The electronic dance music scene in Taiwan is booming—just ask DJ Fedde Le Grand, who put on a killer set at last year’s inaugural Road to Ultra: Taiwan, which also featured the likes of Afrojack, Alesso and Armin van Buuren. So it should come as no surprise that after two-time World’s No. 1 DJ Hardwell announced his tour was coming to Taipei, tickets sold out within an hour of release.
But before he took the stage at the lush Dajia Riverside Park, Hardwell met with City543 to chat about clubbing, sightseeing, and, oddly enough, cantaloupes. Here’s our interview with one of EDM’s biggest names.
電音在台灣已經漸漸起飛了，不信的話可以問問去年在Road to Ultra大展身手的Fedde Le Grand! 所以當榮獲全球百大DJ冠軍兩次的Hardwell決定要來台灣表演、票在一小時內就一掃而空的時候，你或許就不會感到意外了。
City543: How was your flight coming in?
Hardwell: It was perfect! We had a night flight, so I slept basically the whole flight, and when we woke up, we were here.
A lot of fans have been trying to meet you at your hotel, but no one has been able to figure out where you’re staying.
Exactly, no, I haven’t seen any fans at the hotel.
So you’ve been trying to keep that a secret?
Yeah, we need to for security reasons, you know.
We heard that you spent last night at OMNI, which is one of the best clubs in Taipei. Did it live up to your standards?
Oh, yeah, it was a really great night. I think we went home at 6:30 or something. [laughs] Like you said, it’s a really, really fashionable club. I really had a great time there.
Taiwan’s famous for its food. Have you had a chance to eat anything here?
We went to a restaurant yesterday, and I don’t know what I ate, but [it was] like all typical dishes, and it was really, really good.
Is there anything in particular you liked?
Just everything in general.
Taipei’s off the radar for a lot of people. Did you have any impression of Taiwan before you got here, and is it the same as what you were expecting?
Well, I was here in 2012, but I didn’t have much time to look around. I walked around the city, I went to a couple temples. I really like that the modern part of the city is still mixed up with the history. You can always see the history of everything that happened here. I think that’s beautiful.
Why did you choose to come to Taiwan this time?
We asked on Facebook—when we announced this I Am Hardwell World Tour—“where do you want us to go?” And a lot of fans in Taipei were like, “Come to Taipei, come to Taipei!” We sold out of tickets in 45 minutes, like 12,000 tickets, so it was the fastest selling I Am Hardwell show so far.
之前我們要公布巡迴消息時，有在Facebook上問大家希望我們能去哪裡演出，而很多來自台北的粉絲都說「來台北吧！來台北吧！」——我們的一萬兩千張票在開賣45分鐘就售完，這是我的I Am Hardwell演唱會有史以來銷售最快的紀錄！
So it’s because of the fans?
It’s because of the fans. I always listen to my fans.
In Taiwan now, we have a nickname for you. Did you know that?
It’s called Ha-Wei [哈味].
What is it?
Ha-Wei. Do you know anything about it?
No, I haven’t heard about it.
Okay, well, we’ve prepared a video for you to watch so you can understand how this name came about.
[An ETToday segment about summer ice cream flavors at convenience stores featured this interviewee, who explained that some customers dislike cantaloupe ice cream because of its distinctive “ha-wei” (哈味, “cantaloupe flavor”). The clip has since gone viral, with some user uploads accruing millions of views on Youtube. Taiwanese fans of EDM have accordingly christened Hardwell “ha-wei,” due to the similarity in pronunciation.]
So what do you think about the nickname?
[laughs] I like it. Why not, you know? It’s a positive vibe, so why not?
With contributing reporting from Teresa Lee.