By Alix Norman
Last time I went, it was Armin Van Buuren who topped the global ranks, and the night was utterly fantastic. Nothing, but nothing could compare to the sensation of being part of that crowd: whipped into a frenzy, sweat-soaked and trance-happy till dawn. Except, maybe, the joy of telling one’s British cousins you’ve secured a ticket to a beach-front party with the top DJ in the world (smug? Why yes I am!). This year, however, I’m hoping the event will exceed even my superlative expectations. Because Van Buuren has been toppled from his number one spot by none other than DJ Hardwell. And, according to presenters Shark Energy Drink and organisers Moonlight Show Productions, it’s time to Go Hardwell or Go Home.
As part of his world tour, The World Reigning No.1 DJ, and six time IDMA winning DJ/Producer will be playing at Phinikoudes beachfront on July 2, fresh off a flight from Ibiza. More well-travelled than Father Christmas himself, Hardwell brings the gift of music to hundreds of thousands around the globe on a monthly basis: June saw this musical prodigy on a whistle-stop tour of Seoul, Chicago, Houston, Boston and Las Vegas, before he ended the month at the Mediterranean’s number one party spot. And after the Cyprus start to July, he’s off to Belgium, Hungary, Serbia, Britain and his native Netherlands. All this and still only 27. But then he did start at a surprisingly early age…
Hardwell (who, back then, was known merely as Robbert van de Corput) has experienced the meteoric rise that most in the music industry can only dream of. Showing considerable talent from an early age, his love of classical piano quickly segued into a passion for more popular music – a local MTV documentary inspiring him to try his hand as a DJ when barely into his teens. Enrolled in a music-orientated school and the Rock Academy, his natural flair soon became apparent, and he was advised to quit almost immediately to pursue a music career. By 14, he’d been signed to a Dutch label playing in major clubs around the Netherlands at an age when most kids were still trying to figure out iTunes. And, despite the fact that he had to be chaperoned by his parents, Hardwell’s club sessions were a huge hit with national audiences.
Fast forward a few years, and Hardwell’s breakout came with the bootleg of Show Me Love vs. Be, which went on to become one of the biggest dance hits of 2009. By the following year, he’d released several noteworthy tracks (Alright featuring Red Carpet and Feel So High featuring I-Fan) and gone on to launch his own label: Revealed Recordings. Starting with the release of a compilation series, Hardwell presents Revealed, he’s since produced some of the best-selling mix albums of the last few years, showcasing his remix skills for artists around the world.Fellow DJs Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Bob Sinclar and Fedde Le Grand – to name just a few – have all benefited from Hardwell’s talents, and he’s also responsible for the remixes of smash hits such as Taio Cruz’s Hangover, Tiesto’s Love Comes Again and Martin Solveig’s Ready To Go. His bootleg of Avicii’s Levels had 100,000 plays on Soundcloud in the space of only four days (an incredible achievement), he’s appeared in Tomorrowland and held a coveted residency at Ibiza’s Ushuaia. And, in 2014, coming off his hugely successful I AMHARDWELL World Tour, he released his long-awaited debut album United We Are.
This year, Hardwell has continued his winning streak: collaborating with top DJs and producing hit records, cementing his position as a true crossover artist and aficionado of the Big Room House style. A true tastemaker in the industry, he’s a musical force to be reckoned with, his exceptional technical skills and explosive style thrilling audiences worldwide. Which is why I, for one, can’t wait to break out the glow sticks and head down to the dance event of the year – on the beach, under the stars. I’m just going to message my cousins first, because I think it’s raining in Oxford.
DJ Hardwell at Phinikoudes Beach
Presented by Shark Energy Drink and Moonlight Productions. July 2. Tickets cost €30 presale and €40 on the door, and are available at various locations around the island. For more information call 77777040 or 77772939, or visit www.hardwellcy.com or www.tickethour.com.cy. Bus transport to the event is available from all cities. Contact Marios Kapnos on 99 442155