Mawazine 2016: 5 Minutes with EDM star Hardwell

Hardwell performs at the 2016 Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco. Courtesy Sife Elamine
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Vacation time is over for Hardwell. The Dutch dance DJ is back on the road for another world tour, which includes a stop at the Mawazine Festival in Morocco. Speaking from the capital, Rabat, the 28-year-old EDM star discusses working on his upcoming second album, Holland’s love for dance music and the rigours of touring.

We last saw you in Dubai in February. What have you been up to since then?

I am working on my new album. This is actually one of my first shows in over six weeks because I have been getting some ideas for the new songs.

EDM music has become the new pop music. Can we see you doing a Calvin Harris and collaborating with pop stars for the new album?

I will never say never. My last album I had a collaboration with Jason Derulo – that was fun. But you know, I like staying true to my genre. In the end, when I make a track, I have to perform the track in my DJ sets. So I always try to find the right combination between a radio friendly record and something that works on the dance floor. For the second album there will be more pop orientated dance songs. I am even working on a hip-hop song as well. But whatever happens it will always have that Hardwell signature sound.

You are also a producer. How important is it for you to write your own songs?

By making your own music you can separate yourself from the other DJs and be more original. A lot of guys can mix records from other DJs but what makes you stand out is your music. That’s the most important thing – being a producer and making your own tracks.

From Tiesto and Armin van Buuren to Martin Garrix and yourself, what is it about Holland that spawns so many superstar DJs?

Holland embraced dance music since the first days. In a lot of countries, including America, dance music was always viewed as underground and was played in really small clubs. While in Holland it has been on the radio, supermarkets and basically everywhere. I grew up listening to people like Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren because they were always on the radio and television. This continues every generation with new artists and that’s a beautiful thing.

Avicii recently announced he is taking an indefinite break after this world tour. He cited exhaustion as the main reason. With your constant touring do you ever fear burn out?

Myself and my management have a real close collection, especially when it comes to taking rests. As I mentioned, this is literally my third show in six weeks because I have been in the studio making some music and I had some days during that where I basically did nothing and catch up on my sleep. I definitely need those six weeks before my hectic summer schedule like my Ibiza residency and travelling around the world for three months. The hardest part about it is that it is not work for me. I love touring around the world so much that I rarely feel tired.

So you never felt so overworked that your body physically crashed?

At a certain level you have some kind of meltdown. I had mine around 2010 and I have not felt that tired or depressed since. It is about finding that balance between studio time, touring and rest.

The Mawazine Festival continues until Saturday, May 28. Visit for more details