Hardwell interview: DJ devastated at cancelled gig

DJ Hardwell  (Robbert van De Corput). Pic: Comp
DJ Hardwell (Robbert van De Corput). Pic: Comp
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HARDWELL is, in his own words, “super-excited to be coming back to Scotland.”

The Dutch DJ, ranked No 1 in the world by DJ Magazine, is keen to make up for the cancellation of his Ingliston gig in February, a decision he admits that left him “devastated”.

Not least, he says, “because Edinburgh is a city I really love visiting and one I always have a great time in.

“It has a very Royal feel, which makes it a very special place - I’d like to see more of the city this time around, if I can.”

Hardwell, real name Robbert van de Corput, began DJing at the age of 12. A year later he was signed to his first record label, and by 14 was DJing at clubs across the Netherlands - complete with his parents chaperoning him.

“I often get asked what other line of work I would be doing if I were not a DJ,” he says, “but to be honest, I really don’t know.

“Ever since I was a kid, all I ever wanted to do was make music and play music. This has always been my dream.”

Mentored by the legendary DJ Tiësto, with whom he shares a birthplace, the town of Breda, Hardwell’s I Am Hardwell gig at Ingliston tonight is expected to attract thousands revellers to the Royal Highland Showground, and the electro-house star is determined that every one of them will have a great time.

Recalling the moment he heard his February gig had been pulled due to safety concerns, he admits, “It was a shock. I’d spent a long time preparing for the show and was ready for it.

“I was devastated and felt heartbroken for the fans because it wasn’t their fault it got pulled.

“You spend all that time looking forward to going out and having a good night with your friends, listening to music you enjoy, and then you’re told the shows not going to happen... I really did feel gutted for them.”

It’s clear his fans are very important to the 26-year-old.

“They mean the world to me,” he agrees. “I know what it is like to be one of those guys on the dance floor, because I am still one of those guys – loving the music, having a great time, sharing this with like-minded people.

“I try to keep in touch with them as much as possible via my social sites. Their feedback on my music and DJ sets is something I really value. I’m also eternally grateful to them for supporting me throughout my career and for voting me their No 1 DJ in the world.”

And he promises he has something very special planned for tonight.

“I’ve been so eager to come back to Edinburgh and bring the show to the fans.

“I’ve spoken with so many of them via my Facebook and Twitter and, as much as I am very excited, so they are really excited about the show. I’m not going to let them down. I want to put on a massive show.”

He continues, “This is definitely going to be one of the biggest and most insane I Am Hardwell show’s I’ve done so far.

“I want to repay them by playing one of the best sets I’ve ever played. I’ve been using all this extra time to put something really special together just for this show.”

Judging from his previous gigs in the series, one thing that’s guaranteed is that tonight’s I Am Hardwell concert, which is promoted by Colours, will be a feast for the senses.

Holographic visuals, pyrotechnics, state-of-the-art computer wizardry and spectacular audio-visual elements bring the music to life. From the artwork to the visuals, Hardwell has overseen all the elements of the show himself.

“My sets and music are about people having a good time, about keeping the energy flowing, keeping the momentum of the dance floor moving and building up the atmosphere,” he explains.

“I love DJing and the connection you have with the crowd... it’s a connection thing.”

However, while he’s now at the top of his game, the rise of Hardwell hasn’t been overnight. It’s all about “hard work” and “belief in yourself”, he says.

“I’ve been doing this for more than ten years now, but the key thing I’ve realised is that without hard work and belief in who you are as a person and artist, then you’re never going to get it right. You need to follow what you believe in.

“See you on the dance floor.”

I Am Hardwell, Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, tonight, 6pm-4am, £39.50, 0131-226 7010