Album Walkthrough: NEONLIGHT ‘Vanity Fair’
NEONLIGHT is the union of two very different, unique personalities – Jakob Thomser and Tobias Jakubczyk – childhood friends brought together through their shared passion for Drum & Bass. The German producer and DJ duo first entered the worldwide D&B scene in 2009. Since then, they have developed their own individual sound, enveloping melodies and harmonic twists in Drum & Bass beats and fierce basslines with fast and heavy drums. Enticing listeners both in clubs and at tour concerts across the globe, including countries as close the Czech Republic and the Netherlands and as far as Australia and New Zealand, they have released their music with multiple labels, such as Blackout Music, Eatbrain, RAM Records, and Vision. In addition to their original work through NEONLIGHT, both Jakob and Tobi are also well known for their remixes with artists like Noisia, Hybrid Minds, Black Sun Empire, Celldweller, Annix, and State of Mind.
Since the end of 2020, NEONLIGHT has been focusing on their second album and has received funding from Initiative Musik (Germany). With the new album, they wanted to show their diversity and musicality while still delivering the hard and driving sound NEONLIGHT is known for. With the first album having raised the bar, Jakob and Tobi want to raise it again. We had a catch up with the guys to find out a little bit more about the creative processes behind their new album ‘Vanity Fair’ which is out on Blackout Music now and can be found here!
The opening track of the album was initially written for another release on Blackout. The name and concept have now become the core of our recent album.
For our 2nd album, we were quite sure from the very beginning of writing that we wanted to put out original solo material only. We had only one exception: a collaboration with Black Sun Empire. It turned out to be a banger!
Tragedian is about a character who always just sees negativity in all things. If you look closer you realise that it is just a play. But they exist, the sort of people who are satisfied from all the compassion of their fellows.
Making this track was a lot of fun. We had a nice loop going really fast. We added loads of different sound variations of the original bass sounds and made mostly wired sound stuff which allowed us to stick to this quite simple bass riff you can hear during the whole song.
Hero Of My Youth
Everybody has a hero in life. It is mostly a positive character, an idol. So we wanted this track to be strong and positive too. The hook line sounds like a simple guitar riff. Full Rock’n’Roll power!
We had this quite random vocal sample from a recording session at university. Must have been 12 years ago. We warped it with many effects and created something intro-like. Then we wrote two or three various main parts. The last one was quite cool, so we rolled it out.
This is the perfect example of how much only one element can lift a song to the next level. In this case, it was the vocals from Toronto based singer flowanastasia. We stuck with the song for quite a long time before we left it in her hands. She wrote awesome lyrics together with her vocal engineer. They delivered 100% of what the track needed to become an outstanding piece of music. It is one of our all-time favourite Neonlight songs for sure!
The first draft for this song was made when we got asked to write a song for the LET IT ROLL opening ceremony back in 2019. It did not make it over the line so we jumped back on this project to show our Patrons some of our production techniques. We never planned to put this one on the album. The original working title was “rubb-chubber” by the way.
This track is something else. Not that typical Neonlight track which hits hard with this super catchy synth line on top. It was our approach to write a kind of “minimal” Drum & Bass song without losing the intention to let it sound epic and remarkable.
This track is supposed to interrupt the album flow. Something happens all of a sudden – short and shrill – and you ask yourself “What was that..?!?” Many samples and sounds underline this strange feeling. Welcome to Las Vegas!
A track which took us a very long to finish, because we did not find the perfect drop. It was a project laying around on our HDD for a couple of years. We are so happy that this one became so strong! – also thanks to Holly’s soulful vocals.
This track would not exist without one certain PlugIn. The “Resonator” is responsible for that unique hook line, which slides like a saw into your cerebral gyrus.
We think this is not a drum & bass track anymore. We focused more on musical depth and vibes either, sound and pressure. The saxophone improvisation was the cream topping on that. The ending is supposed to reflect the screaming of a person in black despair.
Lay down all your masks and habits! Free yourself from boundaries! Raise your head and start to fly! That is the message of FREEDOM, written in 2021.
NEONLIGHT’s new album ‘Vanity Fair’ is out now, so go and grab yourself a copy from here