“Calvin Harris is an incredible artist” - MTV Meets Hardwell
The world's number DJ talks the rise of dance music, new charity project and loads more...
You would imagine that being the world’s number one DJ makes you busy enough, however, international superstar Hardwell, is casually trying to break world records on the side, as you do.
Luckily for the 27-year-old, his world-record attempt includes his day job of being a superstar DJ. In order to raise money for his United We Are Foundation, he will attempt to achieve the biggest guest list in history.
We caught up with the Dutch musician to chat about the real reason behind this record attempt, why Calvin Harris will make an incredible V Festival headliner, and the pressures (or not, in his case) of being the world’s number one DJ…
Why have you chosen to bring your world record breaking attempt show to Mumbai?
"The idea of the foundation came from a recent tour in India. We were driving through Mumbai and at one point we drove past a huge billboard with my name and face all over it, a moment any artist should be proud of, right? But underneath this billboard I noticed there were children sleeping rough and using the sign as shelter. It really struck me how wrong this was. Here was my name on this fancy billboard whilst these young kids were using it has a home. I just felt like I needed to do something here, I need to use this position I'm in to try and make a difference and help these young kids."
Does India have a special meaning to you?
"Connecting with my fans in India, whether at shows or via social media, has always shown me how special the passion in the country is. Not just for music, but for life. I'm happy that this time I will be returning to India won’t be to put on another tour event, but to be part of a project that is about celebrating life, and more importantly building a foundation to making a social difference to young kids in the country."
You're trying to create the biggest guest list ever, how's this going to work?
"I'm opening up my personal guest list to 100,000 people. I'll be allowing fans to sign up and join the guest list by making an optional pledge to the United We Are Foundation. All of the money raised will go back into the foundation."
Tell us a bit more about the show and the cause…
"The show I'm keeping under wraps for now to keep it special, but the cause is focused on helping to educate young underprivileged children and provide them with a better chance in life. It's a chance to make a difference and do something good with the position I’m in."
You've been voted the world's number one DJ by DJ Magazine for two years running, how does it feel to be the biggest DJ in the world?
"It feels amazing and also very surreal. It's a huge honour and something I'm truly grateful I've been able to experience in my life, not once, but twice. If I won again it would be amazing but it's really all down to the fans. They decide after all..."
What pressures come with holding such a prestigious title?
"It's a question I get asked a lot and the truth is, not as much as people imagine. Most of the pressure is from myself to try and become a better artist, to grow and outdo last year's successes. The fans have supported me throughout so I never feel like they're only interested because of the title. The music and the people are the reason why we are all into this scene, so any pressure that comes with the title of world number one DJ is purely from myself."
If you could hand the title over to another DJ, who would you choose and why?
"Martin Garrix. As a DJ I think he's been flawless these last few years and in the studio he's making fantastic music, which really has this amazing vibe and energy to it when played in clubs. His experience is really shining through; he has all the makings of a number one."
You're currently in the middle of festival season, what do you think about the rise of EDM/dance as festival main stage acts?
"I think the rise of electronic music as main stage acts has been a long time coming. Our scene has never been so mainstream in terms of the chart success and media coverage, so it's been a natural cross over for DJs to truly become the new rock stars."
"Guys like Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Paul Oakenfold, David Guetta, Carl Cox, as well as acts like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers etc., have been main stage for as long as I can remember, so it's not entirely new. But I do think the rise of our scene on a global scale and the abundance of new talent we have in dance music today is fantastic, and something I am so proud and honoured to be a part of."
Calvin Harris is headlining V Festival later this month, what do you make of Calvin as a headline act? What makes him such a good producer?
"Calvin is an incredible artist. He's been able to truly bridge electronic music with different genres, and yet retain all his credibility on all sides of the music fences. I've never been to V Festival but I know of it and have heard it's a big stage to perform on. I think Calvin, or any DJ, playing any of these types of festival only serve to help our scene grow and reach new fans. He has a great ear for a catchy melody and obviously knows how to create something special in the studio. I'm a big fan."
You've recently announced your second documentary 'I AM Hardwell – Living The Dream' tell us a bit more about it, what can we expect?
"This one is looking at my life after the success of winning the poll - a different angle, a different time, a different me. I've grown a lot since the last one was filmed and my life has changed a bit too, although much is still very much the same. I wanted to give the view a kind of 'through the looking glass' experience and give them the chance to really get to understand me as a person and a DJ."
What up and coming artists/DJs are you loving at the moment?
"Keep your eyes and ears out for a bunch of new and exciting young DJs. Julian Calor, Thomas Newson, Kill The Buzz, Joey Dale and Manse. All are going to be massive in the coming twelve months."
What/who inspires you to make music?
"The fans, the shows, the countries and culture, and my family. It's a combination of them all."
Tell us three things about you that you haven’t told anyone else…
"My first pet was a guinea pig called Scooby, I don't like eating cilantro and I used to play hip-hop when I first started out DJ’ing."
What's on your iPod that people wouldn't expect?
Hardwell's World's Biggest Guest List event will take place on December 13th in Mumbai. For more information please visit: http://foundation.djhardwell.com/
- By Megan Downing