EDM has really grown in the past year or two in the mainstream. Do you have any advice for other musicians getting involved in EDM?
Do it. But do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it for the pussy, for the money, do it because of the love for music. That’s why all the big guys around the world are doing it. That’s the only reason. It’s because of the connection you get with the crowd. If you’re playing for 80,000 people, you’re not playing for them, you’re performing with them, you’re partying with them. That’s the reason we all wanted to do this because we like making music, we like connecting to other people and we do that through dance music.
Do it. But do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it for the money, do it because of the love for music. That’s why all the big guys around the world are doing it. That’s the only reason. It’s because of the connection you get with the crowd.
I think the most important thing about dance music is the connection. If you put 80,000 people together, no one knows each other and once the music starts, everyone loves each other. That doesn’t happen with a lot of genres. If you go to a hip-hop club, it’s not like when one songs comes on that everyone suddenly loves each other. I’ve been touring all around the world and I’ve been playing my music all around the world. I think I’ve done 400 gigs in the last two years, maybe 500. I think, maybe, I’ve only seen one fight during my performance. So one in 500 shows, one little fight. I think the love and energy of dance music is great.
As you mentioned, I think there are people that are getting involved with the DJ and EDM scenes for the wrong reasons. You saw that firsthand with your association with Paris Hilton starting her DJ career.
Even though it’s maybe a little more negative take on EDM, it's not. That’s not EDM. Telling everyone that they can go out and DJ...there’s a difference between just going up and playing some records and actually doing it right. The EDM DJs, they don’t just go there and play their own records, they create an experience. It’s like a movie, it’s not just action, action, action, cars exploding and shit. There’s a lot of parts exploding but you make a combination of cars exploding but also one of the main characters dying or feeling really sad or getting dumped. It’s a combination of emotions.
Sometimes you have a really melancholic song and you have to build it and put it in a certain order for people to understand. If I start DJing and I start with a really emotional track, people aren’t going to cry, there’s no reason to cry. If you watch a movie and someone dies in the beginning, no one really cares. You have to build a certain story and if you do it right then at the end of the night, people will hold hands and start crying and do all sorts of crazy shit. I had that before and it’s one of the most beautiful things to see and get those emotions out of people through music.
It seems like you truly have an emotional connection with the experience that you create through music. But back to Paris, did you teach her how to DJ? What was your involvement in her DJ career?
[Paris] is a good friend of mine-well, let me rephrase it, used to be a good friend of mine-we were working on music together but she never said anything about the whole DJ thing so I didn’t really have anything to do with it.
She’s a good friend of mine-well, let me rephrase it, used to be a good friend of mine-we were working on music together but she never said anything about the whole DJ thing so I didn’t really have anything to do with it. I didn’t know about it until the press release. It’s funny but I don’t care.
Would you consider working with her now?
Basically, what’s more important than music to me is family and friends and I will always be open for family and friends. Even if, for example, you. You’re interviewing me right now, you come to Philadelphia, we do another interview, and we’re like ‘Oh my God’ and we become best friends. Then you say, ‘I want to become a producer.’ An interviewer turning into a producer, people will say, ‘Yeah that’s impossible she’s a journalist’ but if you’re my friend, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t help you? On the other hand, if we’re friends and you don’t ask me for my help or anything then you start talking about how I taught you-well, I didn’t. Then I’m pissed off, that’s not nice. Don’t bullshit me.
It was a weird situation but I don’t think it should get too much more attention, I’m pretty sure it was a one time thing and it happens. Personally, we’re still okay. I don’t have anything to do with her whole DJing thing and I have to say that if someone says, ‘Oh Afrojack taught me how to DJ’ and you can’t DJ, that kind of sucks for me.
You’re going on tour again, and you mentioned you have an album coming out next year as well. What's it like being so busy?
I’m going to do the tour in October and November. I’m going to do some big stuff. I’m going to be all around America in December, January, February, and March. I’m going to spend a lot of time in America over the next year because I really like it there and I like the energy and the people, especially the crowds. I have a good connection with people from America that come to my shows. It’s more the American culture. I like the culture so I want to spend more time there and make more friends and have some fun.
Everyone that’s featured [on my album], I’m putting them into my world.
My album is coming out next year and I’m working on some really big stuff and there are going to be some really big features. I can’t say any dates yet but it will be in the beginning of 2013. There will be some big features but I don’t want to put the focus or attention on the features. It’s my first album and I want people to buy it for me. Everyone that’s featured, I’m putting them into my world. When I feature people on my album, it’s going to be my shit. If I feature Chris Brown on my album, he’s going to be singing a song that I think is cool that fits to EDM and fits my world. I’m going to pull all these artists into my world and have them do something they wouldn’t expect.
I understand a lot of people, a lot of fans, are like, ‘Wow you’re so special and you’re so talented that you got this far.’ But I always try to give the message that you don’t have to be born special or anything. I grew up in a really small city in Holland, didn’t have anything to do with music and I just wanted to do it and I went for it. It’s not just believing, it’s also doing. I’m trying to get that message across to all the little kids that want to get into music, too.