Music is both creative and technical for Dutch duo Vicetone, composed of the talented Victor Pool and Ruben Den Boer. When We Rave You had the opportunity to sit down with Ruben last month in Chicago, he revealed the precision yet spontaneity that goes into producing their undeniably upbeat music, club-ready yet also emotionally resonant. Earlier that night, Vicetone played at Chicago’s elite Prysm Nightclub for an official North Coast Music Festival afterparty. Although the group didn’t play at the festival, they co-headlined at the club with rapper Gucci Mane. Delivering a powerhouse set that had everyone jumping and dancing, it was evident the Dutch stars gave it their all.
Vicetone first shot to fame with the single ‘United We Dance’, which was selected as the soundtrack anthem for the aftermovie of the 2014 edition of Ultra Music Festival. Their first EP ‘Aurora’ charted worldwide and featured a string of hit singles, propelling the group further into dance music stardom. This year, they’ve released three singles. ‘Apex’ is a contribution to the soundtrack of the video game Rocket League, while ‘I Hear You’ is classic Vicetone, and their most recent release is the effervescent ‘Collide.’
What do you think of React Presents’ newest venue, Prysm Nightclub?
“I thought it was a beautiful club, it’s definitely new and you can tell it has a bottle service vibe. Vegas-style.”
You co-headlined with Gucci Mane. Has rap music or hip hop had an influence on Vicetone’s music?
“It was an interesting combination. As far as rap music, me and Victor grew up on early 00s rap and hip hop. That old school style is more the style I like, like Dr. Dre and Eminem. We don’t listen to much new rap music. The power and energy Eminem has in his old records: there aren’t many other artists that have the same emotion and energy in their records. You can feel it. When I was young, growing up in Holland, I couldn’t speak English very well but I still understood and felt what he felt because of the emotion in his raps. I like that energy.”
How did it come about that you contributed ‘Apex’ to the soundtrack for Rocket League?
“Before Rocket League even came out, I knew about it because there was buzz about it in the videogame community. So, I sent Victor a text to check out the video game. We like soccer and it’s about controlling cars to play soccer. We came back from tour and played it; so we were fans and we really liked it and we got an email from Monstercat telling us about an opportunity to add to the videogame soundtrack. It’s great to have your song in a game you actually really like.”
Your mashup of Zhu’s hit ‘Faded’ and your own hit ‘United We Dance’ really packs a punch. What inspired the pairing?
“We have a lot of acapellas of songs we really like, and if you sort them out by key you can match them up. So if it’s in the same key then it might fit into the instrumental you have, or if it’s a fifth off, you can transpose the key. We found ‘Faded’ and we know it’s a great song and when we fit them in, it just worked. Sometimes you get lucky and this is one of those things.”
You document your creative process on Instagram and other social media. What goes into creating a Vicetone hit?
“When we go into the studio, sometimes we have an idea. ‘I’m gonna write a song that’s really happy, or really angry’ and then you sometimes shelve an idea and two years later, discover it again and with ‘United We Dance’ we forgot about it and then came back to it when we needed something upbeat. We have a big pool of ideas and every once in a while, we pick one and work it into a track.”
For electronic dance music, electronic is a key word. What technology is indispensable for writing music?
“For a music maker, you need a good soundcard. There’s a German company that makes the best soundcards. Theirs is not necessarily underrated, but lots of people follow marketing instead of getting the best. If you have a good soundcard, you can work much faster. I think what’s really interesting is people like Victor, or Avicii and Deadmau5, is they write the music, and it’s amazing. For me, a midi keyboard is extremely important.”
What’s next for Vicetone; is there another EP or album in store for fans?
“We can’t announce anything for sure yet, but we do want to do something like that again. It won’t be this year, but it will be next year. We want to do an EP again and hopefully an album in the future. It’s hard to get there because you need a couple of lead singles and a couple of new songs that don’t really fit as a single. Last year with the Aurora EP that really worked. We have another we think will be a new single probably this year.”
Check out Vicetone’s latest single ‘Collide’ below.