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An Endless Search For Netsky’s Deepest Influences

Let’s be very honest, there are a few things in this world that are as elegant as Netsky’s music. Starting his career in 2008, the Belgian DJ and producer has now achieved iconic status for the transportive music that he has delivered for over a decade.

It’s not just his contributions within the Drum & Bass scene, Netsky has taken Drum & Bass to the world, meriting an important place in the genre’s stature in the wider electronic music and pop audience. Pristine and glossy, Netsky makes every beat, every bassline, every melody hook sound soulful and magical.

Over the years, Netsky’s music has swung in many ways; starting with the calm and soulful sounds of ‘Memory Lane’ to the breakneck remix of Rusko’s ‘Everyday’ and eventually to the sultry and stretched back sounds of ‘Snitch’ and ‘Here With You’. Through this piece, we will take a trip down the memory lane when Netsky was a new kid on the Drum & Bass clock to his rise as a global phenomenon.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

After releasing ‘Starlight’ and ‘Everyday’ on labels like Allsorts and Liq-weed Ganja Recordings, Netsky caught the scene’s attention when he released ‘Prisma’ and gave us a sneak peek into his euphonic yet high-syncopated world of Liquid Drum & Bass. It was also a time when the Liquid Funk style of Drum & Bass had sprung back to life and Netsky gave it his own touch with diverse instrumental layers and delicate vocals.

His success with ‘Prisma’ saw Bcee snap up the Belgian on his Future Retro label for ‘Hold On To Love’ where Netsky notched it up a level for a tune with a throbbing bassline and weighty synths. Netsky’s talent was there for everyone to see and Hospital Records didn’t waste time to sign him for an album followed by an exclusive contract which put him in the same company as his idols like High Contrast and London Elektricity.

SELF TITLED ALBUM, DOUBLE AWARD WINS AND COMMERCIAL SUCCESS

Drum & Bass is a genre that struggled for identity in its early years where it couldn’t pick a side between staying underground or going commercial, but Netsky had emerged during a time when artists had started becoming unapologetic about their sound. Netsky picked a side and just rode with it and he was widely successful.

His music had upset a lot of listeners who were all about the underground but they missed the point back then that Netsky, with his music was bringing the wider audience into the genre and it is what he did with his debut self-titled album in 2010.

It’s been 11 years since the album was released but the tunes sound as fresh as ever. Catchy vocals, buoyant atmospherics and rumbling basslines; the album had utterly everything crisp that listeners were looking for. The scene had to go back to the early days of High Contrast to trace a meteoric rise like Netsky’s. With tracks like ‘Endless Search’, ‘Secret Agent’ ‘Escape’ and ‘Iron Heart’, the Belgian set an example and laid the foundations for producers to go for the jugular.

Netsky was unstoppable and he wanted to make his peerless run count. In came his second full release called ‘2’ in 2012. For a lazily named album, the result was spectacular.  Once again, it was a story of impish melodies, power-packed basslines and unashamedly joyful Drum & Bass music. ‘2’ surpassed all expectations and defined a minuscule yet impactful era of the genre with tracks like ‘Come Alive’, ‘The Whistle Song’, and ‘Love Has Gone’.

The self-titled album and ‘2’ gave Netsky an insurmountable status in the scene due to the wider dance music community’s reverence of the producer breathtakingly fresh Drum & Bass. The albums made the producer a double Drum & Bass Arena award winner in 2010 and 2012 for his creative prowess.

You will also enjoy reading Camo & Krooked’s Realm Of Swanky Drum & Bass

MOVE AWAY FROM HOSPITAL RECORDS

Netsky was known for doing the extraordinary and his move to sign a deal with Sony Music nearly reduced his fans to tears. Signing to Sony Music also meant that he was going to make a movie away from Hospital Records and the genre to explore further avenues of dance music.

We would be lying if we said that we were not disappointed because of the sheer influence Netsky had on the genre, but for a man loaded with that magnitude of creative talent, it would have been hard to blame him for wanting to try his hands on different styles and genres.

Turns out, he never really left Drum & Bass. Netsky released his third studio album called ‘3’ 2016, and while it was another example of the producer’s lack of effort in naming his albums, the music remained to be outstanding. ‘3’ featured ‘Rio’ with Digital Farm Animals, a tune that remains to be one of modern-day D&B’s grandest tunes for the sheer number of audiences it brought from different forms of electronic music.

Along with Drum & Bass, Netsky also explored some pop-friendly styles with tunes like ‘Go 2’ ‘Higher’ with Jauz, and ‘Forget What You Look Like’. ‘3’ was a massive success and it was also arguably one of Netsky’s finest releases for the sizeable impact it had on the scene, despite not fully being in it.

“Rio” was also featured in the London 2016 New Year’s celebrations.

Once again, Netsky followed his love for the unexpected and collaborated with Lost Frequencies on ‘Here With You’ and David Guetta for ‘Ice Cold’. The beauty of these tracks? Rather than the producer getting pulled away from Drum & Bass, he managed to bring these big names into the genre and delivered two smashing dancefloor bangers in the process.

BACK TO THE THINGS HE LOVED

With the sort of tracks he was producing when he had moved away from the scene, it was evident that Netsky was missing what he did when it all started in 2008, and the thought eventually persuaded him to make a move back to Drum & Bass in 2020.

Unsurprisingly, he returned to the place where his love affair with the genre started over a decade ago. Hospital Records announced that Netsky had returned to the label and to celebrate his second coming, he announced his 4th full release called ‘Second Nature’. The expansive 18-track LP brought back his love for experimental, pop-infused offerings to the Drum & Bass world for the first time in four years.

‘Second Nature’s anticipation was worth it and Netsky stunned the world once again by picking up exactly where he left with a mix of soul-soothing tunes and festival-ready bangers. The album featured tunes with Sub Focus, Hybrid Minds, Urbandawn, Rudimental and many more for tunes like ‘Destiny’, ‘Let Me Hold You’ , ‘Power’ and ‘Blend’.

The album gave us listeners a chance to put our hands in the Drum & Bass nostalgia pocket again while Netsky ensured that his reign over Drum & Bass will hardly be matched.

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Written By

Drum & Bass head with a tinge of hip shake for Disco. A DJ when I am not glued to my screen!

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