Robbert van de Corput, who you may know as Hardwell, signed with a Dutch record company at the ripe-old age of 14. Back when you were battling “brace face” and “pizza face” terms from your teenaged peers, Hardwell was playing Dutch House bangers in his homeland, the Netherlands. Think about it for a second, if you hear of a 14 year old DJ, you’d guess by the time he’s are 23 (Hardwell’s current age) that he’d be at the top of his genre and poised for a take over. Well, if you made that bet for Hardwell about 9 years ago, you’d be cashing in today, and depending on what you put on the table to begin with, raking in the dough.
Van de Corput began his musical journey under several different aliases including David Kidd, Sandwich, and Hardwell. Through his 9 years attempting find the sound that worked best for him, he shaped his sound into what we know today. The past year really proved how much of a breakout success his sound has been, as in the first Top 100 DJ poll Hardwell was elected to, he arrived at number 24. Keep reading after the break to get a feel and personal understanding of why Hardwell has reached the heights he has thus far.
Seeing as how he’s been around the block quite a bit when it comes to music production, we’ll touch on some of his more historic tracks, with a heavier focus on his latest work.
Soca Funk EP (2006):
Hardwell’s collaboration with Frank Rizardo on the Soca Funk EP, released in 2006 encompasses a lighter side of Progressive House music. The deeper, harder, electronic sounds many crave today just simply had not been found yet, and as a result we’re left with a few warm up tracks to get the blood flowing. The EP’s title track, Soca Funk is my favorite out the bunch, as it comes across as the most dynamic sound of the three released tracks.
Hardwell & Franky Rizardo – Soca Funk (2006)[audio http://geo-samples.beatport.com/items/volumes/volume1/items/0/500000/0/0/600/20/500627.LOFI.mp3]
Hardwell & Franky Rizardo – Slammin’ (2006) [audio http://geo-samples.beatport.com/items/volumes/volume2/items/0/500000/0/0/600/20/500628.LOFI.mp3]
Hardwell & Franky Rizardo – The Miror (2006) [audio http://geo-samples.beatport.com/items/volumes/volume3/items/0/500000/0/0/600/20/500629.LOFI.mp3]
Like the Soca Funk EP? Buy it on Beatport
For the next section, it may seem like we did a Featured Artist Friday on R3hab and Hardwell combined, but I promise I tried to narrow it down to one artist for this week. While R3hab did the original of MRKSTFT (no, not MSTRKRFT), the Hardwell remix just feels more finished. The bleeps and bloops you’re used to hearing when you listen to Dutch House are all there, giving it almost “bubbly feel.” Give the original mix a listen an you’ll see what I mean. Oh, and in case you’re interested in hearing some early Afrojack, there’s a remix of this very track as well, but Hardwell’s version beats it out in my book.
R3hab – MRKRSTFT (Hardwell Remix) (2008) [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbAiL2NHf9s&w=640&h=80]
Blue Magic is a much more Tech House track with less bass to the track and more rigidity that we heard during the Soca Funk EP. Give it a shot, it’s not what you’d expect out of him. Personally I imagine hearing this around a pool in Miami Beach, if only we were all so lucky.
Hardwell & Rehab - Blue Magic (Original Mix) (2008) [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS5-ixExJN4&w=640&h=80]
Hardwell’s breakout track was one of the most played tracks during the 2009 year, which is well deserved. His Show Me Love vs Be bootleg still is a favorite whenever someone decides to break it out while relaxing in the sun, or while gettin’ your groove on in the club. This one can not, and should not, die out. Store it under “classic” (not to be confused with classical, who did you think we are?) on your iTunes, it’s the only fitting description.
Steve Angello & Laidback Luke – Show Me Love vs. Be (Hardwell Bootleg) (2009)[audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/8sudbs2rr8eh/Steve+Angello+%26+Laidback+Luke+-+Show+Me+Love+%28+Hardwell+Remix+DRM+%29.mp3]
Molotov is where we really start feeling the higher energy tracks, and an overall increase in the level of detail, and skill, put into the production process. I’d say chronologically, this is when his drops become a bit more recognizable than the more linear tracks we had been hearing.
Hardwell – Molotov (2010) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/fnuu1v8cp2xf/24.+Hardwell+-+Molotov+%28Original+Mix%29.mp3]
Hardwell’s remix of Samir’s Theme is an easy going version of Dutch House, complete with horns and bongos. Not my favorite, but there’s definitely a right time place for this track.
DJ Debonair Samir- Samir’s Theme (Hardwell Remix) (2010)[audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/e67okf17164l/DJ+Debonair+Samir+-+Samirs+Theme+%28Hardwell+Remix%29.mp3]
There are a ton of different bootlegs and versions Alright floating around out there. The Alright 2010 version featuring Hardwell has several layers that really mesh together well. Feeling down, well don’t anymore, because Hardwell will make everything just fine…. ok, ok, alright.
Red Carpet ft. Hardwell – Alright 2010 (2010) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/629dvafm1339/Alright+2010+feat.+Hardwell+-+www.TapThatHouse.com.mp3]
Take feel good lyrics and stick a cool synth line behind it. If it were so simple we’d all be touring the world with our own record companies. It isn’t though, and thus Feel So High is well executed. Nothing fancy, nothing overtly special, just a great song for a Friday.
Hardwell ft. I-Fan – Feel So High (2010) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/ev4m4j0zofo2/Hardwell+feat.+i+-+fan+-+feel+so+high+%28radio+edit%29.mp3]
Personally, when I think of Move It To the Drum, I don’t think of Hardwell. Well that was just the uneducated me, and maybe you as well. the Chuckie and Hardwell collaboration was blasted through speakers world wide. It’s funky rhythm and sounds surely had (and still has) a bunch of guys in clubs sayin’ “Ah, damn girl….”
Hardwell ft. Chuckie – Move It To The Drum (2010) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/iprtf6epcvwc/Move+It+2+The+Drum+%28Original+Mix%29.mp3]
Epic track. That’s what Tiësto has always been known for. Lately, he’s been killing it with the newer sounds, teaming up with a slew of different artists. This track is a festival murderer, and and a show starter. If your set is dragging in front of thousands of fans, Zero 76 is a surefire way to get the people moving again…. then again how many of us really have that problem?
Tiësto & Hardwell – Zero 76 (2011) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/xqfzmp70sifh/Tiesto+%26+Hardwell+-+Zero+76+%28Original+Mix%29.mp3]
Cobra has to be one of my personal favorite tracks to come from Hardwell. That electric feel and the back pianos have a familiar Afrojack feel. Many newer to the scene probably have confused this with an Afrojack track actually.
Hardwell – Cobra (2011)
Similar in sound to Cobra, this track also has the trademark feel of Dutch influence (and why wouldn’t it?). Personally I think there’s some room for more grime in the bass line, but hey what do I know. Anyways, get your Dutch on and just imagine yourself at a festival for this one.
Hardwell – Encoded (2011) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/x3dhlxffxum4/Hardwell+-+Encoded+%28Original+Mix%29.mp3]
It took me a while to like Sovleig’s Ready 2 Go but it finally grew on me. Hardwell had a part in that, but the original really started to become enjoyable to me as well. Simplistic yet well done, this one is easy on the ear drum.
Martin Solveig ft. Kele - Ready 2 Go (Hardwell Remix) (2011) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/rn2555fzn5nq/Martin+Solveig+Feat.+Kele+-+Ready+2+Go+%28Hardwell+Remix%29.mp3]
Louder is one track better known in the Dubstep world. The Dubstep version is just massive if you’re into the wobble. The Hardwell version adds some great textured synthesizer lines on top of already amazing lyrics. This one’s going in my track lists for later viewing, and by later I mean 4:45pm.
DJ Fresh ft. Sian Evans - Louder (Hardwell Remix) (2011) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/68bd9395w1tw/DJ+Fresh+feat.+Sian+Evans+-+Louder+%28Hardwell+Remix%29.mp3]
When it comes to recent tunes, it doesn’t get much bigger than Avicii’s Levels. As a chart topper, it’s hard to put your spin on it and have it stand out, while still keeping the biggest parts together. While adding more “attack” to the main melody line and a few different sounds to the back beat and buildup, not to mention a downright dirty textured beat, this version is less euphoric, more grimy. Don’t worry Avicii purists, he left the original vocal in there during the breakdown. It can definitely stand right up there with the original.
Avicii – Levels (Hardwell Bootleg) (2011)
Munster, say it. When you think of it you might imagine a dubstep drop that just swallows your brain cells. This one is a track you can easily get lost in, but it won’t rattle your cranium too much. The repetitive lines make you feel like you’re falling into an digital prison, where the synth monster (or munster) are bound to take your soul. My advice? Just let it happen.
Hardwell & Joey Suki- Munster (2011)[audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/u7wzxf419g1m/Hardwell+%26+JoeySuki+-+Munster+%28Original+Mix%29.mp3]
Beta has that buildup sound that reminds of the trademark Zero 76 buildup, but has a completely different drop to it. A collaboration with two of the hottest in the scene can only go one way, proper.
Hardwell & Nicky Romero – Beta (2011) [audio http://www.hulkshare.com/dl/yv95pjuboiqc/Hardwell+%26+Nicky+Romero+-+Beta+%28Original+Mix%29.mp3]
Listen to the man in action and make sure you catch him whenever he’s in a city near you. Would you really not trust some advice from TheBeatMill? Seriously?
Hardwell Live At Sensation Innerspace, Denmark 10/29/2011
01. Hardwell – Cobra [Revealed]
02. Avicii – Levels (Hardwell Bootleg) [White]
03. Hardwell – Encoded [Revealed]
04. DJ Funkadelic – Doster [Revealed] w/ R3hab & Swanky Tunes feat. Max C – Sending My Love (Acapella) [Wall]
05. Tiesto feat. BT – Love Comes Again (Hardwell 2011 Rework) [Blackhole]
06. Hardwell & Nicky Romero – Beta [Spinnin]
07. Axwell, Tim Mason & Laidback Luke vs Adele – The Moment Is Rolling In God’s Air (DJ Funkadelic Bootleg)
08. Hardwell & DJ Funkadelic – Kontiki [Revealed] 09. Sander van Doorn – Koko (Bingo Players Remix) [Doorn] 10. Hardwell & Chuckie feat. Ambush – Move It 2 The Drum (Chris Kaeser vs. Promise Land Remixes) [DIrty Dutch] w/ Robin S. – Show Me Love (Acapella) [Champion] 11. Hardwell & JoeySuki – Munster [Revealed] 12. Delerium feat. Sarah McLachland – Silence (W&W vs Jonas Stenberg Remix) [White Label] 13. Clockwork – Squad Up (MAKJ Hands Up Edit) [Dimmak] 14. Dyro – Metaphor [Revealed] w/ Fatboy Slim – Praise You [Skint] 15. Hardwell – Spaceman [Revealed] w/ Justice vs. Simian – We Are Your Friends (Acapella) [Ed Banger] 16. Tiësto & Hardwell – Zero 76 [Musical Freedom] w/ Peter Gelderblom – Waiting 4 [Spinnin] 17. Tiësto – Maximal Crazy [Musical Freedom] 18. Setrise – Kernkraft 400 [2 Play] (Encore)
Hardwell Live At Electric Zoo 2011, New York 9/4/2011
01. Hardwell – Encoded (Intro Edit) [Revealed]
02. Avicii – Levels (Instrumental Mix) [LE7ELS] w/ Avicii – Levels (Clockwork Remix) [White Label]
04. Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso – Calling (Instrumental Mix) [Refune] 05. Pendulum vs Alex Kunnari & Tom Fall – Lost The Island (Hardwell Mashup)
06. Hardwell – The World [Revealed] 07. Tommy Trash – Future Folk [Musical Freedom] 08. Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin – Save The World (Marco V Turn The Crowd Up Treatment)
09. ID w/ Chuckie & Hardwell feat. Ambush – Move It 2 The Drum (Acappella) [DIrty Dutch] 10. Fatboy Slim – Praise You (Hardwell’s Electric Zoo Rework)
12. Wynter Gordon – Dirty Talk (Laidback Luke Remix) [Big Beat] 13. Tiësto & Hardwell – Zero 76 [Musical Freedom] w/ Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix) [Polydor] 14. PeaceTreaty Vs. Empire Of The Sun – Heard of Us Walking On A Dream (MAKJ Mashup)
15. Sander van Doorn – Koko (R3hab Remix) [Doorn] 16. Tiësto – Maximal Crazy [Musical Freedom]
Hardwell Live At The Electric Daisy Carnival 2011, Las Vegas 6/25/2011
01. Tiësto & Hardwell – Zero 76 [Musical Freedom]
02. Wynter Gordon – Dirty Talk (Laidback Luke Remix) [Big Beat]
03. Hardwell – The World [Revealed] w/ Justice vs. Simian – We Are Your Friends (Acappella) [Ed Banger]
04. Calvin Harris – Awooga [Fly Eye]
05. Steve Angello & Laidback Luke feat. Robin S – Be [Mixmash] w/ Afrojack – Pacha On Acid [Size]
06. Steve Angello & Laidback Luke vs. Robin S – Show Me Love vs. Be (Hardwell Bootleg) [White Label]
08. Chuckie & Hardwell feat. Ambush – Move It 2 The Drum [Dirty Dutch] 09. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside (Benny Benassi Remix – ID Edit) [White Label] 10. R3hab – The Bottle Song [Wall] 11. Bassjackers – Mush, Mush [Musical Freedom] 12. Blur – Song 2 (Chuckie Edit) [White Label] 13. Tiësto & Diplo – C’Mon [Musical Freedom] 14. Hardwell – Encoded (Dada Life Remix) [Revealed]