Revealed: Inside Hardwell’s brand of electronic talent
This month it just happened to be “Jumper,” his mega collaboration with W&W that’s been this summer’s ticking time bomb. On a week to week basis, however, Robbert — the man known better as Hardwell — makes way for records in the cause of advancing dance music. For the head honcho and his Revealed Recordings empire, this summer has been all about proving that even the industry’s rising stars can produce stadium-filling tunes; using releases such as “Escape,” “Here We Go Again,” and “Quake” (to name a few) as aural testimony.
Look no further than the imprint’s latest compilation and find the path that Hardwell is paving for upcoming artists. Explorative yet successful ventures aside, Robbert keeps a handful of fellow Dutch troops in his closest company. Digging into the brand of electronic music that the former Tiësto understudy has curated, Dancing Astronaut sat down with Jordy Dazz, Dannic, and Dyro for a perspective of Revealed from its long-time natural militants.
Nearly eight years ago, Hardwell spotted the artist then-known as Jordy Lishous on an exclusively Dutch social media engine. He quickly reached out to Jordy, asking permission to feature one of his tracks on an upcoming compilation. Fast forward to 2011 and this had been the start to a great relationship. Jordy released his first track for Revealed before switching his DJ moniker and becoming Jordy Dazz, the artist known greatly for his ties to Hardwell — and not to mention, a handful of releases on his label.
On working with Hardwell and his label: “Hardwell is a great guy in the first place. He has a good sense of humor and he is just a very laidback dude. But, I don’t know anyone in life that is so determined and so focussed on his career and goals. That’s really inspiring to me. Also the team behind him (manager / labelmanager, tourmanager, filmer etc etc) are great people, I got to know them all pretty well during the years. Not to forget Dannic and Dyro! We had quite some memorable moments, nights and parties!”
On first production for Revealed Recordings: “Well, my first release on Revealed was “Lump”, but back then I still used to produce and perform as Jordy Lishious. Tiësto picked up the unsigned track pretty fast, a week after I sent it to him. Hardwell heard him playing it at a few gigs where Hardwell was opening up for Tiësto on a tour. He then called me and asked me if the track was still “available” to sign, and it was. I was really happy to have that track signed to Revealed, as they really did a great job on the release.”
On future work with the crew: “I’m currently working on quite some exciting collabs and original solo tracks. I just finished the first upcoming new collab track together with Bassjackers, and the new solo Jordy Dazz release is finished as well. Can’t wait for you all to hear what’s coming up!”
What Hardwell has to say…
“I’m glad he’s finally a part of the label. Espcially over the past two years he’s been smashing it. He’s coming out with bomb after bomb.”
With upwards of ten tracks produced and released through the Revealed brand, Dannic has become one of the imprint’s poster boys. Another artist whose relationship with Hardwell dates back roughly eight years, he is currently breaking through with a distinguished style of his own — a style that Hardwell has proudly declared himself a fan of. Dannic’s success doesn’t begin or end with Revealed, as he’s exported the imprint’s signature twang and his talent elsewhere, pushing it out across the progressive house landscape.
On early DJing passions: “It all started 12 years ago when I played at friends party’s with my own Hi-Fi speakers and regular cd-players. My father used to drive me in his station car with all the equipment. Later on I got the chance to DJ at a local bar. That’s where I learned to play all kinds of musical genres and I was really into mixing them all together. DJ-ing became my life.”
On making the transition to producing: “As a DJ Im always on the lookout to play different tracks or special edits that others don’t play or can’t play. So in the beginning it wasn’t much producing at all. I started to make my own edits of existing songs. Somehow they got supported pretty quick by the bigger DJs here in Holland. When I met Robbert he introduced me to the whole producing thing. Because he was already very busy with his own career I had to figure out a lot myself. It took about 1 year to make something I was really happy with. Robbert was the first one to support my own tracks.”
On “Clobber” and its future sequel: “I never could have hoped for a bigger success than “Clobber.” For me it was the logical follow up to “Tombo,” which had the same bouncy, techy vibe to it. I noticed that I needed another track like that in my DJ sets. These are the kind of tracks that I love and emphasize the Dannic signature sound. At first I sent it to Robbert who loved the track and he said that I should send it to Fedde Le Grand (a big idol of mine). Fedde responded very quickly that he thought it was a very good track and would test it right away. A few days later Mark Knight contacted my management that he got the track from Fedde and that he wanted to sign “Clobber” immediately to Toolroom.That was a really big thing, because Toolroom was always a favorite label of mine. I never doubted a second and here we are now.
The follow up, “Ignite.” is already released and making waves on the dancefloor as well. It’s more powerful than “Clobber” but has still the patented Dannic bounce. Following that on Revealed will be the big room electro banger, “Rocker,” due for release August 19th.
What Hardwell has to say…
“Dannic has been my boy for 8 years already and I’m so proud that he’s now breaking through and finally getting what he deserves. He’s an amazing producer, an amazing guy, and an amazing DJs — one of the most incredible DJs I’ve ever met. I met him when he was a DJ at a local bar in my hometown and even when he played 80s and classic stuff, the guy is technically so amazing its unbelievable. He’s one of the few DJs who has the opportunity to read the crowd and play exactly what he wants. He’s an amazing producer coming with completely original records, he has his own certain Dannic style. As Hardwell, I’m a fan of Dannic.”
In 2011, Hardwell released a three-track EP dubbed Talent Revealed, in which he shared tunes from stars he had then caught on the rise. In the mix was Dyro, and although the spotlight was shined upon him with the aforementioned EP release, there was no foreshadowing how far he’d come with Hardwell and company. Dyro now finds himself amidst a career high summer just months after Hardwell pulled him on stage at Ultra Music Festival and announced to the world that he would be “the world’s biggest upcoming DJ.” The label head’s prediction is quickly shaping up to be true, and his right-hand man finds himself with limitless potential as a Revealed icon.
On climbing in popularity: “It’s been incredible, the response to my music has been quite overwhelming when I started out making tunes in my bedroom I never imagined that a few years later I would be playing at the events I am now being booked for. Initially it was my track ‘Daftastic’ that won me a lot of fans. It was supported by David Guetta, Dada Life, Laidback Luke and of course my buddy Hardwell, who released it on his Revealed Recordings label.
Hardwell has been very supportive in my career so far; his influence has helped me grow as a DJ and refine my skills as a producer. Being a part of Revealed Recordings is also a great help creatively, as they are so supportive and encouraging. But as both Hardwell and Revealed have such high standards it also means I keep pushing myself to make the best music I can.”
On Hardwell collaboration “Never Say Goodbye” and Ultra 2013 appearance: “Hardwell and myself have been discussing working together on a collaboration since we did the Revealed Recordings Canadian bus tour earlier this year. We thought it would be really cool if we made a big track together, which we could both play out at the summer festivals.
To be on stage in front of all those people going crazy to one of your songs. It’s hard to describe, but in that moment I felt all the hard work I had put into my career to get to where I am, the unseen hours working with my computer to perfect my craft, had started to pay off.”
On pressure to become next star from Revealed: “I wouldn’t so much describe it as pressure, at least not from Revealed Recordings. They have been nothing but supportive and helped me be creative with my music. It’s the same with the fans, they’re so supportive and give such amazing feedback that I always feel so connected to them whilst performing.
The major pressure I feel comes from myself. For me Revealed Recordings has established itself as a leading label in the scene and I wouldn’t want to submit a track for them to release that I wasn’t 100% certain was the best I could do. How I manage this is to try and stay completely focused on each track I make to try and make it as perfect as possible.”
What Hardwell has to say…
“I’m very very proud that I actually discovered Dyro just less than three years ago in New York. I couldn’t be more proud of that guy, he’s an amazing producer; he’s doing remixes for John Legend and Rihanna, so he’s doing remixes for all the big stars. We had the number one hit “Never Say Goodbye” together on Beatport. Couldn’t be more proud of him than ever. He’s proven himself, and I know for sure he will be bringing us so much more amazing music.”
As for the man who needs no introduction; he reigns as the world’s ranked number six DJ, leads one of the most revered labels in dance music, and his superstar appeal grows with each festival appearance. His name is Robbert van de Corput, his alias is Hardwell. Even then, his reputation hardly precedes him. The fan favorite dance music extraordinaire has come a long way since appearing on “Zero 76” at age 23 (although only two years ago) and now claims ownership of some of the genre’s biggest hits on his own.
Now 25, Hardwell can be considered the industry’s youngest veteran, already earning his stripes and matching the caliber of the world’s greatest DJs on all facets. “Spaceman” became one of the most played anthems of 2012, but he was soon after able to avoid big room typecasting with “Three Triangles.” His influence is rarely absent from Beatport’s Top 10, his Revealed brand has practically become the Apple of the EDM world, and his audience has become so vast that millions of eyes are set on his every musical move. The scariest part of it all? Hardwell is only getting started.
Taking his greatest efforts from what has seemingly become a permanent hot streak, he keeps focus geared toward his label, offering nothing but high hopes:
“We have signed the biggest dance records that are coming out this year. We’ve signed new names you’ve probably never heard before. That’s the thing about Revealed, we’re not focusing on what’s going on, we’re focusing on what’s next. And what’s next? We have it.”