Interview: Getting to Know Fisherman & Hawkins, From Hardstyle to Trance

I don’t remember the first time I heard the hypnotizing synth and heart thumping bassline of Fisherman & Hawkins’ “Apache”, but I will say that I feel in love with their sounds from that moment on. Being an avid listener to the harder style of trance, Fisherman & Hawkins’ music was like bread and butter to my ears from the very first moment on. Even today when I would hear the slow but hard progressive beginning of a Fisherman & Hawkins’ song at a show, I will burst in excitement and jump up and down, all around the dance floor.

Isaac Vissers and Rob Koopmans are the two gents from Venlo, Southern Netherlands, behind the name Fisherman & Hawkins. I got an opportunity to send these two some questions to get to know them a little better.



How did you two meet? And how would you describe your relationship? Is it like two bros chilling producing music, or more like the ‘Odd Couple’?

We actually met for about 10 years ago or something. We both went to the same parties all the time at Perron55 in our hometown, a club that is now closed since late 2014. It didn’t matter if it was techno, trance or any other dance genre. Most of the times we were both there with friends and as you know, music connects people. We were both DJs already in that time. I (Isaac) played progressive and trance and Rob played tech house and techno. We both share the same kind of humor so a good friendship was born right away haha.

How did it feel like when Fisherman & Hawkins started to get noticed after the success of “Apache”? Did it feel like Fisherman & Hawkins as a trance name has made it big or is there still a lot more room for exposure?

The success of that track was kinda unexpected to be honest. Although we have to say that the melody was so addictive when we played it in the studio, we couldn’t get it out of our heads for days. And as soon as such things happen you just know it’s something special. When we got a reply from Markus, after sending it to Coldharbour Recordings, saying he absolutely loved it, we still didn’t know what to expect until all the madness started when he played it as an ID for months in his sets. The reactions were huge and everyone wanted to know what it was haha. After its release it was crazy to see how many A list DJs played it out, even today the track does the job when Markus or Armin drops it somewhere. Really overwhelming to see that.

What drives you as a DJ/pushes you to play the songs you play and produce the music you do? What kind of feelings do you get when you play a gig? Is there a difference when you play for a packed club? Or how about a half filled club but filled with fans of Fisherman & Hawkins?

We love to make and play energetic pounding tracks. Maybe because we are already DJs for about 15 years and attending parties ever since then makes us understand what kind of grooves and melodies could work on the dancefloor, I don’t know. In the past we went to hardstyle, hardcore, hardtrance, techno, trance and house parties and you might say you can hear all these influences in our music too.

Of course it’s always nice to play in a packed club, especially if the crowd is already warmed up and ready for yet another adventure of slamming beats. But we also love to play open to close sets as well where you can see the audience coming into the club and slowly getting into a certain vibe. On those nights we play a lot of different stuff and like to play deep progressive and techno tracks too. Taking the crowd on a journey is so much fun as you have all the time to build things up and bring everything to one big climax.

I know that making art, especially music, is difficult, but how does the magical music happen? Does one of you guys create a beat or an idea and send it to one another? Or do you two have to be in the same room so that your music can manifest and grow?

I (Isaac) make most of the ideas like the melodies, chords, grooves, etc and every now and then Rob joins me in the studio and has fresh new ideas about how to get the best out of certain things. After we have made all the basics we sit down with a good friend of us and build the entire arrangement of the track. This is the moment where the magic happens.

I just listened to your guys opening set for Ferry Corsten, it was much more uplifting than your past ASOT set or your Coldharbour Night sets. How do you two decide on what type of music to play? Does country or different region of a state/country have a particular role in this track selection?

Funny you noticed this haha. In a way you are right, that set is slightly different from what we usually play. But as we had to play right before Ferry Corsten, who was the headliner that night in Grenswerk we felt it wouldn’t be the right place to play as aggressive as we normally do. For that reason we played a little bit more uplifting or proggy, and we actually loved it. It was perfect for that night. We even had the chance to record it and the set blew up when we uploaded it later on our soundcloud page.

I saw that in an interview, you two have some roots or interest in hardstyle and hardcore before settling into trance with Coldharbour label boss, Markus Schulz. Is there some chance the Fisherman & Hawkins sound might have a shift to some harder and darker side of electronic music? Perhaps under a different alias?

Haha yes that’s true. We both have a history with hardstyle and hardcore. Especially hardstyle is a style we were both completely in to from 2000 till 2003 or so. If you listen to Qlimax compilations from that time, especially the ones from Dana (early 2001) and Pavo (late 2001) you can hear a lot of darker sounds but always with a special vibe in it. Hardstyle or hardhouse/hardtrance, whatever you wanna call it, was totally different back in the day. Almost every track had a unique sound, a unique kick, bass or loop. It was fresh and mindblowing. But after 2002, hardstyle began to sound like slow hardcore and we started to get bored of it all. So, we enjoyed those times but I don’t think we will re-enter that specific genre any time soon haha.

How do you find tracks for your podcast? Since there are two of you, who has the final say in Fisherman & Hawkins?

We both download and gather all the tracks we like that enter our promo inbox. And of course we also check Beatport every week to see what we’ve missed ourselves haha. As you might know we like to start our radio show with a deep vibe and we build up the tempo halfway during the show. The radio show is a perfect platform to play what we love and gives us the chance to play some tracks we normally don’t get to play out during peak time sets because of the style.

I got to say, I love the track “Skypunch” and “Underworld”. Are there any new tracks from Fisherman & Hawkins in the works that fans can look forward to in the coming months? Should we expect some stuff that might be a little different?

Well thank you. Of course you can expect a brand new single real soon that is in that same fist pumping style. As well as a remix we did of a track we were super excited and honored for when we received the request. Besides this we are also working on a couple of vocal tracks that will absolutely blow your mind haha.

Since festival season is rapidly approaching us, is there any big festival you would like to play at or will be playing?

On July 19th we will play at Harbour On The Beach at Beachclub in Montreal, Canada. When you see the complete line-up filled with Coldharbour artists you just know it’s going to be a mental ride with lots of hands in the air.

We also just announced that we will be playing on Ibiza for the first time this year. Markus Schulz invited us to join him at the amazing Privilege this year together with our good friends Nifra and Mr. Pit. No doubt that night is going to be one for the books.

What’s your guys’ favorite/most embarrassing moment as Fisherman & Hawkins?

Most favorite moment is definitely playing at the legendary Club Space in Miami earlier this year. Sharing the stage with Markus Schulz and all the other Coldharbour friends was an experience we will never forget. And of course our set at ASOT650 last year is unforgettable too. So many great artists were there at the same time. Amazing night.

So far no embarrassing moments that we can share, maybe if you’d ask us again in a few years we can give you some haha.

What are some things you two do to take your mind off music? I see that on your Facebook, you used one of Jimmy Tatro’s videos about missing the beat to promote the “United” single release. Quite funny. Your Twitter also has some funny memes. So is it safe to say that when you guys aren’t making music or playing a show, you like to troll the internet for some giggles?

We both like to entertain. Wether it’s with music or with humor. Both are important pieces in life and can’t be missed. While Rob enjoys a good sports game every now and then I (Isaac) take my mind off from music by enjoying some spare time with my kids. They can suck out a lot of energy from time to time but so can sports haha. Let’s just say it keeps you young, right? 😉

Outside of trance, what kind of music do you listen to? Is there anything you listen to that isn’t part of the electronic genre?

Of course! We like all kinds of music. From Coldplay to London Grammar and from the Foo Fighters to our very own Dutch rock band Kensington. As long as it’s catchy and euphoric we are into it.


These two gents sound like a fun bunch. Not only do they mean business, but they also have time to play. I can’t wait to hear what fist pumping sound these two will produce in the near future. Whatever it is, I’m sure they will still continue to carry the same aesthetics that makes them Fisherman & Hawkins and a Coldharbour favorite.

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About Airec Syprasert

Airec Syprasert is a graduate from San Francisco State University with a degree in English, Creative Writing and dabbled a little bit in journalism. Originally from the small town Visalia, he now lives in San Francisco. Airec has a vast taste for music, literature, and various forms of comedy. Since graduating, Airec shares a piece of his humor with his two blogs and Another blog that he writes for is for Phoria Events, reviewing trance music. Aside from writing, Airec enjoys going to live music shows of all types and tries to attend as many festivals as he can.

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