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Leading up to the official kick-off to Hardwell’s Revealed North American Bus Tour, the Dutch DJ and purveyor of heart happy house music released a series of new tracks and teasers.

“Blackout” was released as a free download for fans in honor of the artist’s January 7th day of birth to help him celebrate the ripe old age of 28. From that spawned a series of ambitious anthems including a collaboration with Afrojack entitled “Hollywood” that featured eastern influences, and a sneak peek of his second collaboration with Jake Reese called “Run Wild” (officially released Feb. 29).

If that wasn’t bomb enough, Hardwell also released a special bus tour mix with plenty of input from Thomas Newton and Kill The Buzz, both openers for his 11-stop national tour and artists within his Revealed Recordings label.

The DJ not only revealed on stage at The Bluestone Sunday that Newton has been his best friend for over 20 years, he also considered Prime Social venues to be some of the “craziest in the world”, giving us infinite affirmation that it gets no better than #primelife living in the Midwest. Oh, and there’s more…

Hardwell unveiled a bevy of heavy hitting tracks he was planning to surprise the Ultra crowd with in March, including a track with Julian Calor still in its instrumental version. The prolific DJ gave even more with exclusive club remixes and a sneak peak of his second collaboration with Jake Reese called “Run Wild”. He even took it back, way back, by asking the audience for requests.

Are you excited about your return to The Bluestone in Columbus? What do you love most about the venue and its fans?

I’m very excited to return to The Bluestone and perform in Ohio again. The venue is absolutely incredible. The energy at The Bluestone is always amazing because the way the building is set up always makes the dance floor packed. I haven’t played at 31st Street Studios in Pittsburgh before, but I was very excited to check it out. It’s always a great time exploring new venues and playing at new places.

When I think Hardwell, I think house. Big, main room, heart-happy house. Your “United We Are” release last year features experimental elements, however, from the more chill sound of “Birds Fly” to the groovy, funkified vibe of “Where Is Here Now”. Did you seek out to provide diversity on this album?

One of my main goals for United We Are was putting out an album that was as diverse as possible, but still maintaining my identity and style as a DJ and producer. I wanted United We Are to show the diversity of my love for dance music. For example, “Where Is Here Now” is not a track that I would typically play in a DJ set, but if you knew my sound from four or five years ago, it still sounds like a Hardwell record.

You said in an interview last March that the hardest part of making your album was creating one that would be “timeless”. Do you think you accomplished that? Why did you want this album to be timeless?

I think I was able to make United We Are a timeless album because I truly put out an album that I was proud of. I put a lot of pressure on myself to step out of my comfort zone and try things that may not be a typical big room house song, but still sounds like a Hardwell track. United We Are represents what I’ve been working on for the last 10 years, and I think this album represents my sound very well.

Do you still consider Tiesto to be one of your musical inspirations?

Absolutely. Funny enough, Tiesto and I began working on “Colors” for United We Are the same week that we began working on “Zero 76,” our first collaboration together.

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As far as new music goes, the recent drops (“Blackout”, “Hollywood”) have been epic. Can you talk a little bit about where you’re headed in 2016 with these new tracks?

There’s so much exciting new music out there right now, and I want to show the world not only how creative I can be with my music, but also the way my music is received. I gave away “Blackout” as a birthday present to my fans, and “Hollywood” allowed me to push the boundaries by collaborating with my good friend Afrojack.

What’s the biggest difference between curating tracks for an album and DJ-ing say an hour long set? How is your thought process different for each?

The difference between making an album and an hour-long DJ set is night and day. An hour-long DJ set has a lot more structure than people think – hit after hit building up to a big climax, but with my album, I wanted to show the entire spectrum of my love for dance music by experimenting with different styles.

If you had to describe the Hardwell brand and your fans in one word each, what would they be?

Hardwell – energetic, my fans – passionate.

Why did you want to create the “I Am Hardwell” movie?

I wanted to create the “I Am Hardwell” movie to give my fans a personal look at Hardwell and what their love has helped me achieve.

Congratulations on being nominated for 12 IDMA awards! You’ve been nominated for Best Global DJ, Best Producer, Best Remixer, as well as for individual tracks… which category are you most excited or humbled by?

It’s a huge honor to be honored for 12 IDMA awards. They mean so much to me. Each of the different nominations means something to me because being a successful artist isn’t about being a good remixer or a good producer, but about being well-rounded.

Watch the amazing after movie of Hardwell @ The Bluestone Feb. 28th 2016 below

Hardwell

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Hardwell @ The Bluestone February 26th, 2016.
All photography courtesy of Rob Berry
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