You’re playing Mysteryland this year. Artists from many genres will be playing. How do you prepare a set for a crowd who might not be familiar with hardstyle?
I think at Mysteryland the crowd is very familiar with Hardstyle, the Q-dance stage is one of the biggest stages there after all. But I always try to see how to crowd responds by playing certain tracks. When you play a track such as Imaginary and everyone is singing along, I know I can follow up with some more tracks that real hardstyle fans know. If the crowd is more mixed I probably play some more commercial remixes, it all depends on the response I get.
ON DEMAND is a project where you’ve released previously unreleased tracks requested by fans. In addition, you’ve released a special limited edition signed version with 4 additional tracks. Can fans expect more ‘ON DEMAND’ tracks in the future?
Yes, I think with ON DEMAND we have built a cool concept to see what the fans want. Of course, I can’t just release every track that is requested, due to copyright and some tracks I am not the only writer. But in the future, I definitely intend to keep listening to what the fans what and possibly do new free releases
As someone who has remained in the Top 100 DJ Mag list since 2011, how do you interpret the rankings in regards to your own career?
I’m very thankful for receiving so much support from the fans and being in the DJ Mag every year. For me personally, the DJ Mag doesn’t play a very large role. I will always make music because that is what I love to do. But in certain countries, for example in Asia, the DJ Mag definitely plays a role in getting bookings sometimes. Some promoters look at the list to determine who they will book for their festivals.
What is a moment you’ve experienced that best represents the “I AM HARDSTYLE” movement, where it’s more than just the music, but also the community behind it?
Last year when we did the first edition of I AM HARDSTYLE in Germany. It was really amazing to see the community come together for this, not just from Germany but also other countries. It just seems to be growing so much over the last year, people really identify with I AM HARDSTYLE. I think it’s great that my team and I have created something that brings so many people together.
Are there any upcoming artists you’re excited about on your WE R Music label?
Of course Sub Sonik with the release of his first album this year. But also Rebourne & Galactixx who have joined WE R Music recently. I’m excited to see what music they will come up with in the future.
Do you see a growing divide between the hardstyle community with regards to raw and euphoric hardstyle?
Raw Hardstyle has become very popular over the last few years, and a lot of events have popped up which only feature raw hardstyle. I’ve always liked both euphoric and raw. I love mixing up beautiful melodies with really loud kicks. I think for much of the hardstyle fans it’s the same, you can love both and it doesn’t have to be one or the other necessarily.
What was the creative inspiration that drove the lyrics behind many of your vocal hardstyle anthems?
I’ve played a lot of different hardstyle events over the years, for many different crowds. That’s where a lot of the inspiration comes from. Trying to capture the feeling many people have while visiting these events. It’s about letting go and escaping reality for a moment.
You are the head ambassador and creator of the first “THE PROJEQT” anthem. Why do you think it’s important to give back and volunteer within one’s community?
I think it’s very important to give back to the community. When you’re in a position where you can do something good or help people you should always do it.
With playing several shows per week throughout the year, how do you recharge between traveling to shows?
I try to spend time with my family as much as I can when I’m home. With the birth of my I try to spend time with my family as much as I can when I’m home. With the birth of my daughter, I definitely realize how important it is to spend time with my family, and see her grow up. Making music also gives me a lot of energy. With my studio at home finished it’s easier to quickly work on some music in between shows.
Given the opportunity to expand the reach of your chosen genre, where’s one untapped market you think would love what you do?
I’ve been playing all continents from the United States to Asia. Both South America and Asia are really booming, so I would really love to perform there more.