DJ Hardwell had a busy 2015. The Dutch DJ launched his first studio album (United We Are), showcased a second documentary (I Am Hardwell – Living The Dream) and played gigs across North America before arriving in Mumbai in December 2015 for a big, fat charity show. One that featured a big, fat guest list too – he apparently put a record-smashing 75,000 names on it! The 27-year-old, who has twice been voted the world’s No. 1 DJ, a position bolstered by the 100 million views on his YouTube channel no doubt, has spent a lot of time jetting across the world. In a conversation with us, the talented electronic dance music artiste talks about his life on the road.
Tell us something about your travelling life.
Well, it’s always busy. Because of the number of shows I do each year, I often end up spending one day in one city and then the very next morning leave for another; I also spend a lot of time either on planes or in a car and my schedule is always hectic, which can be tough. So for me, it’s important to stay healthy and fit [while travelling].
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What is it like being on the road?
It’s everything from lonely to exciting. I love to travel; that’s always exciting for me. But when you’re starting out you often travel by yourself and that can be quite lonely for an artiste. These days, though, I travel with my team, including my manager and crew.
You travel all over the world for your music. What are you travelling essentials?
I keep it quite minimal when I’m on the road. My laptop, headphones and phone are my most important essentials because I like to work on new music whilst I’m touring. I also like to work on my sets, keep up-to-date on promos and other details for my label, Revealed Recordings, and my weekly Hardwell On Air radio show.
What places are on your bucket list?
For me it’s about discovering new places. It could be a remote paradise island or seeing Mount Everest. I love travelling and experiencing new places. That’s one reason why I love DJing so much; it allows me to see more of the world.
Where have you enjoyed performing the most?
After 35 international dates, closing my first world tour with a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden [in New York City] was something I will never forget. I have always dreamed of playing at ‘the Garden’, in the same space as so many iconic rock and hip-hop artistes. That was a real pinch myself moment!
How do you pick the music for your sets?
I spend many hours searching for new music, going through promos and discovering new records and artistes. As a DJ, you should always be pushing yourself.
Do you have someone who’s mentored you?
[Dutch DJ] Tiesto has been somebody who has influenced me as a person and mentored me as an artiste.
Who have you had the most fun working with?
Jason Derulo, for sure. I’ve been such a big fan of his music for such a long time…
…And who’s the one artiste you’d like to work with?
I’d love to work with Dr Dre or Timbaland – it would be crazy fun.
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