DJ Mag catches up with the globally renowned French DJ/producer at the airport, about to catch a plane to his Las Vegas residency, and we immediately start talking about the Top 100 poll and the backlash he experienced from the so-called #TranceFamily when he won 2011. “It’s funny, cos Armin and I are friends, he’s very open-minded musically, as I am, but some of his fans take the poll a little bit too seriously,” Guetta drawls.
David starts telling us about his “amazing” year, which was quite a challenge as in the middle of it he had his two nights in Ibiza — at Ushuaia and Pacha. He's also started work on his new album, he reveals. “I’ve been really experimenting the whole year, trying to find new sounds and a new direction,” he says. “Because when I come with a new album, I’m going to come with a new style. I’m not following other people, so it’s harder. But I’m happy, cos I have something.”
He starts talking about the new record he's done for the United Nations for their 'The World Needs More...' campaign — 'One Voice', featuring Mikky Ekko. “This gives you an idea of where I’m going musically, which is very different from what everybody else is doing,” he says. “That’s always my challenge.”
The idea is that millions of people all around the world complete the sentence 'The world needs more + your word' — to create some sort of online global digital village. Guetta says that he's done a bit of charity work in the past, but wanted to do “something that works with what I think. I’m very honoured to be part of it, it’s beautiful to be part of something bigger than me.”
The fundraising single follows on from 'Without You' that he did for UNICEF last year, and for this new 'unity' record the video was presented to the presidents of all the UN countries for approval. “The idea is to bring awareness — speaking about tolerance and love and being all together and caring about other people,” Guetta explains. “These are the original values of house music — a lot of young people might not be aware of this. So I totally relate to it, not only as a human being but also as an artist.”
Does the tolerance amongst the UN countries extend to gay people, asks DJ Mag? “Of course,” says David. “The idea is to promote peace and try to avoid wars, and try to help countries that don’t have the same chances as us to develop. Of course you can always find a way to criticise, but when you do nothing it’s always easy to say that something is wrong. This is a positive action, I think.”
The intro to the Michael Jurkovac-directed video has David exclaiming how he can see flags from many nations and religions at an enormo-gig, and then some people in the crowd start raising their hands, holding hands in the air and doing his trademark 'heart hands' symbol. David says that he does the symbol a bit less now.
“Now everybody's doing it, I don't know if it's becoming a bit of a gimmick and meaningless, or really what they feel?” DJ Mag asks him if his lawyer should've called Real Madrid player Gareth Bale's lawyer after the footballer did actually trademark the 'heart hands' symbol earlier this year. “That’s funny, that’s ridiculous,” says David. “That’s like trying to trademark love, it’s really the opposite of what it’s saying — it’s crazy to do that.”
The question about DJ fees has David going off on a big spiel. “A lot of what we do is more comparable to concerts, compared to what a DJ used to do,” he says. “And big names making big fees at festivals brings a lot of people, and this allows a lot of young newer DJs — underground DJs — to perform. If there wasn’t a main stage, they couldn’t have an underground tent.”
He's also keen to hold forth about what is underground in dance music. “There are still underground DJs doing what I was doing when I started — six-hour sets, putting people in the tunnel, playing deep house and techno in small clubs,” he says. “But you can’t think that you’re not pop when you’re playing to 10-50,000 people.
“A lot of kids feel that when it’s a song, it’s pop, and when it’s EDM, it’s not,” he continues. “But EDM is probably the most pop thing that’s happening at the moment, cos when you play it to 50,000 people, obviously it’s popular — it’s not underground. The massive misconception at the moment is that EDM is underground — that’s ridiculous.”