Between creating his own charitable organization, filming a biographical documentary, running a label, and producing consistent chart-topping tracks, Hardwell is the renaissance man of the dance music world. He was the number one DJ in the world according to DJ Mag’s Top 100 list two years in a row, and regularly sells out arenas around the world.
Hardwell’s rise to fame has been nothing short of meteoric and this Dutch powerhouse shows no signs of stopping. We talked to Hardwell about a few of his projects as he prepares to play back to back shows at the Bill Graham this Friday and Saturday.
What are some of your favorite places to visit when you play in SF?
Well the strange thing about being a touring artist is you actually don’t get the chance to check out the tourist places as much as you’d like to. I’ve got a lot of friends in different cities throughout America but I rarely get the chance to just kick back and enjoy the local sights or hidden gems. With San Francisco, I always enjoy a drive over to Golden Gate Bridge or a walk around Fisherman’s Wharf – touristy I know, but it’s cool to show people who haven’t been before.
While Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike may have taken your #1 rank in the DJ Mag Top 100, how does it feel to be in the top 10 the past 4 years running?
It’s a really big honor. I’m very grateful to have the support of such amazing fans and feel really blessed that they vote for me for these kinds of polls. Winning the poll was a dream come true and I’ll forever be thankful to my fans for giving me that experience in my life.
Your documentary I am Hardwell – Living the Dream comes out in theaters worldwide later this year. What’s something unexpected you hope fans will learn about you after watching the film?
First, I hope fans see my growth and development as an artist as I aimed to realize my goal of becoming an established, international touring artist. After that documentary I was crowned World’s #1, so this new documentary is a look into that new journey in my career.
I wanted to give the fans a real behind the scenes look at what life is like in that world and what commitments and energy an artist needs to put forward to ensure they’re reaching their own goals and dreams. Fans get to see me while I’m on my world tour for my ‘I Am Hardwell’ show as we visit 34 cities around the globe.
You have over 125,000 people signed up to attend your show for free in Mumbai in December. Breaking world records aside, what do you hope this show will contribute to your charitable organization, the United We Are Foundation?
First and foremost, this show is about making a social change in the local community in India via my United We Are Foundation. I’m really proud of the world record but I don’t want people to lose sight of the charity, which is of course the main focus. We want to provide education for underprivileged children as a way of making a difference in their lives and for their future. This is an important issue which needs addressing on a global scale and I hope that the United We Are Foundation will contribute towards making a difference.
The music video for your track “Mad World” was just released. What memories stand out most when you watch the video yourself?
It was a collaboration with Miller Genuine Draft as part of a series I am doing with them. This track was actually my 200th release on my label Revealed, so it was a big occasion for me and the video needed to be something special! I love the visual stamp of the video; it reminds me of touring and that sweet emotion you get when on the road and partying at a show with the crowd. Life’s a beautiful thing and the dance music scene we have is a great indicator of the joys of life. I love how the video just makes me want to go out and share a night with a big crowd of people.
Running a label, touring nonstop, and producing some of the biggest dance tracks in the world – do you ever have time to sleep or relax?
When your work is your passion, you don’t really ever need to stop. I’m a workaholic, but then again, what I do is something I absolutely love. I can’t seem to ever stop making music, DJing, running my label Revealed Recordings, checking demos, helping the artists on the label, or more recently working on the United We Are Foundation. It’s just how I am as a person. I do like to unwind with a movie, catch up with friends and family, and occasionally I’ll take a vacation but ultimately I just enjoy being around and making music. It’s my life.
What are some of your favorite tracks at the moment?
I love “Mad World” and am very proud of that record. Dannic’s recent record “Feel your love” with Sick Individuals is also a cool track, and my remix of Quintino’s “Scorpion” has been getting great reactions too!
Grab the last remaining tickets to Hardwell’s Friday show here.