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fZOO Exclusive Interview - Hardwell


With over eight years of experience and still only 23-years-old, Hardwell is at the top of his game and this EDM DJ/Producer extraordinaire won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Whether it’s his chart-topping collaborations on tracks like “Zero 76″ with Tiesto or solo tracks like “Encode,” or “Cobra,” Hardwell puts the energy in big-room bangers. As this promising young DJ/Producer embarks on a career that has already experienced more success than most will experience in a lifetime, he serves as a constant reminder of how the Dutch are always progressing the EDM industry. FestivalZOO met up with the 23-year-old Dutch native and house music DJ/Producer wonder-kid, Hardwell, at Beyond Wonderland and he was generous enough to lend us some insight on his life as global music icon.

festivalZOO: A lot of people don’t know that you were actually signed at 14 years old, now 23, and still young, what was it like for you growing up in the clubs of Netherlands?

Hardwell: It was really good. I think Holland is one of the best countries to grow up as a DJ because it has so many parties and so many talented producers and DJ’s, so it’s easy to catch up with the bigger DJ’s and learn a lot from them. It was a perfect place for me to grow up as a DJ.

festivalZOO: You and Tiesto come from the same hometown, how has touring with Tiesto and collaborating with him on tracks like “Zero 76″ impacted your career and helped you grow as an artist?

Hardwell: His influence helped me a lot. He’s such a big inspiration for a lot of people around the world. As a DJ , as a producer, as a brand, as a showman, as a manager, whatever he is, he’s unbelievable. He is so talented, and to work with such a big artist is, first of all, such an honor. You learn from every single second what he’s doing.

festivalZOO: You’ve produced some pretty huge remixes lately, what do you look for in a song, or what appeals to you in a song, that tells you you want to remix it?

Hardwell: Ya. when I decide to do a remix, I have to feel the song. Whatever it is, whether it’s an R&b record, or an indie rock record, or a house track, it doesn’t matter as long as I feel the record. If I think I can switch [the song] to my style and make it a Hardwell record, then I’m up for it.

festivalZOO: What are some must-have production vst’s/plug-ins or effects you use in the studio?

Hardwell: Nowadays, one of the plug-ins you definitely need, and definitely my favorite, is Native Instruments, “Massive.” I think a lot of guys are already using it, but it’s such an amazing synth, and definitely my favorite synth right now.

festivalZOO: You play both festivals and clubs. Do you prefer one over the other and is your set different depending on what your venue is?

Hardwell: Ya, definitely my set is different. Festivals I like more big-room. When you play at a festival, most of the time you play a shorter set, like an hour, and if you play in a club it’s a solo show, so you play for two or three hours. The club is more intimate so you can play more techy in the beginning, then more progressive big-room , then you end with electro. At a festival, you just play your favorite records and you’re done, so it’s a big difference.

festivalZOO: Do you have any pre-show rituals before you take the stage?

Hardwell: Most of the time I’m sleeping (laughs). Really, I’m sleeping. Conserving my energy.

festivalZOO: Can you tell me about your experience as the owner of the imprint Revealed records and what we can expect from the label in the future?

Hardwell: Right now we’re focusing on some new talent. Two guys I just signed, Dannic and Dyro, are getting really big now in Holland. I know they’re going to blow up worldwide, I give it six months. With the label, we’re aiming for new talent and it feels like home. It’s a platform for my records and I try to push all the guys. We’re going to throw some label parties later this year.

festivalZOO: What was the inspiration for your recent collaboration with Dannic called “Kontiki” and how did it come together?

Hardwell: Actually we did “Kontiki” before Sensation, about seven months ago and it was just a demo. When I came back from my first State’s tour this year, we needed to finish the record. But we couldn’t finish it because something didn’t feel right. So we started from scratch again. And ya, it’s finished now. The collaboration was really natural. We went into the studio and the track came out in like thirty minutes. The tracks going to be released on the 9th of April and it’s coming with a Dyro remix as well.

festivalZOO: Ok, last one and we ask every artist this question…if you had to pick an animal that best represents your party style, what animal would you pick?

Hardwell: No doubt it’s a penguin! Definitely.

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