"Doomcore" is not a "genre" that is easily defined. If it's even possible to define it or is it just another term just like "breakcore" that means something different to a lot of people?
When I got asked to write something about "doomcore" I thought: The only way to do this is by interviewing artists, label owners and promoters who either use(d) the term "doomcore" for their work or are somehow affiliated with the term. Their answers are un-edited.
What is your definition of doomcore?
Low Entropy: Doomcore to me is not a form of music but a state of mind. I would say it's for each producers and listener differently. I think Marc Acardipane expressed it best: “I can’t possibly justify seeing a happy end to this stupid human drama.” - “Imagine surveying earth after nuclear destruction and enjoying what you see”. I would say that is a sentiment that many people in Doomcore would agree on.
Le Bourreau: A feeling of immobility, a sense of weight, heaviness. Look at the world as it is, a desolate place where people wander like lost souls …
Darkside: Without restricting it too much as there is a wide spectrum in style ..But i'd say a form of very dark hard techno that fits somewhere in the industrial or area of sound as well (but with more of a horror film theme / or morbid appocalyptic sound scape) Tthere are some things I like to to do which are elements which (I class) as “what you hear in the classic Doomcore tracks that first shaped or defined the style”…..I.e some complex timing rates or editing that sound like they would trip you up on the dance floor (unexpected rolls or patterns or drop outs) ..Even though they might catch you out a bit.. They sound great when done well. I also like how the style of some doomcore could sound simple arrangement wise but you just cant help but move it and all you want is to hear that track over and over, due to the groove or hook (but that could be said for all good “dance” music but doomcore is a bit unique in those ways it “can” be more military sounding percussion wise for example compared to other dance music…So for me Doomcore should sound the way the word describes it..Doomy /apocalyptic/satanic /morbid sounding.. If not ..Its not really doomcore without the “morbid” feel but this has been achieved even with “just a kick drum being filtered” …To big full on orchestral sounding pieces and more industrial so as you can see the style of the music has quite a wide variety of ways that you can achieve a doomy sound…. From the simplest of tracks with minimal sounds… to full on orchestral type experiences..etc So defining just a small part of that would do the rest of it injustice hahah ..But I think I’ve covered the sound pretty well
Antraxid: On the sound: To me it´s proper dark Hardcore, well combined with morbid and melancholic textures as a selected usage of gloomy to harsh instruments and samples.
On the mentality: it is not about the kind things. It´s depression, rebellion, escapism, plaintive atheism, hate, frustration, nihilsm as an inner state of mind. It´s themes reflecting the things in our lifes most people try to ignore or denie. There is no glorification of these things, it´s a form of mental processing, to cast out your own demons.
Stefan Ketacore: Doomcore is a name often misused nowadays but when the term was invented it mainly stood for slow, pounding, haunting, hardcore techno, usually with a dark & doomy vibe to it, sometimes slightly ravey, but never too much.
When & how do you think Doomcore originated? And what do you think is the first doomcore record ever made?
Antraxid: I have no clue.
Darkside: For me one of the first labels to consistently release the first Doomcore tracks in the techno hardcore world was PCP’s label “Cold Rush Records” with the exception of a few other tracks on DE2017 and “Test Records” ..( sub labels of PCP) But i have heard doomy tracks made by people like Fabio Frizzi who did the soundtrack for the film zombie flesh eaters or Goblin who did the soundtrack to Zombi…and could where Miro got his inspiration for skeletons march.(just a presumption) It probably isn’t… but i can hear it in the style to a degree..
Le Bourreau: I think that I'll summarize it like this, the old testament was written by Cold Rush Records and the new testament is written by Fifth Era.
Stefan Ketacore: In the early 90's The Mover (from PCP, Frankfurt) made Frontal Sickness 1 & 2. Some tracks sounded like techno, some tracks sounded a bit electro, and some stuff sounded like techno, but harder & heavier. “Into wasteland” might sound like “normal techno” now, but remember this was 1991, this must have been hard as hell for the normal techno fans! I don't think I'd consider this doomcore, but you can hear it paved the way for it. I'm guessing “The emperor takes place” from The Mover's Final Frontier (1993) is the first thing released I would consider “doomcore”, although I'm pretty sure they didn't use that term for it at the time.
Low Entropy: Doomcore has always been around. It's an idea and a way of music in a sense, it's not bound to a specific time. Suicide's “Long Talk” in the 80s has already a lot of elements of Doomcore, Black Sabbath was guitar driven Doom in the 70s, you can find elements of Doom in Wagner or J.S. Bach even.
Is the type of production/mastering important within the genre (lo-fi, compression, etc)
Antraxid: I don´t think so.
Low Entropy: There are no rules for this really, but it should be noted that a lot of Doomcore tracks have a very minimal production approach. Drums without much bass, thin, tinny sounds, almost like dubbed from a cassette. This is something that always interested me in Doomcore. Of course on the other side of the spectrum you find heavily produced and mastered tracks.
Le Bourreau: No, eventhough I like well mastered tracks, too much mastering can to destroy the feeling.
Darkside: Well big topic or can be haha ..I have heard “really good tracks” in so called lo fi quality … . and boring tracks in good quality ..So you still have to make a good piece of music (as a whole piece of music in its own right) but since home studio’s have become more affordable etc people expect a certain amount of quality from you as an artist. And i feel mastering is important as i run a vinyl record label. And i don’t want my ears to bleed or the needle to skip off the record due to production skills haha..As for compression its a good tool (i use them in various ways) but you have to be careful…Now vinyl mastering is a bit different to digital mastering.. And even though i have my own dub plate cutting machine and cut one off vinyl for people and know enough on mastering to cut vinyl …I get “my” tracks mastered by someone else (for general release on HF) as i feel too tied to my “own” music to then “always” master it..As i want it to sound the best “it can do” and most people who release vinyl do the same (although i do a supply a type of ready pre master) so by giving them to someone else for “final” mastering this enables me to make a track and get it as good as i can production wise and then say “ok this is finished now.. it just needs that final mastering sheen” ..
Do you think doomcore has strict rules when it comes to bpm?
Darkside: In general….Doomcore is “known” to be lower tempo than usual Hardcore. As hardcore can be 300 bpm so from around 120 bpm to 170bpm is about the limit i would say as i feel it should be danceable…
(in general ) i say this ….as after 170bpm your getting into what i would call …And most other people would call “Hardcore” (in the techno world)…the track your making or hearing would then probably sound / or be classed as Hardcore and not Doomcore but yet again this is all subjective. Kotzaak Records sounds doomy and satanic but all there tracks are faster than 170bpm and Doomcore producers who make slower doom also sometimes do tempo changes within a track sometimes making the tempo speed up for a while…. So i would say in general : Doomcore is slower than most hardcore. As a lot of people say this as well …And we have to have some things which define the style from the rest of the hardcore styles..(I feel tempo is one of them)…But those so called rules can be broken with various techniques
Antraxid: Hell no. It offers even a wider range in bpm cause more tracks tracks with slow bpm got produced nowdays
Low Entropy: No, I don't think that's important. To talk about my own music, some of my track have between 0-and 60 bpm and some have occasional Speedcore elements that are over 600 bpm.
Stefan Ketacore: Not really strict rules but most stuff is somewhere in between 110-130 bpm I guess.
Le Bourreau: No, it's more a feeling for me, so 100 or 200 bpm, it's the same, as long as the feeling is there.
Are there things (samples, sounds, production wise) not done within doomcore?
Low Entropy: No, feel free to do what you want. On Doomcore Records there is a track with folk guitars, by Aliocha, for example.
Antraxid: I think somehow, EDM-like Lead sounds as build-ups probably not a good tool create dark & mental music.
Darkside: Well the nature of the music (to me) is.. and should be morbid and menacing or apocalyptic so ..for me personally id say anything too happy sounding I wouldn’t “personally” use in a Doomcore track to me when I’m in a doomed mood there is no in-between and there is no light at the end of the tunnel so it stays that way ..until the end ..…but I surprise myself all the time…I never thought i would ever use a female vocal in any type of Hardcore/Doomcore track (unless it was a dark choir vocal or chanting)….but recently we remixed a track for someone who was s “singing” a song about “playing god” she sang it in more of dark gothic poetic way ….we pitched the vocal down to sound more evil and demonic and it worked really well..so really if you can make it work then almost anything goes.
Stefan Ketacore: Unlike gabber you don't hear a lot of hiphop samples being used in doomcore, also singing and cheesy shit just doesn't fit the genre.
Le Bourreau: Wobble?
Do you consider your music doomcore and if yes in what way/what is your philosophy?
Le Bourreau: No philosophy, just the desire to listen to angry music on wax.
Darkside: Yes I call it doomcore but have made other styles (not all strictly Doomcore) as for philosophy .. I could list lots of rules…as i am strict at times like the way a Doomcore kick is “supposed” to sound or a snare or clap.. I wont get into that don’t worry ..haha ... but then other times i like breaking the rules or trying new things and as mentioned although i have a set of things I like doing in the music (which I class a what defines Doomcore from other styles maybe huge reverbs etc ) there is lots of areas there to play with sound wise….the main thing would be..go with your heart…… keep it dark /eerie /menacing and apocalyptic sounding … they are the rules I try to stick by for a doomcore track but I am bit of a purist at times haha.
Low Entropy: I produce various styles, but my main focus is definitely on Doomcore and Doomtechno these days. My philosophy is... kind of hard to put it down to a few words. But let's say: regardless of how shitty things are, there is always hope. A light in the darkness.
What is your inspiration for the music you make/label you run/parties you organise?
Stefan Ketacore: Early 2000's we went to London for Last Tomorrow parties. Doomcore parties done by the Crossbones Soundsystem, heavily influinced by PCP, who were also running their owns distro & labels, all focused around the doomcore sound. We got to know some of the people involved. We became friends with Fifth Era, and 1 of their members was briefly married to my aunt!After a few years those parties kinda stopped & we got into the breakcore scene, did loads of stuff there, but at 1 point just came to the conclusion we really missed doomcore parties. My uncle was still going strong with Fifth Era so we wanted to release something with them. The release had a release party and the “Beyond The Realms Of Doom” thing was born (*note: FE came up with this slogan a long time before that, we just used it with permission!).
Antraxid: A lot, I just do what my head tells me. Sometimes I hear or see something, alike movie´s dialouge, read any phrase whatever, get an idea and become obsessed into it, other time I just start play around or get lost while sound-design & it comes to a track.
Low Entropy: Music... is kind of a part of me. I don't think I could live life in an enjoyable way without this. Also it's a great pleasure to be able to do music and others listen to it. But most importantly, there are a lot of ideas that are not found in mainstream music, that have to spread this way.
Le Bourreau: Fifth Era, ▲NGST, Darkside and the world around me.
Darkside: My main inspirations are wanting to be creative with my life. As for making music i started quite late (i hated doing music in school) ..
It wasn’t until I heard rave music back in 1992 that I really wanted to learn dj-ing ..so I was 18 when I got my first pair of decks which was around 1993 then around 1996-7 I started making what we know as hardcore / terror on an amiga 500 and a 8bit sampler I had a few releases on various hardcore vinyl labels from around 1999 shortly after this I wanted to run my own label, which I finally did in 2007 (10 years this year) one inspiration was to be able to release my own music on vinyl (this was before the internet took over ). So there was no real digital release side to it then …only CD ..so it was really cool the thought of getting your music on vinyl most people wanted there music on vinyl (and probably still do). As then it was one of the only ways to get your music out there to the world apart form playing gigs / raves of course.
As for the label name itself that comes from an old club called the “Hellfire Club” which an ancestor of mine was one of the first members of back in the 1700’s …and they had a caves built underground below a church where all sort of things went on i.e satanic worship women dressed as nun’s up to sultry things ..Say no more haha.. But thats another story ..So when i found this out (it was around the time was looking for a record label name) this just fell into place and was the inspiration for the name … Because it wasn’t “just a name” it had meaning and it had to have meaning and it was just right …so “Hellfire Records” was born.
But when I write music I take inspiration from my own life experiences or how I feel that day or week ..and just try get that frustration or anger or feeling out by putting it into music or sounds with a dark message ..music wise I’ve been inspired from punk, + industrial bands right right across to classical music… and hardcore artists that shaped the music. Like PCP , Kotzaak Nordcore .Industrial Strength ,Drop Bass Network the list goes on ..
Is the the visual aspect (if there is any) of doomcore is important to you
Antraxid: Not sure if it´s important, but sound & vision are strong in coorperation, to me it goes hand n hand.
Low Entropy: No, not really. Do what you want. Don't do a clichéd skull based thing – unless it's cool.
Darkside: Artwork is an area I’ve always been interested in, I did graffiti / spray can art and have always liked art. So imagery I feel it does play a part in the aspect of a label or artist as it paints a picture on what the artist or label wants portray (and I've always like a bit of album art) …But ultimately the music should stand up on its own.
Le Borreau: Yes, but it's not mandatory, I like when people express themself, be with the music or the visual or both together or something else.
Stefan Ketacore: Well it would be nice if the DOOM theme would be there, so no funny happy shit, just horror/gore/death/darkness please.
Name your 10 favourite doomcore tracks of all time.
Darkside: Ok this is a hard one as there is a lot good music out there but in no order of preference
i can list some that i really like or had an impact on me for one reason or another .
Various Mover Tracks
Reign Skeletons March -Dance Ecstasy 2017 / 2043
Dimension of the Doomed by frozen + dr macabre
various Dr macabre tracks
Cold Rush Records (most of them)
Test Records (PCP sub label)
various TTC records
Low Entropy: In no particular order:
Mescalinium United – We Have Arrived
Rat Of Doom – Before The Breakdown
Taciturne – Mourning
Current 909 – Golden Dawn
Reign – Light And Dark (The Next Dimension)
Superpower – Innocent Minds
Arrivers – The Things To Come
Miro – Purple Moon
Renegade Legion – Dark Forces
Marc Acardipane ft. The Horrorist – Human Machine
The Mover – The Emperor Takes Place
Cypher – Marchin' Into Madness
The Overlord Master Of The Universe
Fifth Era – FE05A1
Fifth Era – FE08B1
Fifth Era – FE10A1
▲NGST - ▲NGST VIII
Tonal Verges – Mutual Assured Destruction
The Mover – Waves Of Life
Dr. Macabre – Boomstick
Fifth Era – Untitled (A1 on KETATAPE001)
Fifth Era – B2 on F.E#18
Fifth Era – Let the Day Perish Fifth Era – Untitled (▲NGST Remix)
▲NGST – Impending Doom
▲NGST - I
▲NGST – Untitled (B1 on KETATAPE001)
DJ Darkside – Believers Of Satan
DJ Darkside – Destroyer Of Worlds
Darkside & Adam Frost – Vril Ya
Tonal Verges – Essit Rekket
... ok, it's 11 ...
anything to add?
Low Entropy: Doomcore will last. It's not music, but a way to live life.
Stefan Ketacore: Slowing down industrial hardcore does not make it doomcore!