On a late Friday evening at Tinker Field, I conducted my last interview of the night with Willem van Hanegem and Ward van der Harst, more commonly known as the electro-house powerhouse W&W. Read below to learn more about your favorite dutch duo and their first experience headlining the 4th Annual Electric Daisy Carnival, Orlando.
Ariel DB: How was your set?
W&W: It was the first time that we played at a festival here in Orlando. We've played at Ultra and a big festival in Tampa, Florida (SMF). It was actually really good. We liked it. Tonight we tested out a lot of new songs. We tried to play something new and see what happens. It was a really energetic crowd so that was really good.
Ariel DB: How has the transition from trance to harder electro been and how did the track "Thunder" play a role in that?
W&W: For us it was completely natural. What we wanted to do, what we always will want to do, is make the music that we really feel. If this is what we feel at the time, and this is the song we like, then we'll release that. If it's not trance, so be it, if it's not house, whatever. We just make songs that we like. It took a while for us. The funny thing is that tracks like "Thunder," this is stuff we made before people even knew us from trance. That was the style we originally wanted to make. Back then everyone was like: "Hardstyle, house and trance together? Hahaha, No! That's not going to work!" If you're making trance, you just play trance. If you're making house, you just play house. That's what it used to be so we always tried to make that sound and all-of-a-sudden it was acceptable and we're just like, "YES, finally!" We had actually made a couple of those tunes already, but it wasn't really publicly accepted. This is like the first time we could actually get away with it.
Ariel DB: How have your fans reacted to this change?
W&W: A lot of negatives and a lot of positives. For us, I guess it's like, if we make songs we don't like and we have a negative comment, it hurts us. When we make a song like "Thunder," which is totally us, and comes from the heart, you can say whatever you want because it doesn't hurt us. You know why? We did our best and that's the song that WE like. They can say whatever they want and even if 80% of people don't like it, we don't care. It's a song we love and we tried to make. If we were to make a song that we weren't satisfied about or we don't really like it, we would still try it out and see what the reaction will be. Like right now if we wanted to make a trance song just to be trance, that's not going to work. That's not the way an artist should work. They should work by making something they feel in the moment and not just make something for other people.
Ariel DB: How did you both feel about "Waves" becoming the Tomorrowland anthem?
W&W: It was such a great thing! We we're told only a couple of days before Tomorrowland and we were like, "Couldn't they have said that earlier?" We finished "Waves" probably around May or June. We didn't completely finish it but we had the track playable and then we finished it the Wednesday before the release the following Monday.
Ariel DB: If you could pick two DJs to be your parents, who would they be and why?
W&W: Our parents? Can two dudes be your parents?
Ariel DB: Yes! It's totally fine. Ha ha ha!
W&W: I mean it's definitely gotta be Armin and Tiesto because both of them are the biggest influences in our career. Because of them, we started this. They were like the main two guys in Holland that everybody looked up to. We always looked up to both of them and we still do. They are our heroes from when we started and our inspiration. If it wasn't for them, the dance scene wouldn't be as big as it is right now. We wouldn't have even been doing this if they weren't there.
Ariel DB: How did you guys feel about the results of the DJ Mag 100?
W&W: The cool thing about the DJ Mag is that there are a lot of people who actually take time to vote. It takes a lot of time to vote. Did you vote?
Ariel DB: I did actually!
W&W: It takes time right? Like, 5 minutes. So you fill in all of this stuff and what's cool about it is that a lot of people actually take a lot of time to vote for you. That's why we always are thankful for that. Of course, how can you rank DJs with different styles and different genres? It's just weird because you don't have a top 100 of best singers in the world or best actors. We should have best tech-house, and best trance song, but right now there are thousands of DJs and it's just hard because there's so many great people who aren't even in there. We shouldn't take it too seriously, but as a DJ it's really flattering that people actually take the time to vote for you. That's how we look at it. That's why we will never hate on it because there are people voting for us and we're really thankful for that.
Ariel DB: Can you give some advice for up-and-coming artists?
W&W: Try to be unique. The easiest thing to do right now is find a style, combine elements you think fit, and try to do it in a unique way. Of course, you can do big-room trance or whatever, but if you do it your own way, then you will stand out. If you copy everyone else, it's not going to work because there are already hundreds of copies. It will just get left right on top of the pile of other copies. Really try to stand out. People right now aren't looking for more of the same they are looking for something new. If you do something new then people will notice you and if you do more of the same you won't get a lot of exposure. When we pick out a song for our label we always try to find something that's really different.
Ariel DB: What's next? What can fans expect?
W&W: We actually can't tell much because we've made so many new songs. I think like 7 or 8 are songs lying around right now. But, from next week on we'll be back home for two-week so we're going to try to convince each other which songs we're going to release and which we're not. I think we have one coming out with Hardwell and Fatman Scoop that'll be out by probably the beginning of next year. We did a remix of "Zombie Nation" and there's a lot of people who want to have it, but because we are on the rise we might give it away for free. We are going to try to find a solution for that. Like we said, we have about 7 or 8 new songs that we are going to try to find the right ones to release by the beginning of next year. We actually tested some of them out today. Yeah, we did like three of them so it'll be hard to pick.
Photo Credit (top photo): Marc van der Aa & Insomniac
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