When the collaboration between Headhunterz and Krewella was first announced, hardstyle fanatics the world over cried out in disgust, lambasting Willem Rebergen, the hardstyle icon, for “selling out.” The accusations struck a chord with Rebergen, who drafted up a Huffington Post op-ed to squelch the haters and detail his concerns for the future and advancement of the genre he calls home. As dance music grows and evolves, it is only natural for unlikely collaborations to spring up — and what better way to solidify hardstyle’s presence in the US then for the king of the kicks to team up with one of the most popular dance acts in America. However, it’s doubtful the collaboration will appeal to Rebergen faithfuls, as the production feels less like classic Headhunterz and more like Krewella with a hardstyle kick. It’s an Americanized version of hardstyle and one that will likely be objected to by the genre’s most diehard supporters.
Is “United Kids of the World” a bad track? Definitely not. Yasmine and Jahan’s vocals are as on point as ever, framing the mix with an anti-bullying message and catchy dub-pop hooks that are only enhanced by Rebergen’s subdued presence, but, for traditional hardstyle fans, this may be too far removed from the genre’s roots for their liking.
As dance music’s popularity increases, so does dissent amongst its most ardent supporters. What was once a purely “underground” phenomena has since grown into a worldwide industry, isolating veterans of the scene who feel disparaged by the direction their favorite artists have taken in pursuit of profit, popularity, and mainstream viability. One genre that until recently had managed to avoid the dreaded “Americanization” was hardstyle, who’s number one spokesperson Willem Rebergen, better known as the hardstyle icon Headhunterz, now finds himself suddenly and unfairly the target of vitriol from fans of the genre both old and new.
Earlier today, hardstyle hero Willem Rebergen, better known as Headhunterz, and Chicago based favorite, Krewella, dropped a studio-quality teaser for their highly anticipated new collab, “United Kids of the World.”
Headhunterz recently signed a record deal with leading independent label Ultra Records and released his first track “Colors” in over a year in late August. The video is set in the fitting setting of ID&T’s Mysteryland festival in Amsterdam and you can see the hardstyle rhythm, catchy hook, and pounding bassline winning the crowd over. With neon color flying in every direction, the song gives a close look at the Q dance lifestyle and world with a song that implores you to “see the colors.” Chronicling a day from light to night, the music video is a tribute to exploration of an underrated genre in the dance music scene. Look for Headhunterz to be the face of the hardstyle movement in the US as the Q-Dance tour begins to unfold.
In the 2012 DJ Mag poll, an unexpected Dutch DJ came crashing in at #11. That artist was Headhunterz
, and his reign is not over: After taking hardstyle to both EDC
and Ultra Records
, the genre and its vanguard will soon be destroying a venue near you. Returning to the 150 bpm-starved States for his Explode tour, the producer is set to kick off his 15-date festivities September 19th in Philadelphia and wrap things up October 13th in Chicago. Though the support has yet to be announced, with dates across the US and Canada in between, it is an event no heavy bass enthusiast can miss.
Headhunterz joins the Ultra Music family with the release of “Colors,” the hardstyle heavyweight’s blazing original alongside Tatu. The melodic build cuts a graceful path before the pulsating heavy kick comes in to play. Headhunterz continues to dominate after a big year with multiple festival headlining slots. With Q-Dance set to invade TomorrowWorld and LA this year, hardstyle is undeniably starting to make waves in the US.
The clock struck noon in Boom, Belgium, and fans from DreamVille and afar rapidly filled into the Tomorrowland grounds to catch a glimpse of what they had waited 364 days to witness. Flocking to culturally themed food stands, onsite jacuzzis, poker tables and, of course, any of the fifteen stages in full effect early into day one.
Tomorrowland will once again invade Belgium this weekend, marking its ninth chapter with an expected attendance of over 180,00 fans hailing from over 214 nations around the globe. With a lineup vast enough to boast over 400 artists, the pool of headliners alone trump rival events, no single dance music genre is left unacknowledged, and the odds of discovering new talent are in favor of the attendees. Before TomorrowWorld touches down in Atlanta this September, Boom offers a heavenly opportunity for festival-goers — but with endless options come difficult decisions.
Want to visit all 15 stages, see your favorite DJ, experiment with new sounds, all while taking the time to witness sets in full? Navigating Tomorrowland will be no easy task, but one all fans should be excited to attempt — and that’s where DA has you covered. In the midst of an endless sea of talent, here are ten moments you won’t want to miss…
When EDC NY’s lineup was initially released, there was an outcry that the lineup didn’t stack up to its Las Vegas cousin. What it may lack in big names (although there are still quite a few) it more than makes up for by providing an experience that is curated for diversity. Bass music is heavily represented this year with Figure and others finding refuge in the Basspod, a hardstyle closing set by Headhunterz is destined to be one of the most talked about experiences of the festival; second only to Saturday’s grand finale – a Carl Cox and Loco Dice b2b set. For something experimental, Art Department’s Jonny White and Kenny Glasgow will be curating a strangely emotive dance experience before The Bloody Beetroots Live unleash a wall of distortion to close the Circuit Grounds. Steve Angello steps up to the plate with a newfound creative freedom, following the launch of his new label and Essential Mix while Maceo Plex, who emerged out of the shadows as a ghost producer to powerful deep house presence, converts a new army of faithfuls. There is no lack of big room presence either, with Eric Prydz, Afrojack, Nicky Romero, Thomas Gold and more bringing the the mainstage action EDC is known for.
Hardstyle figurehead Headhunterz has launched new label Hard with Style to turn his impressive instinct for talent into a new industry paradigm. Set to debut with its first release in Spring of this year, the label will focus on releasing the highest quality of music from both established artists and rising talents alike, placing Headhunterz at the helm of A&R. The label drew inspiration from the Dutch-talent’s popular Hard with Style monthly podcast, and will continue to expose the most upfront and exciting dance music available.