Afrojack stands out as one of the world’s most innovative and influential electronic dance music producers and artists. The Dutch trailblazer is the man behind one of Pitbull’s biggest smashes, of course, the ubiquitous “Give Me Everything” [feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, & Nayer] and left his stamp on Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)”.
He follows up last year’s full-length Forget the World [Def Jam] with two more hits this summer namely his collaboration with David Guetta “Hey Mama” [feat. Nicki Minaj] and his own “SummerThing!” [feat. Mike Taylor]. As always though, it lays the groundwork for even more tunes from him. In this exclusive interview, Afrojack talks “SummerThing!” and so much more.
What’s the story behind “SummerThing!” [feat. Mike Taylor]?
The song came together quite simply. My friend Mike Taylor wrote it and sent the track to me. It was a fun guitar, summer song. I thought that if I took it to my studio and totally reimagined it, it would also work on the dance floor. After messing around in the studio a bit, that is how the song came about. Now it is the song it is today.
Did you know that you wanted to make something with a summer vibe? Is that the idea that spoke to you?
When I heard the song for the first time, the most important thing for me was that I had the same atmospheric enjoyment as when I did Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” [feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, & Nayer]. I had not done a song like that for a long time. With the scene on the radio and YouYube, this was my chance to go completely crazy on the drop. I wanted to make something that no one on the radio had heard before. My fans love the song, and it entered the Top 40 at #37 and #7 on the iTunes Top Dance Songs Chart. Making a song like that and getting commercial success is like the biggest thing in the world.
It’s like a spiritual successor to “Give Me Everything”.
Yeah, I think that the atmosphere is the most important thing. Now, I have a big surprise at the end of the summer. It’s all about summer. I didn’t want to make it too complicated. I didn’t want to make a song about, “This one time I was at the beach and blah blah blah.” It is a summer song, plain and simple. Enjoy the summer and have a drink!
Does the open up the door for the album and hint at what will come for the full-length?
I’m working on an album that I’m trying to get ready for 2016. I want to create a listening experience and make them the best songs they can be. If you sit down and start working on an album, the songs are all going to be linked together and have the same vibe. Formatting a song can be great for an album, but never great for the song. For me right now, all the tracks I am working on I am trying to focus on just the song. Later, I’ll put the album together. My main priority is to make sure that each song has the respect it deserves.
What is your vision for the album?
I really want the music to speak for itself. When you listen to my sets, you might be able to hear things I have never done before. I hope the album is the same way.
Is it important every time you go into the studio to try new things?
It is the most important thing to never to do the same thing twice. I would probably produce the same things for other artists, but as an artist myself, I want to change it up. I don’t want to piss off my fans and I really respect my fans. They aren’t stupid. I want to surprise them and constantly be innovative. That is my number one priority that the fans are happy and excited.
What has been inspiring you lately?
I have been listening to a lot of stuff, but what I see coming back in the next year, is the UK garage sound-the two step. I see it coming back with the wobbly sounds, tracks are popping up here and there. That sound will take over in the next few years.
What is your favorite aspect of collaborating with other people? “Hey Mama” stands out.
Working with David is not like working with other people. We have been working for seven years together and have become best friends. Then getting someone like Nicki Minaj involved too can make it work musically. You have her voice and can control what will be under her voice on the radio.
Each voice adds different flavors to the song.
Yes of course, Bebe Rexha was awesome on the hook. When working with big artists, most of them are great to hang with. What I love about producing is deciding what’s on the radio next. To get this freedom of soundscaping is pretty awesome.