Walking into the lobby of the Radisson at LAX isn’t exactly a world-shattering experience. There’s a concierge, busily chatting up people at the front desk. The air smells like pine needles and disinfectant. People mill about, waiting for taxis to take them to the airport. In a word, it’s boring. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of the scene you’d expect at a Firebeatz show.
Firebeatz is a duo of producers from the Netherlands that have been making music since around 2008. Tim Smulders and Jurre Van Doeselaar have risen to prominence on a global scale in recent days thanks in large part to America’s insatiable appetite for hard EDM. Their label, Spinnin’ Records, has built up a solid roster of producers that do this.
After having gained popularity back at home through radio play and general club recognition, their flame has begun to catch in a serious way out here on the West Coast. Just this past year they played Beyond Wonderland in San Francisco. I asked them how big festivals like Beyond compare to playing more intimate shows like the one they played at Create a few weeks ago. “I like both!” said Jurre. “They’re just really different. Create is much closer, much more intimate, like the party is everywhere.”
If the pictures on their Facebook page are any indication, it was absolute madness. But that madness has some advantages compared to a big festival environment like Beyond. “It’s easier to see how the crowd is feeling, how they react, because it’s so much closer,” said Tim.
Firebeatz’s music certainly suits both environments perfectly. If there is one word to describe Firebeatz’s sound, it is “intense.” If you’re looking to be entranced, you should probably be listening to trance. Tracks like “Wicked” and “Gangster” make no apologies for being all-out bangers with staccato bass and huge, bombastic drops.
The duo’s latest track, “Max Ammo,” is pretty much that. Screeching synths, gun clicks, pounding bass…it really has everything you need for a festival banger. It didn’t come about without some finagling though: “We were looking for a synth that kinda had a phwee sound, but couldn’t find it. So we made it. No samples or anything.” They did use at least one sample in the song, though. That disembodied voice that screams “Max Ammo?” That was lifted from the game Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies. Turns out, Firebeatz knows how to take themselves not-so-seriously. I think it works for them.
That fun-loving spirit might also explain this:
I got to chat with Tim and Jurre about what they thought of our fine city, too: “Rodeo Drive was a lot of fun. Venice, Muscle Beach…we didn’t get to go downtown that much.” What impressed them most though? Easy. It’s the food. “AND NOBU!” said Tim. “That was just… [head exploding motion] so good.”
Before they got on their flight back to the Netherlands, I asked Firebeatz if there was anything they wanted to put out there. The gave me a message for their fans: “Thank you for supporting and thanks for coming out to our show at Create. Keep an ear out for 2014. It’s going to be a big year.”
With the ever-expanding popularity of EDM worldwide and Firebeatz’s high-energy anthems, I don’t doubt it one bit.