David Guetta, known as “the grandfather of EDM”, is one of the greatest electronic music artists of all time – and, at 50, he’s still going strong.
The French DJ and producer was in Hong Kong earlier this month to headline at the Road to Ultra Hong Kong music festival. On June 9, he dazzled a packed house at the AsiaWorld-Expo, and spoke to Young Post afterwards about how he’s able to keep things fresh.
“For me to get excited, I need to play my new records,” said Guetta, who added he will be releasing a new album at the end of summer.
“I spent four months being in the studio every day. Now I have so much new music, and I’m so excited to show everyone.”
Ever since releasing his first album, Just a Little More Love, in 2002, Guetta has remained relevant in mainstream music by working with prestigious artists such as Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Akon. His most viewed song on YouTube, Hey Mama, has more than 1.2 billion views, and several more of his songs aren’t far off that mark.
So how does he stay motivated, having spent years at a pinnacle of success that others would love to reach just once? The DJ says that, for him, the answer is simple – it’s because he loves what he does.
“I’m just a very passionate person, and it is crazy that I’ve been doing this for so many years and somehow it’s still fresh,” said Guetta.
“Of course, I try my best not to do the same thing and try different musical styles and genres; that excites me. And usually, if I’m excited, [the fans] will get excited, too.”
Guetta said he had an amazing time in Hong Kong and at Road to Ultra, which was his first festival in a long time.
“I was doing an entire season as a resident DJ in Las Vegas in the US, which required me to stay in a certain area [genre of music],” he said. “My set today was largely improvised; I felt like it was one of those shows where people are ready to follow me wherever I went [musically].”
He added: “Asia is a great crowd – very enthusiastic – always.”
Guetta played his biggest hits – including Without You, Titanium and Turn Me On – but also some of his newer songs and underground tracks. “People were really into it,” Guetta said. “It’s nights like this where I am very thankful to be a DJ.”
Guetta’s advice to young DJs and producers is to find a balance between standing out and pleasing the crowd.
“It’s about being unique but still making the people dance,” he said. “If you want to make a name for yourself, you need to please the people, but in a way that other people don’t do.
“If you only want to please the [crowd], you might end up a resident DJ, but you won’t be a successful artist. If you try to be too unique, nobody will understand your music. I fight that battle every day of my life, between being simple enough for people to understand, but at the same time interesting enough so that I have my own sound.”
Wise words indeed from the grandfather of EDM.