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Poll 2022: Afrojack

From: Netherlands

DJ style: “Afrojack music.”

Best known for: “I think a mix of bleeps and beats, and sometimes some songs.”

Fave tune of 2022: “Swedish House Mafia ’It Gets Better (Stockholm Version)’.”

Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Black V Neck.”

The Afrojack sound is big, warm and accessible, full of epic breaks, joyous synths and space-laser production, often mixed with melancholy chords and lyrics. It’s a sound that has proved hugely popular again this year and the Dutch DJ/producer hasn’t missed a single opportunity to play to his fans, with a 2022 gig schedule that took in Miami, Las Vegas, Paris, Dubai, Bucharest, New York, Tokyo and beyond. And then after a hectic summer season it was straight back into it with the announcement of his fifteen city ‘Jack To The Future’ US tour.

On the release front, Afrojack has collaborated with a series of big artists, producing a steady stream of stellar stadium slayers, most of which dropped on his Wall imprint. Highlights include his Emo-DM ‘Worlds On Fire’ with R3HAB & Au/Ra, his bittersweet summer hit with Chasner ‘Starts Right Now’, and springtime monster tune with David Guetta, ‘Trampoline’, with Missy Elliot, BIA and Doechii. Cedric Gervais remixed this into a main stage stormer a couple of months later. Talking of Guetta, their anthem ‘Hero’ from 2021 also picked up a nomination at April’s Grammys this year, Afrojack’s fourth nomination — confirming his music’s mass crossover appeal. “It’s crazy how currently we're at a place where almost all sub-genres of dance are respected and consumed in their own way,” he tells DJ Mag. “You can play a Charlotte de Witte track, Daft Punk ‘Around The World’ and my own music in between, and it all hits. I think the pandemic reminded us all of our love for music.”

His label also dropped two sets of scorching dubstep, main-stage and tech-house remixes of the Afojack/Aoki collab ‘No Beef’ featuring Miss Parker, from R3HAB, Timmy Trumpet, Gabry Pont, DLMT, Good Boys, Riot Ten & Crankdat and LUM!X. And then he dropped a surprise seven-track high-impact rave-tastic EP ‘Afrojack presents NLW’ (from the initials of his full name Nick Leonardus van de Wall), which featured several tunes from his live shows that fans had been itching to get their hands on, and included appearances from R3HAB, KURA, Cesqeaux, Sidney Samson, and MC Ambush. And in an incredibly productive year, there was also a Black V Neck collaboration, the party-starting ‘Day N Night’ with the classy vocals of Muni Long, plus Afrojack also found a moment to record the official song for the Dutch Grand Prix in the form of his ‘Feels Like Home’ track with DubVision.

What’s the best DJ set you’ve seen this year?

“Fred again..’s Boiler Room set.”

Name one great festival you played for the first time this year…

“Dream Village.”

What’s the longest DJ set you’ve ever played?

“About 14 hours (private parties are the best).”

What’s one piece of studio hardware you wish you owned?

“I don’t wish for anything but the favourite I have is the Yamaha Motif XF.”

What’s the last tune you bought?

“Butch ‘Go Brooklyn’.”

What’s the next big sound?

“Tech-house ghetto rave-ish techno.”

What have you been up to in the last 12 months?

“Music, touring, living life to the fullest. Home with the wife, on tour with the guys, and also signing a lot of talent to WALL. Honoured to be assisting where we can with people like Cesqeaux, Black V Neck, Chico Rose, Julian Cross, Rancido, and many many more!”