing ear protection?
‘We did not use to do that. Nowadays we definitely would, because we are now aware how important your ears are. Like you said yourself, you only have one pair of ears.’

Suppose you were to develop your own hearing protector. What requirements would it need to meet and how would it look?
‘The cap needs to protect the ear as much as possible and at the same time be as small as possible. On the other hand you need to be able to remove it from your ears easily. Our problem is that we always lose them! So therefore a little GPS system would be a lifesaver for us.’

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