Los Angeles-based DJ, producer, audio engineer, and visual artist HELLBOUND!—aka Vince Tascione—is leading the charge in North America to revive the early rave sounds of acid and hard techno. A genre dominated by European names, he’s continuing the work started by that late i_o through a string of hard thumping releases and the curation of a recent hard techno compilation for Space Yacht Records.
The veteran producer had already achieved a solid level of success as a touring bass music act. And his command of crystal clear sonics and intelligent sound design is well-honed. He says, “The only genre that's truly exciting me is techno and hard techno. It’s all I listen to, because that's what's really inspiring me.” As one of hard techno’s fiercest stateside champions, he’s on the precipice of dominating the genre.
His musical pedigree is impressive, to say he comes from a musical family would be understating the obvious.
Tascione learned piano from his grandmother at a young age. His great grandfather played the flute with Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra, and in pit orchestras for early television broadcasts in the 40s and 50s. He also tells me he has an uncle by marriage who he calls, “one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met.” He’s played with Eric Clapton, Van Morison, and Tina Turner.
Growing up with such a creative backdrop meant his parents were comfortable with their son pursuing a career in the arts. He chose film, but by the time college was over, he was over it.
“I wasn't feeling very inspired by film anymore. And I wasn't hitting that creative quota that I needed. It just felt very rigid.”
So he joined his friends and started to learn to produce. He found parallels between editing for film and using music software, “I just sort of bridge the two worlds together and I picked it up really fast and I loved [that] I could do it on my own.”
He insists that he would do anything to keep being an artist. As he honed his craft, he picked up a job at a mortgage company during the day.
“I will take a bullshit nine to five corporate job and play the game. I'm not too good for that. I'll put a suit and tie on, I'll show up but at the end of the day, it's only so I can do art.”
He spent lunch breaks in his car with an aux cord plugged into his laptop making music. He knew this wasn’t the end game for him. And eventually, he got recruited to do sound design for Cymatics, a dance music-focused audio resources company. He wasn’t yet touring, so he had no problem working 50 hours a week if it meant he was getting his foot in the door in the industry.
Through a series of opportune moments and hard work, he found himself touring as a trap artist. But he grew tired of bass music.
“It just felt like I was one of like, 500 people in America doing it and I [thought] ‘Does it really matter if either of us were here or not? Would the scene suffer if I was gone?’ “
He goes on to explain, “I just got so burnt out on bass music it just it felt very empty. I didn't feel anything when I made it. I didn't feel anything when I listened to it. [It] wasn't making me happy anymore...I straight up almost quit making music. And then I met I met Revel who's one of my best friends.”
He was enthralled by Revel’s blend of early rave and thumping techno. Revel exposed Tascione to the history of rave music and taught him how to harness the power of acid house and make it bang for the modern dancefloor.
Revel went on to help Tascione co-found Nullsect, "a hub of creatives united through the net, pushing future driven counter-culture." The record label and artist collective are an extension of their collective vision to change the world through music.
He tells me he feels like his early releases as HELLBOUND! weren’t exactly what he envisioned, “I started making what I considered like rave music, but it was really just kind of like ravy like bass house.” And over the last two years, that sound has evolved.
"Fortunately, a lot of the music that I've been writing over the past two years is about to come out, which is really nice, because that's the most current version of me.”
That sound is a full realization of the rave-inspired hard techno that is just starting to peek into the American dance floor but has dominated Europe and South America for years. Artists like Anna, Charlotte DeWitte, and Deborah DeLuca have taken warehouse techno back to the rave. HELLBOUND! and the Nullsect crew hope to do the same for the US.
Tascione’s journey has been one of constant evolution and focus. And in true artist fashion, he wouldn’t have it any other way. His journey has always been a pursuit of self-discovery, his fans just happen to be along for the ride.
“Some artists can stay in the same pocket for years. And I think sometimes that ultimately the most successful artists can do that. That takes a lot of discipline and commitment. And it's not that I'm not disciplined or committed, but I just love to grow and discover. At the end of the day, if nobody listened to my music, I wouldn't change a single thing I was doing in my life. It doesn't matter because I'm making it for me to enjoy.”
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