Afrojack exclusive shoot for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Afrojack X FAULT Magazine

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Full shoot and interview available exclusively in FAULT Magazine Issue 29 – available to pre-order now!

In an overly saturated music industry, there are only a few names worthy of mention as of recent times. One of the most difficult genres to break into is dance music – by far due to the increased online presence of an abundance of up and coming producers. FAULT Favourite Kygo is one of the many that have managed to break into mainstream music through Soundcloud and ever since, he’s been dominating the charts. Before the new talent outburst, however, the EDM community was held together by only a few artists who are still breaking the charts with their continuous growth in the field.

Dance veteran Afrojack is a complex character worthy of appraisal and with his busy touring schedule and hectic media time, pinning down one of the powerhouses in dance music proved itself to be a rewarding and surprising experience altogether.

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FAULT: You’ve previously said in interviews that at clubs, you’ve got 90% of your audience who enjoy the big tracks and then you’ve got the 10% who actually know dance music. What do you do for the 10%?
Afrojack: I’ve always been that person in the club that’s enjoying the music and not there for the girls. When I DJ, that’s still my priority. I still want to make sure that everyone is having a great time, but I always make sure that I show people something new that caters to the ‘in’ crowd.

How do you approach releasing new music? You’ve got a body of work that was only yours to listen to and afterwards you have the whole world judging it. Does that make you nervous?
Afrojack: It used to, but over the last year or so it hasn’t. Beforehand, I’d feel a lot of social pressure. ‘You’re a Top 10 DJ – so that better be good!’ And now I’m more relaxed and I’ve started doing the same thing that I was doing 10 years ago. I make music, I release it and then you can do whatever you want with it.

You’re about to embark on your North American Tour. What’s in store for the fans?
Afrojack: Anytime you prepare for a new tour you try to refurbish your set. I’ve been focusing a lot on doing more club records. I premiered a few back at Ultra and the reaction was really good. Now I’m getting the chance to present the final versions of those tracks. I see my set as an opportunity to show people tracks that they already love and also tracks that are new. People say that you’re only as good as your last record, which is not true. You’re only as good as your next record.

 

Do you have a particular track or tracks that you enjoy playing live because of the reaction that you get from your audience?
Afrojack: ‘Ten Feet Tall’ always gets amazing reactions, so I always save that for the end. I have the most fun with the beats and the drops.

You recently released One More Day with Jewelz & Sparks. How did it come to life?
Afrojack: I didn’t write it, I simply co-produced it. I’ve been working with Jewelz & Sparks a lot and they played me the demo version of this song. At the time, nobody was looking after their marketing or helping them promote any of their songs. So, I simply said to them that they should come to my studio and sit down for a bit. And a few months later I signed them, and we put out this single as the first track that we worked on together. We’ve got a lot more to come.

 

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Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your production work?
Afrojack: Yes, I am, but I have a middle ground. I don’t want to completely modify a demo that made me feel something in the first place, but at the same time, I still feel that I’ve got to clean up. For example – we’re in a great hotel room right now, but if it was trash everywhere, it would be a very trashy great hotel room. That’s basically what I try to do when I work on a production. I try to make it as clean as possible. To make a song the best version of itself.

You’ve worked with an array of established artists and you’ve recently added Sia to the list as well. What was your experience of working with one of the most powerful voices in pop music right now?
Afrojack: It was great, but I never actually met her. I’ve never been in the studio with her. Everything I’ve done with Sia was through other people, whether it was mixing or producing. I’m actually working on another record with her right now and I’ve never spoken to her. It’s insane, I put out a lot of songs with a lot of people that I’ve never been in the studio with.

 

EDM is quite a close-knit community. When I look at the line-ups, it’s always the same people. Yourself, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, David Guetta. When you’re touring, do you think of them as your home away from home?
Afrojack: David and Martin are actually some of my best friends. Especially David, he’s almost like family. When we’re doing these festivals, it’s like seeing your family, but I also see them outside the festivals too. Everyone that you can imagine in this scene is in the same boat. It’s a very weird experience to go out to 10,000 people screaming your name and then go back to your hotel room and twiddle your thumbs because you haven’t got anything to do. I can’t really call anyone, I don’t know anyone there. I know there are 10,000 people who know my music, but I don’t know them and then they don’t know me! With the other DJs, we’re all in that same boat, so when we see each other at the festivals, we’ve got a subconscious connection with each other. We’re very happy to be amongst other people who know exactly how we feel.

 

Can you look back and tell us about one of your most memorable moments spent with them?
Afrojack: When I played Ultra a few years ago, they put a pool right next to the dance floor. So – you had the stage, the pool and the party. And obviously, at one point all of the DJs were in the pool with the crowd. It’s always fun when the stage is ‘artist-friendly’ and we all get to hang out together. The party actually became a part of the set.

 

What do you think is the future of dance music? How will it reinvent itself?
Afrojack: Nobody can tell the future. That’s the beautiful thing, it’s always a surprise. But I definitely feel that it’s ever-growing. Everything in the future is growing. The future is growth in itself. I would also love to know what’s happening in the future, that’s why I’m studying philosophy. I would love to be able to predict what comes next.

What’s your FAULT?
Afrojack: The more I started learning about psychology and philosophy, everything pointed to the same thing: If you want to live as free as possible, stop trying to learn and start being instead. Being implies that we should stop trying to evolve our knowledge to better predict the future. I don’t see it as a fault, but I’m very addicted to learning and growing that I keep learning more and more. And the more I learn, the more I forget about being.

 

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Words: Adina Ilie
Photo: Robert K. Baggs

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