Chris Steele and Ruben Avila, otherwise known as NONToxic is an American Hardstyle duo known for their innovative and exhilarating sound. Beginning in early 2015, NonToxic has achieved more in the American hard dance scene in such a short period of time that a vast majority of up and coming artists. What started out as a couple of small time DJs has quickly evolved into a duo sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in hardstyle. They first discovered Hardstyle at a young age which led them to become NONToxic.
[Ruben]: “I first discovered Hardstyle at a very young age. It was a sound that had always stuck with me throughout any other genre. I remember going to house parties, and a buddy of mine would always DJ old school Hardstyle (aka Showtek, early Zatox, Headhunterz etc, etc) and from there, I immediately fell in love with the sound of Hardstyle. I became a Hardstyle DJ after many years of being a House DJ and one day decided to give my good buddy Chris here a call and asked him to work on a tune with me. Originally, it was supposed to be house, but we both felt it needed a little more energy. Thus from that came our first tune as NONTOXIC 'Rythmic', and after seeing how the reaction was when we first played that track live, I knew from there I wanted to be a Hardstyle artist. Ok Chris, your turn…”
[Chris]: “I was introduced to Hardstyle by a track made by Blutonium Boy called "Make it Loud," and I fell in love with the sound right away. I also started in a different genre before that just like Ruben did, but I actually started out with Drum n' Bass. Artists such as High Contrast, Metrik and, Duo Infernale were big inspirations to me because of the melodies they created in Liquid DnB. After a while of DnB, I was shown the ways of house music. The first time I played an all house set is when I knew that the world of 4 to the floor was for me, especially Minimal House and Tech. While we were working on our first track "Rythmic" originally as a house tune, I was booked on a small underground event by myself. I had some hardstyle tracks that I messed around with but never played live before. That night, I started to experiment and take the tempo from 128 to 150 and continue the set into hardstyle. The people were feeling it, the vibe was amazing. After that night, I was so inspired to take it even further. All of this happened at the same we were trying to find ourselves as Nontoxic. Since then, Hardstyle has really been more and more a part of my life.”
The support for NONToxic has soared since Hard Dance Nation signed their original track 'Fable' in January of 2016. Plus a few remixes under their belt such as Mako’s smash hit ‘Smoked Filled Room’, “We got a lot of inspiration from Aerolite's & Keiji's collaboration remix of the same song and wanted to give it a shot ourselves. The original tune had a great vibe to it, and we have never done a remix before so it gave us a good challenge.”
As well as collaborations with huge artist such as Aerolite with ‘Fragments’. “We all three loved "Atmozfears & Energyzed- Fabrik Of Creation" and wanted to make a tune that had a similar style within it. We have a big thing for orchestral music and to incorporate that sound into a song was something we had to do. We learned a lot from the production of that song that it has now helped develop the sound we use today.” More collaborations will emerge in the near future, “A new collaboration is in the works as of now with yet again Aerolite. The songs name is ‘Apophis’ and has a bit of a darker side to it. The release date is unknown at this moment, but hopefully, it should be out the week of or following Project Z.”
Their dream collaboration consists of huge Hardstyle artists, dreams do come true! “This is a bit of a loaded question that deserves a loaded answer. We love the sound of Atmozfears, Noisecontrollers, Sub Zero Project, and Crisis Era. Being able to work with any or all of these artists would be an honor and a dream come true. These artists are some of our biggest inspirations and to have a chance to work with them is a blessing.”
They now receive tremendous support from companies such as Basscon, Insomniac Events, Rave Nation, EDM Junkies, Plur Eventz, and Fresh ENT. Being booked at venues all over California such as, Exchange LA, Create Night Club, Avalon Hollywood, Florentine Gardens, DNA San Francisco, Rainbow Ballroom, The Belasco Theatre, and NOS Event Center, NonToxic continues to take America by storm playing events alongside of artists such as Coone, DJ Stephanie, Zatox, Code Black, Gammer, Wasted Penguinz, Noisecontrollers, Angerfist, Wildstylez, Lady Faith, DJ Isaac, Audiofreq, and Crisis Era. “We couldn't be more thankful for what these events have done for us over the last year and a half. We have gotten to share the stage with our inspirations and it’s a dream come true. Insomniac treats their artists respectfully and equally, whether they are a headlining act or an opening act. It really has changed our world as artists coming from the underground scene.”
Day in and day out NONToxic shares their passion for music with the hard dance community in hopes of being an inspiration to other artists, while being inspired by other producers that share similar interests. NONToxic strides to make Hardstyle more recognizable in the US just how big how popular it is in Europe. “Bringing Hardstyle to more local and high-end clubs outside of mainstream festivals. We feel that venues allowing Hardstyle as the main sound for more nights will help branch out the genre that much more.”
“We absolutely believe Hardstyle is getting more recognizable, especially in the Los Angeles area. We see a lot of up and coming talent including ourselves playing more mainstream events. It also helps that more developed artists who are not in the Hardstyle genre are starting to incorporate this sound into their live sets.”
NONToxic believes Hardstyle will grow bigger and more popular, "Well Hardstyle has and forever will hold its main spot in the European electronic dance music scene. For here in the US, we feel it will rise in the ranks of house, trap, dubstep and more over the next couple years. Hardstyle has really made its impact hard enough in the US already, that there is nowhere to go but up for the genre.”
The duo regularly plays tracks by some of the biggest names in the hardstyle industry to show their appreciation and love for their peers, while continuing to strive towards bettering their production to create the new sounds of tomorrow, and to drive their momentum even further. As well as huge MainStage artists that are starting to experiment with Hardstyle like Armin van Buuren and Hardwell. “We think it's awesome! Having such bigger names play Hardstyle helped open people’s minds to the sound itself. We feel that without the help of these artists, Hardstyle wouldn't be where it is in the US today.” NONToxic continues to create more new music for their dedicated hardstyle fans as the weeks and months roll by. Be sure to listen to the duo's newest mix.