Among the diverse line-up at Coachella Music Festival this year is a hidden Hardstyle gem, Headhunterz. Known to most just as Heady, the 28 years young Netherland’s native Willem Rebergen has gifted us with numerous unforgettable tracks and performances over the last 8 years. Coachella Music Festival has been on-going since 1999 and this year finally marks Headhunterz first ever appearance as he brings his unique style to compliment an already very impressive line-up.
Recently Willem has reached several major lifetime milestones in his career, among those he hit over 800,000 Facebook fans and received a Gold Award for his song “Colors.” Hard work and dedication has paid off since day one, helping Headhunterz to land his first major DJ booking at the Defqon. 1 Music Festival. It was at this event where he was discovered by The Prophet, a long time name in the Hardcore and Hardstyle scene and owner of one of the leading Dutch Hardstyle labels, Scantraxx Records. From here he has gone on to headline at countless major festivals including Qlimax, Decibel Outdoor Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, and soon Coachella. Willem has produced festival anthems for Qlimax ’07, Defqon. 1 ’09 and ’10, and worked on a collaboration with Wildstylez and Noisecontrollers to make ‘World of Madness’ for Defqon. 1 Festival ’12.
Heady has gone on to produce 3 CD’s, many remix’s, and helped break the Hardstyle genre into DJ Mag’s Top 100 list in 2010. On the list for the first time ever, Willem placed 36th along with fellow producers D-Block & S-te-Fan who reached 73rd, Noisecontrollers at 90th, and Showtek 91st. In 2011 he released the famous “Hard with Style” podcast which can be found on YouTube, all while continuing his rise of the DJ Top 100 list jumping to 17th.
2012 fan’s proved Hardstyle and Headhunterz had earned a spot in our hearts globally, voting Willem to 11th on the DJ Mag Top 100 list. Hardstyle was clearly making a massive presence in the United States now and Headhunterz proved it by headlining the first Q-Dance stage at the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas. The dance floor was packed to capacity showing we were ready for the Hardstyle King. Flash forward to today, Headhunterz has seen tremendous success and in preparation for his Coachella debut, Headhunterz gives us Flosstradamus’ remix of his massive anti-cyber bullying anthem “United Kids of the World” featuring Krewella. In a huge remix effort, the kings of Trap, Electro and Hardstyle meet for one hell of a ride. Flosstradamus turns the beautifully arranged original into an aggressive all-out bass frenzy.
Last year Willem signed to Ultra Music Label, and shortly after created his own Hard Dance music label “Hard With Style Records.” Aside from the hit “United Kids of the World” his most recent releases include the Gold Awarded “Colors – feat. TaTu,” and a track with Audiofreq “Breakout.” Anticipation is high as the party people wait for Headhunterz debut at Coachella, with Ultra ending and festival season kicking off we can bet that Willem has something very special in store for everyone making the annual journey out to the desert.
We were very lucky to catch up with Headhunterz not too long ago and had the chance to understand a little bit more about his highly criticized changes in his style of music. Willem gave us some great insight into who Headhunterz really is, his motivation and his journey as an artist. You can check out our exclusive interview with Willem below and catch him at the Sahara tent Weekend 1 and Weekend 2 at Coachella.
by Grant Manley, Staff Writer
EDM Maniac Exclusive: Headhunterz
EDM Maniac: Willem! So nice to be able to sit down with you. Let’s get to it. Right off the bat: can you tell us a little about the W&W collab everyone’s so anxious for?!
I went in without expectations and I saw them a few times at gigs and they take a lot of inspiration from hardstyle. I was anxious and nervous because I look up to them, so I didn’t know if I would be able to live up to their expectations! But then I went, and it went great!
EDM Maniac: This question comes from one of our Facebook followers: when and why did you start you start making music?
I started making music when I was about 18 years and because I was looking for something to make me happy. I wasn’t really happy at school, I got bullied a lot, I just wasn’t doing very well. Not getting good results [grades]. I was looking for a distraction and music was the obvious for me. Music has always played a big role in my life; I kind of started making it out of the blue and never stopped.
EDM Maniac: This question comes from Zulema on Facebook. What year(s) so far do you consider to your best, and if you could go back in time what year would it be and why?
Lets say, well, you know people tend to be very nostalgic and I am too, so the beginning for me was very special. Lets say 2007 was just a crazy year for me. I was going through a lot and my career was skyrocketing. I don’t want to look too much into the past, so let’s make this year the best!
EDM Maniac: As you approach different songs, your style has changed, could you tell us a bit more about this evolution and the reasons behind it?
The way I feel really reflects into my music. People see the real me in everything I do and it’s at times very vulnerable. They see me going through peaks and falls and they see me get back up, also with my music I have taken some detours with my style and it’s because its real and its because its what I’m feeling in that moment. A lot of people say that I’ve gone commercial or that I’m doing it for the money, but the thing is, I’m getting older. My tastes are getting subtler. My music starts to be a little less edgy my personality also starts to be less edgy and so it really translates. It’s a really personal thing.
EDM Maniac: It’s true. Your style and music is always evolving, Armin always says “don’t be a prisoner of your own style” — what are your thoughts about this statement?
I completely agree with Armin. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the imprisonment is imaginary. The so-called box that if you look for it, is nowhere to be found. But to really acknowledge that requires some courage because there’s hordes of people trying to make you believe otherwise. Nothing against these people because on the positive side they give you stability and a safe haven as long as you stay within the boundaries. But, I speak for myself; the artist in me has never wanted that safe haven. It wants to express itself. And in the end, the fans that do respect and enjoy that are worth it.
EDM Maniac: You’re playing with Adventure Club in LA, a lot of our LA fans want to know how you’re preparing for your appearance.
I’m still refining the way I play for an American crowd and I find this a very interesting process. Not in the form of compromising, but more like what to do with all the freedom I have on stage to be creative!
EDM Maniac: Coachella is coming up, it’s your first appearance– how are you feeling about it?
Excited of course! Quite an honor to be on that line up. I have no idea what to expect, I don’t even know if people there will really dig my stuff. But there’s only one way to find out!
EDM Maniac: What can we expect from Headhunterz in the coming months?
Very interesting things! New remix for Flosstradamus which will definitely upset the hardstyle police, or better said which “ignores the box” completely. For now that’s all I want to reveal. Let’s just say I’m working hard!
EDM Maniac: We know this was sort of quick, but is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
I want to thank all of the people that support me, especially those in the long run and believe in what I do and that have supported me through all these times. I am in a very exciting period of my life and very excited and motivated, I promise to make you happy. Also, my Facebook page is very criticized. A lot of angry people at times, but that for me has been a launchpad to start really following my heart. It took me a couple of years to get used to the negative people. Now I feel like I have become strong enough to deal with it, and do whatever I want to do!