Jack Back is back: Guetta talks alias’ larger creative significance, first release of 2021 [Interview]
What happens when David Guetta gets time off?
The trajectory of David Guetta’s career has been the stuff that aspiring producers’ dream of—a climb to dance music’s highest summit, still consistently topping charts at 53 years old. One might imagine that taking a break from touring as one of the world’s most distinguished international sensations would allot for some time to stop and smell the roses. Although this might be true, for Guetta, these roses come in the form of sonic innovation—an entire garden of it.
Guetta has produced more global triumphs in the past two years than most producers could dream of distributing in a lifetime. “Right now in the UK, I have like two records in the top 10 and four in the top 40, which is completely crazy,” he told Dancing Astronaut.
This begs the question, what comes after this level of success?
“It’s so hard not to be a slave of your own success,” Guetta said. “I had a moment that, instead of the happiness and the positivity and the passion of going to the top, it was more like the fear of falling from the top to the bottom, and that’s an extremely negative energy…At some point I was really tired of this and obviously feeling the pressure…I resolved that I just want to do something that makes me he happy, and I’m going to.”
Most recently, this pursuit of happiness has found Guetta reinvigorating his Jack Back house music alias with “I’ve Been Missing You” alongside GUZ and Ferreck Dawn. Although the track is Jack Back’s first release of the year to date, Guetta has steadily sent productions to streaming platforms under the alias since 2018, making appearances on labels such as Defected and Toolroom Records.
Side projects like Jack Back, or his underground collaborative effort with MORTEN, future rave, offer Guetta a creative licensure free of formulaic tendencies, he explained:
“It’s very inspiring for me also to have these multiple identities, because I can always be creative without being [formulaic]…that’s what happens when you always [do] the same thing, you start to use the same sound banks, the same concepts, and then it becomes a little bit less interesting for people and also for you as an artist.
I feel completely free creatively…Some of it is going to be a big commercial success. Some of it is not going to be a commercial success.”
But Guetta’s motivation to produce music was never built around the concept of commercial success, anyway. Taking stock of the fact that he began his career at a time when the phrase “professional DJ” didn’t exist, Guetta made music simply because he enjoyed it—not because he was seeking to recreate another industry figure’s apex.
“I didn’t have really an example of someone that would be that big in front of me, so anything that was happening was only a blessing…I never knew I could go that far,” he said.
Using the joy and excitement that he derives from making music as his guiding light, Guetta takes a nearly hedonistic approach to producing music, and surmises that when he loves the music, so do his listeners.
“I’m trying to constantly have fun…this way I’m always excited, and I feel like when I’m excited, the people are excited too.”
Stream Jack Back’s returning single, “I’ve Been Missing You,” below.
This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity and readability
Featured image: Rukes