Headhunterz Makes His Triumphant Return to Hardstyle
When Headhunterz announced his departure from Hardstyle several years ago, the Hardstyle scene changed dramatically. Many new artists rose up, the music itself changed, and the parties continued onwards. Although the scene continued, it felt like during those years, a critical part was missing for most Hardstyle fans. However, after this year’s edition of the annual Defqon.1 Festival in the Netherlands, Hardstyle fans can rejoice, because Headhunterz officially announced his comeback to the Harder Styles of Dance Music.
Watch his return to Defqon.1 here:
We were invited to an exclusive press conference to speak with Headhunterz about the past few years, what he had planned for the future, and an in depth look at what actually has been going on in his life during this time. For his dedicated fans, these past few years may have seemed confusing, but Headhunterz graciously cleared some things for us - this is the real story of his return to Hardstyle.
Originally, Headhunterz left Hardstyle because he felt there was much more to the world of music than the Hardstyle world. He reasoned that if he could have become a big success in Hardstyle, then it would be no problem to enter the world of mainstream EDM and show a different crowd what he had to offer. For his career, indeed, it was no problem. Headhunterz expanded his sound, and entered a new world, with a new fanbase, different parties, and different people. He told us:
“At a certain age, and after a while in my career, I just became curious. I started wondering what else is out there, and why I wasn’t exploring any further.”
“Long story short, what I found there, out in the big world, was really a longing to come back home. It only made me realize more and more how amazing this home has always been for me, and how unique it always has been. In no other scene I’ve tapped into have I found the unity, the energy, the profoundness in music, as I have experienced with Hardstyle.”
With this, he officially revealed his comeback to us. In 2016, Q-dance asked Headhunterz to return for a special “Defqon.1 Legends Set”. He gladly agreed, and shared the stage with The Prophet & Technoboy.
This was a moment that changed Headhunterz. He told us:
“On that day I left a different person than I came. It changed me as a human being.”
He realized the power of the family he had all along within the Hardstyle world. In that moment, the gears in his head started spinning and he started to think. He hadn’t made up his mind yet, but that changed once again when Q-dance asked him to bring back his duo with Wildstylez, Project One for Qlimax. After this, his mind was set, and he knew what he had to do.
The next six months were spent planning the grand comeback. Countless hours in the studio led time spent with his team, all leading up to the one special moment - Defqon.1 2017. As part of the comeback, Headhunterz is working on a mini album of all Hardstyle music, in the style his fans have always loved.
We asked Headhunterz if he was interested in changing the genre itself like he had in the past. What he told us was very satisfying for the Hardstyle community -
“I have been really challenging myself in the studio over the past two years when switching genres. It’s like changing from being a soccer player to being a tennis player - you’re familiar with the ball, but you gotta learn new techniques. When I started to make Hardstyle again, it was like coming home. I want to allow myself to be natural studio, so what’s going to be coming out now is really the typical Headhunterz sound people were used to before I left, and I think that’s a good thing, because if I look at the scene I think that there’s really a demand for that kind of music at the moment, so I want to give people the pleasure to enjoy my music in a trusted way.”
We also discussed what it is about the Hardstyle community that allowed Headhunterz to come back to such a warm welcome.
“It’s very intangible - there’s something about it. I think Hardstyle is very lucky to not have been touched by the mainstream consumer market, and therefore it still has a purity that allows for longevity. It has grown so strong because so many people have put so much effort into building this scene for so many years that it is a very stable scene. It has very strong roots for people to stay with it for a long time. It has a very rich history, rich culture people can identify with so it becomes a part of their lives, and it also counts for the artists. In my experience, it’s very hard to get out of in terms of who you are, and that is very unique for music.”
Headhunterz also revealed to us that he was returning to his old podcast, Hard With Style as the host of the show, and was going to revolutionize it with new video content. This is some more amazing news for the Hardstyle community, as Hard With Style was something many Hardstyle fans followed religiously when he hosted it. Additionally, his newest Hardstyle track, “Destiny”, was featured on the Saturday endshow of Defqon.1, and already, the buzz around it is shaking the Hardstyle world to it’s roots. The comeback has officially begun.
We’re very happy to see Headhunterz return home, and would like to welcome him back to the world of Hardstyle!
Alan is the curator of the EDM.com/AIA Hardstyle channel, and has been working in the hard music world since 2009. In addition to journalism, Alan performs various behind-the-scenes functions and is dedicated to spreading the sound to new frontiers.