W&W wowed the trance scene when they first broke through over ten years ago. Their tunes like “Mustang”, “Lift Off” and “Invasion”, which was the official theme for A State of Trance 550, became anthems for a new generation of trance fans.
Like so many trance acts however, Willem van Hanegem and Ward van der Harst eventually began leaning towards the sounds of big room house aka EDM. Their 2014 single "Bigfoot" reached the masses, becoming their most successful tune to date. Their big fanbase grew but some weren’t so happy with their new direction.
But, after four years of big room dominance, W&W decided to return to their roots via a side project in September 2016. They kept their plans under wraps and officially introduced their new guise, NWYR, at this year’s Ultra Festival in Miami. NWYR made its debut on the A State of Trance stage much to the confusion of fans who were looking for W&W on the bill.
The project was a long time coming, resulting in an impressive 17 fresh tunes under the new guise, which they played at Ultra. “We already had some material lying around but I have to be honest that it was very stressful in the last couple of weeks leading up to the festival,” said van der Harst in a past interview with Pulse.
Despite the positive reception for the new side project, the duo will still focus on W&W and save NWYR for special occasions. This year’s final gig for the duo’s side project, NWYR will take place at the inaugural Djakarta Warehouse Project on December 15th and 16th. Check out what the duo have to say about their exclusive NWYR show and the uniqueness of their Asian fans.
You've mentioned that NWYR is a project that will be exclusive to certain events. What made you choose Djakarta Warehouse Project as a platform to perform?
Its simply one of the leading festivals in Asia and people from all over the region travel to Jakarta for the event. Since we did Ultra Miami (US) and Tomorrowland (Europe), this felt like the right one to pick for Asia.
Having been to Asia numerous times, what do you think is unique with the Asian crowd?
This also varies in the different countries, but to describe it with one world we have to say, intense. We love playing in Asia because the crowd here is so energetic and enthusiastic.
Can you tell us a bit more on your new release, “Dragon”?
The reactions have been overwhelming. It was one of the first tracks we worked on when we decided to launch the NWYR project and it has been one of the highlights (also in our W&W sets) ever since.
You’ve released a slew of tracks under the NWYR banner, is there a possibility of an album release in the future?
Albums are not that easy to market anymore and we feel that doing a full DJ set with new tracks, like we have done under the NWYR project is basically the same as dropping an album. People can stream all the music in pretty high quality so you could see it as what used to be a mixed CD or an album.
Who do you look up to for inspiration when it comes to trance music these days?
We actually look at a lot of things but not the current trance music. We like to get inspired by other styles and implement aspect of those styles in our NWYR tracks to give them a euphoric and melodic twist.
For us NWYR is also an outlet where we can experiment a bit more. We never want to limit ourselves to one genre or style.
Which one of your Mainstage artists that is totally impressing you guys right now?
Maurice West is literally on FIRE!
Complete this sentence, In 2018, NWYR is going to: Surprise a lot more people.
Check out NWYR's latest single, "Dragon" below.