We chatted with D-Block & S-te-Fan, one of the most influential and long-running duos on the world hardstyle scene.
In this new interview, we have had the opportunity to talk to one of the most long-lived duos. Diederik and Stefan form the duo D-Block & S-te-Fan, who year after year, have been at the top of hardstyle. They have created anthems for Defqon.1, IMPAQT, Intents, REBiRTH and even Defqon.1 Australia. As their logo indicates, they are true stars and after the retirement of The Prophet, they are postulating themselves as the main characters of the label Scantraxx.
1. Hello Diederik & Stefan! It is an absolute pleasure to have you here with us. Speaking of this 2023, you are in an amazing moment. After your set at Defqon.1, you have a lot of IDs to release. You have collaborated with The Prophet, The Gang and D-Sturb, as well as working on your own 'Kamikaze' which is driving us crazy every time we hear it. How were the months leading up to this set? Have you thought about releasing a new album with some of them?
Hello Erik! Thanks for having us too and a short thank you for all you are doing online. You are a great ambassador for the harder styles so keep doing what you do!
Defqon.1 is one of those festivals where we always try to deliver with new music. Its like the gathering of all gatherings, where so many unique hardstyle fans find their way to the holy grounds. For us there is no better place to play or preview new music.
That makes us very inspired, but also eager to create as many new things as we can. One year that’s easier then others but this year we were very inspired! The only problem is that now we have a bit of a issue with releasing, because we have just so much to release haha, so fans have to wait a bit longer for songs then they are used to.
We did thought about releasing it as a big EP or an album, but since we had a busy summer and also you never know when inspiration hits again, for now its for the continuity better for us to release those all as singles throughout the rest of 2023.
2. Recently in a Q&A on your Instagram, you talked about a new release that had not been heard yet, more specifically the Knockout Outdoor 2023 Anthem. Since your next release of Ghost Stories won't take place until 2024. What can we expect from D-Block & S-te-Fan in the coming months?
As you said before, we have been making a lot of music in 2023. We will start releasing our music now in a fast tempo starting with Spirit of the Wolf (the Knockout Outdoor Anthem) on September 8, and Come Alive with D-Sturb on September 22. After that we are aiming to release at least Fire and Kamikaze, and hopefully also the collabs with the Prophet and the Gang. And we will release some free releases too probably somewhere along the way :)
3. Speaking of releases, one of your latest posts is Diederik with his son in the studio. How do you balance spending time with your family and having such a busy schedule?
Its not always easy to balance your private life with your working life, but we came to some agreements together which we stick by always. For example is that our travel away from home will never exceeds 3 weeks, another is blocking some weekends after heavy touring to land back from all the hectic weekends, and for the last 15 years we always took January at least 3 weekends off. Besides the rules we are also with XNUMX guys, so when one is feeling everything is becoming heavy the other steps in and says: maybe go for a little holiday, or maybe stop working on new stuff for now and take your time.
Till now all this has helped us getting through, but we are also getting older, and life changes to from time to time (for example with having a baby) so new challenges occur always. We just have to constantly adapt to the situation we are in.
4. Along with Headhunterz, you are the ‘Keepers Of Your Legacy’. You have also worked with him on that remix of ‘Reignite’ that we have been waiting for since Qlimax 2022. How do you feel about his departure (hopefully temporary) from the stages?
I think we said it all in response to his video. We respect him a lot for his amazing talent, for what he has done, and wil continue to do, for Hardstyle and we can only respect his decision to fill in his life the way he wants it to be. Its always a weird vacuum, as people from the outside think you are living the dream, and people would pretty much kill for the life we live. But undergoing it there is a lot of things people don’t see, or don’t take into account.
Pressure to always deliver, younger generations competing, trying to keep up with making music and being inspired, whilst going through heavy touring, personal issues, lack of sleep, hard to maintain your personal life/friendships, politics that you have to deal with, and we can continue for a bit.
For us right now we are happy with the balance we found in that, but if that becomes too complicated it is good that you do something, whatever you want, to regain that balance. Lets hope he will be delivering musically and is very inspired by this new route in his life, and later on be back on stage again!
5. If I’m not mistaken, it’s almost 20 years of D-Block & S-te-Fan. Year after year, you stay at the top of hardstyle, without following any trends and keeping a style that you have been faithful to for years. In addition, you are one of the few duos that have lasted from the beginning. How close is your relationship?
It’s indeed almost 20 years that we are working together. To be able to work together for so long it is very important you both know eachothers worth. We still surprise eachother on a weekly base with things we both would never come up with, and brings impact to DBSTF. We both have our different roles in our brand, and they very well complement eachother.
Music wise we have a very clear direction where we wanna go. We love energetic and melodic music and that is what you can always expect from DBSTF. Sure we can adapt to a certain movement, but we will always incorporate it with our own style, and not chase any style. Also we don’t do things that we don’t support just to score a hit if we don’t like it. We still make music from the heart, and are not in the chase of success.
Also being in this scene and leaving such a footprint on Hardstyle we are fortunate that many of the amazing artists in our scene like to do collabs with us. So for example with D-Sturb. We really loved his stuff but it wasn’t always fitting in our sets, so we do a collab with him to bring his style closer to ours in a song, so we can have the elements of his style coming back in our sets. This always give very interesting combinations too so we love to do that and will continue to do these awesome collabs.
6. Hardstyle is currently hitting hard in the United States, having its own stage at Ultra Miami. Possibly many of our followers will not know it, but in your time as DBSTF, you even have a track in one of their most famous aftermovies. Is there any chance to see D-Block & S-te-Fan in the United States again?
We started going to the USA in 2011 with a big tour through the whole of USA and were determined to help the Hardstyle scene grow so all the Hardstyle fans across the US could experience what we have in Europe.
But where Europe, Australia and Asia got more and more into Hardstyle year over year, it feels like in the USA Hardstyle didn't really got the attention it deserved and stayed relatively small compared to other countries. As there are only 52 weekends in a year, and flying back and forth in so many different timezones is taking a lot of energy we decided to for now it is a better option for us to focus on the areas with a lot of growth.
As the USA is also not a country where you can just do a show (because the costs of Visa, flights and insurance) this results in us not being in the USA for a while now unfortunately.
Would we love to get ourselves back to the USA? ABSOLUTELY! But we would love to see and also need some sort of plan to at least try to grow the scene towards more states and more events. Let's hope we will get to that stage one day, and we will be back with our fans over there!
7. In one of our first interviews, we talked with Hardwell about you and the energy that each of your tracks transmits. He even talked about a collaboration with you being on his list. Is there any chance that this will happen?
I mean if Hardwell says its in the cards, its definitely not gonna be us saying it isn’t haha.. We are ready for that collab to happen :)
8. Finally, this is not a question, but a thank you. Thank you for the kindness that you have always had with us, as well as supporting many times even what is not your content. For this kind of things, it is easier to work on what is one of the projects of our lives. Thank you so much!
Thank you guys! Keep on doing what you do!