NO_ID returns as NEW_ID, plans new material marathon for Axtone and beyond in 2014
It’s a crisp morning in Amsterdam and Dancing Astronaut has been invited to visit Dutch house NO_ID, recently reformed as NEW_ID, on their home turf. It’s a whirlwind journey in-and-out, but one made immediately worthwhile given the notable silence from the duo since that landmark remix of Henrik B’s “Leave A Light On” propelled them into the global limelight. As Ralph van Vugt & Devi van der Horst greet us at their studio, there’s been a considerable lapse of silence from their studio output. The future is on today’s agenda, but the road towards it has been a testing one. They did the festival circuit, saw the world alongside the departing Swedish House Mafia and then fell notably silent past ongoing global tour duties at the back end of 2013. The months leading to today have not been spent twiddling thumbs though. The stretch started with them edging off the road and back into the studio domain, was broken up by a change of location that saw them spend six-months rebuilding their new studio to optimal stature and that ended with a legal complications surrounding their collaborative moniker. Though still littered with sound proofing cylinders, the calm of their new studio echoes that changing tide for ex-hockey competitors turned affirmative house duo, back with perhaps their most definitive run of studio material to date. It’s earned more than just the undefeated support of Axtone and its infamous chief-in-command, leaving the duo evidently relieved to be at the end of the long and winding journey has bought them through to 2014.
“We had been in legal gridlock with regards to our artist name since last year, which put a pause on our releases. It got to the stage where it felt like we could be waiting forever to come out of the end of the complications,” admits Ralph. “We took the decision to proceed with a new name simply because we now have so much new material to show the world. It seemed daunting to change our name at this stage, but we believed the music would make up for this.”
They may have been one of the Dutch circuits most sparing studio forces of late, but NEW_ID have certainly not been skimping behind the scenes. We commence a free-playing reflection over the arsenal of cuts now at their disposal for 2014, pausing inbetween tracks to consider the musical agenda that has meticulously survived the rampant touring and administrative downtime. Theirs is a balance of class and convention. Much to their amusement, they aren’t sure how the rest of the industry has found it so hard. “The big room sound simply doesn’t have to be all hard kicks and big synths,” explains Devi. “Our music has always been centered on the big grooves and nice melodies because that is the sound we come from. Those housier influences and the sort of progressive elements that made Axtone stand out so well back in the day can coexist. We want this next chapter to be a solid reminder to the industry that there is still room to mix things up in the market.”
On a first listen, NEW_ID has scoped that middle ground considerably well. Original cuts “Brothers” alongside Oskar and solo-cut “Aerogames” epitomize the duo’s signature middle ground. They groove in all the right places, packing enough punch to hold both club and festival crowds whilst epitomizing their aural bond with Axtone and a sound seemingly immortalized in their mission to keep it off-course from the status quo. As vastly speculated during the period that surrounded Swedish House Mafia’s finale global tour, a remix of Mutiny UK & Steve Mac’s “Feel The Pressure” alongside Axwell does not pass by without a cheeky grin of contentment from both members. “We sat on this and played with it for so long,” laughs Ralph. “It feels amazing to think that people are finally going to hear this track given how long we’ve been talking about it.” It plays much in line with Axtone’s notorious penchant for hitting outside the industry comfort zones and after a second play (at the journalists request), there is little denying its stance as an immediate hit for both artists. They follow with an impending and as yet untitled collaboration alongside Prok & Fitch – a duo whose reign on the global house circuit has equally pricked ears on the merits of versatile club stylings. Theirs is a seeming match made from heaven, lacing intricate grooves and full-bodied melodic play into a track vastly speculated to be right up Toolroom Record’s alley, suggesting that a little time away from the spotlight has seen NEW_ID make allegiances as intriguing on paper as they are on record.
That isn’t to say that their forward motions are limited to collaborative gems. Devi nervously makes with their remix of Junior Jack’s ‘Thrill Me,’ emerging as one of the riskier remodels of their impending crop. Reassuringly, the track is done considerable justice under the guise of NEW_ID, transporting the timeless resonance of the original’s infectious leads to a thick-skinned canvas of modern big room house with a festival proof elegance about it. A further remix for Kraak & Smaak’s recent album cut ‘How We Gonna Stop The Time’ sees the duo transform the album single into a fuller bodied remodel rife with their big room etiquette, one that their Dutch peers and Axtone spared little time in approving for a pre-summer release.
The road of releases ahead circles a schedule played towards the global appetite circling the industry – one that the duo have seemingly not lost a hold on courtesy of all this studio action. They point to affirmative action throughout the summer, touching base on the cream of the global festival circuit and reconnecting with such favored stomping grounds as Ibiza and the UK in the process. Paired with what looks to be a relentless run of releases, the duo’s sentiments are as positively formed as the material that precedes them. “This feels like a very special turn for us. The music is exactly the sort of collection of our sound that we had dreamed of having at our mercy and paired with the itinerary for summer, everything that has happened feels like a long road to our ideal landing here in 2014.”
It’s a new dawn for the re-identified duo. As NEW_ID, they just might be the new horizon that European house music has been waiting for.