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  • [INTERVIEW] Hardwell Talks Ultra Miami, Music, And Future Plans


    We recently sat down with one of the living legends of Dance music for a chat.

    When you hear the name Hardwell, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind? ‘Spaceman‘? Ultra Miami? Electro House? Whatever you think of, though, the undeniable fact is that this man jumped to the spotlight around 2012, and from the next year on, he was atop the EDM spectrum. Hit after hit, track after track, show after show. Every new concept he came up with was more spectacular than the last.

    He’s learnt to carry that very energy and magic for all these years. The proof is that, even after taking a break from the shows and going relatively silent for some time, people still look up to him, and through his current Big Room Techno sound he’s still the very trendsetter he was when he played Miami in 2013 — a defining moment in Dance music history, and one that marked a before and after for many fans and enthusiasts, me included.

    Well, during his recent South America tour alongside Ultra, we got to sit down with him and have a lovely little chat. So sit back, and enjoy our conversation, which involved everything from his most recent Ultra Miami set, music collaborations he’s done, and even a look into the future.

    The Interview

    (Please note, the bolded text represents a question, while the paragraph(s) following it represent Hardwell’s answers.)

    First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. We’re super, super excited to have you. So, first of all, how are you feeling today, mate? Are you excited for your return to South America?

    I’m really excited, yeah. It’s been a while. Last show I played here in South America was Brazil, if I’m not mistaken, so it’s been over a year. So, I’m happy to be back here in Chile. And it’s Ultra, I’m closing the night, so I can’t complain. I’m really excited.

    Absolutely. Actually, glad to have met you at an Ultra event. Kind of your second home when it comes to festivals, in my eyes, at least.


    We were all awaiting your Ultra Miami gig this year. That was quite the rollercoaster of emotions. I bet for you and the crowd as well. How did you feel playing Saturday? Do you feel the vibes were amplified because of the show being rescheduled from Friday to Saturday?

    Well, as you mentioned, it was such an emotional rollercoaster. I think it couldn’t work out better than it actually did. You know, that sunset slot reminded me so much of my 2013 set.


    Which was one of my favourites that I ever played at Ultra. So, yeah. I think everything happens for a reason, right? That’s what I’m always saying. So, I think it was a perfect example of something that actually worked out in the end. And probably even better than playing on Friday. So, yeah.

    I bet. It was incredible. Actually, I see the 2013 link. That was my first set of yours and there was sort of a flashback all throughout.

    It had the same energy, obviously, but I feel like the anticipation was also the same.

    Yeah. Let’s change topics for a bit. About your most recent monster collaboration, ‘16‘, alongside Blasterjaxx and Maddix. You guys have great chemistry in your sounds. How did the track come about? How was it born?

    100A1177-by-Koen-Akkermans-819x1024.jpgCredit: Koen Akkermans

    Actually, Maddix approached me. In ’16’, we sampled that horn. It’s from an old, early Hardstyle track. And Maddix approached me around two years ago, saying he wanted to do something with the song. It was one of my favourite songs when I started out as a DJ, when I was 14 or 15 years old. So, yeah. I definitely wanted to jump on it.

    It was tough, though. Didn’t have the time. There was a lot of hustle with the clearance of that sample. I didn’t see it happen. In the end, it was like, “You know what, I’m not sure what we’re going to do with this track“. And then, boom. I got a phone call a year and a half later. We got the clearance for the sample. That was the moment we actually started working on it. Finished it, because there was a demo floating around. Maddix was playing it, Blasterjaxx were playing it. It was just floating around for such a long time. And then I finally put my hands on it and made the final touches.

    It’s incredible that artists like you, as big as you, still have problems clearing samples. It’s a whole world.

    You don’t want to push that, you know? I’m not really a sample kind of guy. 80% of my songs are original songs that I wrote myself. But sometimes it’s super cool if you have an idea and you love a track so much, why not sample it? And introduce a completely new crowd and… you know, my fans are so much younger! They don’t know that song from 2001. They were probably born after 2001. Sometimes it’s really cool to sample something and introduce a new generation to a record that I loved when I was younger. It makes me feel old when I say this kind of stuff. [laughter]

    Haha! Well, how’s the reception been on the track? How does the crowd react to it? Is it kind of a highlight moment in your sets?

    Definitely, yeah. Especially at Ultra, when you play the new, new music.

    That no one knows.

    No, that’s always the most anticipated moment. People know that I’m always dropping a lot of unreleased stuff. I think that’s the coolest thing when you see a DJ live. I think the best part of my job is to introduce and educate people about new music, instead of playing out the hit songs. It’s super easy for me to go on stage and bang out my ‘Every Time We Touch’ remix which everybody loves, and that’s fine. I can play out Spaceman, which everybody loves. But in the end, I think it’s always cooler to play the new stuff and the unreleased stuff, and educate them with new sounds and new directions of music.

    And it gets you excited as well, because if you play Spaceman every single time for 10, 15 years…

    But I have to, though, I have to. You get what I’m saying.

    Another topic, the sample pack you released a little while ago with Apple. Well, that’s absolutely neat! What inspired you to share a piece of your sound, your textures, even your identity with other producers, new producers and everything?

    Well, even with Revealed, my record label, I always try to help out new talents, guide them, do the A&R. I’ve been working with Logic, which is a digital audio workstation (DAW) from Apple, since I was 18, so I’ve always been with Apple. And when they approached me and asked if we could do something together like a sample pack, I had just finished the album REBELS NEVER DIE, I was like, “You know what? I can take inspiration from all of those kick drums and from the album itself and finally release that“. Because I got so many questions about the kick drums, about how I programmed the basslines and everything. I mean, first of all, if Apple approached you to do a collaboration, you can’t say no. [laughter]


    And secondly, it’s a perfect collaboration to be able to finally put out a sample pack in this way. I don’t ask for any money. It’s a free sample pack, I don’t want to be that guy, “Follow me on YouTube, buy my sample packs!”, I don’t care. If you really want to help people out you should do it for free.

    The last question to close this. Do you hope you can keep inspiring and shaping the sound of EDM like you’ve been doing for the last decade or so, or do you feel like it’s time to leave that to someone else?

    Hardwell: No pressure. Good question. No pressure. [laughter] No, I always try. I love Dance music so much. I need Dance music more than my own oxygen, I’m not even kidding! I always try to push every single boundary in Dance music. I want to keep it interesting for myself and for the crowd. Obviously, everybody follows, kind of, trends. Even after the REBELS NEVER DIE album, I took a lot of inspiration from my childhood, from the Dance music from back when Tiësto was coming up in 2001. 99 even. Around that time. It’s always like a cycle of music. I just try to make my version out of it, and I’m glad to see that so many people got inspired by that. I’ll always try to look out for new genres, new ideas. If somebody gets really bored real quick, that’s me. So when I’m in the studio, I always try to do something different.

    (End of the interview)

    Final Words

    There are no words other than “Thank You” in capital letters from my end. Having been inspired by Robbert back when I wasn’t even in Highschool, I could only dream of meeting him, let alone sitting down and having a chat. Pinch me moment, no one told me the time when I’d meet my first EDM role model was so close. Thank you to him for being such a friendly lad, and thank you to the entire team who worked to make this one happen.

    Check out ‘16‘, Hardwell’s most recent track alongside Maddix and Blasterjaxx, here. Also, you can read more about the sample pack he did with Apple by following this link. And as always, make sure to stay tuned to our page for the latest news and views from all over the world regarding our beloved Dance music industry.


    The post [INTERVIEW] Hardwell Talks Ultra Miami, Music, And Future Plans appeared first on EDMTunes.

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