INTERVIEW WITH NEONLIGHT!

NEONLIGHT is the union of two very different, unique personalities – Jakob Thomser and Tobias
Jakubczyk – childhood friends brought together through their shared passion for Drum & Bass. The
German producer and DJ duo first entered the worldwide D&B scene in 2009. Since then, they have developed their own individual sound, enveloping melodies and harmonic twists in Drum & Bass beats and fierce basslines with fast and heavy drums (174 bpm). Enticing listeners both in clubs and at tour concerts across the globe, including countries as close the Czech Republic and the Netherlands and as far as Australia and New Zealand, they have released their music with multiple labels, such as Blackout Music, Eatbrain, RAM Records, and Visio


Hi Neonlight! How are you doing?
We are very happy that our baby is finally out and that there has been such positive feedback from all sides! The pressure of the last few weeks is slowly easing and the hard work has finally paid off. It took quite a long time until we had everything together – especially for the physical release. Now we are ready for summer, a little vacation and of course the festival season!

Where does the name Neonlight come from and where did you meet each other?
… We have known each other since childhood. Our Dads used to play together in a rock band and we have been playmates in a sandbox. But let’s say, we met again musically in the early 2000s. In that time we started to produce our first music on PC together.

Take us back to the beginning, how did you find your passion for producing electronic music?
Jay: I began producing in 1998 on a cheap PC and a MS DOS software called Fast Tracker II. At this time I listened to euro dance and techno/trance music. Even before that I composed music on a Roland RD-500. In 2001 I became addicted to Drum & Bass and of course I wanted to produce this amazing music! But there has been no youtube or books to learn from and I spent much time on trial and error, haha!

You have over 10 years’ experience of working with electronic dance music. What are your favourite elements within your recent releases that you still call back to/is heavily drawn from the original inspiration behind the “Neonlight” project?
It was always our goal to have more “musical aspects” in our music than just technical sounds. We both listen to Rock Music (and other genres) for ages and we love melodies. Cheesy melodies, haha! That’s why we still love writing intros, occasionally with huge and cinematic pathos. When a song has a good hookline that sticks in your ears and you can sing along AND it touches your soul, then it is a good tune.

You released your second album called “Vanity Fair” through Blackout Music. Could you share the creative process behind this album?
You have to watch our weekly vlog on YouTube, haha! Well, it took us two years of writing all those tunes. A few projects are very old, from 2016 or so. We have two workstations here, each in a separate room, that are connected via a server. Most of the time we work separately. We do not split into sound design and writing so much, all is done on the flow inside the Cubase project. Sometimes we get a couple of ideas (resulting in tracks) from just one project, where we started to mess around with sounds and synths. Some projects are huge and very unclear. Dozens of tracks (a lot of them disabled). Before mixing we always have to tidy up and take decisions; what we want to keep in the song and where the focus is on.

The title track “Vanity Fair” was the initial moment, when we started to think about architypes. From that point we looked differently on the tracks we worked on and wanted to find the “character” in each track. Our concept was born – And we always love to work within a concept! We found good names for some tracks and wrote good tracks for some characters. Vise-versa.

The “Vanity Fair” album includes collaborations with Black Sun Empire, flowanastasia, Holly Day and Lucaciu. How did you end up working with these artists?
There have been three tracks that we wanted vocals for. We had a list of artists, but –you know– everybody is busy and so it was only flowanastasia who was free to record something. We already followed her for a while, because of her diversity and her timbre is exactly what we wanted on Desire! And the result is stunning! (Big up!!).

Holly Day is a singer and songwriter who works next door, haha! One day I made myself a coffee in the kitchen and she was practicing something. Her deep and strong voice was impressive! So I was prying and really confused that SHE had that huge voice. Holly was interested in the whole album concept and confirmed quickly. Igored was supposed to be with vocals too, but there was not much time asking artists.

While mixing I came up with the idea of a saxophone impovisation. I had somebody in mind. Antonio Lucaciu and I studied music at the same univerity and there I recorded with him a couple of times. I felt that he must be able to deliver a great recording. And so he did.

Covid time and restrictions are finally at an ease. How did you adjust to living in a completely different time mentally and physically? Was it hard for you?
Financially it was pretty hard. We had a lot of luck – a couple of times. On the other hand we had a lot of freedom. For example, when everybody had to stay at home during the lock downs, we were able to go to our studio. And we had many free weekends that we could spend with our families. It was also very hard to keep a connection with our fans! When you are not playing, you cannot tell so much. And posting always the same stories about music production and studio life got pretty boring quickly. We did production live streams, gave online lessons and started a patreon. We missed the stage and the feedback from the people a lot.

Would you like to share something with the followers of Let the Bass Get You?
We want to say “Thank You” to everyone who supported us over the last few years! Of course, we do this music for us and our passion, but it would not be the same without the people who listen to it, give us feedback and come seeing Neonlight live on stage! After the release is before the release 😉 We don’t take a rest and are already working on a follow-up release. It is part of the Vanity Fair universe. Until that we recommend our Special Edition USB Box full of bonus content like three tracks, videos, a printed booklet, a gallery and more! Check it out on the Blackout store!


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