Ask yourself – what comprises a musical legend? Is it popularity? Is it steadfast loyalty to a particular musical movement? Is it having remarkable skills and knowledge? Or is it the ability to keep up with the ever-changing movements within a certain genre? To be a considered a musical legend, an artist should possess all of these features plus so much more…
Living and breathing Hardcore music for 25 years and counting, Dutch Hardcore prophecy Jeroen Streunding, or better known as the notorious Neophyte, is the definition of a musical legend. Being more than just a DJ and producer, Neophyte is also a businessman, mentor and not to mention – the proud owner of the popular record label Neophyte Records. With his experience in producing and DJing extending back to before many of his fans were even born, it’s no surprise that Neophyte is recognised globally as one of Hardcore’s biggest influencers…
In the explorative era of the 90’s, Neophyte burst to the front of the Hardcore scene and led the way as Hardcore grew and developed into a liberated genre. With his undeniable determination, passion, skill and a true rock ‘n roll mentality, he never budged from his position.
Originally established as a trio in 1992, Neophyte consisted of Danny Greten, Robin van Roon and of course, the current front-man and Jeroen Streunding. Together, these badass brothers comprised a multi-dimensional act that consisted of the right herbs and spices to represent the upcoming Gabber movement.
Coming in hard for their big debut, Neophyte released their first EP in 1993 together with the announcement of their signing to the notorious record label Rotterdam Records. Titled “The Three Amiga’s,” the group quickly followed up this massive entrance with more rave anthems such as “Noise Is The Message,” “Execute” and “None Of Ya Left,” just to name a few. Despite the production equipment of the 90’s being quite limited, Neophyte never failed to release hard-hitting and timeless music that stood out during this golden era of Hardcore.
To put it plainly, Neophyte’s energetic and rough productions, as well as insane antics on stage allowed this unique act to spark interest in the Gabber community. Rising to stardom at lightning speed, by the end of the 90’s the trio had countless bookings under their belt. Performing at the most illustrious event concepts of that time, Neophyte sent crowds into a frenzy at Thunderdome, Mysteryland, A Nightmare in Rotterdam, Megarave, Masters of Hardcore and several other popular events of that era.
With his career off to a flying start, in 1999, Jeroen sought out some new and exciting endeavours that would revolutionise the Hardcore genre forever. With excitement, he launched the Neophyte Records imprint, which was originally created during the big ‘recession’ to give Hardcore a pounding heartbeat again. When most Hardcore producers walked away from their PC’s, Neophyte was motivated to provide the breath of fresh air the genre was in need of. With his mission to concentrate on providing talents a platform to grow and develop on, Neophyte Records was soon exploding with quality once guys like Evil Activities, Tha Playah, Nosferatu, The Viper, Panic and Kasparov jumped on board. At lightning speed, Neophyte Records transformed from a vision to an elite platform backed by a strong and unique team of artists.
Neophyte is one of Hardcore’s most long-standing acts not just because of his hit-making abilities, but because he’s truly “Hardcore to the bone!” Representing the genre and movement with his die-hard personality, through his music and on-stage performance, you can truly feel that Jeroen is the living example of the badass genre.
By the time the 2000’s arrived, Hardcore was on the rise again and the genre adopted a more professional attitude. Neophyte was busy juggling his own career and productions, managing the Neophyte Records imprint and even embarking on several world tours which saw the mighty label travelling through The Netherlands and also abroad to Scotland, Belgium, Russia, Italy, Germany, Australia and many more.
Developing immensely from his earlier ‘Gabber’ productions, the 2000’s was also a time that saw Neophyte’s signature style emerging into a clever and modernised version of Hardcore. Though his music is classified as ‘mainstream’ Hardcore, Neophyte’s productions definitely weren’t designed for the faint-hearted listeners. His ballsy take on the genre incorporated immaculate sound-design and technique with thundering kicks, pure aggression and legendary, unforgettable melodies. Infinite hits include massive tunes such as “Coming Home” and “Peace” with The Viper, “Alles Kapot,” “Braincracking,” “Drugs” and “Fuck That” with Evil Activities.
Also running the show under several different aliases, Neophyte was also appreciated for his work as Hardcore United, Bodylotion, Hard Creation, Masters of Ceremony and on the slower side of the Hard Dance spectrum, Jeroen backed his Hardstyle alias The Beholder.
Hardcore was growing at lightning speed and so was Neophyte, who was awarded with a schedule that exploded with back-to-back bookings. With his name on the bill for prestigious events such as Masters of Hardcore, Defqon.1, Hardcore4Life, Mindcontroller, Decibel Outdoor Festival, Back2school, Q-BASE, Bassrulers and many more, the most significant booking arrived in 2007, which saw Neophyte having the honour to perform at Q-dance’s emblematic event Qlimax, which was held in the colossal GelreDome in Arnhem. For a Hardcore artist, performing in front of over 20,000 visitors at the mysterious Qlimax was game-changing – it was an indication that you’ve truly made it!
Moving past 2010 and Neophyte’s modern productions continued uncovering Hardcore’s endless possibilities. Discovering more and more new elements to incorporate into his music, Jeroen always managed to stay ahead in this fast-moving genre. Dropping bomb after bomb onto the Neophyte Records catalogue, his diverse take on Hardcore music was inspiring to say the least. Neophyte’s third and fourth album “Mainiak” and “Mainiak Chapter 2” comprised of countless hits including “Never Outnumbered” as Masters of Ceremony, “Gas Erop” with Zany, “Never Worried” with The Viper, “Only Way Out” with Scott Brown and Alee, “The Remedy” with MC Jeff, “Master This!” with The Viper and Tha Playah and his remix of Yellow Claw’s “Nooit meer slapen.”
As Hardcore enters the next interesting phase, Neophyte’s productions still continue keeping up with the tastes of his dedicated listeners. Production-wise, 2016 and 2017 were two outstanding years for this Hardcore hero, who released a consistent stream of chart-topping hits, including “Rammen” with D-Fence, “Alle Remmen Los!” with Dr Phunk and Tim Beumers, “Icon” with the legendary DJ Paul Elstak and Alee and his playful Foolish New Year’s anthem “Foolish For Life” with Dr Phunk and DJ Paul Elstak.
Over the past few years, it’s evident that Neophyte has experimented with his sound beyond the brutality of Hardcore. Spicing up Hardcore with more playful and fun aspects, Jeroen proudly represents his own Freestyle brand Foolish, which is a movement that involves a record label and several event concepts.
In 2017, more inspiring developments were presented in Neophyte’s career. Teaming up with fellow Neophyte Records’ veterans Tha Playah, Nosferatu and Furyan, together, they formed the exclusive live-act Guerrillas. In a little over one year, Guerrillas have teared down colossal festivals such as Dominator, AIRFORCE Festival, Decibel Outdoor Festival, Syndicate, Thunderdome, Harmony of Hardcore and have released knockout tracks “Can’t Stop Us Now” and the Thunderdome 2017 anthem “Our Legacy.” Additionally, another epic collaboration was on the horizon for the Neophyte Records team. Under the name ‘Worldwide Anarchy,’ all hell broke loose as the entire label went on a rebellious rampage and took over during a grand tour that ran through The Netherlands, Italy, The United Kingdom and Spain.
Looking forth into 2018 and there’s absolutely no slowing down this Hardcore titan! With the year marking 25 years in Hardcore music, this expert celebrates this milestone with special performances, releases and more! As a legend of the past, present and future, the ‘25 Years of Neophyte’ concept will pay respects to all of his achievements as well as the countless opportunities he has created for the Hardcore scene. Stay tuned for more ’25 Years of Neophyte’ tracks and exclusive performances!
You’d better get ready for many more blistering beats and devastating performances from Neophyte, ‘cause this legend is determined to continue bringing you the very best that Hardcore has to offer! Built on quality, perseverance and diversity, prepare yourself for more golden material by Neophyte and the rest of his team over at Neophyte Records!