Relentless Beats

RB Exclusive Interview: That Time I Got To Meet Hardwell – No. 1 DJ in the World

The Thursday before EDC weekend officially started, Hardwell invited the press and media for a private press conference to answer all of our questions. We had discussions ranging from the future of EDM, to what he’s been busy working on as of late. I got a lot of great incite about his own record label, Revealed Recordings, and was thoroughly impressed with the Dutch DJ’s feedback, as well as how humble and nice the No. 1 DJ in the world truly is. He even made a metaphor for DJ’s compared with football players. I also asked him about when he played here at “Phoenix Lights” for us in Arizona, and all he could say was, “That was a really great party!” — repeatedly.

EDC Week Revealed Recordings Private Press Conference with Hardwell

RB writer Nicole Petriw with Hardwell at EDC Week Private Press Conference

To get all the exciting information we discussed at the interview, check out some of the questions & answers taken directly from the exclusive interview below:

Inspiration for your ‘rumored’ hip-hop and moombahton set at EDC?
“I started out as a hip-hop DJ. I played an after party last year and one of the owners [Pasquale Rotella] was so surprised. He had said, “I didn’t know you were a hip-hop DJ; can you do a set at EDC?” And I said why not? It’s been a long time since I’ve performed a proper hip-hop set. That is where the art of DJing came from.”

Upcoming music: more hip-hop and moombahton?
“No. That’s why it’s a one-time thing.”

The future of EDM?
“It’s never been so big as it is right now. And it’s still getting bigger and bigger. Even though blogs hate it, it keeps getting bigger. Bigger in Asia, there was an Ultra Korea this year. Especially with the market in Asia, music is getting so big over there. Even worldwide! Even as the music keeps evolving, dance music will keep evolving. When I was a kid [in the Netherlands], dance music was everywhere. And it’s never been gone, like ever. Dance music will always be around.”

Long-term goal with Revealed Recordings?
“I started with Dannic and Dyro. And now we have a whole new generation of DJ’s. Long-term, I want to be more on the management side [of the label Revealed Recordings] – career wise.”

What is your label, Revealed Recordings like?
“Revealed isn’t a label, it is a family. We are always meeting up with each other and love to spend time together. We are stronger together, sharing is caring.”

How big is the Revealed family?
“It is huge! We have upcoming guys like Kill the Buzz, Thomas Newson, and more… Then you have the guys that have been there since the beginning. We released 175 tracks in five years. We release a track about every two weeks, sometimes every week. We are fully scheduled with our releases until January 2016.”

How do you go about finding all the DJ’s for your label?
“Most of the time, it is about checking out the demos. What I am really looking for is an original sound and the second most important thing is consistency in music.” Some people may have one great song, but the second one isn’t up to par. “We want artists that make good music in a continuous way. Like Dyro: when I discovered Dyro, he didn’t have a Facebook page and he had only 6 followers on Soundcloud. The first email I sent him was right before Electric Zoo in English and then he sent me back an email in Dutch.” He knew that was the beginning of a great friendship and they have stayed close friends, working together ever since.

So how many demos do you listen to then?
“We listen to them in a group of three. I listen to about a third of them: ~500 a week!”

Hardwell presents Revealed Volume 6 is going to be released tomorrow [June 19th] — tell us about that.
“I wanted to give my fans a compilation of the songs I play during my sets at festivals. People always asked, “what is that track he played at 30 minutes on this Youtube video?” so I wanted the music to be more accessible and easier to find for the electronic music lovers.”

I have a column for our Relentless Beats website called ‘DJ to Watch’ where I feature an upcoming DJ/producer. Who from Revealed Recordings would you say is the ‘DJ to Watch’?
“Artists looking forward to: Tom & Jame – it’s a duo from Holland. They are on Volume 6 with the track “Buddha.” They are really inspiring me with their original sound. Also, Thomas Newsome is on fire; he is sending me demos like everyday.”

What is your favorite song on Revealed Volume 6?
“It would be the collab with Wiwek!” He is a new guy from Amsterdam. “It is kind of this new genre: ‘jungle-terror.’ We wanted to keep that jungle song in the most original way possible but also combine that with EDM. I think this collab is the perfect combination. Really forward thinking.” The song is called ‘Chameleon’.

You can check out Hardwell & Wiwek’s new track ‘Chameleon‘ from Revealed Volume 6 here:

How has your mentor Tiesto influenced you?
“Tiesto has always been my role model. I got signed at 14, and that was a really shitty record deal. I think DJ’s always get caught up like that. That was one of the reasons I started my own label. Tiesto has always been my mentor – he picked me up in 2010. He was my inspiration, my own role model. No DJ has been as big as he was and still is. Playing for 40,000 everyday; that is truly amazing. Coming back to my label – I try to do the same thing for a lot of upcoming guys. For things in their career, guys missing their families back home, their friends, the traveling – it’s exhausting. At the beginning it’s really hard to deal with that. So yeah, I try to mentor them as much as possible too.”

What’s on your bucket list?
“That’s a good question. I have no clue, to be honest. To do what I do right now and keep doing that for as long as I like it. Of course it’s hard maintaining the No. 1 position, but that was just a dream and I achieved that. Of course I want to stay relevant. Ferry Corsten, Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren are still doing tours and they’ve been around a long time. It’s definitely a goal.” He has great respect for Ferry Corsten, Tiesto, and Armin.

How do you decide genres to play to remain relevant and No. 1?
“I never think about playing a certain genre. I am Hardwell and I play Hardwell music. If you listen to my album, there are so many different genres. I like to think outside of the box; I don’t play a certain genre. I hate the term big-room. I like to do everything. Why should I make one certain genre? Like Armin says, “Why be a prisoner of your own style?” I’m in the studio and why should I be constrained to just one type of music. Good music is good music. I think Porter Robinson is the perfect example of that.”

Style and sounds coming up in the future?
“Music is always changing. I think at this point, people really want to hear more underground music, and that’s a good thing! Deep house and techno too. It’s always like that; if you listen to dance music for the first time, for example at the age of 12, the first thing you will hear will be on the radio. You’ve never been to the club, so actually this first type of music is mainstream. And that’s what has been going on in America. You can tell it’s been going big for the past 5 years and everyone is developing their tastes now. I really think the hardstyle music is getting really big in America, but a lot of hardstyle DJ’s are making EDM now… It keeps evolving. As long as dance music keeps evolving, it will always be relevant. That’s why there are music festivals, so everyone can make their own schedules and see who they want to see.”

What do you plan on doing this year to maintain your No. 1 position?
“Obviously, I’m doing everything to maintain my No. 1 position. My album came out in January. I’ve never been so productive as I have this year. I have a collab with Dannic and I am going to be releasing an original track after this every single month. I will continue with my “I AM HARDWELL” tour. Lots of people coming to see the show are there to see the No. 1 DJ in the world, and they have no idea who he is or where he came from. They expect the stage to just explode! At my show they expect everything to be exploding. But in the end, I’m a DJ like every other DJ. The expectation with people I believe, is way too high. It’s like ranking football players. You know everyone has their favorite football player; everyone has their own favorite DJ. It’s like apples and oranges.”

How has is felt being the No. 1 DJ in the world Year 1 vs. Year 2?
“The first year I felt a lot of pressure. I couldn’t grow because I was literally at the top. The second year, I definitely enjoy it more. I’m in a great position right now. The first year I was just thinking about the pressure and now I can just enjoy it more.”

Connect with Hardwell here:


Connect with Revealed Recordings here:


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