R3hab, like many of his EDM cohorts, has diversified his sound throughout 2016. His latest track ‘Icarus’ is a case in point; it’s not a drop-tastic cut of EDM, but instead a chipmunk-infused slice of future house that’s missing R3hab’s usual bone-shaking drops. While the vocal isn’t for everyone, it’s likely that this sea-change is due to EDM’s somewhat waning impact on the world’s dancefloors.
2016 has seen a host of EDM’s biggest stars experimenting with different intensities and timbres, and R3hab has been one of the more successful artists in this regard. But his fans don’t seem too convinced. A quick scour of his Facebook page and you’ll see the same comments time and time again on his last few tracks: “Could have done with a longer drop”, “Needs a more energetic drop” and “Where's the drop?”
Despite this discourse, R3hab has gone from strength-to-strength since he first burst into the Top 100 DJs poll back in 2012. Since then he’s been steadily climbing the ranks and last year was placed just outside the Top 20, satin he’s held this year — not bad for someone who’s only just turned 30. As well as some killer originals, R3hab is still an in-demand remixer too. He recently put his Dutch house spin on The Chainsmokers’ ‘Closer’ featuring Halsey, which again isn’t your archetypal R3hab big room re-rub, but instead a low-key (well, for R3hab) remix that’s all vocal chops and snare rolls, and not big drops.
So what’s next for Fadil El Ghou? Well, more of the same, we’d imagine. He’s yet to release an album — so there’s that. But with five million Facebook fans, and playing upwards of two hundred shows a year — it doesn’t seem like there’s much left to accomplish for the Dutch DJ. ANDREW RAFTER
What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“Producing music in different tempos and styles.”
Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“100%. This was a huge year for electronic music.”
What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“I love using Ableton on the road, as well as creating special edits and VIP versions with different plug-ins and FX to stand out.”
If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
"I have no clue, but I would love to be a dubstep or techno-only DJ if I found myself switching genres.”
As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“Travelling to a deserted island somewhere in South-East Asia to see them perform.”
What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“It would be good if there was a company that could check if the drugs are legitimately what is actually being sold. They do this in The Netherlands, and have been doing this for quite some time.”
How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“By making the line-ups diverse, but I feel like 2016 has been a great year for diversity; things are growing further into an open format.”