We had the chance to catch up with Hardwell at a press conference during EDC week hosted by the renowned Hakkasan where Hardwell is a resident DJ. The Hakkasan provided an intimate setting where us reporters were able to ask the humble DJ/producer questions about his new album, playing with Tiesto, and EDM being a dirty word. Check it out!
What do you like best about EDC Las Vegas?
Well what I love about EDC is that it’s not often that all us DJs have the time to hangout together. All the trailers are together and we have so much fun with everyone backstage. We have the time to talk music and we party together the same as the crowd does. Even with all the parties going on at night as well everyone is checking out each other. We had the label night last night at the Hakkasan and out of no where Tiesto came by, W&W were there and all the other DJs as well. We just have a lot of fun.
How will your new album be different?
I don’t DJ my album, I produce my album as a producer. And as a producer I want to have fun in the studio and show the world what I’m capable of so my album will be more diverse. I’m not saying I’m making proper trap or deep-house music but it’s going from being more deep stuff to the music people know me for to more vocal stuff to maybe some more pop stuff as well. On the other hand there are super underground tracks as well. It’s different you know I’m just having so much fun right now in the process making the album. Every single song is almost like a different genre. I don’t want to name any genres because I always try to think out of the box and good music is good music. I think if you hear my artist album it will be more diverse than a Hardwell DJ set.
If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be?
There are a lot of artists I look up to and would like to collaborate with but if I had to pick one it would be Pharrell Williams.
Photo cred: Facebook
How has the success of Revealed Recordings changed your career?
I think Revealed Recordings has helped me develop my own sound. Working with all these new artists is inspiring for me as well. I think that Revealed has changed me because I am control of my own sound. The whole creative process I do myself from beginning to the release and that’s what I love about having my own record label.
How do plan to keep furthering your fan base on social media?
It all starts with the music. The people who like my Facebook page like my music and my performances, that’s the most important thing. To keep up with engagement we always try to keep the fans engaged on a daily basis even with a simple picture. Otherwise with my weekly radio show Hardwell On Air we always try to tease with the upcoming Revealed releases. Of course my own releases are the most popular on social media but I can’t put out a new release every week. It grew all very naturally and I just want to keep it the way it is by releasing music and touring the world.
How are I Am Hardwell shows different than your club shows?
They are completely different than the club shows. They are not DJ gigs they are more Hardwell concert shows. They are the only shows I play for 3 hours. I play on a custom built stage and the whole show is synced up with the visuals and the audio. It’s a three hour journey, a Hardwell journey. I even play my old records like “Cobra.” That’s why we came up with the name I Am Hardwell. I wanted to show the world who I really am and that’s what the concert is really all about. It’s more about an experience.
How has your life changed since becoming the #1 DJ?
Well it didn’t happen that quick. I’ve been DJing for 10 years now and for 5 years internationally. It takes a lot of dedication because you are always on the road away from home but on the other-hand I am living a dream. I love music, I want to make music and DJ. Since I’ve been number one of course things change like being able to play Madison Square Garden for example.
Photo cred: Facebook
What’s it like playing with Tiesto?
We just have a lot of fun so when TomorrowLand asked us to play together we were like sure. We have so much fun when we play together.
How much of an impact did Tiesto have on you?
Tiesto has always been number one even when I was 12 years old. He really helped me develop my career with everything from business decisions to music decisions. He invited me on tour for my first big tour – we were playing arenas in Canada for 20,000 people. When I played with him I felt more confident. He made me feel more comfortable. When I saw him playing those arena tours I set a goal for myself that I wanted to do the same thing. Now I am so it’s pretty cool.
At a panel at EDM biz, you mentioned EDM was a dirty word now, can you elaborate?
I think a lot of people were hating that I said that and were saying I was responsible for that. What I want to say is what I meant by that is the generic big-room sound, that’s not EDM. EDM is deep house, electronic dance music – all of that is EDM. People think EDM right now is neon colors, the raves, the drugs, Martin Garrix Animals, that is what EDM is right now. I’m not hating on the word, I’m just saying the word itself is dirty. I love what’s happening in the scene right now. I love that Porter Robinson is taking it to a different direction, a different level. I love that Avicii is doing it on a whole another level, more poppy. We still have Avicii taking it another level like Calvin Harris and on the other we have Disclosure coming up in America now which is great. As long as dance music is evolving it will stay around forever. The reason why I’m hating the term EDM is because I’m from overseas. In Holland we have dance music and that’s it. EDM is the way they say dance music is nowadays. I think it’s the wrong word because of the bad image involving drugs for example. That’s what I mean by a dirty word. It is actually really good to be at a rave, the image needs to be more positive.
What do you think about the recent problems that Kaskade has had with Soundcloud?
We have the exact same problems. Soundcloud is a pain in the ass right now. All my own records in the past month released on my own label are getting taken down by Soundcloud. It’s almost a daily job because it take 15 – 20 minutes to fill out the form to get it up again. I don’t know what Soundcloud is doing and why they are doing it.
How often do you go back to your hometown Breda?
I always go back to Breda to my house to see my Mom and Dad. The people there are really proud of me.
Photo cred: Facebook
What is a normal day in the life of Hardwell?
Waking up checking my emails and promos, doing breakfast in between then going on a plane. I work on music on the road but just ideas because I need my proper studio. Mainly I work on my DJ sets always on the plane. Then when I land I have dinner then go to the club. I spend a lot of time in the studio checking out new synths and new gear. Besides that chilling out with my friends and family, watching a movie – simple things.
Do you have any rituals before shows?
Maybe some shots of Jaeger – Tiesto came up with that one. Really it’s just to have fun like tonight I’m playing at 1 but the pickup is at 8. I want to hang with everyone, party with everyone, and have a lot of fun. I want to get in the mood before I jump on stage. I want to experience the festival first. I also like to check out the stages where the upcoming guys are playing because I always love to be inspired by some fresh new music.
Photo cred top: Rukes.com