Based out of Utrecht, Netherlands, they started making Drum & Bass in 1995 when they turned to the likes of artists such as Photek,LTJ Bukem, and Ed Rush. After having a few releases on smaller record labels, they managed to get the attention of bigger producers like DJ Trace, currently known for his DSCI4 record label. They have three labels of their own; Black Sun Empire Recordings, oBSEssions and Shadows of the Empire. The group’s name comes from the Black Sun Crime Syndicate, which appeared in the Star Wars novel Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.
While the trio’s music is usually defined as darkstep or neurofunk, Black Sun Empire have more recently incorporated dubstep into their productions.
Black Sun Empire released their new album From The Shadows in fall 2012.
The name Black Sun Empire is synonymous in the drum and bass scene globally. What is it about your sound that sets you apart from the rest?
“That’s difficult to say about your own sound. I guess the common thing in our music is that it’s quite dark and energetic, but we try to add to that some lighter melodies and sounds. Having your own sound means sometimes you have to fight it to not do the same thing over and over, but also embrace it and develop it, as it is what makes you unique!”
The Netherlands has spawned brilliant producing talent. What was your first experience with the music and the scene in your home country?
“We actually came into contact with drum’n’bass because of MTV (back then they played music videos). DnB was getting so big that you could see a Photek video during the day and hear Ed Rush & Optical on the radio at night. Started going to DnB parties around that time too, saw some great DJs perform and we were hooked. Before that, we were exposed to a lot of hardcore, trance, house, breakbeat… but it wasn’t until DnB that we knew what we were going to make.”
You have traveled the world over and performed on almost every continent. What has been your most incredible experience and which parts of the world would you still like to place your footprint?
“The first few times we played in New Zealand we were blown away by the parties, people and country. We still haven’t been in South America & Africa and not a lot in Asia.. So more of that!”
The name Black Sun Empire is derived from a Star Wars comic. Has being a fan of the franchise influenced your sound?
“As kids we saw every sci-fi/adventure movie we could and the original Star Wars trilogy was one of our favorites. We always felt the futuristic sounding DnB worked well with the images of weird places and spaceships in our heads.”
You use a lot of mediums to connect with fans of your music such as podcasts. What is the importance of this kind of bond with people who support your career and music?
“When we grew up you had no idea who was behind all this great music you heard. Finding the latest tunes was harder, finding parties was a mission, learning production tricks was next to impossible. These days it’s all on your laptop or phone. The mystery might be gone now, so that’s too bad if you are growing up now, but so much has come in its place!”
A lot of preparation is need before each performance. How do you prepare yourself for each performance and what are key steps you take to insure the crowd gets more than they expect?
“The best preparation for a performance is the performance before it. You are constantly trying new things, new music. There is no way to ‘insure the crowd gets more than they expect’! There are so many variables, but when everything works at a night, it’s quite magical :)”
Being a producer takes a lot of hard work and dedication in the studio. What are the greatest challenges you face as a producer and what are the biggest misperceptions people usually have?
“Keeping it interesting for yourself while staying true to your own sound. I sometimes tell people who want to start producing “get ready for a lot of time spent with no one except your computer!” There is a lot of solitude involved. A lot of times just learning and trying. It takes years to get good at it!”
Black Sun Empire can be seen amongst the biggest names in line ups. Who did you have the greatest honor meeting and whose sets blow you away the most?
“The greatest honor is still hanging out with and playing alongside Ed Rush & Optical, they inspired us more than any other producer/DJ. I don’t remember being blown away by a DJ recently, that’s a hard question for a DJ! You know too much about how the sausage is made ;)”
The scene has experienced massive growth in recent years. Where do you see it heading towards and what role will Black Sun Empire play in this movement?
“We hope we can provide people with a place to enjoy this kind of music, both ours and our friends’. As a label, a night, a community and a studio. Join Us.”
We have seen amazing accomplishments from Black Sun Empire, which leave fans hungry for more. What can we expect from Black Sun Empire in 2013?
“First, the start of our new label Blackout Music NL. It will eventually be all the things mentioned above :D”
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