Anna Prassl & Soundrive Delves into the Extraordinary Musical Journey, Profound Inspirations, Exciting Future Ventures and the Mind of Prolific DJ & Producer Hardwell
In the ever-evolving realm of electronic dance music, few artists have left an indelible mark quite like Hardwell. From his electrifying performances on the world’s biggest stages to his chart-topping productions, the Dutch DJ and producer has become a beacon of innovation and inspiration for aspiring musicians and fans alike. With a meteoric rise to fame and an unwavering dedication to his craft, Hardwell has proven time and again why he remains at the forefront of the global dance music scene. In this exclusive interview, we delve deep into the mind and heart of Hardwell, as he opens up about his musical journey, creative process, and his visions for the future. Get ready to be captivated by the sonic insights of a true dance music icon.
Hi Robbert, thanks for taking your time to talk to me today! I’m Anna from Soundrive and let me just say it right away – it’s amazing to see you back on stage, as well as releasing music again!
“Thank you, Anna. Means a lot to me to hear that and I’m pleased you’re enjoying my new sound. It feels great to be back!”
Many people go to festivals, clubs or parties and see a DJ live, which makes them want to pursue this career as well – but you have been performing long before you could legally attend events yourself. Which experience lead you to go for a career in electronic dance music, after learning classical instruments as a child?
“I got hooked after seeing a documentary on MTV about the Dutch dance scene. I was about 12 year old and I remember just being mesmerized by this new sound coming out of the TV as DJs like Ferry Corsten and Tiësto talked about this music genre called “electronic dance music”.”
What was your “made it” moment?
“Signing my first record deal at 14 years old felt like a ‘made it’ moment. I remember being crazily excited about the future. Another wild occasion was playing in Ibiza for the first time back in 2010 at Tiësto’s famed Club Life party at the 10,000-capacity venue Privilege. That was a real pinch me moment in my early career.”
In 2022 you were back on the mainstage of Tomorrowland in Belgium, starting your show with “Into the Unknown”, one of your recent releases. How did it feel to stand up there, show what you have been up to lately, and start the set with a non-Big Room track??
“It was a huge emotional moment for me. I’ve an amazing connection with the crowd at Tomorrowland so to be back with my new sound and show was a very special occasion. We built a custom production for that gig to make the whole experience a unique show for the fans.”
As a highly accomplished artist, you’ve faced intense pressure to continually deliver hits and unforgettable performances. How do you navigate the fine line between pursuing your artistic vision and meeting the expectations of your fans and the industry?
“Before taking the break from touring, I would put a lot of pressure on myself to meet the expectations of as many people as possible. But since the time-off, I’ve come to realize that it’s impossible to be wholly expressive with a self-loaded weight of pressure on myself, so these days, I’m more focused on what comes out of the process of creativity than what I should be aiming for in my creative process.”
Your journey as a DJ and producer has inspired so many, but behind the party and success, what are the moments or experiences that have tested your resilience and forced you to dig deep within yourself, ultimately leading to your break?
“Time. I simply wanted to make more time for myself, whether that was to be in the studio, hang out with friends or spend time with family. I felt to do that I needed to be in a fixed location for an extended period of time instead of constantly moving from location to location. So, I decided to take time off touring for myself.”
Throughout your career, you’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous talented artists. Can you share a collaboration that really impacted you on a personal level, and how did it shape your growth as an artist and as an individual?
“Every collaboration is a journey and something the experience teaches you from. For example, working with artists like Craig David or Jason Derulo is a great experience because their such proficient songwriters and artists. When you gel with an artist and that musical chemistry is there the process of the production just flows so easily. So, I really enjoy and find a lot of personal value as a producer through these types of collaborations.”
In the fast-paced world of music, it’s easy for artists to become disconnected from their true selves in view of the demands and expectations. How do you stay connected to your authentic voice and ensure that your music continues to reflect your genuine emotions and experiences?
“I’m a pretty grounded, normal person. I’m not somebody who seeks fame or is really into that lifestyle. I still hang out with the same group of friends I grew up with and try to live as much of a regular life as possible when home. So, I think this helps me a lot to keep true to who I am as a person.”
Robbert, on your musical journey you have explored various genres, captivating audiences with your versatility. So, we’re dying to know: what’s next on your adventure? Are you working on projects outside the music industry as well?
“Right now, all my focus is on enjoying my time in the studio and putting my energies into these new shows coming up in 2023. After my REBELS NEVER DIE album, I wanted to collaborate with a bunch of artists who I admire and just have fun making music with other people again. I have a new more vocal-led track coming up which is a bit of a shift from the recent sound, so there’s a lot of exciting music still to come.”
Thank you for giving us this insight and we are looking forward to seeing you at Electric Love Festival!
“Thank you and see you on the dancefloor! 😊”
Listen to Hardwell’s ‘REBELS NEVER DIE’ Album on Spotify
Throughout his expansive career as a successful DJ, producer, remixer, label boss, filmmaker, and philanthropist, former 2 x World No.1 DJ, Hardwell has carved out a long-lasting legacy within the electronic music world.
His appeal as a producer would catapult his status amongst fans and peers. Hardwell would earn countless Beatport No. 1’s with releases like ‘Spaceman’, ‘Apollo’ and ‘Run Wild’ through his dancefloor singles. Whilst remixing for many of pop music’s biggest names, including Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Moby, U2, J Balvin, and Coldplay. At the same time, delivering crossover hit singles working alongside major acts like Craig David, Jay Sean, Austin Mahone, and Jason Derulo. And never straying too far from his electronic roots, Hardwell would collaborate with DJ friends like Armin van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, and Tiësto.
As well as the hits, Hardwell’s presence as a headline attraction on the biggest main stages in music placed him on every significant festival, including Lollapalooza, Coachella, EDC Las Vegas, Creamfields, Untold Festival, EXIT festival, Ultra Music Festival, and Tomorrowland. His draw on the stadium and arena circuit saw Hardwell complete two world tours with ‘I Am Hardwell’ in 2014/15 and then ‘I Am Hardwell – United We Are’ in 2015/16.. Official documentaries supported the culmination of both tours highlighting Hardwell’s career journey and life on the road with sold-out shows at venues like London’s Brixton Academy and New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Soundrive, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, is the foremost global hub for electronic dance music (EDM), offering a comprehensive range of news, reviews, interviews, and features for DJs, artists, and labels across 125 countries. Founded in Helsingborg, Sweden on April 19, 2016 by Jacques Maurice Julie and Darren Johnathan Bezuidenhout, the company was originally known as UFO Network with record label UFO Recordz. In early 2023, Soundrive Music LTD acquired the company and rebranded it as Soundrive Music.
Committed to delivering up-to-date and in-depth information on the world of EDM, Soundrive Music provides a platform for aspiring DJs and artists to showcase their talents and advance their careers through events and collaborations with leading industry players. Soundrive Music is not associated with Soundrive Music Festival or Soundrive Records. For more information, visit http://soundrivemusic.com/about.