Another month means another exciting resident artist. This month I have the pleasure of sitting down with Hardwell and talking to him about his upcoming tour ‘I Am Hardwell’ coming to North American for the first time since it launched back in 2013. The first show is set for Chicago on Halloween night, talk about a little treat for those Midwest kids. But before he arrives we had to chat with him about this once in a lifetime experience and of course get some other information while we had him.

TMN: Hardwell! Hello! We have to start by saying thank you so much for being our resident artist this month, it really is an honor to have you take over The Music Ninja website!

H: Hello to you! Thanks so much for having me.

TMN: So I guess let’s start at the beginning of the whole ‘I Am Hardwell’ concept, can you tell us about your inspiration for this tour and what it was like introducing this amazing musical experience in Amsterdam to a group of over 6,000 present fans and then broadcasted to over 100,000 fans all over the globe?

H: Well before this came about, I was playing a lot of festival gigs and club tours all the time, and it got to the point where it was definitely time to take the next step. For me, that was doing my own concert series that you now know as I AM HARDWELL. Myself and Alda developed the stage design and I’ve been involved with it from the very beginning. This was exactly the way I wanted to bring it to the crowd. Once we developed the whole concept, I started taking it around the world. Amsterdam was the first I AM HARDWELL show that we did, so it was truly an incredible feeling to deliver on what we’ve worked so hard on to my fans from home. Knowing that over 100,000 fans could watch from their home made debuting I AM HARDWELL even more special.

TMN: Now talk to us more about how this is different from any other show you have done before because it is based on your rise in the music scene correct? Talk to us a little bit about your musical background and where you started from, how about even before you were a DJ, were you involved in any musical elements as a young child? Could music be found in your household?

H: Yes, I really wanted this show to be about my music and experiences. For the I AM HARDWELL shows I decided to make my performances 3-hour sets so I can take the crowd on a musical journey. I’m lucky to have my own stage design, sound, and production as well. The one thing I wanted to achieve with my I AM HARDWELL shows was to give my fans the best experience they’ve ever had and unite them with my music.
As for my musical background, I started when I was four years old playing classical and jazz music on the piano. I discovered dance music when I was about 10 years old because the top DJs in the world like Tiesto were from my city. From then I started producing dance music. I was so lucky to start being recognized at such a young age. I started playing more clubs and shows around the world. I can’t remember one day when music wasn’t playing in my family home. My parents were basically into all kinds of music from Abba, to Elvis Presley, and even James Brown.

TMN: And what about the moto for this whole show, ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’, tell us what that personally means for you as an artist and a person, and what you hope your fans take away with them from that message?

H: This entire journey has been a dream for me. It’s been a goal that I’ve set out to achieve ever since I was a child. Every step I’ve made and the hard work I’ve put in throughout my life was for me to become a top DJ and to be able to tour around the world. I want to inspire my fans and be an example for anyone else with a dream. This may sound corny, but if you work hard enough, and put in the time and effort, dreams can come true.

TMN: Where has been your favorite place to play on the tour so far (internationally) and why? Also, where are you looking forward to playing next (being a native of Chicago, I’m a little biased here.

H: Every show on tour has been such an incredible experience for me. Obviously my first I AM HARDWELL show in Amsterdam was unforgettable because it was the first time, and I was able to showcase it for my fans at home, but honestly, I leave every show with the same excitement. In the U.S., I can’t wait to play Madison Square Garden. Some of the biggest names in music have performed there, so it’s an absolute honor to be invited to play there for the first time. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time. I can’t wait for all of the shows though.

TMN: How much longer will this tour be going in and where will you be ending it?

H: Actually, the North American shows are the last on my I AM HARDWELL tour.

TMN: I guess a huge lingering question after such an incredible concept like ‘I Am Hardwell’ is, where do you go after it? We know you will be producing for quite a while, that is a given, but what are some projects and goals you have after this tour wraps up?

H: I just announced the new I Am Hardwell tour called United We Are, which is the name of my new album. That will kick off at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam where I’ll be playing to 17,000 people on January 24th. It’ll be my biggest show there yet! I can’t wait for people to hear my new album. I’ve been working on it all last year and I think it’ll show my diversity as an artists and how much I’ve grown musically.

TMN: I’m going to shift away from the tour for a quick minute and talk to you about your relationship with your fans. Hardwell has some very dedicated fans, I will be the first to say that. Now in return, you are constantly working on ways to communicate with these fans, to have them involved with everything Hardwell on a personal level. With the easy accessibility to social media, you have really used every possible outlet to allow your fans to know you on a more intimate level. Talk to us about the importance of these relationships and how you hope to continue this into the future?

H: Social media has become such an important tool for artists to communicate directly to their fans. One of the most important things for me is to be accessible to my fans, and have them be able to connect with me on a personal level.
I’m constantly engaging with fans through contests, meet and greets, and my Q&A series. I will always continue to do these concepts and hopefully introduce more fun and exciting ways for me to communicate with my fanbase.

TMN: Also another big thing for you is your record label Revealed Recordings. Tell us about your decision to start your own label and any new up and coming musicians we should keep an ear out for?

H: I was really frustrated with a lot of label A&Rs telling me how my music should sound. I wanted to create a label where I could put my music out freely, and not have label managers telling me what to do. Definitely keep an eye out for Kill The Buzz and a new guy, Julian Calor, who’s been making amazing music lately.

TMN: Now Hardwell it wouldn’t be a interview without a few fun questions so here we go. Let’s say you had to chose a ‘last meal’ to eat, what would that include?

H: A really good burger.

TMN: Tell us what is in your pockets right now, go ahead and check.

H: Haha, the usual stuff – wallet, iPhone 6, and USB drive. Can’t forget your music!

TMN: Three essential drinks/eats to have while on tour?

H: Heineken of course. Energy drink, water, and a bucket of fried chicken 😉

TMN: Do you have any ‘lucky’ clothing? You know, the whole lucky underwear, maybe a pair of socks? Or, how about, when you want to go out and kick ass for the day (maybe that’s an everyday thing) what do you wear?

H: Haha, I don’t think I have any lucky clothing, but sometimes I’ll throw on an all-black Revealed cap.

TMN: And finally, the question we like to ask all artists, if your music were an animal, what kind of animal would it be and why?

H: A penguin, I love penguins. Haha

TMN: Hardwell, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and chat with us! Best of luck on your North American tour!

H: Of course, thanks guys!

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