Willem van Hanegem and Wardt van der Harst make up the Dutch duo W&W. Initially known in the industry for their trance tracks, the producers’ sound has evolved to encompass other realms within the EDM world. Van Hanegem and van der Harst plan to add some musical twists to future productions that the trance family of followers probably wouldn’t expect. Van der Harst took a few minutes to share some insight into W&W, who will headline Hakkasan on January 29.
What is your favorite element of a nightclub—beside the music, of course?
The drinks! [Laughs.] For us, the sound is most important. At Hakkasan, what we really like is the whole production: They have the big LED screen above the DJ booth, but also the confetti is really cool and the CO2. It’s a combination of everything.
Have you ever gotten to just hang out and enjoy the show there?
Not until the week before New Year’s Eve. We had a few days off in North America and we felt like going to Vegas. Our friend Steve Aoki was playing. We took a little walk around the club to see what it’s like from the crowd.
How do you juggle your record label duties with producing music, touring and everything else?
Administration for the label, for instance—doing the deals and stuff—we don’t do that. We have our label, Armada, doing that for us. But the rest is just a matter of very good time management. And we really focus. So if we’re doing a radio show, we’re doing a radio show and that’s all we do. And when we produce, we shut our phones off. Even if our management or our agent is calling, we don’t pick up.
You’ve played with a couple of different genres within EDM during your career. What types of music can we expect you
to produce in the future?
We started with a bit more trance, and then we went into more house influences. Right now, we’re producing lots of different things: We have a few cool melodic tracks, vocal tracks and more trance-y stuff. Also, really hard EDM, even with trap—I wouldn’t say just trap, but trap influences and sounds from trap.
That’s certainly a departure! Why the new sounds?
Even when we did trance, we always implemented different styles, otherwise we just get bored using the same formula over and over again. We lose the excitement. The last thing we want is to lose the love for making music. We like to create, and the only way to keep it interesting is to experiment with lots of different things.
You guys are huge in the festival circuit. What are some of your favorites?
That’s a very hard question. Obviously Ultra in Miami, Tomorrowland in Belgium and EDC in Las Vegas—those are just a few.
What makes those festivals so great?
The good thing about Ultra and EDC is that they’re so big, because of the [online] broadcast. Besides the amazing crowd that you play for, there’s also an online community watching and listening. You feel like the whole world is at that particular place right then.
When you check your socials—your mentions on Twitter and Facebook—you get so much [interaction]. When we finished our set at Ultra last year, I think we had like 3,000 new mentions on Twitter. It was insane.
I saw that you mentioned your upcoming vocal track releases on social media. Can you say anything about those, yet?
We don’t want to reveal anything until it is a finished song. We have a few that we are very excited about, because in the last few years we didn’t really do vocal tracks, but it’s exciting to work with vocals again. During Ultra in Miami, we are gonna premiere a lot of new stuff.
I also noticed that you guys really like Breaking Bad. What shows are you into right now?
We’re waiting for the new [season of] Game of Thrones—probably like everybody else. I don’t know about Willem, but I watch Suits. That show is pretty cool. It’s about lawyers in New York. The Walking Dead is pretty cool. I like the whole approach on the zombie apocalypse, how humans would actually react rather than just ‘humans versus zombies.’ It’s not a good thing to watch just before dinner.