You would imagine the world's numero uno DJ to have airs and graces, but Robbert van de Corput aka Hardwell has a refreshingly easy and unassuming presence.
DJ Hardwell performed at the DY Patil Stadium, Nerul, last Sunday
He is slowly but surely altering the face of electronic dance music (EDM), with his YouTube channel collectively having garnered a staggering 100 million views. We caught up with the Dutch musician during his recent trip to Mumbai where he performed for over 80,000 fans for an ambitious fundraiser in collaboration with Shailendra Singh and Magic Bus. Excerpts from the exclusive interview with hitlist:
Q. Has the India tour been what you had expected? Proceeds from the event are expected to benefit nearly 18,000 less privileged children...
A. Yes, I wanted this to be a truly memorable moment that raises awareness on the issue of education for young children. I also wanted fans, and those watching via live stream, to have a great time, while uniting in celebration of the social impact this project will have. India is such a vibrant country. The fans are always so supportive and they have an amazing passion for music and life — that's inspiring for anyone!
Q. How do you pick music for your sets?
A. I spend several hours searching for new music, going through promos and discovering new records and artistes. As a DJ, you should always be pushing yourself and discovering more music.
Q. Who was your mentor as a child? Are you mentoring young DJs?
A. Tiesto (Dutch DJ and record producer) has been somebody who has influenced me as a person, and mentored me as an artiste. I always wanted to help other DJs, which was one of the reasons I launched my label Revealed. These days I’m able to help new guys and that really excites me. Seeing artistes like Julian Calor, Manse, Thomas Newson and Kill The Buzz grow and reach their goals through the label is amazing.
Q. You have collaborated with quite a few artistes. Who did you enjoy working with the most?
A. Each artiste is unique in their own way and brings something different to the mix. It was great working with Jason Derulo because I have been a big fan of his music for long.
Q. Is there anyone else you want to work with?
A. Dr Dre or Timbaland. It would be cool to be in the studio with them and see what comes out of that. It would be special.
Q. What’s next?
A. At the moment, all my energy and focus is on the United We Are Foundation. That’s an important, personal project for me, so I want to ensure its launch is a successful one. I have also just released a remix album titled United We
Are Remixed, which features a wide range of artistes whose music I truly respect. Guys like W&W and Armin van Buuren have reworked music from the album to put their own take on it. I have a lot of new music that I am working on and ready, so next year is going to be exciting for me. I will also be playing at all the major festivals besides touring heavily and having my own world tour.
Q. Any advice for aspiring DJs?
A. Believe in yourself and focus on your goals; everything else will follow. Hard work pays off, so don’t be afraid to hone your skills, and keep learning from your experiences.