Interview with THE OUTSIDE AGENCY
The Dutch Hardcore production/DJ outfit the THE OUTSIDE AGENCY (or TOA for short) is comprised of DJ EYE-D and DJ HIDDEN. TOA have been releasing dark hardcore in their own style since 1996. They have releases on labels like Coolman, Mokum, Black Monolith, Otaku, more recently Meta4 and of course on their very own Genosha Recordings. TOA took their sweet time to answer our questions…
First of all, how did you get into Hardcore Music then?
We both have very different backgrounds. Hidden actually never “got into” hardcore. For lack of better phrasing he was pretty much “born hardcore”. Eye-D has a hip-hop background and used to have a strong dislike of electronic dance music. He had to be “made hardcore”.
So how did THE OUTSIDE AGENCY come about, and why that name?
We’re both from Goes, which is a small town of about 35,000 inhabitants. We didn’t know each other and both thought we were all alone in making hardcore. Some mutual acquaintances started talking about “this other guy that also makes hardcore”. This was 1991. You have to realize that this was way before the internet was accessible to the masses. There was no one you could talk to, nowhere you could dig up how to get that certain sound you wanted. We met up and formed X-Factor. Hidden later came up with the TOA name because X-Factor was signed to Coolman Records. He snagged it from a ghost story by Daphne Froome. In retrospect the name has been very fitting for our music.
Who would you say have been your main influences / inspirations on your music, and is there anyone you would like to work with now to produce tracks?
Eye-D is heavily inspired by early works of DJ Rob (for its odd arrangement of percussion), Gizmo and Ruffneck. Hidden’s main inspiration comes from people like Richard D. James. We’re both heavily influenced by all the great things PCP has done.
Tell us about your label GENOSHA, and is the name from the X-MEN comic book?
The first release on Genosha was delayed almost a year because we couldn’t find a name we thought was cool enough. While we have since learned that Genosha means something very awesome and fitting in Japanese we did rely on the X-Men source material. We wanted to have the least hardcore-sounding name and the least hardcore-looking design. The chance to run our own label was offered to us by Patrick van Kerckhoven. We’d been releasing drum & bass for him on Ruff-Teck and we never even considered the fact he might be into our hardcore stuff as we made so little of it around that time. He confessed to being very much into our stuff on BMR and Otaku as well as our older stuff on Mokum. He felt that there was much more out there for us and wanted to give us a chance to achieve it. He gave us complete creative control, which is not something he does lightly. In his case you could compare that to entrusting someone with your bare left nut. We’ve done well so far as far as we’re all concerned. Of course we’ve also been able to showcase new or relatively new talents like PetroChemical and Chaosbringer which is something we never thought we’d ever get to do.
Whose idea was the film snippets at the end of the tracks on all Genosha Releases, and can you remember where they all are all from?
Eye-D heard a snippet from the movie Friday on a Dylan & Facs release on Fuze. He thought it was the best thing ever. Not necessarily the release but the snippet. It didn’t take much time before we both considered it our duty to use snippets to tip our hats to our favorite TV shows and movies and of course to “take the piss”, if you will. We’re pretty big into the self-deprecating aspect of it. We remember exactly where they’re all from. It gives us no small pleasure that our artists on Genosha have adopted the idea as well. All artists involved in the Genosha remix EP coming up are charged with adding snippets to their work.
Which artist (past or present) would you most like to have release on Genosha?
We actually still see Genosha as an outlet for our own stuff, mostly, which is probably very bad. People we’re either working with or have plans to work with include such flashy names as Mindustries, Ophidian, Endymion, Nosferatu, Ruffneck, Bombardier, Chaosbringer, Nightstalker, Satronica, Fracture 4, Matt Demmon, Celsius, The DJ Producer, The Panacea & PetroChemical.
How do you feel the TOA sound has progressed since the early releases on Mokum?
We’ve always been somewhat off-kilter in our production. We’ve definitely learned new tricks and have been able to perfect “our sound”, whatever that may be, but we’re still learning and still progressing. Sometimes we learn a new trick in drum & bass that pays off in hardcore or vice versa. Sometimes it’s a matter of hitting the wrong button. We sure as hell learned how to distort kickdrums over the past 15 years, though. Lately we’ve been learning increasingly from each other. This should scare people.
Apart from obviously making a name for yourself in the ‘hardcore world’, you also produce and DJ hard Drum & Bass as well, what labels and names have you released on and what style do you prefer?
We have released on Kultbox, Def Wish, Ghetto Safari, Ruff-Teck, Black Monolith Breaks, Piruh, Fear, Piruh, Semiconscious Media, Citrus, Soothsayer, Prspct, Theoretic, Outbreak, Killing Sheep, Aural Carnage, Abstrakt, Evol Intent, Metrik and maybe some others we’ve forgotten about. Not in that order. We prefer neither genre. Most fun is had when mixing the two up, although we don’t often get opportunities to do it.
Apart from Hardcore and DnB do u listen to or make any other music?
Lots of good and bad hip-hop and freaky IDM. Some other stuff, too. Prefuse 73, Opgezwolle, Fingathing, Buck 65, J-Zone, James Brown, Atmosphere, Young Jeezy and anything on Notochord is/are killing it right now.
What is Patrick v. Kerckhoven aka DJ Ruffneck like to work with?
Working with Ruffneck is like being orally massaged by 10 girls at the same time. On a less serious note he’s become one of our best friends, confidants and brothers in arms. He’s also extremely well-endowed.
Why do you think hardcore/sound is so big in Holland and elsewhere in Europe but so comparatively small in the UK?
We have no idea what makes it so astonishingly huge here. We do feel that it will implode again soon; much like it did in the late 90s. You can’t have 30 hardcore events every weekend and not expect bad things to ensue. Scotland is fun because people are dedicated to being dedicated to partying their tits off. People have become rather spoiled here.
Which producers do you rate at the moment and do you think the mainstream stuff now is still bad or is it getting better?
We rate everyone we listed in the earlier question. In addition to those names we’d like to mention Manu le Malin simply because it’s so awesome to see him mix two of your records together. Extra special mention also to Jappo and Producer for going nuts to our stuff when they play it out. Mainstream is a very ugly word. We don’t like happy-sounding triplets shit. We never will. Unless we decide to make it ourselves; then it will be awesome. Mindustries and Ophidian can actually make triplets sound pretty good, but they’re only getting off on otherwise exemplary behavior. We’re probably only a few months away from the first TOA all-triplet release. Let us add to that that Fuckin Hostile was big hit in 1993. Just think about that.
When producing what kind of software & equipment do you prefer to use?
Hidden uses Renoise and his brain. Eye-D uses Cubase SX and Kontakt. We both have a good pair of speakers, too. All hardware is pretty much out of the window.
Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?
Because the world is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who think their ass will age like wine.
Why are dogs’ noses wet?
They are not always wet. The wetness of a dog’s nose is directly proportionate to its happiness and health.
Did you have a good chrimbo?
We don’t observe the birth of your Chrimbo.
Do you think that it's good Take That got back for a tour?
We started out around the same time. Used to hang by the swings in the park.
One from ELEMENT ABUSE, specifically for DJ EYE-D. Do you still find him attractive with his pony tail?
I must have gotten so lost in his piercing eyes that I never noticed his manner of hair dress.
Do you prefer pork scratchings or scampi fries?
We’ll go with the krupup, even though they are the swine of the sea.
What about potatoes…. mashed or boiled?
And finally do you think you will go to Heaven?
Without a shadow of a doubt.
Questions by forum members Appolyn, Element Abuse, Entrance 6, Flood, Jay-5, JFX, Mortis, Katie Gabberdeen, Nutjob, Traffic Cone, Veggie, Al Twisted, April 2006
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