Catching Up With W&W

Jul 11, 2016
Catching Up With W&W
Not only do W&W consistently have some of the most viewed tracklists on the site, but they are self proclaimed habitual users. Their weekly radio show, Mainstage Podcast, is one of the most popular radio shows on 1001tracklists so we took some time to learn how they use the site and what goes into the creation of each episode. Willem and Ward also discuss the artists and shows that got them hooked on dance music, highlight each other's strengths and more!
Do you have a clear objective with each episode of Mainstage Podcast?
Willem: There needs to be various genres and styles of music in the show. The show’s going to have 18 songs every week. I want a little bit of trance, maybe end with hardstyle, dubstep, trap or big room, but not too much big room. I want it to be a little bit of groovy, Tom Staar/Kryder kind of stuff. I want everything in there and I want it to build. The mix needs to flow and be quick. That’s Mainstage. The first song needs to be more poppy or tropical to get you into the mood and then that’s how I build every set.
How much work do you think goes into each episode time wise?
Willem: I finish an episode on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I’m checking all the promos. Then on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I spend at least 5-6 hours preparing the episode.
Ward: He spends so much time doing that, it’s crazy!
What’s the track selection process like?
Willem: He’s the guy, where I always go to him with, “This song or that song?” And Wardt will choose.
Ward: He gives me options because for me it’s too much. If he listens to 700 promos and asks me to chill on the couch, after like 20, I’m almost falling asleep. I just can’t focus for that long.
Willem: I know how I like to select the tracks and get it down to 25-30 songs. From there I’ll go to Wardt, “Here’s two progressive vocal songs, which one do you think is better? Here’s two groovy songs, which one do you like better?”
Ward: And he won’t tell me who the tracks are by. He’s like, “I’m not telling you!”
Willem: Well if it is a friend, he may just want to pick that one. I want the selection to be based on the song!
Where do you discover most of the music?
Willem: It’s friends, it’s promos. Even on your site (1001tracklists), I check everyone else’s shows. I don’t want the exact same show as them. I check Hardwell’s show, Martin Garrix, Dimitri and Mike, Armin, and everyone else. There may be like four to five songs that overlap otherwise I need to find new songs.
What do you think is the biggest difference between live set and radio show music?
Willem: The live set is more about the crowd going crazy and people buying a ticket to see you play the songs you made. The radio show is every week, so you can play more different stuff. It can feature more genres and more new artists. In a live set, there’s stuff you need to play. People want to hear our latest singles.
What’s the biggest difference in the dynamic of making a radio show vs. picking music at in a live set?
Willem: Well the flow is always there. Key-wise it needs to flow. It needs to build. I feel like our set needs to be a wave that gets bigger, bigger, bigger, and then at the end it’s just done. That’s how I feel our DJ set is built. And live it needs to go off more. With a radio show you can play more songs that you love to listen to. Live, I don’t know if I would play it.
Do you guys have any radio shows you regularly listen to or really respect?
Willem: We respect A State Of Trance and Club Life. Tiësto always has a good selection. I used to listen to a lot of shows. Back in the day I used to listen to Armin and Roger Sanchez. House and trance. On Dutch radio it was back to back.
Was there a show you once attended as a fan where afterwards you knew you wanted to be a DJ/producer for your career?
Willem: I think A State Of Trance.
Ward: Actually, it was just hearing dance music on the radio that got me into that. Hearing stuff on Dutch radio, and asking questions like, “What is this music? Who is it by?” And learning about Armin and Tiësto that way.
Willem: That’s how it started, listening to podcasts and radio shows. I had to travel to him two hours by train to make music, so I always downloaded A State Of Trance, Trance Around The World [by Above & Beyond], and Gareth Emery’s podcast and listened to all of it.
Ward: When he came to my place, he would be like, “I’ve got this new song, and this new song...”
Willem: In terms of a specific show, I snuck into Trance NRG when I was like 16 or 17. I didn’t have to show my ID, thank God, (laughs).
So you didn’t have the baby face?
Willem: Well I did, but they just let me in and I was in heaven.
What do you think the biggest strength of the other is?
Willem: He is so quick in Ableton Live, it is insane. We actually made a remix for Justin Bieber, a festival edit, in the car ride from the plane to the hotel and played it that night. Now we’ve sent it to a few people and they are actually playing it. It was all because he’s so quick.
Ward: I was a really big computer nerd back in the day. I still am. Willem is extremely talented in hearing quality. If you show him 50 songs that really sound similar, he could pick the best one in a second. Guys that are really big right now and everyone is talking about right now, he already discovered a year ago. He has a really good ear for who’s talented.
Willem: And I think for what’s new. Because I listen to so much new music I know who does something different. And I can hear it and pick it out almost instantly. Like, this is cool because it’s a combination of what’s hot and he put in those elements which make it work.
Where do you find most of your songs?
Willem: Through your site. I open your site a few times every day. I’ve been checking it since you started. When we play at a festival I check your site to see what the DJs before us are playing because we don’t want to play the same songs. You are making our job easy.
What’s the worst touring habit of the other?
Ward: He’s always late! Let’s say pick up is at 8:30 in the morning. I set my alarm at 8:25 and I’ll be down at 8:45 and I’ll still have to wait another five minutes.
Willem: This guy can be so grumpy. He’s like a diva. He’ll be like, “Ugh, this hotel.” And I’ll be like, “Dude! There’s a bed and a shower! Why are you complaining? Where did you live five years ago? This is like heaven compared to where you lived.” This guy can be grumpy over little things.
Ward: Yeah, I’m very emotional.
Willem: On the flipside, if I crack one joke, he will be happy again.

Ward: I’m very easy to influence.
Be sure to check out W&W's latest single "How Many" below and connect with them to keep up with and hear more from the guys!
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