Interview with W&W about their mixed compilation ‘Mainstage Vol.1’ Its fact and it’s finally out. The most anticipated compilation of the year, it’s available to purchase and is the massive ‘Mainstage vol. 1’ double CD compilation which includes many exclusive and hard to find tracks in the energetic big room Trance style. The guys behind the compilation and the label ‘Mainstage’ are the quickly rising stars: Ward van der Harst & Willem van Hanegem , AKA W&W, who rock it big time at festivals and clubs all over the world. The four times number 1 DJ in the world, producer and radio host Armin van Buuren states the following quote in early 2010:“W&W are truly the rising stars of trance. If I have to put my money on somebody, I put it on W&W.” From then we are two years down the road, and it seems Armin’s prediction came true.
The hottest duo in the new generation of trance music released their first ever album called ‘Impact’, they started their own club rocking label, with highly successful releases with Big tune after Big Tune. This autumn they release their very own first ever mix compilation that sums up well what you expect to get when you visit a gig where W&W are behind the decks. You will press play and your living room will be transformed into a packed dance floor, where the raw power and energy will take over, and your neighbours will ring your doorbell - not to tell you to turn the music down, but to ask you if they could join you.
The release of this great compilation was the right occasion to conduct an interview with W&W. They represent the bright future of trance music and they talk about the making of this compilation, and we ask them about their best summer 2012 gig. Go to the ‘Mainstage’ and enjoy their answers. Dimitri: Can you please tell us when, and under which circumstances you decided to form the duo W&W?
W & W: Before we actually produced together we knew each other for a while already and we both made music on our own. But in 2007, after we went to a party in Holland, we felt like making music so we went into the studio and produced our first single 'Mustang'. 'W&W' was initially just a working title, but with lack of a better name we just held on to it. It was early 2010 though when we decided to completely focus on our W&W career.
Dimitri: Which W&W track was the first one which caught the attention of the big players and you believe has helped you to explode into the scene?
W&W: It was actually our first track 'Mustang'. It got played by guys like Tiesto and Sander van Doorn, and Armin van Buuren even wanted to sign it to his label, that's how we got signed to Armada Music.
Dimitri: In 2011 you released your superb debut album called ‘Impact’ which includes some fantastic club bangers. What you will remember the most from the production process of the album and can you tell us the most enthusiastic feedback that you received for it which you will keep in your heart for ever.
W&W: What we remember is how long it took to finish everything! But in the end, it was a very satisfying feeling when we finally had the first copy in our hands. The most exciting thing about the feedback was that it literally came from all around the world. It is such a great feeling knowing that the music you make gets listened to by so many people from the weirdest places!
Dimitri: Why did you take the decision to establish your own record label ‘Mainstage Music’ under the supportive wings of Armada Music?
W&W: Armada has been our label from the start and we love working with them, so when we decided we wanted to start our own label it was an easy choice to do it under the wings of Armada Music. It works out great for us, we can support guys who we think are really talented and it gives us a lot of freedom!
Dimitri: Is it possible to define for us the Mainstage Music sound? Is it possible to easily categorise it under certain genre or existing style?
W&W: You could describe the Mainstage sound as big room, energetic and danceable. And all of that in the broadest sense of the word. It can be trance, it can be electro house, it can be prog-house, as long as it's good music!
Dimitri: Did you spend many hours listening to demos for the label? Would you like to tell us what kind of tracks you are looking for to release on Mainstage Music? What kind of elements should a particular track include to become a Mainstage release?
W&W: There are more and more demos coming in every week and since we listen to every single one of them, it actually takes quite some time! Like we said, we're looking for a very wide range of music. What we appreciate most if it's original, so don't try to copy other releases or any other song in general. Dimitri: You just released your fantastic compilation Mainstage vol.1. Can you please tell us if was a difficult or an easy process to collect the tracks and choose the final tracklist for this album?
W&W: It was so hard to collect everything and make the final track list! We spend months talking to producers and searching for exclusive material. But in the end it definitely pays off as the reactions we get are way better and way more than we expected!
Dimitri: Did you mix this compilation live during a DJ gig or did you mix it with the aid of computer software? Did you manage to do it in one take or did you try to mix it several times in order to get the perfect result you wanted?
W&W: We wanted to do it live at first, but we couldn't find a proper gig to actually record it. So we mixed it on the computer with this program called Ableton. You don't have to actually record it, but it took us a lot of time to edit everything exactly how we wanted it to be! Dimitri: The compilation includes many huge bombs, including your remix of Delirium – Silence with Jonas Stenberg. Is it possible to tell us about any other exclusives or special edits that the compilation includes, and the fans will be delighted to get exclusively on Mainstage vol.1?
W&W: There are many exclusives on the compilation! Tracks like ‘Silhouettes’ by Inners, ‘Don't Mess With Us’ by Darren Morfitt and ‘Fire Away’ by David Gravel, you will only find on this compilation, and our remix of Dash Berlin & Emma Hewitt's ‘Waiting’. Dimitri: Can you compile for us your Top 5 tracks from the compilation that get the best reactions from the crowd, and you like them too. Can you give us a short comment for them?
W&W: There are a lot of tracks that work great on the dance floor but to name a few: Rick Mitchell’s - Sub Zero, Hardwell & Showtek - How We Do, Orjan Nilsen - Filthy Fandango, David Gravell - Fire Away, Delirium ft Sarah McLachlan - Silence (W&W & Jonas Stenberg Remix) Dimitri: Would you like to choose your all time favourite mix compilation and tell us why you think it had such a massive impact on you?
W&W: We always listened a lot to Tiësto’s ‘In Search Of Sunrise’ series and Armin van Buuren’s ‘A State Of Trance’ CD's. Those are the mix compilations that had the most impact on us! Dimitri: Compilations are considered to be for many ephemeral products. Do you believe that Mainstage vol.1 will pass the test of time, and will become a classic compilation that people can still enjoy after many years?
W&W: Well that's really hard to say. All we hope is that people will keep enjoying listening to it for as long as possible!
Dimitri: You performed during the summer at many fantastic festivals including Tomorrowland & Nature One where I had the chance to check you out and feel the rush and energy you offer to your audience. Would you like to choose for us your favourite summer DJ gig?
W&W: It's hard to choose a favourite one since we did so many great festivals! Tomorrowland, Nature One and Global Gathering were all amazing! We also just did a festival in the USA called Nocturnal Wonderland which was incredible! Dimitri: Last question should be about the future of Mainstage Music. Would you like to tell us the forthcoming singles that you will release on your label and we should wait for with anticipation?
W&W: After the compilation we have new releases on Mainstage Music by Husman, Rick Mitchell’s and we also have a new W&W release called 'Lift Off' which is coming later this year.
Many thanks to W & W for their very nice answers.
Many thanks to Marije de Konink from Armada Music offices for her support in helping to organise this very interesting interview.
Many thanks to Paul @ 1mix radio for proofing the final version.
Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Radio/DJ/Music Journalist
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