Afrojack the most down to earth private jet owner you’ll ever meet
Afrojack, aka Nick van de Wall, is the latest super-producer to come out of the lowlands, joining the likes of Laidback Luke, Tiesto, Joris Voorn, Fedde Le Grand, Armin van Buren, Sander Kleinenberg and Ferry Corsten as the country’s top musical exports.
But while many of those names are only able to make ravers, who consider glow sticks the finishing touch to an outfit, weak at the knees, Afrojack appeals to a much wider audience thanks to some global crossover hits that he was an integral part of.
From Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now to Beyonce’s Run The World and the impossible-to-avoid Give Me Everything, which he worked on with Pitbull, Afrojack receives just as big a buzz on the airwaves as he does in the clubs. Which, despite his rising star as a pop-producer, he is adamant is where his heart truly lies.
‘I made 20 dance records this year, music for the clubs, for the dancefloor,’ he explains as a waitress hands him a tuna nicoise salad in a Central London restaurant.
He says he was in two minds about putting his name on Give Me Everything, which went multi-platinum across the world, including six-times in Australia, as it was so far removed from his usual sound.
‘Pitbull liked my music and invited me to his studio and I played him some stuff I made with him in mind. I played him the Everything Tonight instrumental and he was like “This is going to be the one.” So we started working on it for four or five hours.
‘Two or three weeks later I got an email from my manager going upside down in circles saying: “This is going to be huge.” The first time I listened to it, I was like “Wow, it sounds like an actual pop song”, I’d never made a pop song before as I’m a dance producer. I was thinking for a long time, “should I put my name on it or not? I made it and I wrote it, but isn’t it too poppy?” But in the end I was like “I made it, I like it.”’
It proved to be a wise decision, and has catapulted the softly spoken producer to the top of many label’s wish lists with their artists are desperate to work with him.
But they can wait. Next week, all eyes will be on Amsterdam as the city plays host to 800 DJs, producers and artists who have come to join in the wild festivities of the annual Amsterdam Dance Event. Starting things off on October 17th will be Afrojack presents… Jacked, which is a yearly highlight of the ADE calendar, and will no doubt be an opportunity for the 25-year-old to show off some of his latest tracks and untested remixes.
I get the feeling that he will also enjoy the opportunity to return home and see his family, who are still based in Holland while his life seems to meet all the criteria for ‘international superstar DJ’ – strings of gigs playing to thousands of people, five star hotel rooms, flashy watches, an entourage of record label execs, tour managers and press agents, travelling but never getting a chance to truly experience the destination… um, two private jets.
‘I live a little bit of everywhere these days, but my family is still based out of Holland so I try to go back there a lot,’ he says.
Unlike many DJs of his ilk, Afrojack is amiable and warm, and despite a lavish lifestyle, comes across as very down to earth. I pry about the private jet rumours, and I’m surprised when he’s happy to tell me more. ‘I have a steady rental jet which has a big sticker on the side that says “the Afrojet”. It’s just for fun but it’s necessary for all the touring.
‘In the last three months I did over a hundred gigs. You don’t want to do that on a bicycle!,’ he laughs.
‘In America I have a different one with “US tour” on it, and I bought a TV, a really tiny one so I can play my Playstation. In Europe, it’s a six or seven seater, has a nice toilet, and you can chill or smoke in the plane, whatever I want. Usually I don’t do a lot, I’ll sleep or I’ll grab my laptop.’
He tells me that for his birthday he chartered a private jet to take him and his family for a break in Ibiza, and that’s the only time he’s ever had air stewardesses on board – so he’s clearly not too posh to grab his own bag of nuts from the mini-bar.
Are your family musical? ‘My family isn’t musical but my mum used to own a dance school and was a dance teacher. When I was really young, she didn’t have enough money for a babysitter so would take me with her to lessons. So I was introduced to music at a young age.’
So can you dance? ‘Yes,’ he laughs before getting one of his crew to back him up. ‘If I’m drunk I’ll start dancing when I’m DJing.’
After chatting for a while, it becomes clear that the Dutchman is one of those annoying people who is good at several different things. Producing music, DJing, dancing and design (he once studied graphics), could writing film scores be next?
Like many people who spend a lot of time in transit, he’s up to date with the latest film releases, and more. His thorough film knowledge means he can watch Tarantino movies repeatedly and pick up on different nuances each time, a skill he also found handy when watching Josh Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods for the second time.
Do you think you could have a career in film one day? ‘I want to learn how to score horror movies, as the music behind horror movies is on a next level. You have to build anticipation, like we do in dance tracks, they do it 10 times as big. I love the soundtrack of 28 Days Later,’ he says. ‘And the Shrek 2 soundtrack is dope!’
You can follow Afrojack on Twitter @djafrojack
For more information about the Amsterdam Dance Event 17-21 October 2012 visit www.amsterdam-dance-event.nlTagged in: Afrojack, Armin van Buren, Beyonce, Cabin in the Woods, Chris Brown, dance music, Joss Whedon, Laidback Luke, Netherlands, Sander Kleinenberg, Tiesto
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