DJ Hardwell to headline Creamfields Abu Dhabi

The biggest DJ on the planet right now talks about his musical background, his pride at being named the top DJ and his keenness to explore the region.
the dutch DJ Hardwell will be headlining Creamfields Abu dhabi festival at du Arena. Courtesy Creamfields
the dutch DJ Hardwell will be headlining Creamfields Abu dhabi festival at du Arena. Courtesy Creamfields

He was recently voted the best DJ in the world for the second consecutive year by readers of DJ Mag. Meet the 26-year-old Dutch talent Hardwell, officially the most in-demand decksmith on the globe right now, who headlines Creamfields Abu Dubai tomorrow at du Arena.

Congratulations on topping the DJ Mag Top 100 again. Is the second time more satisfying?

Thank you. It feels different because I’ve had more time to soak up what happened with this one. I’m really proud and grateful for the continued support from the fans – it means so much to me.

Your music career began when you studied classical piano as a young boy. Is that traditional music education important in shaping your career?

In my mind it definitely helps – learning it from an early age and then being able to bring that into your music later in life is so valuable. I would suggest to anyone wanting to make music or currently making music to go out and explore and learn how to play an instrument. It will only ever help you.

You are coming to Abu Dhabi to headline Creamfields. How does the Hardwell festival set compare with playing your own show?

Both sets are built around energy, passion and the atmosphere of the crowd, but in their own right they are both very different. My own event [I am Hardwell] is a show designed around my music, my stage production vision, and incorporates many other elements. My festival sets are to capture the mood of the event, to grab the crowd’s attention and showcase the music I am really into, as well as my own music.

For someone renowned for his club sets, is it a challenge conveying the intimacy of a clubbing experience when performing in a festival?

Of course, but that’s the beauty. You have to work at your music, understand your crowd and know what you can do in the DJ box. This takes time and experience. I’ve been doing this a long time, so playing club shows or festival slots feels natural for me now, but I still like to go out there and push myself to deliver the best show possible. I treat every event as if it was my last and so I want to give fans the biggest and most amazing set they’ve ever heard.

EDM has crossed over to pop music. What are your thoughts on that, particularly when you see peers such as Avicii using country music elements and David Guetta blending his sounds with hip-hop?

Dance music has gone global like never before. It’s incredible. Personally, I am really proud of what is happening to electronic music right now. It’s amazing to see so many different ideas and sounds coming through. Guys like Avicii and Guetta have just taken their version of electronic and run with it in different directions to other people. They’ve pushed the boundaries in a more mainstream way, perhaps, but they’ve created something new and I think this is really healthy for electronic music. For me, we are all in the same scene so anything that adds and helps grow this community is a positive thing.

You are known for having an energetic presence behind the decks. Is it important for DJs to exhibit some showmanship when performing live?

For me, yes, but I’m sure the answer is different for some other artists. It’s about being true to yourself and doing what you are comfortable with.

You have your own label, Revealed Recordings, and you have sourced some talent through demos. For aspiring producers from the Gulf, what advice would you give them before sending you their material?

It’s important to be original. Focus on your own sound and what music works for you – you need to believe in yourself. Today, many aspiring artists are too eager to put their music online or send it to labels before the track has been completed. My main advice would be only put out music you are 100 per cent happy with.

Will Creamfields Abu Dhabi be your first time in the Gulf? What have you heard about the event and the region?

I’ve been to the Gulf before, but I didn’t get much chance to explore last time so I am keen to do a little sightseeing this time around. I’m really excited to be a part of the Creamfields Abu Dhabi show. This should be a fantastic event and a great addition to the global party ­calendar.

• Creamfields takes place at du Arena, Yas Island, December 12, from 7pm. Tickets cost from Dh250 at

Published: December 10, 2014 04:00 AM


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