I AM Hardwell — interview with 7 minutes | Exclusive |

by Ruslan Batykov

MAGDJ |7Minutes| 2014


|7M| Hi, Robert! This year you have title DJ #1 of the world. What have you faced for the first time in this status?

With the title comes an element of pressure but to be honest with you this is no different to the pressure I have always, and continue, to put on myself. I want to achieve my goals, I have big ideas and I am working towards a new set of projects. For me it has always been important to keep my connection with the fans and when I won the title I did worry if it might separate me from them, but if anything I hope it has brought me closer to them.

|7M| — Every coin has two sides. What opportunities appeared after this event and are there any negative sides of your status?

I suppose one negative is that people who don’t know you or your music will judge purely because you’ve won the title of #1 DJ, but I find that once these people come and experience the show they more than often walk away understanding what our scene is all about. For me the title is a huge achievement but I am in this for the love of the music and the fans. Of course it has given me a lot of big opportunities but the main thing it pushed me to do was start working on my debut artist album, which is coming soon.

|7M| — Do you manage to separate your personal life and work, what do you do with publicity?

Well the two are pretty much the same thing now. I am always working on music, travelling and djing, I am a workaholic but I love it. This is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life. There is an expectation to do press these days and I’m fine with that. Winning the title of #1 dj will always mean you have do give a lot of time to press and publicity and I’m ok with this. The fans want to know what you’re up do and what you’re working on and press them learn about what’s coming up. I remember when I first start out I used to read the dance magazine’s, blogs and listen to the radio shows to find out what was happening in the scene.

|7M| — Do all Dutch dream to become DJs when they are children? Can we say that craving or EDM is characteristic feature of your nation? What can you say about your victory and who do you want to thank first of all?

Haha, I can’t say all but I’d like to think most to do, yeah. Electronic music is a big part of our culture. You can see this in the amount of djs that have come through our scene over the years. In terms of who to thank, my mum and dad have always supported me, even from the very beginning. I also have to thank my management team.

|7M| — You signed your first contract with record-label at the age of 14. It sounds great, of course, but what about happy and carefree childhood? Wasn’t it too early to become an adult?

For me it wasn’t too early because music is what I wanted to do from a very young age, even before I started djing. My childhood was great and I loved every minute of it but I knew very early on that I wanted to have a career in music.

|7M| — There is no secret that you are friends with legendary Tiesto and you also work with him. What do these relations mean for you and how can you define real friendship?

We’ve known each other for a long time now. He’s been a really good friend and mentor to me. Growing up and knowing of him as a dj from my area, buying my music from his record store and then later being invited to join him at his party in Ibiza (in 2010), it was incredible. I have so much respect for him as an artist and also as a friend.

hardwell - 7minutes

|7M| — In your interview to magazine Dj Mag you said that now it is a good time to release your album. How is this work going on?

I’m working on it at the moment and in the final stages though I still have some work to do. I keep changing my mind on a few parts and keep bringing new ideas to the whole project. But so far it has been really good fun, a lot of work, but I’m starting to feel a sense of pride now I can see it slowly coming together as one finished album.

|7M| — Having title DJ #1 you do not stop working hard, go on tours and play in different festivals and clubs. Is it difficult to live “on wheels”. How do you relax?

I like to play video games, like GTA, or just watch movies and hang out with friends and see family. My life away from the touring is just like a regular guy, it’s important for me to keep my feet on the ground and not let any of the success go to my head.

|7M| — Nowadays people have access to everything they wish including information about lives of celebrities. Everyone who wants to know you better can watch film «I Am Hardwell». Could you reveal yourself and show your fans everything you live by or something has stayed behind the scenes?

Yeah I’ve always been open about my life and with my fans. The documentary really gives the viewer an insight into my life. I’m not holding anything back. I’ve always wanted to give a full story about who I am as both an artist and as a person.

|7M| — Our magazine is read by many novice DJs. Please, tell us 5 ways of good promotion

Social media is the main thing. Make sure your music is 100% how you want it to be, don’t put anything up and out into the Internet until you have happy with exactly what you want people to hear. Use sites like soundcloud and facebook to promote yourself but also build up a relationship with your fan base. Get them to help promote you. I started out doing mash-up’s but now my focus is on original music. Find your path and follow what you believe in.

questions from the DJ Peretse

|DJ Peretse| — I n the USA the line between terms “DJ” and “producer” is more evident: American DJs take DJ-ing and its elements in a more profound way rather than DJs in Europe where you need to have progress in musical production. What is closer to you – DJ-ing or production? What do you think of TOP100 DJ Mag where they evaluate producer’s skills but the name of this rating sounds as DJ TOP100. Maybe, it would be better to call it Music Producer TOP100 ?

For me I am both a DJ and a producer. I see myself an artist who is equal in both because during the day I am a producer and at night I am a dj. The Top100 poll is an established poll built on djs, but these day’s features many producers. I don’t think we need to split the poll because everyone knows why they’re voting for their top 5 artist and many, if not all, of these artists nowadays are both djs and producers. It’s also a great way to see what has been popular in the scene during the year.

|DJ Peretse| — I think, you are a very musical person and you may listen and play not only electronic music when you do not play on the stage. What music do you listen in your car or at home?

I love listening to hip hop when I’m not working on my own music or going through promo’s for my dj sets or my label Revealed Recordings.

|DJ Peretse| — When I usually ask serious musical producers about this tendency, I do not see their delight. But anyway it has become very popular in club culture and DJ-ing in general, what I mean is “mash-up”. What is your attitude to it, do you think that mash-up is impudent stealing and piracy or you may agree that it is one of interesting directions in DJ-ing which lets many musical compositions come into the spotlight in different compilations and unusual forms?

Personally I don’t see it as stealing. The electronic scene has been built on mash-ups and remixes for many, many years. It’s a huge part of our culture. As long as no one is profiting, or giving away these mash-up’s, remixes than I think it brings something very fresh to the music. But you MUST always be respectful when doing this. I do a lot in my sets but these edits are only for me and my dj sets.

|DJ Peretse| — Is your playing on the stage a well prepared and planned set or do you play freestyle: find the tracks on the run?

I always play freestyle. I like to follow the energy of the crowd and take the audience on a journey, building the atmosphere with the music.

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