Catching up with W&W DJs Willem van Hanegem and Ward van der Harst

Photo: Stan Gerards / Courtesy

What do you love about playing at Marquee?

Willem van Hanegem: We feel that Marquee attracts a young and enthusiastic crowd, [and] the fact that the Cosmopolitan is a very fancy hotel that attracts a lot of young people helps a lot. Also the vibe is always great at Marquee, whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, it’s always a good time.

Have fans in Vegas changed since you first started making the trip here?

Ward van der Harst: Of course you see a constant movement in crowd reaction and what’s “hot” at the moment. Electronic music had its peak a few years ago, and now hip-hop is huge of course, but we still notice that whenever we play in Vegas, electronic music and uptempo stuff is still loved by people. It has a real party vibe, and that’s what people come to Las Vegas for, to party!

What was it like creating a super team with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Armin van Buuren for “Repeat After Me”?

Ward: Working with Dimi and Mike and Armin is always great! We’ve worked with both of them separately but never on one song.

Willem: Sometimes when you get too many people involved it’s really hard to come to a song that everybody is happy with, but for “Repeat After Me” we all felt the direction it needed to go and everybody was super happy with the result.

It’s the ultimate crowd interaction track, seemingly inspired by Freddie Mercury. Was that your objective, creating a sound to which big festival audiences could respond?

Willem: That is exactly what our objective was, and we already see people sing along with the chant in the middle of the song.

Ward: Recording that was actually a lot of work, because we kept changing the melody in the break, so every time we changed it the choir had to completely redo their recording.

You made some news with your Rave Culture Radio show earlier this year when you let people know Swedish House Mafia has been working on new music. Are you excited for that reunion?

Willem: We always tell people stuff that we’re working on or stuff that we heard, so we literally spoke one sentence about SHM music, and all of a sudden every major EDM blog started posting it! We are super excited for the Swedish House Mafia reunion, like the rest of the world. We can’t wait to see what they have in store.

You have plenty of festival dates coming up. What else are you looking forward to in 2019?

Willem: We literally never had so much music coming up as we have right now. We’ve got a lot of other cool stuff coming up like a Rave Culture clothing line and lots of other exciting things.

Ward: Then of course we’re also looking forward to the summer and all the amazing festivals we get to play again!

W&W February 8, 10:30 p.m., $20-$30. Marquee, 702-333-9000.

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An award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for more than 20 years, Brock Radke covers entertainment ...

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