Together with artists like Showtek
, The Prophet
, and Wildstylez
, producer Willem Rebergen (a/k/a Headhunterz) is leading the Hardstyle movement. This aggressive style of hard dance music originated in the Netherlands and has found support around the world. With his Hard With Style brand, Headhunterz shares the vibe with podcasts, festivals, and the label where he showcases new talent. Even when collaborating with artists from other genres like Krewella, W&W, and Martin Garrix, he stays true to his sound and you can hear the hard influence in every track he unleashes into the world.
RS: Are you the only one in Headhunterz, it’s not plural?
Headhunterz: It’s just me.
RS: One thing that I really respect about you is how much work you do for charity. Between Dance 4 Life and Do Something, what inspires you to do that?
Headhunterz: I guess it is just part of the way that I live my life. I like to be conscious of living a good life and doing stuff in return as well. I definitely realize that I was lucky to be born in a part of the world that is so wealthy and to have the career of my dreams. It is good to stay humble to remain conscious of what is going on in the world and to be a part of trying to make it a better place.
RS: That is very inspiring to hear. When you did the track with Krewella did y’all work together in the studio or was it done remotely?
Headhunterz: It was done remotely, we have met up but the whole collaboration was done remotely.
RS: You are also doing a lot with W&W, I am wondering if it is confusing to have two Willems in the room?
Headhunterz: Yes it is, we get confused all the time!
RS: I was thinking that y’all should just join up as one band and call it W&W&W.
Headhunterz: Yes, that’s a good one.
RS: You have a new track coming out with Martin Garrix, tell us about “Once Again.”
Headhunterz: Well, that is not a track with Martin Garrix but everyone thinks it is. He played it at Ultra and a few weeks before that I posted a picture of me working with him and people just connected the dots. “Once Again” is actually a solo track, but people haven’t figured that out yet. There is a collab with Martin Garrix coming, people just haven’t heard it yet.
RS: Is “Once Again” your track or his track?
Headhunterz: It is my track.
RS: What is the track that you are working with Martin Garrix on going to sound like?
Headhunterz: I definitely think that if you listen to “Once Again,” you will hear some influences of that. That is actually the direction in which I am going right now, and I think that Martin will just put some of his sauce onto it. It is not finished yet, so I can’t really tell what it is going to sound like.
RS: You are working with Ultra Records, but you also have Hard With Style Records, tell us about that.
Headhunterz: Ultra is very flexible in working with me and they understand that it is good to have my own platform. I started this podcast, so when I signed to Ultra they were absolutely fine with me keeping the Hard With Style thing for myself to be able to breed new talent and to give them a platform as long as I would deliver them my songs. Hard With Style is kind of a lifestyle with the podcasts, label, merchandise and events, it’s just a complete picture and the label is part of that.
RS: As someone who is working with new talent who is someone that we should watch for?
Headhunterz: That’s a really difficult question and I wouldn’t know how to answer that right now.
RS: Who is someone new that has sent you a track that has excited you?
Headhunterz: I have some guys that are releasing on Hard With Style records called Crystal Lake. As far as talking hard style they are really a fresh sound, while everyone seems to be a little stuck with one particular sound. They are trying to do something that is very distinctive and you will recognize it immediately, and I believe in what those guys are doing.
RS: I saw a picture where you did a big jump on stage at Ultra Chile, that looked dangerous.
Headhunterz: I know, to be honest in the moment I didn’t really realize it. I was just looking down and thought it would be fine, and I jumped, but the landing was like bam! The adrenaline takes away your fear and it went fine and it rocked. Someone from the crowd took that picture and I liked it.
RS: Perfectly timed. Should we expect more theatrics like that in your live shows?
Headhunterz: I don’t tend to be a clown or anything, but in the moment, sometimes it just happens. It is not anything that is planned and it’s just a spontaneous thing that I do sometimes when the vibe is there.
RS: If you could go back and talk to your 18 year-old self what advice would you give him?
Headhunterz: Not to worry too much, have faith in whatever will happen, and keep your eyes and ears open for the lessons that life will bring you. During the difficult times when it seems like things should be happening, eventually you will see why it happened that way and the lesson that was packed in that situation. Be loving towards yourself and others.
RS: Speaking of that in a lighter way, you posted a clip of Chris Crocker- how you missed that clip being online, the infamous "Leave Britney Alone" clip. If you had a chance to collaborate with him, what kind of music would you make with him?
Headhunterz: Probably a Britney Spears hardstyle cover remix.
RS: Very cool. What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Headhunterz: Thank you very much for being interested, I hope to bring you some good vibes with my new music.
Interview conducted at Amsterdam Dance Event 2014.