From Left: Dannic, Hardwell, Dyro
On a swelteringly hot Vegas afternoon we were graciously ushered into the dimly lit Hakkasan Nightclub. The brand-spankin'-new club is stunning; its architecture and design form a circular shape that hugs the DJ booth, allowing for an intimate and one-of-a-kind experience. As we arrive, Hardwell, Dyro, and Dannic, have already taken to the mic.
Who are your biggest music influences growing up?
Hardwell: For me, Tiësto. He and I were raised in the same city in Holland, so when I was like, 11-12 years old, I saw a documentary on Dutch TV about Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten and it really inspired me. I had always been into music, but at that point I was like 'Mom and Dad, I want to become a DJ'. So, yeah, Tiësto will always be my role-model. And for me it's actually so great to have him now as a good friend; we've worked together now for the last 3 years. …to me Tiesto is the Michael Jackson [or Elvis] of dance music. He's like the legend or icon. He was the first DJ to open the Olympic Games… he was the first DJ to ever play his own concert or go overseas from Holland.
Dyro: I'm pretty young. I'm 21, so when I was growing up this music style was already blowing up in Holland. It's been like that for 10 years already, so I grew up listening to guys like Hardwell and Tiësto. It's funny, guys like Hardwell were like my heroes when I started producing and now I'm working really closely with them so it's the best feeling there is.
What advice would you give to new/young producers?
Hardwell: I think it all starts with, if you have a good record, if you have a good track, share it with your friends and family. Just put it out and let as many people as possible listen to the track. Upload it everywhere [facebook, soundcloud] try to give it to the DJs for their podcast, try to send it out to every DJ, look on their websites… I know that it's really hard because not every label can listen to every demo, but everybody has the same chance, you know? Proven example: Nicky Romero send me a track four years ago, and he was on main stage yesterday. That's only in four years. …Afrojack, I think it was like six or seven years ago, I was playing in a club and he walked up to me with a CD [and said] 'Hey Robert, can you listen to my music?' and I was like yeah, sure. [and he said] 'no, no, no, right now! Play it in your DJ set' and I'm like, dude, I've never listened to it! And when I drove home in the car, I was like, wow, this guy has some serious talent. …Everybody has the same chance and seriously, if you make a good track just go to Miami Music Conference in March, walk up to the DJs and give them your CD [or USB] and I'm sure they will listen. And start online with social [media] marketing; Facebook, Youtube, spread it around and try to get as many people's attention.
Dannic: I think nowadays everybody thinks that they have to be released on a record label, but as long as you put your track online and share it with everybody, like Rob [Hardwell] said. It doesn't have to be released… if it's a hit record, it's a hit record.
Dyro: Last but not least, practice [producing]. There are a lot of tracks to use as a reference, but be sure to put out a good track… it's really good to have good feedback. A good record will find its way, that's it.
How do you stay original in an over-saturated market in which many records are starting to sound the same?
Hardwell: You have to focus on originality. It's very easy to copy Swedish House Mafia, or Avicii, or Skrillex, or whatever. People listen too much to each other and are too much inspired by each other. It's very easy to come up with a simple baseline and a new melody, you know? It's fair to say that all the guys who come up with their own sound are the guys who broke through immediately. Like Alesso did two years ago with the whole new sound- like more rave-y slash pop slash progressive kinda stuff out of nowhere and now it's everywhere within two years. And like, Avicii and his piano lines and more melodic stuff. And Dyro came out of nowhere with his own twist of electro-house music. …There is no answer to the question, other than to just be original, develop your own sound. The only tip I can give is just be yourself, you don't have to copy another song to be popular. Make music from your heart, even if it's experimental or not really common, try it out, it can only get you more recognized.
Be sure to grab Hardwell Presents Revealed Vol 4 out now. Packed full of Hardwell's trademark bangers and big room vibes, the compilation features 20 of the scene's hottest tunes including a handful of exclusives and unreleased tracks.
Own it & check out the track listing below:
01. Alesso vs. OneRepublic - If I Lose Myself
02. Hardwell feat. Amba Shepherd - Apollo (Hardwell Ultra Edit)
03. Dannic - Rocker
04. Marco V vs. Stefano Pain & Alex Guesta - Quake
05. Kill The Buzz - Shake
06. Hardwell & Dyro feat. Bright Lights - Never Say Goodbye
07. Krewella - Alive (Hardwell Remix)
08. 3LAU, Paris & Simo feat. Bright Lights - Escape
09. Deorro - Yee | Calvin Harris feat. Example - We'll Be Coming Back
10. Martin Garrix - Animals
11. Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Gunthrie - This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix)
12. Skitzofrenix - Clap
13. W&W & Ummet Ozcan - The Code
14. Knife Party - LRAD
15. Showtek & Noisecontrollers - Get Loose (Tiesto Remix)
16. Mightyfools - Footrocker | Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso feat. Ryan Tedder - Calling (Lose My Mind)
17. Hardwell - Encoded (2013 Edit) | Matt Caseli & Danny Freakazoid - Raise Your Hands | AutoErotique & Felix Cartel - The Alarm (Charlie Darker Remix)
18. Goldfish & Blink - Here We Go Again
19. Alvaro & Mercer feat. Lil Jon - Welcome To The Jungle
20. Dyro - Leprechauns & Unicorns