Hardwell talks performance prep, Tomorrowland, and his plans for 2018 [Q&A]
At this point, Hardwell is virtually a household name. With millions of fans and no shortage of global airtime, the producer has leveraged his niche in this industry into a full fledged cult of personality. From his flagship charity concert to his United Nations initiatives to his perfume line (seriously), the producer does it all.
The superstar also, of course, finds time to make music.
At the end of any given festival weekend, the king of bigroom is always among the conversation of the top performances — he has long been known to melt the mainstage crowd with his unbelievably high energy sets that keep hands up high for hours. Loaded with some of the most massive IDs of the summer and edits that have fans’ mouths agape in awe, Hardwell’s performances seem to somehow take it up a notch each and every year.
Considering the producer’s unique status as a festival mainstay and EDM icon, we spoke with Hardwell about how he preps and what’s up next.
Your festival sets are always one of the most highly anticipated events of the EDM calendar year. How do you go about your preparation for these big shows and determining your tracklists?
The biggest struggle for me is to finish up the collabs and solo tracks just in time. I’m always changing up my intro so I have to prepare that as well and come up with new edits and mashups. I prepare these sets for months in advance.
You are finally returning to Tomorrowland this year after a few years of not playing. How did that come about and did your reunion with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike play any sort of role in your comeback?
Tomorrowland didn’t book me for a couple years after the small Twitter thing. We’re all good though and I’m really excited to be back at Tomorrowland. I also have that collab now with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. There’s no name for the song though and it’s not even finished yet, we just premiered it at their show.
Since last summer you dropped 3 EPs, what are your plans for 2018? Are you looking to make a follow up album or to just continue to release more EPs and singles?
I’m not really into an album anymore. I don’t think it’s really relevant for an EDM artists to actually release an album but today during my set you can expect a couple of songs from the Hardwell & Friends EP, Vol. 4. Some great collabs and not even with upcoming guys but bigger guys plus a couple of solo tracks and the new intro obviously. I’m really proud of my closing track too, which is a new hardstyle collab with Wildstylez.
Who is one person that you would love to collab with this year that you haven’t in the past?
If I had to pick one person, my dream collab would definitely be Pharrell Williams. I admire him as a producer, as a person and as a singer/songwriter. Everything he does, I am just a really big fan of him.
With EDM, it’s getting bigger and bigger. Don’t forget that dance music was an underground movement. People always say that dance music became mainstream but it’s the other way around. The mainstream got more into dance music so it was just a matter of time before the pop culture influenced dance music and the other way around. I like it though, it creates diversity and makes it more accessible for everybody, which makes dance music more interesting. If you’re a young kid and hear a dance record on the radio, it could automatically get you into techno and that’s great for dance music. As long as there is a proper underground and a proper mainstream, they will both benefit from each other.
We know you had a massive collab with Martin Garrix that had the entire world talking. Is that officially scrapped and do you have plans to work on something in the future?
It’s always great to collaborate with an artist like Martin, he’s a fellow Dutchman and we always have great fun bouncing ideas off each other – I don’t wanna say it’s scrapped as it may see the light of day yet. You know, we’re both very busy touring with shows non-stop and our own labels but we have a lot of creative fun together. We for sure hope to have something out in the future.
Who are some of your favorite upcoming producers at the moment?
SWACQ is a really cool producer from France, I played an ID of his in my ULTRA Miami set so I wonder if anyone can spot it! Harrison is a UK vocalist that I’ve also worked with before on my United We Are album and he’s producing his own music now with a future-bass kinda sound, different for him but it works – we also have a new track ‘Earthquake’ dropping together soon. Trobi is also a super-new artist who I’ve got some exciting music from in my inbox, a really fresh sound and It would be amazing to release something from him on my label Revealed, who knows!