World no.1 DJ Hardwell says new album represents unity in love for dance music

World no. 1 DJ Hardwell, whose real name is Robbert van de Corput. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT  
World no. 1 DJ Hardwell, whose real name is Robbert van de Corput. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT  

With a crazed touring schedule of 200 shows a year, it is no surprise that world no.1 DJ Hardwell would take inspiration from the fans for his debut artist album.

Released in January (2015), the record, United We Are, does not just represent the 27-year-old's musical tastes and diversity as a music producer.

It also represents the unity of people who share the love for electronic dance music.

Speaking to Life! before his solo show before a 13,000-strong crowd at the Meadow, Gardens By The Bay last Saturday evening, Hardwell hopes to strike a chord with audiences at festivals supporting his DJ sets as well as listeners of his album.

Hardwell, whose real name is Robbert van de Corput, has topped UK music bible DJ Magazine's Top 100 DJs poll for two consecutive years (2013 & 2014). He says: "The album is full of the signature Hardwell sound, and with that I mean, the more festival sounds.

"But there are tracks which are more downtempo, for being at home listening to dance music, or different genres. I think for everyone out there, there will be a specific track to like."

Hardwell, who hails from Breda in the Netherlands, first gained recognition in 2009 for his mash-up of singer-songwriter Robin S's Show Me Love and instrumental track Be by Greek-Swedish DJ Steve Angello and Filipino-dutch DJ Laidback Luke.

The bachelor's work caught the eye of famed Dutch DJ Tiesto, who took the young gun under his wing and brought him on tour, forming a strong friendship.

But Hardwell's career skyrocketed with the release of his hit singles Apollo and Spaceman in 2012. Those songs were an instant hit in clubs and dance music festivals all around the world, and helped to catapult Hardwell to the world no.1 spot on the DJ Mag poll by 2013.

When he performed here at Fort Canning Park in 2013, he played to a sold-out crowd of 8,000, one of the biggest turn-outs for any solo DJ set.

At the peak of his career, he finally decided to write and record his debut artist album, which took about two years to complete.

"It was the perfect timing, I was at the high point of my DJ career," he says.

The album sees him experiment with different genres of music, including rock, as seen in his song Sally, a rock guitar-driven track that marks a departure from the usual Hardwell sound.

"When I play my DJ sets I always play Nirvana and a lot of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, so I thought, 'You know what I play so many records, rock mash-ups and bootlegs, I just want to do a rock record'," he says.

He adds: "I always experiment. I don't follow trends, I just follow whatever I feel like."

Asked if he would consider following in the footsteps of other DJs and producers such as Skrillex and Avicii who have collaborated with Asian pop artists, Hardwell says "definitely, 100 per cent".

He says: "I'm not sure who I'd like to work with, but I'm figuring it out right now. I'm focusing now on more vocal tracks, club tracks...who knows what will happen in the future."