“If you can dream it, you can do it”
Hardwell. In the recent years, that name has become more than just a name that’s all too familiar to the Beatport dance music charts. What started out as a young boy with a giant dream to make it big as a DJ/producer soon turned into a world-famous brand, a household name for the electronic dance music (EDM) industry having catapulted right into fame’s spotlight.
By night, he’s playing at stadiums and getting mobbed by adoring fans. By day, he’s simply 26-year-old Robbert.
The question is, what goes beyond just being Hardwell?
I found out real quick when I sat down with him for a little “getting to know Hardwell” chat before his gig at Zouk Club Kuala Lumpur last night:
Hey, welcome back, Robbert! How is it going? What did you get up to today?
Hey Lainey! I’m good, how are you? I’m so happy to be back! I actually came in pretty early so I did some shopping, did some sightseeing..I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur a couple of times but the rest of the crew hasn’t. So we just hung around in the city and had a great time!
This is your first time back in Kuala Lumpur after 2 whole years. It must’ve been quite a whirlwind ride for you since we last saw you – World No.1, tremendous growth of Revealed Recordings, the IAH tour, have you had any time to breathe?
(laughs) Not really! But it’s a lot of fun, you know? As you’ve mentioned, I’ve been constantly on the road touring, making music, Revealed Recordings is really doing great. It’s really a lot of fun.
You pretty much became the pioneer of “the drop”. How do you think that’s going to change in the coming few months or the coming year? Or..are you quite done with that yourself?
That a good question. You know, I always try to do different things and I just really like..really good energy in a track. But that energy, that can be the “jumping” kind of energy or that can also be like, the “happiness”..happy kind of energy. And if you can make people happy, nothing beats seeing happy smiling faces in front of you. With that I mean, I think the perfect kind of example would be..you can have a big track or a big room banging kind of track and you can call it a lot of energy, but Pharrell’s “Happy” is also a lot of energy! It’s a totally different type of energy but a positive kind of energy. Even Bob Marley has got positive energy. I always try to do something different like the Coldplay remix that I did or the Bingo Players one that I did this year are totally different. Even by saying that, I’m working on my artiste album right now and that’s super diverse – it’s not going to be only about “the drop”, it’s going to be more about the songs 🙂
Which brings me to my next question, actually! You’ve been talking about releasing your debut album for a long time now & honestly, I had expected that it would be released during the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll voting period. What’s causing the delay?
I know, it’s just my crazy schedule. Especially all the IAH shows, it’s really hard all that touring, and you know, all those festivals. Well, I would have wanted to release the album especially over this summer but it’s still not finished and I don’t want to finish it real quick because it need to be finished..you know, I want to finish my first album in a way that I’m happy about. And in a way that a lot of people are happy about. So, I took 3 weeks off in November to do it – it’s almost done. I just need to have the time to finish it properly. But! It’s gonna be released 100% in January 2015! Wait a couple of months (laughs).
On that note, I must say that I really loved that you put out a track like “Dare You”!
Oh, then you’re going to love the album. For sure 😉
It’s a known fact that Tiesto is both a buddy as well as a guru to you, and you’re his protege. What are some of the life lessons that he has taught you, so valuable, that you’d want to someday pass it on to your own proteges?
Tiesto & I, we always talk a lot about everything from music to life. But he always said to me, and what I really loved that he said was, always stay true to yourself and believe in yourself because a lot of people will try to take you down. You know, there’ll always be a lot of people who will try to convince you that you’re not going in the right direction especially when it comes to certain sounds that you produce. So, if you try to do something that’s maybe too refreshing or too “next level”, there will be people who won’t understand it and try to be negative towards you. Like, “Don’t do that” and “You don’t know what you’re doing”. Especially, well, I think Tiesto is the perfect example because he switched from trance to what he’s doing right now, a lot of people were like, “No, don’t do it, don’t do it” but look at him! He’s bigger than ever. But I can understand that because when you’ve been doing something for so long and the same thing for so long, you need to change things up and he’s the perfect example of someone who did it.
So, if you could pick out your very own DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Top 10 DJs/producers, who would you pick and why?
Top 10 is hard! (laughs) I can do Top 5 I think. Uhm, Tiesto No.1, 100%. I think, wow this is really hard. That’s a really good question! DJs and producers, right? I would say No.2, Chuckie, because I really admire his DJ-ing skills. No.3 Fedde Le Grande. No.4 Avicii because of his production skills. And No.5 Carl Cox – just because he’s Carl Cox. He’s a legend! 🙂
Craziness & hectic schedule aside, how does Hardwell unwind & relax after a mad night out? Like, what would you do to just ride out the adrenaline rush?
A good sleep, chill out with friends, have good conversations, go have a drink, or watch a movie. I know it sounds really easy but I am always so hectic and with so much adrenaline from playing at big stages, I sometimes like to do the things that other normal people do.
Like an average guy, right?
Right! No, seriously! Like just going to the cinema or chill out with friends for drinks, or maybe spend some time on the couch at home because I’m never at home. To me, that’s special. A lot of people don’t realise that but to me, that’s special. When I sleep in my own bed which is like, 3 weeks in a year, that means a lot.
Last one for the road! What’s Hardwell’s guilty listening pleasure? Stuff that your fans will be shocked to know that you actually listen to.
At this point? Ariana Grande. I love her songs, I think she’s great, and I think she’s making really good pop songs. It has been a long while since I’ve heard pop songs of that quality. I think it’s really good and I don’t even consider that as a guilty pleasure, you know, people should be more open-minded and listen to a lot of music. I listen to..whatever, you know, the old Linkin Park stuff, I like Adele, I like Pharrell, even the more indie rock stuff, and everything in between. I like listening to music.
Duly noted! And we’re done. Thank you so much for the chat, Robbert.
No, Thank YOU!
Special thanks to our friends from Zouk Club Kuala Lumpur for making this awesome exclusive interview happen! We’ll leave you now with one of our all-time favourites from the man himself, “Apollo”.
Because, “we are the lucky ones, we are, we are” 😉
For more information, hit up Hardwell’s official website.