There are negative attributes associated to being in business with people whom we have prior relations with. Everyone has heard their fair shares of horror stories — being ripped off, not being taken seriously because the relationship isn’t completely professional — but on the bright side, working with someone who you’ve known for years could be beneficial; this person would be aware of our strengths and weaknesses. Take Adithya Nanuru’s relationship with Robbert van de Corput — you may know them as Kill the Buzz and Hardwell respectively — for example. Since becoming friends about a decade ago, the two have toured to many countries together, helped each other grow as artistes, and still managed to have a couple of pints together at the end of the day. Both individuals were down during Future Sound Asia’s 15th anniversary celebration a couple of weeks ago, while Hardwell was available for an interview, JUICE decided to have a quick chat with his lesser-publicised peer, Adithya, about his dreams of being in a jazz-rock band like Earth, Wind & Fire, opening for the #1 DJ in the world, and the advantages of being in business with a friend.
Your working space is the place people go to when they need to unwind, where do you go when you need a break?
We have a pub in Breda [Netherlands], which I’ve been going to since I was 16 years old — it’s called Café Janssen. If I really want to unwind, I’d go there with Robbert and a couple of our friends just to drink beers and have fun.
So you do drink more after work.
(Laughs) Yeah, definitely. We spend a lot of time in the studio making music, so after attempting to create new material for eight hours straight, I like to relax a little bit and go out with friends.
We know that feeling all too well. You mentioned often that you had no interest to pursue a career in music even though you were making music from the young age of 10, what was the biggest factor that persuaded you to be involved in this industry?
(Laughs) Well, the thing is, as an aspiring musician, I didn’t really want to become a DJ — that wasn’t my first priority. I always wanted to make music, it didn’t matter how I did [it]. I was playing in a band as a keyboardist and piano player, I wanted to be in a big band like Earth, Wind & Fire. We had a lot of fun in the band that I was playing in, but at some point I wanted to do more than just cover music; one or two of the other members and myself wanted to make our own music but the other guys really wanted to do covers, so, at that point, we just went on different paths in our career.
That’s unfortunate. You didn’t want to create a new band?
It would’ve taken a lot of time. We were playing for a couple of years already and were a well-connected family, so it was really difficult to go outside to start it over again with a couple of band members.
How did you transition from wanting to be like Earth, Wind & Fire to DJing and opening for Hardwell?
I was producing music with Robbert back in the days — like I’d sit with him in the studio, listening to music, trying to create new music, and at some point he gave me a music producing software to try out. After six months of using it, I tried making music that could be played on the radio or at clubs, then I realised I became good at it. So, that’s the reason as to why I became a DJ. Making music is one thing but people wanting to listen to your music is another thing.
How does one become friends with Robbert — or Hardwell as us commoners refer to him as?
That’s a funny story. I didn’t know him during my high school period — that’s usually the time when we create most of your friendships and bonds — but we had a lot of mutual friends, however, we never saw each other. Then a few years later, I was working at T-Mobile while another friend of mine was a DJ and at that time he was driving around the Netherlands touring small clubs. He asked me if I wanted to join, so I said sure! Then one night, he said, “Hey, there’s another guy joining us.” It turned out to be Robbert. As soon as he introduced himself, we then hung out at the party in Amsterdam, we drank a couple of beers, but after that I didn’t see him for six months.
This is starting to sound like a date that went wrong…
Then I met him again during a Christmas party, which my friend hosted. A couple of weeks later he asked if I wanted to hang out, so from that point on we started touring the Netherlands; me just being a friend that had joined him to go to small clubs with anywhere from 30 to 1000 people inside — this was about 10 years ago — we did it for three years. That’s basically how we became friends.
What a way to start a friendship though. Do you feel like you have a better advantage of touring in major cities and festivals and creating remixes for popular artistes due to your friendship with Hardwell?
Definitely. The thing in the music industry is that it’s not always dependent on how talented you are — you have to have the talent, of course, but you also need to have the network. So, it’s really important to get connected to people who are in the music industry. Our friendship isn’t based on that though, because like you mentioned earlier, I wasn’t really into being a DJ or a music producer but it definitely helps that Robbert is one of the top guys in the world.
We can only imagine. You’re signed with Revealed Recordings — a record label established by Hardwell himself — has it been tricky to work in a business with someone who is also a good friend?
(Laughs) We’ve been touring for the first three years of our friendship together, so it wasn’t really awkward but it was tough for me to be one of his artistes. As a friend, you don’t want to let your other friends down, so it became a little bit difficult to handle — especially when he asked me to join him onboard his I Am Hardwell shows — he had Dannic on it as well, and he’s a really good DJ – he’s been DJing for over 10 years already! I had been doing it only for a year back then.
Why was that? Did you feel pressured to live up to his expectations?
(Laughs) There’s always pressure because he’s the #1 DJ in the world. I was really proud of him as a friend but it’s when you step on the same game that you really feel the pressure. The first couple of shows, I felt a lot of that because I didn’t want to let him down or for the audience to ask, “What kind of warm up act is this?” So, it was pretty difficult to deal with but we managed — this is also because he’s a really good coach — in both music and career aspects, especially when it comes to sets and what kind of music you’re playing. It’s good that we’re such close friends because we can always tell each other the truth. Like, if I played a track/set that’s really shitty, he can tell me.
You’re on the same artiste roster as established acts such as R3hab, Bassjackers, Ummet Ozcan, W&W, and so many more, how do you ensure that your work does not get overshadowed by them?
It’s all about give and take. The thing with us as DJs is that we’re all well-connected to one another, we’re all friendly to one another, but the music that we make is based on what we really like. So, I might like the tracks that R3hab or W&W produced, but if I made it myself, it would sound different because you produce from the things that you feel is good at that time — that to me is what makes us different because we all produce in our own ways.
Alright, last question — why would you want to kill the buzz? Aren’t we supposed to keep the buzz?
(Laughs) It is true. It’s not that I want to kill anyone’s buzz or whatever but the other way to look at it is that people weren’t expecting much from me when I opened for Robbert because Dannic is such a good DJ, so, it was difficult to take that precision. There was sort of a negative buzz about me opening up but I managed to kill it. So, killing that buzz is a good thing.
Kill The Buzz performed during Future Sound Asia’s Go Hardwell Or Go Home on Friday 1 April ’16 at KL Live.
Follow him on SoundCloud here.