Headhunterz is not two people. It's one person. The "z" is a metaphor. (I am not making this up. You can read about it below.) Real name Willem Rebergen, Headhunterz is the Dutch DJ who, according to lore (and Wikipedia), was discovered by The Prophet. Since becoming hardstyle's number one disciple, he has headlined basically every massive festival in the genre: Defqon.1 Festival, Qlimax, Q-Base, In Qontrol, Decibel, and even started his own brand Hard With Style. He's also one of the only—if not the only—hardstyle dude signed to Ultra Records and he sits at #23 on the 2013 DJ Mag Top 100, which makes him practically Illuminati.
Though Holland is very gouda indeed, Headhunterz is anxious to takeover other territories with his uplifting hardstyle vibes. His invasion of the States has already begun, and it starts with "United Kids of the World," a collaborative track with Krewella that urges kids to takes a stance against bullying. Based on the name, we were hoping it would sound like Sham 69's "If The Kids Are United," but it's actually sort of like "We Are the World" meets Barney on a hyperactive sugar trip at the fun fair. Not sure it will quit making kids be little dillweeds, but big up to both acts for taking a stand. Prophesies aside, I think we can all agree that bullying sucks, kick drums are awesome, and Headhunterz is a mythical creature (look at that press photo!). Also, he hates fluffies. Read all about it.
THUMP: When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Headhunterz: At that time, I was singing in a kids choir. But I was discovering that I was more interested in what was going on the other side of the glass, in the recording room. The engineers used to explain things to me and sometimes I even assisted a recording. At that time, it was clear to me that I wanted to be anything that involved a big mixer with lots of faders and knobs. Haha. Later on, I lost sight of that for a while, in puberty. But around the age of 17, it came back to me when, out of nowhere, I started producing and DJing.
Teach us a phrase in your native language and tell us what it means.
Ik heb net pindakaas gegeten. It means, "I just ate peanut butter."
How did you choose your DJ name? What were some DJ names you thought of before you chose the one you have now?
Back in the day I had a different name. I was making music with another guy and we were called the Nasty D-Tuners. *lol*. When Scantraxx became interested, we were already stuck to a small independent label. The way for us to get out of there was by changing our name, which became Headhunterz. This also explains the Z. Nowadays, I like to think of the Z as the people who get something out of my music.
Where did you grow up and what is it like?
I grew up in the Netherlands in a relatively small town (about 70,000 citizens) called Veenendaal. It's located right in the middle of the country. It has been okay. I didn't really grew up in a city life, nor a real town life but somewhere in between. My town is very religious, but I was never forced to go to church. The word is that there is something in the water, because a lot of successful DJs come from this town.
Who is the best cartoon character of all time and why?
Sexual Harassment Panda from South Park because he spreads such an inspiring message. And the song rocks.
What is your favorite quality in a raver girl? What is your least favorite quality?
Least favorite by a mile is fluffies. Favorite is a flower headband.
What are you going to be for Halloween? Even if you don't celebrate Halloween, just make something up.
I'm gonna dress up as the day before.
If someone never heard hardstyle before, what track would you recommend they listen to and why?
If it would be a track of my own, probably my remix for Kaskade and Furthermore. I really like Wildstylez's new track called "Lights Go Out." I think these tracks have the potential to touch people the first time they listen to it.
What is the scariest thing you've seen at a hardstyle rave?
Who is the hardest person you know and why?
My tour manager, because he has really hard biceps.
There are a lot of brands in the hardstyle space. Tell us about Hard with Style, and how it came to be.
I grew up dubbing voices for movies when I was younger. So later on when someone suggested to begin a monthly podcast, I immediately felt it was a good idea. I'm very passionate about music so it's also another way for me to share my enthusiasm about it. Long story short, it felt like a puzzle falling into place.
Are you ever simply just too tired to be hardstyle?
As soon as I get on stage, I just switch on and stop thinking. So not really. It just happens by itself, however tired I am.
What's your best dance move?
I'm a really bad dancer, except when I'm on stage. But I have no idea how I do it. It just happens. I wonder what it would look like if I'd do those moves on a dancefloor though. Probably really funny.
What's the one thing you were really excited to do while you were on the EXPLODE Tour?
Performing all around the country was amazing, of course. But I also really enjoyed spending some time at the studio in LA, where I wrote songs with amazing singer/songwriters. This was a new experience for me, and inspired me to start doing it more often.