His name resonates with the EDM explosion and global dance music movement. At 22 years old, he founded his own record label, Revealed Recordings, and his own radio show and podcast a year later. He was voted world #1 DJ/producer 2 years in a row and have taken home multiple International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) honours.
Last year, he made international headlines with his world’s biggest guestlist show in Mumbai, an event that later donated to the United We Are Foundation which would provide free education for children in India, making a contribution towards the eradication of illiteracy in India.
His achievements are plenty (heck, he even has his own action figure), yet one may find it hard to believe that Hardwell is only 28 years old.
Hardwell returned to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently for his “Go Hardwell Or Go Home” show and we had the opportunity to catch up with the DJ/producer extraordinaire after slightly more than a year (we last spoke to him in 2014). Here’s what went down:
Hey, Hardwell! Welcome back to Kuala Lumpur.
Thank you, thank you so much :)
It’s April Fools’ Day. Are you planning to prank your unsuspecting fans later like maybe drop some jazz music?
Oh no! I always have a couple of surprises in my set but not for especially for April Fools’ Day, no. We did a small campaign online with my label but that’s it, that was the only joke we had.
We haven’t spoken in more than a year so..looking back at last year, how was 2015 for you?
2015 was an amazing year for me – the release of my debut album, the continuation of my “I Am Hardwell – United We Are” world tour. I also played at a lot of festivals and released a lot of new music so actually it was a great year! I’m really happy with everything that happened in 2015.
What about the 2015 Top 100 DJs poll, though? Personally, do you think that the poll still matters?
No, not really. Last week I was voted “Best Global DJ” by the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) so I don’t think that the Top 100 DJs poll really matters. Nothing has changed for me.
How is your “I Am Hardwell – United We Are” tour this year going to be different from last year?
This is my album world tour so it’s a completely different stage, it’s a 2.0 version of the first show that we did. It looks great, you know! We’ve been touring for a year and a half almost, and with every show..we develop the show more. It keeps getting better and better and..we’re planning to close the show at the end of the summer so we still have like a couple of shows to go.
Can you tell us if there’s a new album in the works?
I’m working on new music but not specifically working on a 2nd album. I have no clue when I’m going to release all the music because there’s a lot of new music lying around. So yeah, I’m thinking about making a 2nd album but at this point I’ve just been touring too much. Especially with the summer around the corner, you know, I will be in Ibiza the whole summer and doing all the festivals so I have basically no time to be in the studio. Maybe after the summer I’m gonna think about releasing music for the 2nd album.
What is it about your music that you think never fails to captivate your audience?
I think my music is..really positive, you know, everybody can relate to it. And I just wanna bring positive energy, I wanna make people happy, I wanna make people smile, forget about the problems and just enjoy the music. Even if it’s like a hard EDM track or something more vocal and radio-friendly, I just wanna bring a positive message to the world.
Being someone of your stature, do you still get nervous before you go on stage say at like a massive festival?
(laughs) I don’t get nervous but I always get really, really excited. Like I feel the butterflies in my stomach. But that’s a good thing, you know, because if I don’t get that then..at that point, something is wrong.
Avicii shocked the dance music world with his decision to retire. Was there ever a point in your life that you felt that way too? If so, what kept you going?
I exactly understand why Avicii did what he did, you know, I think in his heart..as an artiste, knowing him personally, he loves producing so much that he just wants to be in the studio making music. If you’re touring a lot, you don’t have the energy and you don’t have the time to work on new music. I understand his decision. We’ll see in the future. I think he’s still going to do a couple of shows though like low-key. In my perspective, I love DJing so much and that’s why I’m always constantly on the road, doing the world tour one after the other, and playing Ibiza residencies but still playing at all the festivals. I just like that, you know, being on the road constantly and seeing my fans. That’s my inspiration.
In that case then how much sleep do you actually get on average?
When I’m off, I’m always trying to get like 7 or 8 hours of sleep but when I’m touring, most of the time it’s 4 to 5 hours at night and then maybe a 1-hour nap somewhere in between.
You’ve done a lot of collaborations with many renowned artistes to date. What’s your dream collaboration?
I have a lot of dream collaborations. But if I have to pick someone, I’d say Pharrell Williams. Because I admire him as a producer, a singer, a songwriter, a label manager, a clothing designer, and everything that he does..he’s an amazing guy. That would definitely be my dream collaboration. I met him in Australia I think a year and a half ago and we’re still trying to set something up. He’s really busy in Los Angeles and I’m literally on the other side of the world in Holland so..we’ll try to set something up. Maybe, in the future, I hope so :)
Moving forward, what can we expect from Hardwell for the rest of 2016? What are your plans?
2016 well, I have a new Ibiza residency every Tuesday at Ushuaia with a new concept called Hardwell DNA so that’s definitely going to be my focus for the summer. A lot of new releases! Before the summer, I’m going to release my single with Craig David. I premiered that Ultra Miami so if you wanna check that out, make sure you check out the live set. We’re closing the “I Am Hardwell – United We Are” world tour in the summer so keep an eye out for that.
We’ll leave you now with one of Hardwell’s latest works, “Run Wild” featuring Jake Resse. Enjoy:
Special thanks to our friends from Heineken Malaysia for making this interview happen. For more information on Hardwell, hit up his website or Facebook page. Hardwell is also on Twitter and Instagram.
Featured image from notey.com.