NEONLIGHT is the union of two very different personalities who have one particular thing in common (apart from the childhood that they already spent together) – a true passion for Drum & Bass. At the end of the 90s they started to play Drum and Bass on events and gathered first experiences with software based music production.
To set up own events and test their music on a PA helped them to find …out whether the songs would catch the interest of the audience. Apart from that is was a good opportunity to connect with other DJs and producers. The positive feedback impelled their musical development and forced them to dive deeper into the Drum & Bass matter.
Always in search of the better sound and an accomplished composition NEONLIGHT devises every song individually. They are not setting any musical or temporary borders until everything fits perfectly and they are pleased to decide that they again finalized a new piece of good music.
1- Who are NEONLIGHT and how did you get your name? What does it mean and what’s the story behind it?
Jakob: We are the German Drum & Bass DJ and producer duo NEONLIGHT formally known as Tobias Jakubczyk and Jakob Thomser.
We had releases on leading labels of the international Drum & Bass scene like BAD TASTE, SOM MUSIC, RED LIGHT, PRSPCT and TRUST IN MUSIC. Currently we working on tracks for the mighty LIFTED MUSIC founded by CHRIS RENEGADE and SPOR aka FEED ME and other established labels like BSE, C4C, VIPER and EATBRAIN.
Tobi: The name NEONLIGHT does not mean anything special to us in the beginning. After a lot of troubles with our DJ names “Nize5ive & Pitch’n’Sulphur” (wrong spelling on releases, confusion how many guys exactly worked behind these names, etc.) we decided to watch out for a more simple name. In a magazine I saw the word NEONLIGHT in big letters and I knew this would be our new name.
2- When did Jacob & Tobias meet and how? When did you agree to form NEONLIGHT?
Tobi: We met each other as kids. Our parents are close friends for ages and had a band project in the 80s.
We started working together on music in 2003 and had our first releases under our first DJ names (Nize5ive & Pitch’n’Sulphur) in 2007. The following years we developed our way working together because we lived in different cities and had not the chance to meet weekly or daily to make music. With my move from Berlin to Leipzig we had the chance for the first time to get more serious into producing. That was the turning point to change lots of things and the name was one of them.
On the 1st January of 2009 we launched our project with a release of the first NEONLIGHT studio mix.
3- Was it Drum’n’Bass from the start? What other music do you enjoy/produce/DJ(spin)?
Jakob: In my childhood I listened to Mike Oldfield, Genesis, Phil Collins, Supertramp, Sting, and Yes. Later I was more into Techno and House and some electro music (Portishead, The Prodigy etc.), as well. Currently I prefer the older stuff again, but also progressive rock and a little (latin) Jazz. But of course, Drum & Bass is still my passion!
Tobi: As a child I often listened to music by the likes of Led Zepplin, Deep Purple, Jackson Five, Yes, Genesis, David Hasselhoff and Roxette. This strange mix was a result of my parents taste of music and my own. As a teenager I preferred old school Hip Hop, all kind of Breakbeats. Nowadays it is all kinds of electronic music.
4- What DAWs are used in your productions & what gear is used in your studio?
Jakob: Our setup is quite simple. Cubase 5, UAD 2, Focusrite Saffire Pro, Native Instruments Komplete 7, Fab Filter Bundle, Camel Phat, Adam A7 and bunch of variouse plug-ins
Cubase is the first Sequencer we worked with (VST5). It is a complex tool. You can control nearly everything. The UAD is our newest investment. The plug-ins sound great and give more depth and warmth to the signals.
Komplete 7 is a must have for every producer! Massive, FM8 and Absynth are our favorite Synths. The A7 sound very clean and unspectacular but you can hear every impulse. It took us a while to get used to it.
Some plug-ins we really love to use is the Fab Filter bundle. Easy to handle and it gives you a lot of space for creative things.
5- Do you have any tips you would like to share with young producers and DJs out there?
Tobi: Nowadays it is important to have a good sound. Try to read and learn from others as much as you can (magazines, internet blogs etc.) and develop your technical skills. But music doesn’t come from that technical equipment like the better Sequencer, Synth, Hardware, or Plugin! These all are just tools to realize your ideas! Divide your work into a creative and a technical part (cleaning up the sample library, making presets, screw on synths and make sound).
Furthermore you have to finish your projects, so you get the feeling it’s completely done.
The next step is to mix and master the track. If you are not sure whether the tune sounds good, compare it with famous/ top notch productions, you like to listen to.
All in all there are many things you have to keep in mind to serve a high quality track.
6- What big festivals have you performed at? What’s a party you would love to have again or go back to?
Jakob: We did not play on big festivals so far, only on some 1k+ indoor events. But this summer we will play on a really big electronic dance festival in Germany. Some more Drum & Bass focused festivals are booked as well. All information for gigs we play in the future will be available on our website/fan-page. 😉
7- Where in your opinion is Drum’n’Bass heaven at? For those with the love of the filthy bass & broken beats where do you recommend?
Tobi: A really good question 🙂 I think there are lots of really good artists at the moment. Still big in the game are names like NOISIA, PHACE & MISANTHROP, AUDIO, CAMO & KROOKED, BLOKHE4D, NERO, OPTIV + BTK and BSE. Some upcoming acts of the last years we really like are MEFJUS, INSIDE INFO, SMOOTH, TELEKINESIS, AEPH and FOURWARD. I´m sure we forgot some more good producers. 😉
8- What influences NEONLIGHT sounds? What producers/artists motivate NEONLIGHT quality & creativity ?
Jakob: Movies, other music (rock pop jazz), working and barbecue in the garden, Coffee and Martini. 🙂
Tobi: Good music of all genres and the pure simple life. Also the guys we worked with on collaborations become a strong influence in the way of producing. We shared a lot of knowledge. That helps so much to be motivated to write new and better music.
9- How’s the scene like in Germany? how was it earlier & in what direction its heading ?
Jakob: The scene is coming back in my opinion. The really big years are over but a new generation of party people and bass addicted kids get bigger and bigger over the last 2-3 years. Maybe the world wide take-over of Dubstep helped the Germany scene to get new blood.
10- Any statement for the scene? the fans? fellow artists? Drum’n’Bass scene in Lebanon?
Tobi: We want to thank all our fans and labels, DJ´s and artists who supported us and our sound. We had such a great time over the last two years and the end isn´t near!! 😉
We also hope to get some new "fans" from Lebanon after they listened to our mix or other music from us. Maybe we have the chance to play a gig here in the future.
Jakob: Last but not least a thank you for the invitation to do that mix and this interview. Much love and bass from Germany. 🙂