Nick van de Wall, or Afrojack, is coming back to America. That's welcome news to his fans and also a sign of the still sizable hunger for this thing we have resigned to calling "electronic dance music." The Jacked Tour will hit mainstays like Miami and Las Vegas while also stopping by Tucson. A massive New Year's Eve gig in New York is also rumored to be in the works.
It's a bit of a gut-check moment for the 25-year-old known for his signature bleepy style of production. Afrojack has not only crossed over into pop production (he helmed the boards for Ne-Yo's "Give Me Everything," remixed Michael Jackson's "Bad" and has worked with Pitbull and Shakira), but also into mainstream tabloids, where he was linked to Paris Hilton, whom he supposedly dated for six months. Like many of his contemporaries and predecessors (Steve Angello, Above & Beyond, etc.), he also started his own imprint, Wall Recordings and oversees an impressive roster of fellow Dutch artists, including R3HAB and Shermanology.
But though Afrojack's star continues to rise, he's still not at the very pinnacle of the game. He's not headlining Madison Square Garden, like Swedish House Mafia, or Radio City, like Avicii. This isn't a slight, it's something Afrojack himself brought up in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. "It's not about being successful," he said. "It's about being yourself and being happy with yourself. And that's where I'm at right now. I'm not the No. 1 DJ in the world. I didn't have fucking 20 Billboard No. 1 hits, but everywhere I go around the world, I can share my music with people who want to have fun."
When speaking with Afrojack, one gets the sense that he's pretty much surprised by the amount of success he's been able to drum up in the two years or so that he's been a global name. There's a certain earnestness that comes through at his live shows, whether he's swigging from a bottle of Grey Goose vodka or politely asking the crowd if they're "ready for some Afrojack music." So for now, the emphasis remains on The Party. And why not, when your party takes you all over the world, with your friends and a few celebrities along for the ride?
In the edited transcript that follows, Afrojack dishes on why he's focused on not always being responsible, what he thinks the scene needs to stay strong and reveals a collaboration with Chris Brown.
We first spoke over a year ago --
That is a long time ago. Wow. I think I had just started in America like two years ago, so that's a long time.
Right, and your life has changed quite a bit in that time. What's been most surprising about that?
What surprised me is that I'm still doing well, and still having great parties everywhere. It's a really happy surprise, because it's not like "hey, let's go see Afrojack, OK that was fun." It's an actual connection with my fans, so we can do lots of parties and we even see the same guys at all the shows. Growing is important, but seeing the same guys is the coolest thing. And I'm really proud of what happened with the whole label and signing artists and building them up. I started with R3HAB last year and I built him up and now he's crazy in America. Now I'm building with Shermanology, who I did my last single, "Can't Stop Me" with. And they're starting to tour in America and playing all the big festivals. It's cool to see that it's possible to have fun in the music scene and industry and to do it with your own friends or circle. Not having to make asshole or stupid decisions. Everyone says if you really want to make it you have to be an asshole. Well, apparently you don't.
At what point did you decide you wanted to give back to the scene?
When I came to America, I started noticing that it's not really fun to tour alone. It's fun, but it's not as much fun as being able to share it with your friends. I know so many talented artists from Holland who have been around for a long time, and what else is better than going to America and doing your own show and introduce your friends to that world. They're like undiscovered talent, and I just bring them and say "hello, this is my friend, and he's talented, you should check out his music." And if that works, it's fucking great. It's beautiful.
Ultra just announced that they're doing another weekend this year, and the scene seems to keep growing. Do you think we're at the point where we can stop worrying that dance music's popularity in America is a bubble?
I think if we don't focus too much on being interesting -- because a lot of people are like, "Hey look at me! I'm so interesting" or "This is so interesting!" -- like the DJ Mag Top 100. It's important, but not really that important. The most important thing in dance music is to remember that we're having fun. Don't go too crazy with shows and say "I'm going to throw the most amazing festival ever!" and have it end up sucking. The essence of dance music is that people go out to party with people who like the same people. That's what's so amazing about, say, [Electric Daisy Carnival] in Las Vegas, where you will have 120,000 people a day. And the second day the winds were so strong that they had to blow off half of the festival. And there were no fights, no one got stabbed. Because those people are all there for the love of the music.
I never really met a promoter in America -- though I met some in Europe -- who is in it for the money. In Europe I had some instances where someone would be like "yeah we're going to make this much money tonight," and if you don't, it's not good. That's bullshit, but that only happened once or twice. It never happened in America. They just want the music scene to get bigger.
But do you think that has something to do with the way you've conducted yourself and your business, in that you'll drop a song when you like, without much of a corporate mentality?
The thing is, we're looking into working with a major label to have bigger promotion for the poppy side of my music. But whatever happens, I will be the boss. I have an agent, my managers, people who work for them. I have a company of like 30 to 40 people working for me. But in my case, I give [my managers] freedom, but I'm the one who makes the decisions. If I want to put a free track on Twitter, I'll put a free track on Twitter. Because I'm the boss. It's my fucking Twitter. I'm Afrojack, I don't give a fuck what anyone else says.
That's important for me to remember. It's not always responsibility. It is fun and I'm still Nick van de Wall and I'm still myself and living my own life. A lot of people forget about that, they think it's just the company and we have to make our friends proud and make shitload of money because that's cool and if you can't to be successful, you have to do this-and-that. It's not about being successful. It's about being yourself and being happy with yourself. And that's where I'm at right now. I'm not the No. 1 DJ in the world. I didn't have fucking 20 Billboard No. 1 hits, and everywhere I go around the world, I can share my music with people who want to have fun. And that's why I'm excited to do this tour again, in America. I get to go to all the cities and have 5,000 people in every fucking city and just have a good party. That's our connection.
Any stops that you're really looking forward to on this tour?
I'm finally doing a show in L.A. after almost a year now. And I'm going back to Vegas, which is like a second home to me. Miami is always really good. And I think I'm going for the first time to Tucson and doing some college cities that I've never done. And I'm going to San Francisco after a really long time, I think two years.
And what about production? When you and I first spoke, you were just trying to get into the studio with Shakira, and now your collaboration with her is back in the news.
I've been in the studio with Shakira but now she has another thing coming up so that's on hold. But I'm not a fan of laying around. I have four or five productions on Pit Bull's album, I produced a happy pop song for and I have a new thing coming for Chris Brown. It's not finished, but I just got the stems for the acapella so I'll finish that this week. And I signed a new guy to my label.
It must be fun to have those new guys at your shows.
The thing is, I'm used to playing for 10,000 or 20,000 people. The feeling that I had for the first, second and third time I saw that many people was, "Oh my God. What the fuck." Now that doesn't happen anymore. I'm still happy to play for them and when they put their hands up in the air and start screaming I still feel that. But a new guy has never seen 20,000 people in one place ever. So when I see the smile on his face, when he sees 20,000 people coming together for dance music -- that's priceless.
So when you see it through their eyes it's like seeing it again for yourself.
Yeah exactly, and that's why I like to build up other artists. I have a very extreme life, and I get to do crazy stuff. Lots of fun stuff. Everything you can imagine, like "Oh my God, that would be so crazy," I probably already did it. And what's better than sharing that with your friends?
Music video by Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer performing Give Me Everything. (C) 2011 J Records, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment #VEVOCertified on August 12, 2011. www.vevo.com www.youtube.com
Buy the single here: goo.gl Afrojack and Steve Aoki featuring Miss Palmer - No Beef (Official Video) from Ultra Music Ultra Music is one step ahead in the world of dance music and is a leading independent electronic label. Ultra's current roster includes North American artists deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner, Kaskade, Roger Sanchez, Markus Schulz, Tommie Sunshine, David Morales, Sharam, Cedric Gervais, and international artists Tiësto, Above & Beyond, Benny Benassi, Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Alex Gaudino, Kraak & Smaak, Morcheeba, Congorock, Adrian Lux, GRUM, Unicorn Kid, Fedde le Grand, and others. Ultra has featured releases from the aforementioned artists and many others such as Paul van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, The Crystal Method, Timo Maas, Sasha & John Digweed, 4 Strings, Panjabi MC, Despina Vandi, Junkie XL and DJ Antoine. Ultra Music Online: www.ultramusic.com http www.youtube.com www.youtube.com www.facebook.com
Buy now from iTunes: bit.ly The brand new video from Ministry of Sound, this is Afrojack feat Eva Simons - Take Over Control, and it's out now! Follow Ministry of Sound on Twitter www.twitter.com and Facebook www.facebook.com
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Download on Beatport: bit.ly More Afrojack & R3hab on Spinnin' Facebook: facebook.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Check out our playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Join us on G+ : gplus.to Remember 'Prutataaa M*therfucker Prutataaaaa'? This Afrojack & R3hab produced banger got some stunning remixes by electro house legends Dada Life, the mysterious Darth & Vader and Angger Dimas! Do we really need to convince you these remixes are about as massive as it can get? Blow up dance floors all over this planet with this package!
Vote for NERVO in DJ Mag Top 100: smarturl.it Download "We're All No One" digital EP: bit.ly Download "You're Gonna Love Again" digital EP worldwide on iTunes: smarturl.it or Beatport: smarturl.it Watch the "You're Gonna Love Again" video: youtu.be smarturl.it smarturl.it Music video by NERVO performing We're All No One feat. Afrojack and Steve Aoki. (P) (C) 2011 Astralwerks. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by Astralwerks, 150 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10011
Join us on Spinnin' Facebook: facebook.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Check out our playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Join us on G+ : gplus.to The all-star of House is back with another BOMB on his own label Wall Recordings. Afrojack transposes his signature bleeping and wheezing synth up the tonal scale to create Amanda. It's become a banger with booming beats and incredible, almost ultrasonic synth line. Nasty! Essential tune on BBC Radio 1 / Pete Tong!
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Join us on Spinnin' Facebook: facebook.com Subscribe to our Electro House playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Join us on G+ : gplus.to Released on Sneakerz Muzik in 2009
More Afrojack on Spinnin' Facebook: facebook.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Check out our playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Join us on G+ : gplus.to Or subscribe to our Electro House playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Exactly one year ago Afrojack released his first "Lost & Found" EP with previously unreleased tracks. Get ready for Part 2!! The second episode of this highly successful compilation is a blend of typical Afrojack tracks but mind you: its original as hell and will make the crowd go loco like never seen before!
"This Is Love" ft. Eva Simons Available Now On iTunes - smarturl.it "This Is Love" Remix EP Available on iTunes (US) - smarturl.it #willpower coming soon
Afrojack live on Electric Area, from Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, bringing the party. Sorry for the not so great quality. There is not a single good high quality set of Afrojack, so I converted the 128 kbps to 256 kbps VBR. It's not so bad, and maybe the HD button might help, but, with that aside, Afrojack did a pretty good job. Show some love for the man! www1.zippyshare.com Tracklist: 01. Intro w/ Major Lazer feat. VYBZ Kartel -- Pon De Floor (Afrojack Remix) (Acappella) w/ ID Acappella w/ Afrojack -- Bangduck 02. Annie's Theme - afrojack 03. Larry Tee feat. Roxy Cottontail -- Let's Make Nasty (Afrojack Remix) 04. Afrojack -- Polkadots 2010 (Oliver Twizt Remix) (Edit) 05. Afrojack feat. Eva Simons -- Take Over Control 06. Ansol & Dyro -- Top Of The World 07. Kirsty -- Hands High (ID Remix) 08. Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette -- Hello w/ Major Lazer feat. VYBZ Kartel -- Pon De Floor (Afrojack Remix) 09. Will.I.Am feat. Eva Simons -- This Is Love (Afrojack Remix) 10. R3hab & Swanky Tunes feat. Max C vs. Hard Rock Sofa -- Sending My Love (Afrojack Edit) 11. Afrojack & Steve Aoki feat. Miss Palmer -- No Beef (Vocal Mix) 12. Afrojack -- Rock The House w/ Calvin Harris -- Feel So Close (Acappella) w/ Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris -- We Found Love (Acappella) 13. ID (50min) 14. Diddy, Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey -- Coming Home (Dirty South Remix) (Edit) w/ Afrojack -- Pacha On Acid w/ Daft Punk -- Aerodynamic w/ Silvio Ecomo & Chuckie -- Moombah (Afrojack Remix) 15 ...
Join us on Spinnin' Facebook: facebook.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Check out our playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Join us on G+ : gplus.to buy here : www.beatport.com Afrojack's first release on his own label Wall Recordings 'Bangduck' has proven itself already with major support by Pete Tong (BBC Radio 1 Essential Tune of the Week / played several times), David Guetta and Laidback Luke. Bangduck is currently #3 in the DMC UK Buzz Chart, no further explanation needed on how the hype around this track is growing!
Join us on Spinnin' Facebook: facebook.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Check out our playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Join us on G+ : gplus.to The hype around Afrojack is growing in a pace no one can keep up with but luckily Afrojack knows how to deal with it. Lionheart is a typical Afrojack track but mind you: its original as hell and will make the crowd go loco like never seen before! Played exclusively by David Guetta & Pete Tong.
Get it on iTunes now: bit.ly Join us on Spinnin' Facebook: facebook.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Check out our playlists on Spotify: spoti.fi Join us on G+ : gplus.to Download on Beatport: bit.ly It's finally here! 'Can't Stop Me', Afrojack's long-awaited single with Shermanology hits Beatport's shelves for its official release! Afrojack's brand new single together with the Dutch DJ/vocalist trio is the biggest way they could've possibly started this year. The record created an immense buzz on the internet since the first time Afrojack and Shermanology performed it publicly and has already been declared as "Afrojack's biggest tune since 'Take Over Control'". 'Can't Stop Me' showcases the magic between two highly talented teams. The record contains the signature Afrojack sound that, combined with Shermanology's typical anthemic vocals, results in a track that will create electrifying experiences on dance floors worldwide. It may be of no surprise that two of the greatest DJs alive, David Guetta and Tiësto, immediately added the track to their playlist the moment they received the promo. The release of 'Can't Stop Me' shows that Afrojack is ready for 2012. After a year filled with highlights, the world's #7 rated DJ and Grammy Award winning remixer will be working as hard as possible to achieve even bigger successes in the upcoming year. Afrojack has been nominated for his 2nd Grammy Award with his remix for Leona Lewis' 'Collide'. The future is also looking ...
Download on Beatport: bit.ly Join Wall Recordings on Facebook: facebook.com Twitter: twitter.com Wall TV: youtube.com When Afrojack dropped 'Rock The House' at Ultra Music Festival earlier this year, he instantly knew this had to become one of his next singles, and if you'd just listen to it you will understand why! Still sticking to his trademark filthy Dutch electro sounds, Afrojack creates a more melodic buildup to what is one of the most epic drops you've heard in a while. Want to make your audience go crazy like you've never seen before? All you have to do is drop this track, success guaranteed. David Guetta : 'Full support!' Arty : 'support!' Laidback Luke : 'Sounding good! Typical Afrojack style' Hardwell : 'Played it at Sensation Amsterdam!' Steve Aoki : 'BOMBS!' Pete Tong : 'Played it in my Essential Selection this weekend!' Nicky Romero: playing every set since a month or 2 , huge track full support!'' Tommy Trash : 'Played it during Miami!' Thomas Gold : 'dope track' Bingo Players : 'Biggg!' Swanky Tunes : 'Really cool!' Chris Lake : 'Big!' Danny Howard / BBC Radio 1 : 'Yes, amazing!' Austin Kramer / Sirius XM : Yeah!