Dutch DJs and producers have dominated house music and traditional trance scenes over the past few years – and that is not about to end. The Netherlands’ latest hot property is the media-shy Hardwell (born Robert van de Corput in Breba, Netherlands), who ranked No. 24 in last year’s DJ Mag poll. Hardwell’s career-to-date has been the stuff of legends – things of which artists can only dream, achievements, awards, and support that so many never get near. And all this before he even hits 25 years old.
For this young Dutchman, it all started at an early age – van de Corput was already a DJ at just 13 years old. In an interview with Mega Mind Magazine he explains how he got into DJ’ing – “In Holland we had on an MTV dance program. They filmed a lot of DJ’s and parties. When I was young, I was like ‘Wow, I want to be the DJ, I want to play the music’ and I was obsessed because it looked so big, the vinyls and all the stuff. Actually I was always into music. I was six years old when I started to play the piano. Music has always been there in my life as I grew up. The DJ’ing was really fascinating for me. I wanted to do this when I saw it on MTV. I told my parents and I started playing little parties for friends, and getting money so I could buy my first vinyl. I bought my first vinyl and it all went from there.’” His musical heroes at that time (who were featured on the MTV dance program) were Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and Ferry Corsten. Van de Corput started off playing trance music as a young DJ, influenced by his aforementioned idols. It must be pretty funny for him to look back on those days, since now he is not only good pals with Tiesto but also works with him in the studio quite often.
Hardwell’s first key release was the mash-up Show Me Love Vs Be – featuring 90s house diva Robin S with Steve Angello and Laidback Luke – one of the biggest and most played dance hits of 2009. In 2010, he followed with tracks such as Alright 2010, Feel So High, Molotov, Voyage and, alongside veteran Dutch DJ Chuckie, Move It 2 The Drum. Plus, there have been remixes for everyone from Armin to Fedde le Grand to Flo Rida and Akon. After launching his label Revealed Recordings in 2010, Hardwell also started with the release of the brand-new Revealed compilation series. Hardwell Presents Revealed gives you a clear vision about the sound Hardwell and the label represent. Last year the industrious van de Corput released more heavy-hitting tracks, such as Encoded, The World, and Cobra, as well as Zero 76 with his buddy Tiësto as a tribute to their shared Breda hometown – a huge hit.
Van de Corput calls his musical style “Hardwell Sound.” It’s not specifically ‘Dutch-y’ ‘Trance-y’ ‘Progressive’, or ‘Tech-y’ – it’s in between all those genres. In an interview with Mega Mind Magazine, he explains, “it’s out of the box, it’s like what people call ‘next level.’ It’s new, it’s refreshing. Always when I’m in the studio I try to make something new that people have never heard before. So that’s what I’m trying to do, and I think it’s quite unique. I hate genres, in my opinion everybody should be thinking outside of the box. You can’t put me in a box. If people call it Big Room house, I’m fine with that, but in the end it is just ‘Hardwell music.’” For the most part, Hardwell uses Logic 9 on his Macbook Pro and Apogee Duet sound card to produce and play his signature sound. This is one DJ who has the technical skills as well as artistic talent of a well-refined musician. Moreover, his passion for music clearly comes through during his performances.
In an interview with Field of Noise, Van de Corput discusses his thoughts on the blowup of Electronic Music – “It is amazing. Specially in US, it is unbelievable what’s happening over there. The scene is really blowing up there and finally house music is accepted, like it was in Europe for many years. I can see this rise of EDM go on for a while and that’s a great thing!” It’s no doubt that house music is attracting a mainstream audience, with crossovers from pop and rap music, as well as a slew of new EDM festivals popping up all over the place.
According to Van de Corput, two rising DJs to keep an eye out for in 2012 are Dannic and Dyro. Both super-talented producers and DJs, they are said to be coming out with some great tracks and surely blow up this year. Van de Corput just finished a track with Dannic called Kontiki, which released in April 2012 with rave reviews. Dyro has had some releases on Hardwell’s Revealed label, which were supported massively by all the big jocks, and has some more epic releases coming up. In a recent Field of Noise interview, the young Dutchman provides some words of wisdom for other rising DJs – “Keep doing what you love to do and follow your heart! Don’t believe in any hypes, they are just movements. Be the one who creates the hype. Don’t think success will happen overnight, hard work pays off. Practice a lot, I’ve been playing 25 gigs a month in Holland for many many years. Furthermore, to break through as a DJ nowadays, it’s crucial to produce your own music as well!”
The artists on the Revealed label are on the rise this year – Hardwell is planning a lot of tours for 2012 in US, Canada, Australia as well as some other big summer festivals. Look out for a lot of new Hardwell music and remixes coming out this year as well, which are sure to do well on dance floors worldwide! Keep an eye for him in a city near you and get exposed to that “Hardwell Sound.”
Have you had a chance to see Hardwell at any of the recent music festivals? Share your experience, your feedback is always appreciated. And be sure to catch him at the upcoming A.W.O.L. Strip in Las Vegas! Hardwell will be headlining Saturday, July 21st at Tao Nightclub in the Venetian Hotel.
For A.W.O.L. Strip tickets, click here.
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By: Angelo Castañeda