The Dutch duo of Ward van der Harst and Willem van Hanegem have hit upon a winning formula. In their productions and DJ sets, they combine the trance heritage of their homeland with heavier ingredients, plus on-trend touches of house to arrive at a sound that’s made them festival headliners all over. After another blazing summer, Ukraine, Mexico, the USA and Indonesia are just a handful of the places they’ll play in November and December.
In 2016, their musical output was sparse, but laser-guided. Tunes such as ‘How Many’, out on their own Mainstage Music label, were purpose-built for festivals, and their collaboration with Hardwell and Lil Jon, ‘Live The Night’, unveiled a hitherto unseen appreciation for hip-hop call-and-response lyrical tactics.
“We enjoyed making that record in general, and having Lil Jon on it was just really cool. When we had the track, we felt like something was still missing and Lil Jon just nailed it!” BEN MURPHY
What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“We definitely stepped outside our comfort zone with our remix for The Chainsmokers feat Daya ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.”
Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“The only thing that matters is that the people who love it can enjoy it as much as they want and in the way they want.”
What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology?
“Splice really upped the game in production. It’s just perfect to keep up-to-date with all the new plug-ins and sample packs.”
If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“Probably trance or euphoric hardstyle, we just love the big melodic feelings in those genres.”
As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“That’s really hard to say about yourself. We used to spend a lot of money on festival tickets and concerts before we were DJing ourselves.”
What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“Put drug-test points at festivals. The more you make it a taboo, the more incidents will happen.”
How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“We think the diversity within dance music has already increased massively. Now people actually complain that line-ups are too diverse.”