Adaro: Hardstyle’s handsome assassin

One half of mask-loving hardstyle alliance Gunz For Hire, Adaro goes deep and dark in his solo sets – a perfect match for the harder-edged sound of the Blue Stage at Defqon.1, which takes over Sydney International Regatta Centre on Saturday September 14. We pulled the Dutch DJ aside for a chat about switching from trance to hardstyle and raving with his dad.

This year at Defqon.1 in The Netherlands you had the opportunity to play on the Red stage and deliver probably one of the hardest hardstyle sets played on that stage in years. What was that experience like for you?

Yes, I didn’t put the brakes on it, that’s for sure! It was an unforgettable experience, both the Saturday set as Adaro and the Sunday closing set with Gunz For Hire. The reaction of the audience was overwhelming! Also I got lots and lots of messages after the gig, a lot of those from people who discovered my sound there, it was really nice to hear!

In addition to your solo tracks, something that has made you so popular is your ability to produce some awesome remixes, including Artic’s Fuck The Fake Shit and most recently Chain Reaction’s Answers. When you’re asked to do a remix, what approach do you take?

Well, first of all thanks for the compliment! When I get asked, or ask to do a remix, it has to be a track that makes me think, “I can do something with that in my style, but still respect the original.” I already have a vague vision of what I can do with the track, and then I start experimenting with it in the studio. I mostly take around three or four weeks to produce either a solo track or remix, so there’s no difference there. After three weeks of hearing the same thing and still liking it, then I know it’s cool! If not, I throw it away and start with something else. The end product of a remix is mostly an evolution of the experimenting in combination with the basic idea I had.

In the early 2000s you were pretty successful as part of the commercial trance act Driftwood, producing remixes for artists like DJ Sammy, Paffendorf and Lasgo, as well as your own huge hits Freeloader and Anything Goes. Why the switch then to hardstyle?

It was not commercial trance, but club trance [laughs]. We didn’t do that with commercial intentions, but because we liked that sound. Hardstyle was not a ‘switch’ for me, because I always liked all kinds of EDM, and I still do. I grew up in the 90s hardcore era and also followed hardstyle from its birth. I also produced several other dance styles like trance and house music, of course under different aliases to Adaro. Only the last two years have been really busy with hardstyle, so I’ve focused on it. I’m just a music lover!

If people follow you on Facebook, they know that often your dad (also known as Padaro) goes with you to events, including when you played at Qlimax last year. What does he think of all the parties and hardstyle?

Yes that’s true! He likes the vibe at parties, and he also enjoys the music. He understands perfectly why people live for hardstyle!

Your tracks feature some pretty cool sounds, like the mid-intro screech for Haunter Of The Dark. Where do you look for musical inspiration?

I look for musical inspiration everywhere, in several styles and also a lot in the music that I grew up with – the early hardcore. The sound in the mid-intro of Haunter Of The Dark, for example, has the same feeling and emotion as the sound of an old Marc Acardipane PCP record; he’s one of my heroes. I recreated it on my Virus synth, and mixed it up with some raw screeches to give it an Adaro twist.

Do you prefer playing at an outdoor festival or an indoor event?

I really like both. When playing outdoors, you can only hope that the weather will be good, that’s always the question. But in Australia, I don’t think that will be a problem. See ya there, I can’t wait!

Check out Adaro’s special Defqon.1 Australia warm-up mix below.