“I think America is ready for hardstyle,” says Ran D without even a smidgen of irony. It might have been a statement likely to arouse ridicule a few years ago, but it's one that comes from experience. “Last weekend I played at Tomorrowworld, Atlanta,” he adds. “The vibe at Tomorrowworld was amazing.”
Still, the appearance of harder-edged styles within the sets of EDM titans — the likes of Laidback Luke, Hardwell and W&W — over the past 12 months, not to mention the appearance of Wildstylez, Headhunterz and his side-project Gunz For Hire alongside Ran D in this poll in recent years, is not making an ounce of difference to what one of the leading stars of the scene is making or playing, wherever he is in the world.
“I just play the music that I love,” says Ran D. “So if I'm playing in Holland or in the US, there's no big difference. If you book Ran D, then that's what you're gonna get — raw and energetic sets.”
It's this dedication and unwavering loyalty to the hardstyle formula that's encouraged this man's followers to repeat vote in their droves this year. Add to that a rapid flow of super octane techno bangers — 'I Need You', 'The Twilight Zone', 'Never Scared' — smashed to high heaven by all and sundry at hard dance's biggest events Defqon.1 and Qlimax, and we have ourselves a hard man to beat.