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Poll 2018: Headhunterz

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From: Netherlands
DJ style: “Hardstyle.”
Best known for: “Representing the hardstyle genre and transforming it into something hard but melodic, energetic but touching.”
Fave tune of 2018: “KELTEK ‘Dark Sun’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2019: “Sound Rush and Sefa.”

Few artists would be able to completely change their production style and still retain the same level of popularity, but that’s exactly what Headhunterz (aka Dutch scene stalwart Willem Rebergen) did earlier in the decade. Having established himself as one of hardstyle’s biggest stars, he decided to mix things up in 2014, producing tracks that were closer to house and EDM than the blistering hard dance tracks he was known for.

At the back end of last year he decided to return to his hardstyle roots, heading back into the studio to make what became comeback album ‘The Return Of Headhunterz’. Released earlier in the year, it remains one of the most talked-about hard dance albums of 2018 and — along with his placing in the poll this year — confirmed his place as hardstyle’s leading DJ/producer.

Ever the workaholic, Rebergen has been touring relentlessly, barely returning to his home in the Netherlands for months on end. Somehow he’s also found time to work on a new Project One mini-album with fellow hardstyle star Wildstylez, and record regular episodes of his popular Hard With Style radio show.

Words: MATT ANNISS

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2018-10-11 16:44

Poll 2017: Headhunterz

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Walking a fine line between creative freedom and success, Dutch DJ and producer Headhunterz, aka Willem Rebergen, in recent years has struggled to find the right balance. From 2014 to 2016, Rebergen — like many producers — jumped on the EDM bandwagon, seduced by the bright lights and new opportunities that EDM could bring.

This two-year period had a profound impact on Rebergen, who broke down during a performance at hardstyle mecca Defqon.1 and soon realised that EDM wasn't for him, something he's wrestled with articulately via his popular vlog series, Vlogs From Without. 

So the last 12 months has seen Rebergen trying to reconnect with the community he abandoned, and like any family, they've welcomed him back with open arms. The veteran Dutch producer is now back to his hardstyle best with his latest track 'Taking It Back’, a massive nod to his roots.

And his hardstyle homecoming was most evident when he and Wildstylez's Joram Metekohy brought their iconic Project One alias back for a special one-off performance in Amsterdam in late 2016. The duo has only ever released one album and played a handful of shows together, but their album is arguably the genre's most iconic and proved Rebergen's desire to be at the centre of the scene he had helped create once again.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2017-10-17 10:50

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