Exclusive Interview: W&W talk Pokemon Go! and why you won’t see them making tropical house
W&W have always been music trailblazers. From their humble beginnings in trance to today’s more energy packed sound and even a detour into hardstyle, Willem van Hanegem and Ward van der Harst have continued to excel in a seemingly impossible task of infusing genres and dipping into different musical styles. In an industry filled with controversy and gossip the Dutch producers have always managed to be in the limelight for all the right reasons: their talent, hard work and humble nature.
We Rave You visited superclub Top Hill in Budva on the breath-taking coast of Montenegro and we were treated to an electric show by W&W. If that wasn’t enough, we were also fortunate enough to have a chat with the power duo to find out where the Dutch power players are heading in the future. We asked the guys how their 2016 has progressed so far and there were plenty of highlights to reminisce about:
Willem: “The whole year has been a highlight so far. We have had no bad shows, no releases that didn’t do well. The whole year so far has been a highlight for us.”
Ward: “We’ve had a couple of really good releases that were received really well. We had Arcade with Dimi and Mike that got released this year. We’ve had Ultra Music Festival in Miami – so far it’s been great and the summer is only going to be better so we can’t wait.”
The power duo have had phenomenal success with their singles so the logical progression would be the release of an album. In spite of the large amount of eager interest from fans, an album is not forthcoming for the time being.
Ward: “There’s definitely enough material for an album but you know we just want to focus on finishing the best releases right now. We have a lot of stuff that we made and that we play in our sets but there’s not really a plan for an album right now.”
With a string of successful releases behind them the chemistry between W&W and Hardwell is undeniable. The magic it seems is in sharing the same vision in music:
Willem: “Since the first time we met each other we’ve been working a lot together in the studio. Whenever he comes over to the studio – every single time – we have one record and we start a new one. So we have so many of them. We try to release at least one every year. So far we’re doing good. Every year we’ve released one. Like one or two more coming but we’ll see what we can do with that.”
Ward: “There’s a lot of setups with Hardwell being around. The thing with him is that we really share the same vision in music. We want to reach the same goal. Whenever we’re in the studio we really feel connected. There’s never really a discussion like ‘ No we should do this like this’. We always have the same ideas and same vision I think.”
In spite of their young age, the power duo have an impressive resume behind them and one of their talents in particular lies in the ability to infuse a large amount of different genres and yet do compellingly well in every direction they take. Willem and Wardt believe that the direction should be guided by how they feel:
Willem: Our music has evolved by the way we feel. So right now we might feel like we want to make a more trancey song or like hip hop or trappy song or more housey and that’s where we go. We don’t really limit ourselves by what everybody else is doing. We just do whatever we feel. So maybe for next year we’ll do a trance song.
With that in mind we jokingly suggested conquering a genre they have not yet explored – tropical house. The possibility of a tropical house track by the duo is a very slim one as evidenced by their answers:
Willem: “No. It’s not for us. Anyone that knows us since the trance days knows we make energetic dance music so tropical house doesn’t really fit that. We could do a good tropical house song but there’s other people that invented that sound and they’re probably better at it because they feel it by heart whereas for us we can make a tropical house song but it’s not what we feel.
Ward: “Everything we make has big melodies and a big theme in there and tropical house is a little bit more mellow. We like to listen to it but it’s not really the style that we would produce I think.”
Having been one of the busiest producer/DJ’s on the scene the boys have seen a fare share of the road and we would assume that finding the balance in life would be difficult. The boys however have been keeping busy with a not so uncommon activity of recent times – Pokemon Go!
Ward: “Basically we’re always working but there’s this new game called Pokemon Go! and everyone is obsessed with it.”
Willem: “Do you wanna see my team? We’ve been playing that for the past few days. We’ve been catching some Pokemon.”
As entertaining as it was watching the guys light up as they talk about their new-found love for Pokemon hunting we moved onto a more serious topic that’s widely discussed in today’s scene – the future direction of electronic music:
Willem: “EDM right now is at a point. I think the last few years we’ve had everybody focusing on one sound but right now everyone is going in a different direction. I think right now people are actually taking more risks which is a good thing. Finally. There was only one formula which worked for the past few years and right now that formula doesn’t work anymore and there’s a few sounds that everybody fits in. I think, well I hope at least for the year after that, that people are going to move in between all of those and I already see people taking risks and that’s good for the scene. Because you have more songs that actually stand out.”
Proof that the Dutch superstars practice what they preach is evidenced by their recent detour into hardstyle.
Willem: “We go wherever we feel like. It’s better than making the one song over again. And that’s what’s been going on for the past few years. And now everybody is moving. I think that’s a good sign.”
Whatever their music philosophy is – there’s no denying that it’s working. With a myriad of successful singles, a consistency in their releases, massive worldwide tours and a legion of fans in every country the world over – one thing is for sure – W&W are here to stay.
Photographs: Top Hill Budva