Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2012: "." AfroJack was already a huge star before 2012 kicked in, but it has still proved a seminal period for the Dutch producer and DJ. He seems to have broken out of the dance scene and into the global world that is EDM, offering his production services to a range of artists well outside his usual remit.
He also managed to find time to allegedly date, then dump, celebrity DJ in-the-making, Paris Hilton. "Last year I was always producing by myself," states the man legally known as Nick van de Wall. "But now I am doing a lot more collaborations. Right now, even, I am producing in three different studios with writers and producers. Being in the studio, that's my passion now; to work with different people.
When you can create a track with someone in the studio and make new music, then play it together with the other DJ on stage, that is so much more fun." So too has Afrojack branched out into event promotion of sorts, curating his own parties around the world under the 'Jacked' banner as well as playing the usual Top 100 DJ selection of gigs in Brazil, South Africa, Europe, America, Ibiza and countless more countries, no doubt pleasing fans in the process by dropping his biggest hits of the year like 'Give Me Everything' and 'Rock The House.' "What has taken up most of my time and gotten me excited this year is doing my own Jacked parties around the world with all my friends.
It makes the touring more fun and a real highlight was EDC New York. Playing on the Jacked stage and then closing it down. It was crazy to represent our crew and share it all at the same time. It felt like a Jacked festival." Maybe as a result of all the touring and collaborating, Afrojack recognizes his sound has evolved this year. Work on a forthcoming album has taken place throughout much of it, and the Grammy-nominated producer (this year for his remix work on X Factor winner Leona Lewis' 'Collide' track) has been "experimenting with combining very melodic, poppy influences with hard club music. Also, my production style is widening. I have tracks done in a wide variety of styles, from hip-hop to pop and everything in-between.
I am influenced by many things and I try to incorporate all this input into new songs." One major project this year was undertaking a remix of Michael Jackson's 'Bad' ahead of a special 25th anniversary release. A daunting prospect, given that Afrojack admits how legendary the original still is. So daunting, in fact, that his usual production method ("I produce all my music on my laptop and headphones") went out of the window and a proper studio was acquired especially. "Being asked to work with his material was a great honour and scary at the same time," he offers. "I took a deep breath and just started. I tried to stay true to the original, while giving it a new sound.
Technically, it was a challenge, because of the fact that I had to work with recordings that were less up-tempo than I needed for my remix, and messing around with Michael's voice is very, very scary. I can only hope he would have liked what I did to the song." And so we come to the elephant in the room - the EDM explosion that has surely impacted on Afrojack whether he likes it or not. "I started performing in the US about a year before the whole term EDM was born. They gave it the name EDM, but it doesn't mean anything, it's just the term used, and made the music more visible. I am happy it has grown so much," he beams, before adding "there are no fights at these festivals, either. Everyone is happy and likes the music, so they are just having fun, whether it is 200, 2,000 or 400,000 people, it doesn't matter. It is crazy to see either way; everyone there loves the music."