Spinning the Globe

By David Perloff

As electronic dance music's appeal reaches a global crescendo, America's Finest EDM scene is poised to host some of the world's top talents. Many of the planet's stadium-filling headliners will take the main stage at Hakkasan Group's new Omnia nightclub, which opens its doors at the former site of downtown's Stingaree this spring. In advance of their spinning S.D. into cosmic oblivion, six of these megastars (listed below in order of their DJ Mag Top 100 rank) took a few moments to speak with PacificSD about their music, their careers and their upcoming local performances.

 

Afrojack
Real Name: Nick Van de Wall
D.O.B.: September 9, 1987
Nationality: Netherlands
Twitter followers 1,600,000
Facebook likes: 8,300,000
Instagram followers: 1,000,000
DJ Mag 2014 global rank: 12
YouTube highlight: "Ten Feet Tall," 38,000,000 views

PacificSD: What's the coolest part of being one of the top DJs on the planet?
AFROJACK: That I can do something I love very much and that I can show it to everybody in the world.

How do you describe your music? What genre or genres does it fit, if any? Since I like a lot of different music genres, I use some influences to produce new music. I can't really say it is one genre; I just call it Afrojack music.

What are your professional and/ or artistic goals? Making music that I really like, and to make some new albums. But mostly I just want to keep doing what I love the most, and that's entertaining people.

Who's your favorite EDM artist at the moment? I have a lot of favorites, actually. I don't want to say a name, because then I will probably forget somebody else.

With which artist or artists would you most like to collaborate? Kanye West, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry. I would love working with them. They are some of the biggest artists in the world.

If you could see only one more live performance by any band or musical act, whether living or dead, whom would you choose? Michael Jackson - one of the best performers, artists, musicians who has ever lived.

In what ways are you looking forward to performing in San Diego? SD has always been good to me, and I have a lot of fans out there. I can't wait to show them the new Afrojack experience.

Where on the planet would you most like to travel to next? I like the U.S., because I'm there most of the time. And I always like to come back to my home country, the Netherlands, to see my family and friends again.

What should your millions of fans know about you that they don't already? I think they already know everything, since I'm a quite an open book to my fans.

You just won the $250 million Powerball jackpot - what are you doing for the rest of the day? Keep doing what I'm doing now. Making more music and fly all over the world to entertain all of my fans - and do it bigger and better. And, of course, bring all of my friends and family over to see every show.

Complete this sentence: I wish the world of EDM had more "blank" and less "blank." More talents on all the festivals' main stages, and less use of the term EDM.

 

CHUCKIE
Real name: Clyde Narain
D.O.B.: June 25, 1978
Nationality: Suriname
Twitter followers: 580,000 followers
Facebook likes: 1,100,000
Instagram followers: 151,000 followers
YouTube highlight: "Let the Bass Kick," 12,000,000 views

PacificSD: What's the coolest part of being one of the top DJs on the planet?
CHUCKIE: The most satisfying part is having the opportunity to find new music that inspires me. I use Dirty Dutch Music as a platform for discovering new artists. There's a new generation of DJs and producers that I want to collaborate with - whether it's within techno, dancehall, trap, reggae... the list goes on. My recent productions have all been centered around this sort of musical expansion.

How do you describe your music? What genre or genres does it fit, if any? My music reflects anything that has influenced me as an artist. It's never been about labeling the Dirty Dutch sound as one particular style. I want to keep it fresh. If I had to narrow it down to specific genres, my roots came from hip-hop and drum-and-bass. As I began exploring house more and more, Dirty Dutch simply came about naturally. Since the beginning, I've made it a point to create music that never limits itself to one spectrum.

What are your professional and/ or artistic goals? I want to work with a lot of new names and, musically, I want to take the label in a lot more directions.

Who's your favorite EDM artist at the moment? There are several players I'm currently digging. The first is ChildsPlay. Traphall is our core business, and we're trying to spread the Traphall sound as far and wide as possible. There's a reason why "Chiefin'" was the first Dirty Dutch track released this year. Dirty Audio knows how to make a down-home banger that counts. There's plenty more to come, including a remix with the king of Melbourne Bounce himself - I'll let you try and guess who that is.

With which artist or artists would you most like to collaborate? You might have heard of one or two of these guys: Jay Z or Kanye, but not on a dance music track, necessarily. Being able to fully cross into hip-hop again would be a nostalgic trip down my roots.

If you could see only one more live performance by any band or musical act, whether living or dead, whom would you choose? It would have to be The Awesome 3. "Don't Go" is one of my all-time favorites. Listening to this record was the first time I really discovered a passion and love for electronic music. Breakbeat and drum-and-bass will always be a part of my beginnings as a DJ/producer.

In what ways are you looking forward to performing in San Diego? San Diego has always been great to me - the fans; diverse range of venues; weather, of course. I could go on all day.

Where on the planet would you most like to travel to next? Australia. I want to continue playing around with Melbourne Bounce. I love that sound, since it blends so well with Dirty Dutch.

What should your millions of fans know about you that they don't already? I started off as a barber to pay for records. This was when I was around 15; still love it.

You just won the $250 million Powerball jackpot - what are you doing for the rest of the day? Going to Amoeba [independent record stores in California] and buying every vinyl I could possibly want. Then again, I might as well just buy Amoeba. That's like every music-lover's dream.

 

KREWELLA
Real Names: Jahan (Rigth) and Yasmine Yousaf (sisters)
D.O.B.: Jahan, August 27, 1989; Yasmine, February 18, 1992
Nationality: U.S.A.
Twitter followers: 492,000
Facebook likes: 2,200,000
Instagram followers: 230,000
DJ Mag 2014 global rank: 33
YouTube highlight: "Alive," 40,000,000 views

PacificSD: What's the coolest part of being one of the top DJs on the planet?
KREWELLA: Experiencing different cultures and people with different ethnic backgrounds coming together at global dance festivals. It is an unforgettable image of harmony that should set an example for the entire world to coexist.

How do you describe your music? What genre or genres does it fit, if any? Dance, at the core. Now regaining touch with our rock roots and focusing on sharing the story of our lives through the songwriting. We call it "Rock 'n' Rave."

What are your professional and/ or artistic goals? To transcend genres; move people emotionally through our music; empower youth and those in the shadows; encourage listeners to face their demons; spread the message of acceptance, love and peace, globally.

Who's your favorite EDM artist at the moment? Pegboard Nerds, I See Monstas and Modestep.

With which artist or artists would you most like to collaborate? Our fantasy collaborations are System of a Down, Linkin Park and Kanye.

If you could see only one more live performance by any band or musical act, whether living or dead, whom would you choose? Bloc Party. We call this our "family band," because everyone in our family is a fan. We grew up listening to them, so their older releases are nostalgic and remind us of our early teenage years when we were still figuring shit out and discovering our identity.

In what ways are you looking forward to performing in San Diego? We actually talk about how it would be cool to live in San Diego someday. It's like a less hustleand- bustle version of Los Angeles, plus it's on the water. And besides enjoying and exploring the city during our time off, we are stoked to see the crowd there, since we haven't performed in over a year. The party scene is alive and thriving in San Diego, so we are certain it will be a crazy crowd.

Where on the planet would you most like to travel to next? We are half Pakistani and haven't been there since we were kids. It's sad to feel so out of touch with our culture and our people. We also have such an affinity for Europe, which is where the other half is from. We cherish the old charm, historical buildings and museums, creamy cappuccinos and natural beauty of cities like Salzburg, Paris and Stockholm. These are a few of the places we will never get tired of visiting.

What should your millions of fans know about you that they don't already? No gossip. There is power in silence.

You just won the $250 million Powerball jackpot - what are you doing for the rest of the day? Flying our family and loved ones out to Los Angeles to come over for a home-cooked meal. Spending the whole night brainstorming what global issues we are passionate about and strategizing how to address funding an investment in those areas that desperately need attention.

Complete this sentence: I wish the world of EDM had more "blank" and less "blank." More diversity and less cliques.

 

MARTIN GARRIX
Real name: Martijn Gerard Garritsen
D.O.B.: May 14, 1996
Nationality: Netherlands
Twitter followers: 1,500,000
Facebook likes: 10,000,000
Instagram followers: 2,100,000
DJ Mag 2014 global rank: 4
YouTube highlight: "Animals," 486,000,000 views

PacificSD: What's the coolest part of being one of the top DJs on the planet?
MARTIN GARRIX: The best thing is that I get to do what I love most, producing music, performing all over the world, and meeting new people. When I'm on stage and see all these amazing people in the crowd having the time of their lives, I feel like the happiest guy on the planet.PacificSD: What's the coolest part of being one of the top DJs on the planet? The best thing is that I get to do what I love most, producing music, performing all over the world, meeting new people. When I'm on stage and see all these amazing people in the crowd having the time of their lives, I feel like the happiest guy on the planet.

How do you describe your music? What genre or genres does it fit, if any? I don't really care for genres. Some call it "EDM," some call it "pop." I just try to make good music.

What are your professional and/or artistic goals? I'm a perfectionist. I still want to get better and better in everything I do. I produced most of my music in my bedroom at my parents' place, but I was in L.A. last week and got to work in some of the best studios in the world, with some of the best musicians. That was such an amazing experience; I got so much new inspiration for my music. And also my performances, I really want to have a massive show in the future where everything comes together - the music, sick visuals, lights, fireworks, et cetera.

Who's your favorite EDM artist at the moment? I really admire Calvin Harris. It's incredible what he has achieved as a producer.

With which artist or artists would you most like to collaborate? I have a ton of names I would love to work with, from Calvin Harris to Lana Del Rey.

If you could see only one more live performance by any band or musical act, whether living or dead, whom would you choose? I would love to see a comeback of Swedish House Mafia. Their live shows are the best.

In what ways are you looking forward to performing in San Diego? I always love to play San Diego. The city has a great vibe, and I love the people there.

Where on the planet would you most like to travel to next? I always love to go home, actually, to see my friends and family.

You just won the $250 million Powerball jackpot - what are you doing for the rest of the day? Ha! I have no idea. I don't really care for money or expensive stuff, to be honest. I'm just living my dream and I feel very honored that there are so many people around the world who are supporting me.

 

NERVO
Real names: Miriam (right) and Olivia Nervo (twins)
D.O.B.: February 17, 1987
Nationality: Australia
Twitter followers: 782,000
Facebook likes: 3,300,000
Instagram followers: 461,000
DJ Mag 2014 global rank: 21
YouTube highlight: "You're Gonna Love Again," 12,000,000 views

PacificSD: What's the coolest part of being one of the top DJs on the planet?
NERVO: We get to make and play music for a living. Plus, we get to go to great parties around the world.

How do you describe your music? What genre or genres does it fit, if any? We play big room house and love vocal house. We like to mix older classics with modern-day bangers. We like to read the crowd to see what they respond to, and then we tailor our sets to suit the evening and the vibe of the room.

What are your professional and/or artistic goals? We just want to create music that we enjoy. Hopefully, others enjoy it, too.

Who's your favorite EDM artist at the moment? We think Calvin Harris is super talented. He makes great crossover records, banging remixes and he sings. The talent is boundless.

With which artist or artists would you most like to collaborate? We would love to work with Imogen Heap. She's such an incredible writer and producer, plus we love her vocals. If we could bring Kurt Cobain back from the dead, it would be great to get in the studio with him, too.

If you could see only one more live performance by any band or musical act, whether living or dead, whom would you choose? We love all types of music, so it's hard to list only one. We'd love to bring back Kurt Cobain and Frank Sinatra. We have also never seen Dolly Parton perform, so that would be great to witness.

In what ways are you looking forward to performing in San Diego? We don't see our fans as much in San Diego, so it will be great to play for them more often.

Where on the planet would you most like to travel to next? We are traveling to Monterrey, Mexico tomorrow - super excited for that, as we love Mexico. We always have such great shows down there.

What should your millions of fans know about you that they don't already? We love to eat; we are big foodies. We used to breed guinea pigs and budgies when we were kids.

You just won the $250 million Powerball jackpot - what are you doing for the rest of the day? If we have a scheduled show, we would be there. And then we would have the biggest afterparty ever! Everyone would be invited, and we would charter our friends in from all over the world.

Complete this sentence: I wish the world of EDM had more "blank" and less "blank."More affordable ticket prices and less shows where we have to leave cities so quickly, as we'd love to hang around and explore.

 

NICKY ROMERO
Real name: Nick Rotteveel
D.O.B.: January 6, 1989
Nationality: Netherlands
Twitter followers: 1,600,000
Facebook likes: 6,000,000
Instagram followers: 1,200,000
DJ Mag 2014 global rank: 8
YouTube highlight: "Toulouse," 214,000,000 views

PacificSD: What's the coolest part of being one of the top DJs on the planet?
NICKY ROMERO: The coolest thing is to be able to do what I love for a living. I also get to visit some of the sickest places in the world with a bunch of people I couldn't live without.

How do you describe your music? What genre or genres does it fit, if any? I like to experiment with music and blur the lines of genres. My music has a clear progressive-house foundation, but I love to dip in and out of other styles, too.

What are your professional and/or artistic goals?I want to continue building up Protocol Recordings and work with new and interesting artists. I want to keep surprising people by thinking outside the box in terms of my musical releases and projects.

Who's your favorite EDM artist at the moment? I have to say Calvin Harris. He's killing it left, right and center.

With which artist or artists would you most like to collaborate? I am just finishing up a track with Nile Rodgers; and for me, it's the dream come true. I have so much respect for him and everything that he's done.

If you could see only one more live performance by any band or musical act, whether living or dead, whom would you choose? Michael Jackson - he is a legend, and I believe he had so much left to give to the music world. I would love to see him perform... but I would be super jealous of his dance moves.

In what ways are you looking forward to performing in San Diego? California is one of the best places on the planet. I am really looking forward to being back in San Diego. There's nothing better than a good crowd who loves the music, and I have a feeling that, as per usual, these guys are going to bring the energy.

Where on the planet would you most like to travel to next? I just spent a week in Dubai in January, and it was amazing. I would love to go back there to kick back and relax.

What should your millions of fans know about you that they don't already? I don't drink a lot of alcohol, just the occasional beer. During my sets, I like to drink coconut water to keep me hydrated and to keep me on top of my game.

You just won the $250 million Powerball jackpot - what are you doing for the rest of the day? As you may or may not know, I am a huge motorbike fan. I would definitely set up my own Protocol Moto GP team. That would be sick!

Complete this sentence: I wish the world of EDM had more "blank" and less "blank." More understanding and less criticism.

Copyright © 2018, Pacific San Diego
53°