Afrojack talks EDM culture:
How have you been enjoying ADE so far?It’s been great. I came home yesterday from America [corrects himself]. I came back to Holland yesterday from America. It’s not really correct to say ‘home’.
So where is your home nowadays?It’s in-between actually. I spent most of my time in America, and I’m in Holland two or three days a month. Now I’m here a little bit longer for ADE, but I just fly to Holland to see my family every now and then. Outside of that, just the world itself I guess. I’m travelling non-stop, so if I’m not in America, I’m in Asia or India or somewhere in Europe. I live in hotels mostly.
So how was your summer season across US and Europe?It was actually really, really good. I didn’t expect it because I didn’t release that much music this year, beyond my recent single The Spark. I didn’t have a big single before that to run me through the summer, so I was really surprised the hardcore fans appreciated my music enough to listen to the little snippets here and there on YouTube or Soundcloud. So it was a lot of fun.
Looking back over the season, it’s almost like EDM culture is being exported from America back over to Europe, there’s a big demand for it now.It’s what I’ve been saying for three years. America feeds off Europe’s culture, but Europe also feeds off America’s. So when something grows big in Europe, America eventually takes it over, and blows the absolute shit out of it…but then Europe starts taking that over again. So it’s like a back-and-forth; it’s constant and insane.
I think the next generation in Europe is starting to pick up on what is going on in America. What Europe is picking up right now, is an evolution of what America picked up off Europe around five years ago. And I think the main artists rising up this year have all been from America. DJs like Porter Robinson in particular, and Kaskade, who’s finally starting to move into the European side of the culture. And we’re starting to see the connection develop more between the American and European side of things.
So how is everything going with your Vegas residency at the moment?There have been a lot of parties, of course. And it’s a residency; it’s one of my favorite places in the world to play. It’s your homebase where you can get away with anything. One time, it was my birthday or something, and I said here you go, here’s 20 bottles of champagne. I can just give 20 bottles of champagne to the crowd, and make it one big party.
What’s your opinion on Vegas as a dance hub? Is it all glitz and glam, or is there actually substance behind all that?The reason it’s glitzy and glamorous is because it’s Vegas. It is almost like a next generation of Ibiza, only in a different way. The thing is, the hotel rooms are cheap, the tickets are cheap. A ticket in Ibiza is 60 Euros, while a ticket in Vegas is only $30. The subgenres are growing too in Vegas. It used to be only EDM, and it still is mostly EDM, but now they’re starting to expand more by bringing techno DJs, dubstep DJs, and bringing more of a musical culture. And it’s starting to work, because the VIP and the basic music culture is picking up on those music styles, and they like it. So I think it’s great for the entire music industry to have another home for dance. Now we have Ibiza in Europe, and now we have Vegas in America.
Something we’re seeing in mainstage sets at the moment is a tendency towards the tougher sounds, with a lot of hardstyle being thrown in. Is this something you relate to?I like one record that goes ‘boom, boom, boom’, but just one or two records, not continuously. I think that’s the magic of a great DJ set. Not genre wise of course, if you’re a hardstyle DJ then it’s different. But to go and see a DJ with his own style and sound, and he plays eight of those Beatport records in a row… I’m pretty sure for a fan, it would also get boring.
Have you heard that ‘Epic Mashleg’? [Referring to the notorious SoundCloud mashup from Swedish duo Daleri that went viral earlier this year] Exactly! That is not what I wanna hear when I go and see my favourite DJ. Of course it’s nice to have one of those records put in there, but it has to be built in well. You can’t just randomly play ten of those records in a row. I have different kinds of tracks, but if you play ten of my party-style tracks in a row, it doesn’t have an effect. . I think a good DJ set should be made up of some of your own original stuff, and then add in what is going on around cultural nowadays, and then add in something a little different, like sprinkling something a little bit different into the mix.