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David Guetta: ‘It’s Going to Sound Less and Less Like the Same Shit’

Radio hit machine and veteran French house artist says EDM is going to change for the better in 2016 with more variety in sound and tempo

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Kenneth Lobo Dec 15, 2015
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low res DAVID GUETTA by Ellen von Unwerth (NYC Sept 2014) 04-0821 - Copy

David Guetta. Photo: Ellen Von Unwerth

David Guetta is the indisputable King of the Airwaves. Since his surprise American crossover hit, “When Love Takes Over,” with singer Kelly Rowland [Destiny´s Child] in 2009, the Frenchman has charted 15 top 100 tunes in the States, and 27 in Europe. Even if you don´t recognise him by name, it´s quite likely that you and your entire family might have grooved to a Guetta tune. This year´s standout hit has been “Hey Mama,” the Nicki Minaj and Bebe Rexha tune that he co-produced with Dutch EDM superstar Afrojack. The track samples “Rosie,” an American prison work song from 1947, recorded by American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. Working within the strictures of what is now broadly bunched under the EDM umbrella, the track gives an indication of Guetta´s increased belief in the power of trap-influenced bass music, as the new direction of EDM, moving away from its generic auto-tuned vocals, drop-magnets and four-to-the floor mantra. On the eve of his fourth visit to India for Sunburn Festival in Goa this December, David Guetta talks house music, his love for Paris and the future of EDM.

You grew up in a household with a professor-dad. Was there any music at home?

It was not about my dad being a teacher or anything, you know”¦But I was into a lot of funk. [I was listening to] artists like James Brown and Curtis Mayfield but also more underground acts like Slave and The Meters.

How affected were you by the recent terrorist at­tacks in Paris?

I used to be a resident DJ at the Bataclan [the historic theatre that was taken hostage by three terrorists] for three years, four nights a week. So it was really personal for me. But more than that, just the way everything happened, that´s not the way human beings are supposed to be.

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Speaking of Paris, what do you remember most about the early days of you playing house music in the city?

For me, it was all about the artists who were around at the time, like Cassius, Laurent Garnier and Thomas Bangalter and myself. Disco had a big in­fluence in France and what a lot of people didn´t know is that there were some big French producers working in American disco, like [Marc] Cerrone or The Village People [Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo]. The French house or the French House movement has its roots in disco ”” it took samples from disco tunes and loops from the instrumental versions, so DJs created their own mash-ups or bootlegs.

Daft Punk played a big role in you scoring your first record deal. Do y’all keep in touch?

Oh, yeah. For me, Thomas Bangalter [one half of Daft Punk with Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo] was a god, you know. He made a call to his label [the president of Virgin Records, France in 2001] and the next thing you know, I had a label. Today, it´s difficult to keep in touch with our schedules. But I did hang out with him last month when we were both in Paris for an event.

You regularly played long sets as a resident DJ in various clubs in Paris. What is the challenge for you now as someone who plays much shorter sets at massive festivals?

As a resident DJ, I had the time and responsibility to take my guests on a journey. I could take my time, build the night, go in different directions. But now, I am booked more for my own music, you know. I am booked as an artist. So I have to play my tunes, it´s a show. People are coming there for my music so I have to give that to them.

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How hard is it for you to close a festival like Coachella, for instance, where fans have been listening to the same EDM sounds for two weekends?

It´s definitely a tough one because everybody has been playing the same”¦shit, you know. Everything almost sounds the same. I try to be different by creating different edits of my tracks so that no­body else has those versions of my tunes and the audience doesn´t feel like they are listening to the radio. I also create bootlegs of my favourite tunes, so, in a way it´s a unique show.

You mentioned after Coachella this year that you were really impressed by Chicago duo Flosstradamus´s set. What did you like about it?

I really liked the energy in their set. It was hip-hop, it was trap, it was EDM. They changed the tempo so well, this is something that I do as well but I felt like this is the future. Actually, the future is happening right now – look at the success of Diplo and Skrillex, especially on the new Justin Bieber record. It´s a lot more down­tempo and won´t sound like the same old generic sound any more.

What do you see changing with the EDM sound in 2016?

There´s going to be more variety in the sound and the tempo. It´s going to sound less and less like the same shit, which is what it sounds like right now.

 

David Guetta will headline Sunburn Goa this year, to be held from December 27th-30th. 

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