Hardwell’s long awaited I AM HARDWELL World Tour touched down in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last Friday. The DJ Mag #1 took the sold out crowd on a magical 3 hour journey through Revealed classics, anthemic mashups, and unreleased future chart toppers. We had a chance to sit down with Robbert to discuss these past two years on tour, his experience at the helm of Revealed Recordings, and the highly anticipated upcoming album.
URB: You’re about to play in front of thousands of people right now, what makes the “I Am Hardwell” tour so special?
Hardwell: This is the show where I play for three hours instead of a normal hour to hour and a half on the festival stage. I have the opportunity to take the people on a musical journey. And it’s not like a DJ set. It’s more like a concert, you know? When you’re going to see your favorite singer or your favorite band. We approach this as a concert and all my tracks are synced up with custom visuals. My whole team is here: lighting, visuals, and sound. We try to make the best Hardwell show possible.
URB: What can we expect from the new album coming out in 2015?
Hardwell: I’ve been working on the album for a year and a half now. The album is going to sound super diverse. Back in the past, I’d only release tracks straight for the dance floor because I need those tracks to bang out on my sets. With the album, I have more time to create something that I would really like. Some of the tracks are influenced by different sounds: Rock, Trance, and Deep House Underground. I like to do different kinds of music instead of just making an EDM album. I’m really curious what people are going to think about it.
URB: Where did you find inspiration to write this album?
Hardwell: Through my personal music taste. Within dance music there are so many new opportunities. For example, Avicii did the whole country thing and Calvin Harris is making dance music songs that are even bigger than any other dance songs out there. I wanted to stick to my own sound but within that sound I’m going to explore new boundaries and different music styles.
URB: What artists influence you?
Hardwell: Wow I look up to a lot of different artists! Well, Pharrell is definitely one of my favorite artists.
URB: You’re making an album, you’re DJing around the world. What comes first? What’s your favorite? DJing or producing?
Hardwell: I think they go hand-in-hand. I’ve been focusing so much on my DJ career for the last two or three years. For the next year I’m going to focus more on my production side. The new studio is almost finished and I’m excited to create more music.
URB: Let’s talk about Revealed Recordings. How are you guys finding the new talent out there?
Hardwell: Most of the time the talent comes from the demos we receive from the label. For example, I discovered Dyro through Soundcloud. Being in the scene, touring, you meet up with a lot of new, up-coming talented guys. It’s always really fun to hang out with them, share music, and help them with developing their sound. I think that’s a part of my job having the record label; giving my feedback and working together on the song to make the best sound possible. My favorite part about having my own record label is having the opportunity to work with the guys and help them. Even the other way around. Sometimes when I’m stuck with a record, I call Dyro or Dannic or anyone from the label. So we all help each other out.
URB: What tips do you have for these aspiring DJ’s and producers that are sending you demos on a regular basis?
Hardwell: It’s really important to develop your own sound. A lot of upcoming guys sound like somebody else. I receive a lot of tracks that sound like Avicii or Calvin Harris. It’s important to come up with your own signature and develop yourself from there.
URB: How would you say being a huge success has affected your life and the time you spend with family and friends?
Hardwell: I’m constantly on the road so you miss your family and friends back home but then again, I’ve always dreamed about this career – being one of the top DJ’s. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now and my friends are really proud of what I’ve achieved. A lot of them are actually flying from Amsterdam to the Madison Square Garden show. It’s really great to have such support from your family and friends.
URB: You’re 26 years old, headlining festivals worldwide, topping Beatport charts week in and week out, head honcho of Revealed Recordings, and back-to-back DJ Mag #1. What’s next?
Hardwell: All my focus for now is the album. I want to deliver the best album possible. We’ll see from there though. This tour ends in Madison Square Garden but I’m kicking off a new tour in January. Completely new. It’s going to be the album tour with a new stage design and everything. Probably be on the road again for two years in a row.
Writer/Interviewer: Martin Riego de Dios
Photographer: Kyle Riego de Dios