Counterstrike does Dubstep :: Violent Neon Robots [EP + Interview]

Counterstrike is known in South Africa and in Europe. Counterstrike is Drum and Bass. Counterstrike is hardcore. Counterstrike is Cape Town and Prague. Counterstrike is Animal Chin and 500 Mills.

The duo has been making waves in the Drum and Bass scene for years now. With Beatport hits, European tours playing to 1000’s of European fans and founders of Homegrown, but most South African based folk don’t actually know how much ground these guys have gained! 500 Mills and Animal Chin may live in different cities, make that different continents, but they continue to rip holes into the matrix that is Drum & Bass and continue to push their sound to new frontiers… and believe me, people from around the world are listening!

Fresh out of Hollowpoint Recordings is Counterstike’s latest footprint stomp into the music industry: Violent Neon Robots, a four track dubstep E.P. that will make your neck sore and your joints ache! Don’t believe me… just have a listen!

Don’t Party recently caught up with Chin and asked him a few questions about their latest release, their musical combination and how it works, and what inspires these hardcore DnB (and now dubstep) heads!


  • Who are Counterstrike?

Counterstrike is 500 Mills and Animal Chin. We’ve been around the music scene in Cape Town for ages. I first started out in industrial metal band Eraserhead gigging around Cape Town around 1992 in long forgotten venues like “The Stage” and D’Elyzium. 500 Mills started gigging in Drum & Bass band Mo-Fi Tuesday around 1996. I guess we are what they refer to as “toppies” now. You know, those guys with the 90’s fashion, receding hairlines and boeps.

  • How did you guys first link up and make music?

We met through mutual compadre Carl Fremen, who played with me in Eraserhead back in the day. Mills and Carl formed Mo-Fi Tuesday. I needed a place to stay when I moved back from London in 1998. Mills had a spot open at his place in Tamboerskloof. We set up a studio with the little gear we had in a small extra room in the house. We had a psychiatrist’s practice next door. We could hear her talking in between us blasting D&B at 11. Very therapeutic. I can remember Felix Laband also being around the house at that time. He used to date one of the young ladies that lived with us.

  • Who came up with the name Counterstrike?

I can’t actually put my finger on it, but I remember Mills and our house mates playing a lot of Counterstrike at the time. It probably came from someone’s drunken suggestions at one of our house parties.

  • I have seen crazy footage of you guys playing to like 5000 people in Russia with women in the audience holding up signs with “Counterstrike” strewn across… So your Eastern European fanbase is pretty devoted! Where do you guys feel most comfortable playing?

Although it’s awesome playing gigantic parties in foreign countries you never quite feel comfortable. Comfortable is at Homegrown in Cape Town. We love our home crowd. It’s more like playing a big house party than a gig. The only thing that sux is that we are usually stressed from running the party at the same time as having to DJ. So many little things go wrong on a night. Being a promoter really takes it out of you. DJ’s have it easy.

  • You are known for your hardcore drum and bass sound but your new EP, Violent Neon Robots, is straight dubstep! Why dubstep?

I’ve been into dubstep for a while now. I started spinning 2 or 3 dubstep tracks in my sets here in Europe and Mills also started getting into it. Then I started spinning more and more dubstep and found a sound in it I can relate to. The next obvious step was to produce dubstep. It’s pretty close to D&B, just a lot slower, so there is a lot of space to work with. It’s quite refreshing working at a different tempo for a change.

  • Are you guys dubstep fans?

Sure. Presence Known & Vista, SPL, Balkansky, Sinister Souls, Nanotek, Luke Stepwalker and Chasing Shadows are rocking it out.

  • How did you guys get released on Hollowpoint recordings?

SPL is a long time friend of ours. We’ve done some D&B together. I did a couple of Dubstep tracks and didn’t think much of them. They just sat on ice. One day I spoke to SPL over AIM and I decided to send him some of our Dubstep to hear what he thinks. He loved them, played them… one thing led to another and he asked us to do an EP for Hollowpoint.

  • How do you guys produce music together if one of you live in Europe and the other in SA?

We just send each other project files. With modern DAW’s it’s really easy to collaborate long distance. We have the same headphones and the same studio monitors.

  • Why do you both not live in Europe?

Mills has a full time 9 – 5 in Cape Town and I was doing most of the foreign gigs. Me and my wife decided to move to Europe since I was spending most of my time out here DJ’ing. We miss Cape Town a lot, but it’s pretty exciting living in Europe and the Czech D&B scene is massive.

  • The music that Counterstrike produce is hard-to-the-core! So I’ve always wondered: what do you listen to when you are relaxing? Is it hardcore 24 / 7 or do one of you have some small Justin Bieber type fetish that no one knows about?

A bit of Rebecca Black during weekdays. We usually let our hair down to a bit of Bieber over the weekend.

  • Lastly… when can we next expect a joint Counterstrike show in SA?

Probably around summer time 2012 if the world is still here.


Alex Wright
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Alex Wright

Alex is an experienced digital analyst with a flavour for modern politics.
Alex Wright
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