He may have been dethroned after two years at the top of the poll but Hardwell’s bigger than ever. Robbert van de Corput’s 2015 was a very good year even by his bombastic standards. His debut album ‘United We Are’ was released in January, while a residency at Ibiza’s swish Ushuaia, Hardwell’s Carnival, saw the EDM star slay all contenders for sheer chutzpah.
But it was the filming of a biopic documentary movie following his hectic life on the road, I Am Hardwell – Living The Dream, premiered at Amsterdam Dance Event, that really took him outside his comfort zone.
“It’s kind of odd to see yourself on screen, especially in a cinema environment,” Robbert admits. “I’m not an actor so for me this is really unusual, but it’s always amazing to see how much I’ve evolved, not just as an artist, but also as a person.
“When we first started filming the very first documentary I was conscious the camera was filming me but these days when the camera is rolling I’m not really noticing it at all,” he continues. “So it’s strange when I see myself on the screen talking or DJing or travelling or whatever, in a kind of natural state, it’s really giving a glimpse into me and my life and this whole journey.”
No stranger to collaborations, Hardwell hooked up with several artists this year, including rising artist Wiwek, whose brand of EDM ‘jungle terror’ has been getting him a lot of attention of late. Robbert loves working with others, suggesting that when it’s right, magic can happen.
“The magic that comes out of working with somebody else is always unpredictable,” he says. “I really enjoy working on my own in the studio but from time-to-time it’s a refreshing change to actually jump in the studio and just see what happens.
I’ve done a lot of collaborations over the years, and not all of them have been released. Sometimes the magic isn’t there, but when you get it right it’s really special. I’m always searching for that wow factor when making a record.”
Of course, his biggest collabo in 2015 was with Armin van Buuren for the electro zap of ‘Off The Hook’, an opportunity to work with another of his heroes. “What’s there to say about Armin that hasn’t already been said? He’s such a gifted and natural producer.
I’ve always loved the music he makes, and his ear for arrangement is second to none. It was a real pleasure to work with him on this track, and I feel we both brought some very defining qualities to this record. It captures our different styles and packages it up well — plenty of big electro groove and lots of pace too, with this classic euphoric break, which I love!”