Afrojack: Producing ‘is like riding a bike,’ A-list artists ‘think they own the world,’ 2013 will bring ‘first ever album’
It’s no secret that Nick van de Wall has become one of the most prominent producers in all of dance music, but, much like their ill-conceived DJ net worth article, this is breaking news for Forbes. Catching up on the once-secret world of EDM, Forbes interviewed Afrojack — fishing for basics like production process and tour life, and digging deeper into his pop crossover. In the brief interview, Afrojack took the time to touch upon working with Pitbull, collaborations in general, his creative process, Jacked on the road, and his future.
Last week, Pitbull released his latest album, Global Warming – 12 tracks of electronic influenced party hits featuring four productions from Afrojack. When asked about his history with the Cuban-American superstar, Nick reminisced, “We originally met in his Miami studio, about two years ago.” “I played him ‘Give Me Everything‘ with the demo vocals,” he continued, “and from that moment everything was on.”
Two years later the Dutchman was called upon to continue that success and co-produce Pitbull’s studio album, which he described as “fun and a big step for me as a producer.” This tandem was not forced, but rather enjoyed, as Afrojack noted that the two had great chemistry in the studio. “He’s sharp, fast, and knows how to create a good vibe in the studio between all people.”
These qualities are what dictates Afrojack’s choice of collaborators, and when asked about his criteria he responded, “To me, the most important thing when working with someone is that you get along and it’s fun.” While his music has dominated the airwaves commercially, Nick has made it clear that he won’t just work with superstars for the sake of leaching onto big names. “I hate working with arrogant ‘A-artists’ that just want to make hits and think they own the world.” He went on to make a comical yet sensible analogy – “If music was a cookie, and you could have the most famous cookie in the world, but it would mean a bad taste every day, you’d rather take another cookie that’s not the most famous, but tastes better, right?” Right. Even though Afrojack has lent his sounds to some of the radio’s premier artists, his musical cookies have been some of the tastiest snacks in all of dance, and are served best with a glass of Afromilk.
When asked about the creative process behind the distinct sound of ‘Afrojack music,’ Nick revealed that he is a cerebral producer, and that he constructs his productions in his mind before touching a single key on his laptop or knob in the studio. “Having a vision, knowing how you want to connect to people and what feeling you want to create is 90% of the work, and can take days, weeks, and even months sometimes.” Once he completes a track in his mind, the physical process comes second hand. “When I know, I know, and the actual producing/remixing only takes me 2-3 hours,” he continued, “I’ve been producing for 14 years so it’s like riding a bike on sonic waves.”
“It’s been absolutely insane. It cannot be described in words,” Nick attempts to explain translating his music to his North American Jacked tour. “Every show felt legendary to me and it looked like most of the party people felt the same.” After acknowledging his most highly attended shows, he referred to his Chicago and Los Angeles stops as “not just an experience, but also a statement to the world.” This statement, Nick elaborates, shows “even in these crazy times, we as free humans can still have fun, make our own choices, and enjoy life!”
Looking towards the future, Forbes asked Mr. van de Wall what to expect 2013, and an entire year’s plan was revealed. “The first ever Afrojack album, which I have been working on since January 2012,” he responded. In addition, we can look forward to “a lot more crazy remixes,” which always bring fresh frenetic energy time and time again. Ending the interview on a more philosophical note, Afrojack declared, “I’m going to voice my opinion more and try to inspire more people to live their life their way, and of course expanding the two main ingredients: music and party!”
It was his last words that summed up the Afrojack identity – music and party. Whether it’s his original mixes like “Rock The House” or “Annie’s Theme,” his Pitbull collaborations, or his larger than life dance parties, Afrojack represents having a good time. But you didn’t need us to tell you that – have you ever seen this guy in the booth?