We capture a mental fingerprint of some of our musical and cultural heroes and preserve it in cyber-amber for the wonderment of future generations. This is the Insomniac Questionnaire; meet Hardwell.
What was your favorite toy as a child, and when and why did you stop playing with it?
I had a few action figures, etc., but pretty much from the moment I was able to, I was making noise with either an early keyboard I had or my tiny drum kit. I got the musical bug early!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Did you take it?
Not to follow other people, but rather be your own person. I took that advice and adopted it—not just to myself as a person, but also into my music.
What part of your day do you look forward to most?
I love waking up and knowing I have another day to fill with music, travel or DJing.
What’s the best time you’ve ever had without spending money?
Those special moments spent with family and friends. You can have all the money in the world, but it means nothing without people you love around you.
What is your most treasured possession?
My dog Jäger.
What is your favorite word?
Do you owe an apology to anyone?
Only my neighbors—for the noise.
When was the last time you were really scared?
I foolishly made a bet with some friends that if I ever won the Top 100 DJ Poll, I’d jump out of a plane. At the time, I really didn’t think it would happen, but when it did—whilst I was truly blown away and so thankful—a small part of me knew that my friends would soon be calling me up to cash in that bet! I jumped out of that plane, and man, it was scary! I loved it afterwards, but to begin with, I was so nervous. Here’s a video they made of the whole event:
What is the last thing you googled?
My name. But it was actually because I needed to check something was working on my website.
What’s the last sound you would want to hear before you die?
Not a sound, but the fans chanting “One more tune.”
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?
Yeah, that I am being chased by myself. It’s a strange one—it’s kind of like one of those late-‘90s/early-‘00s trance music videos, where there’s someone running with a suitcase as people chase them. I’m not really sure what it means, expect that maybe I’m chasing myself to try and reach my goal or a desired destination? Who knows.
How do you measure success?
By how far the journey has carried you.
If you could have one magical/superpower, what would you want?
If I could possess one superpower, it would be to end all poverty in the world and for that conclusion to ensure that all the children are clothed, educated and fed. Through my United We Are Foundation, I got to see firsthand the heart-wrenching poverty that so many children face. It is truly shocking to comprehend that the leaders of our world allow young children to face such appalling circumstances.
Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal or supernatural?
I’ve met DJ Marshmello. He’s supernatural, right?!
What do you remember about your first kiss?
It was not as good as my last one.
What four words best describe you?
Happy, driven, committed and alive.
Do you have a pet? Tell us a story about it/him/her.
Yes, I have a pug called Jäger. He’s a pretty charismatic dog who’s well house-trained—except for this one time when he took a disliking to my tour manager’s new sneakers! We were all in my kitchen having a meeting, and Jäger had been gone for quite some time without anyone noticing, at first. Then somebody quizzed where he was, because normally he’s all over you, wanting attention. We found him by the front door with one of his sneakers in his mouth, completely shredded. Needless to say, my tour manager was more than a little unhappy about that! But they’re friends again now.
What is your strongest or best personality trait?
My passion for doing something because I believe in it; if I’ve committed to something, I am 100 percent all-in. I’ve never seen the reason to dedicate yourself to something, whatever it is, and not give your absolute all. I’m also hilarious company when on tour!
Do you believe in any conspiracy theories or urban legends?
There’s an urban legend that there is something in the beer in my hometown of Breda, because of all of the DJs that come from the area.