We were very hyped when we saw DJ Thera’s announcement of a classics album, and it’s finally here!
We had the pleasure of having a call with the artist himself about a month ago, where he took the time to walk us through the album, something we’re very thankful for, and now we were able to enjoy this album in full, in high quality.
Exactly 12 years ago I released this trancy hardstyle track, called "Serotonin" ?? This was the starting point of…Posted by Dj Thera on Wednesday, October 14, 2020
The album kicks off with a T.C.C. remix of a track from The New Era album, Starfleet! It’s not only the track that starts the album, but also the one that kickstarted the idea of the whole thing! The artist told us that a fan of his asked him to play Starfleet at a classics event… However this track is too recent for such performances and thus the idea for an “old school flavored” remix emerged. The elements from the original are still here, including the iconic vocals, however the deep punchy kicks transport us to another era!
History 303 is the second track. The 303 is in reference to the Roland TB-303 synthesizer, responsible for acid sounds since back in the days of Acid House in the 80’s. The track starts in a soothing way, with some strings in the background, and the easily recognizable acid sounds right after. This track is rather joyful, with its piano melody in the background contributing to the overall vibes
Third track is Good Work!. The inspiration for this one was tracks made somewhere between 2004 and 2005. The vocals here are quite iconic, with the synths likely being one of the standout elements here, and with a deep and punchy kick complementing them quite well, with the bass being slightly ‘crunchy’ in the low end, giving it a very nice touch!
Next up is a follow up to a fan favorite, T.C.C.’s The Reason… Love Feels Right is one of those spine tingling tracks you just need to listen, you’ll get all sorts of feels when listening to it! Every elements is balanced perfectly – the synths, the strings, the break that suddenly winds back up again, squeezing more energy out of the track. This is one of those tracks that will make you want to dance your ass off!
Trance Atlantic Express comes up next, and is an ode to the artist’s origins in electronic music. Starting right off the bat with acid elements, and presenting a punchy kick down below, a dreamy synth and a break with an echoey piano, this is one that’s undoubtedly inspired in the early Trance vibes, as the name suggests already! The build up takes its sweet time, with the end result being an absolute banger. The artist told us this is his favorite from the album and that he’s happy it worked out so well… And we agree! This one is amongst the coolest tracks from the album.
Piss Off is the 6th track, and you’ll immediately realize this is one of those with funny vocals, resembling tracks like Do The Happy Face or Kill The Trespassers, bringing us back to earlier days of Theracords and perhaps even before. After Trance Atlantic Express, this track feels somewhat like a wake up call mid-album, bringing us back to reality and to something more bouncy, likely to please more people on the dancefloor. With quirky vocals and a simple yet addicting melody, this one will surely be another fan favorite.
Never Lose Hope is what follows and it’s quite a departure from the last track. Despite the dark, moody vocals, this is actually a track that brings a feeling of hope, with its soothing melody. This track somewhat represents Thera’s place in the Hardstyle scene, and his status as an independent artist, something that gives him freedom to do what he wants music-wise, without fearing judgement. In this track, two distinct vibes mash up, and we feel this helped bring to life a very heartfelt track, and the result was amazing!
F.Y.U is another of those funny tracks! The kick is extra loud and hits you right in the face, something that will surely please crowds anywhere! The inspiration for this one was the well known Deepack Remix of X2X and this ended up being one of the heaviest tracks in the album. Mid intro and outro are designed to get the crowd going, with the climax presenting us an unrelentless 4 to 4 floor destructive beat and synths accompanying us throughout.
You Make Me Feel is the 9th track, and is certainly one that will make you feel good in the dancefloor. It’s a tribute to the Italian triplet sound, and is a more “linear” track, so to speak – it’s not the rollercoaster ride that tracks like Piss Off of F.Y.U provide, but it is more of a steady crescendo that can warm up the dancefloor for some heaviness. This one, Thera hopes, will make you smile!
Last track is the aptly named 2013, and you will immediately realize why… Many recognize this period as the rise of the “Raw Hardstyle”, the appearance of a heavier, darker sound, something that Theracords also did, and they did it very well. This track will immediately remind you of Incoming (Thera’s collaboration with Frequencerz back in that time), with mostly kicks and the elements that compose its atmosphere being heavily inspired on it and other tracks from that period. It will possibly also remind you of stuff like Welcome, or Celebrate!
While we usually go track by track, highlighting the best elements of it in our reviews, we believe this one had to be somewhat different. Of course, production quality and every element in the track is important, however this is more of an album that you should mostly feel, without thinking too much about it. This is about the feeling that these old school inspired tracks give you, something that cannot, in any way, be replicated in modern Hard Dance, no matter how good and perfectly produced the tracks are. These tracks come from the heart, and you should let them enter yours!
We also found it more important to drop here and there some details on how these tracks came about, and their inspiration, and we hope you find these tidbits as interesting as we did!
Many Hardstyle albums usually close with Hardcore, and that’s not the case here, but with a banger like 2013, you won’t be bothered one bit that it closes off in the same BPM it started with. According to the artist, a different album required a different ending, thus the choice!
To finish this overview of the album, we can say that it surely won’t score very high for innovation, and that simply doesn’t matter solely for the fact that the aim of this album wasn’t being a breakthrough in sound, and the beauty of it lies precisely on that. Classic inspired albums, although very rare, are not a novelty either, but this one has a very strong point, as it encompasses a broad range of sounds, through more than a decade of Hard Dance, an impressive feat that can only really be attainable by those producers who actually experienced the sound. You can be an ace in your studio (and there are really good producers out there) but if you’ve not lived through the early days, you cannot replicate this sound and feeling in a way that sounds THIS GOOD!
Besides all this, the artist told us he really enjoyed producing this album, without the pressure of having to do physical media for it and tour it. Self imposing a deadline for it also helped in the production process, namely in what concerns keeping these tracks simple, just as they were back then. So here’s a free tip to producers – imposing yourself with a considerate and realistic deadline may actually help you!
Interested in the album? For now, it’s exclusively available on the From The Hard shop, starting at just 9.95€! It will be released in the near future on streaming services as well, but be sure to support the artist directly in his shop if you love these early sounds as well!
Massive congrats to Pieter for keeping these early vibes alive and well. Much appreciated, and we hope to hear more of this in the future!
- Love Feels Right
- Piss Off