Magnetic Interviews DJ Hardwell—One Of The Fastest Rising Acts In House Music

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Robbert van Corput (better known as Hardwell in EDM culture, house music circles), DJ Mag's #24 DJ/producer in the world in 2011, is probably one of the most humble guys out there and he's on top of the game. It has been a crazy year for Hardwell, among squeezing in precious studio time, Hardwell has been jet setting across the globe playing show upon show, with one of the highlights being in Las Vegas at Electric Daisy Carnival this past June. Hardwell played for about 60,000 people on the main stage at the Las Vegas Speedway, in addition to hosting his own party at hot spot LAVO in “Hardwell Presents Revealed” echoing his label name with mates Dyro and Dannic...who are also on fire. Since then, Hardwell has been added to the IDentity Festival line up in the states currently underway alongside Eric Prydz, Wolfgang Gartner, Paul Van Dyk and Arty. He’s also fresh off playing Tomorrowland this past weekend and supporting for Tiesto's night at Pacha Ibiza. He also recently played LAVO NYC, which we hit up that night. BTW, he’s also just 24 years old. Not to mention, his radio show "Hardwell On Air" is one of the most prolific out there filled with new electronic music and exclusive edits. You can listen to the latest episode complete with full track list here.

It seems new heights can only be reached for Hardwell, as he continues his climb to the top of the EDM culture landscape. "Three Triangles" on Toolroom's Ibiza 2012 compilation and "How We Do," a collaboration with ID Fest tour mates Showtek just released on Beatport are hot on the burner. Take a look into the mega producer's world as I got the chance to catch up with him. We talked inspiration, artist development, Ibiza, collaborating with Tiesto, being one of the fastest rising acts in the genre and much more. Vote for him this year in DJ Mag's Top 100.

We’re here with Hardwell for Magnetic Magazine, were pretty excited that he’s doing his revealed party tonight and I want to say hello and what’s going on.

Hardwell: Yea! Actually all good, still standing here and I’ve been awake for more than 24 hours. It’s been a rough start of the tour, but I’m really looking forward to tonight and it sold out so yea it’s the best I could have expected.

Yea it seems like that for everybody right now just need to hold on to their horses and keep it together with a lot going on. We were just chatting that EDM Biz just wrapped and there were a lot of interesting topics talked about that I would be curious to hear thoughts on, just stuff talking about artist development and how labels are playing into the scheme of everything right now and also touring is a huge thing right now as well. So first I just wanted to ask you about your label, and how that got started.

Ok, my label is revealed recordings it started like three years ago, and the main reason I started the label was because I didn’t wanted to deal with the A & R managers of the big labels nowadays because I don’t understand how old guys that are 40 years old and never go to the club are going to tell me their opinion about my track. I’m playing like every day in the club and I see exactly what’s happening and I just don’t get why it has to be that way. I just think my opinion is the best when I make a track because I feel it with the crowd every day. That’s the first reason I started my label, and besides that I want to be my own boss with my release schedule, I just want to know when to put my track out so I can put a marketing plan around it, know when I have to upload the teaser and all that stuff, and besides that I think revealed recording is a really cool place for the progressive electro sound, and of course its really inspiring to work with new talent.

So you are from Breda yea?

Yea, that’s right.

How has that kind of played into forming who you are as an artist, are there direct correlations to you growing up there or your musical background or anything like that that gives you an influence or how you got connected to start doing music?

I know there are a lot of DJs from Breda and Holland, but actually there’s not that much in Holland that can inspire you music wise or clockwise. We don’t have fancy clubs or anything, the only thing we’ve got is Tiesto, he’s born and raised in Breda and I think that’s a role model for everybody in Breda and worldwide. Actually yea that’s it Breda is a really small city but it’s really fun to live there because I’ve got all my friends and family, I couldn’t imagine anywhere else I could raise a…. but yea music wise there is nothing.

Ok, well what is it you look towards for inspiration?

Yea, I was like 12 years old when I discovered dance music and I was just online, checking music from other artists and listening to all the music, Armin Van Buren, Ferry Corsten, you know, a lot of Tiesto at the time, it was the breakthrough of those three guys. Yea I just found it all on the internet I was just listening to music on forums and streaming music and I guess it was at that point I started to produce my own music.

So are you classically trained or taught yourself?

Actually no I was 6 years old when I started playing piano so, it started with Jazz and Classical music.

Obviously you were talking about Tiesto, but I’m sure you’ve been asked this many times, so you guys did a track together that went very well, Zero 76, which I know is some kind of connection to the district in Breda or something like that, but yea great track. How did you guys get on each others radar, obviously you’ve known about Tiesto for a long time but how did you guys kind of connect.

Actually it all started with twitter, Tiesto tweeted me like 4 years ago that he really liked my music and my tracks and he just discovered my music on Beatport, and we started emailing and I sent him some new tracks and he invited me to come play a concert with him in Ibiza, that was the first time I met him, and since that point we had an instant click we became really good friends and besides that we have exactly the same thoughts about music and making music. Yea, it all came pretty natural to go to the studio together and make a track and the first track we did was Zero 76.

So, I have a question for you about getting support in artist development. So, just for example, I actually just started managing a friend of mine who’s actually got some support from Tiesto thus far, but hasn’t got support from all the people in between. Its very likely when you first start DJing it’s very likely that one person may kind of come on to you and kind of see what your doing and really like it and push it, but how do you go about earning that extra support from everyone around the board?

I think it all starts with good music, you know? It’s actually very easy nowadays to make a track and upload it on whatever, Youtube or Soundcloud or share it with all your Facebook friends and just ask them, do you like the track? Do you like to share it? Do me a favor... whatever. Yea I think you should ask all your best friends to share, and in that way you gain some name recognition and start making music and I started that way just spamming my records around in the internet and hope some people like my records, and since that point you start a fan base.

Cool, so you started your own radio show Hardwell on air, yea?

Yea.

And now it’s on Sirius XM too. Was that something you wanted to do for a long time? Or was it more so something with keeping up with what’s the trends and going, you know, a lot of people have radio shows now, I’m sure you wanted to expose your music in different ways than just your releases. I think that’s a great way to do it and I’m just curious on you’re thoughts and how you got started with that.

Actually to do radio was one of my dreams; I’ve always wanted to be a DJ in every single way, like radio DJ, club DJ, and a producer. I always love to make radio, you know, a sidekick on Dutch radio stations, and one of the Dutch radio stations asked me to start my own radio show on a weekly basis, and I was like “yea, right away I want to do it!” When Sirius XM heard that I’m going to start my own radio show they immediately contacted me and wanted to the same show every week on Sirius XM, and I guess since that point is when I became really popular in the state because of Sirius XM. Since that point its cool, you know, I discovered that it was a great way to expose my music in another way…. Yea like a totally different crowd was able to listen to my music instead of only my fan base.

Is there anything special that you can tell us about your set at EDC this weekend or anything you can tell us about something you might be dropping or something like that?

I’m going to drop a totally new set I’ve been working on for like 3 weeks now and I know that a lot of people checked out my set at Ultra Music Festival and I didn’t want to come up with exactly the same set. So I changed my whole set, did some new edits, some new mashups, I’m gonna play my new single to follow up Spaceman for the first time, its called How We Do, so yea I’m really excited about tomorrow!

Yea you should be. Tomorrow is when you’re playing, yea? What stage is it one more time?

It’s the main stage, it’s got a special name, I don’t know the name though. I’m playing 8:30 to 9:30, it’s a bit early but I think its like a perfect timing you know cause it’s the time when people are still fresh and can remember what I’m playing.

Yea that’s a good way to get started. So what about tonight, tonight’s a big night for you too, have you brought revealed to Vegas before or is this the first time?

No, actually this is the second time we bring revealed to the states, the first time we did with WMC in Miami, the party was sold out as well and tonight is sold out so, yea its like a dream just label party I wanted to share my favorite music with my fans and that’s what Revealed is all about. I just took two of my best friends, uhh yea two of the best upcoming DJ’s in Holland, Dannic and Dyro with me and I know they’re going to do a great job as well and Revealed is all about the love for music, you know, and all about the trend and playing the hype records  it’s all about the love for progressive and electro music and its cool that so many people appreciate it and selling out, you know, it’s like it sold out in two days it’s crazy.

So just some of your final thoughts on this week and how far everything has come with EDM in the states and stuff, I hate to say EDM as well…

Haha yea I think all the DJs hate the term EDM.

Yea just kind of curious, this weeks a big week for dance music in the US, there’s a lot of artists booked, and all the clubs in its own that was touched on in the conference too, you know, Vegas is a big market right now. What are your thoughts on the state of the market right and where it might be going.

I think we’re just getting started, you know? Everyday there’s a lot of people in the mainstream discovering more house music, and radio stations are playing more house music on daytime, so yea I think it’s just the beginning and not even Vegas but the whole states, you know, it’s been in Europe for 12 years now in the mainstream and I think in the states it’s just the beginning.

Cool! Well thanks, Hardwell. Magnetic Magazine here, looking forward to checking out the gig tonight and have a great week at EDC!

You too, thanks!