Afrojack is one serious dude. The 26 year-old Dutch titan has no doubt stolen the limelight in the last few years and while his musical achievements speak for them self (Grammys, Top 10 DJ Mag, the list goes on), his celebrity status has far exceeded that of the norm and penetrated major paparazzi circles (who could ever forget Paris Hilton?).
When he played at the first ever Ultra SA, IDM Magazine got a taste of Afrojack in a one-on-one interview with the man backstage.
As a DJ from Holland visiting South Africa, do you feel any kind of special connection with your Afrikaner brethren now that you’re here?
AFROJACK: What gives me a really special connection to South Africa, in particular, is that I’m half Surinam – which is widely considered as being half-black and [Afrikaans] is almost the same as Dutch. The same can be said about the mentality of South Africa and Holland. It doesn’t feel like I’m away from home.
“Bring the world to South Africa, and you bring South Africa closer to the world.”
As a winner of the European Border Breakers Awards, what do you think of SA and its emergence as a destination for electronic music?
AFROJACK: I think calling something a destination for electronic music is something of a downgrade. You must understand no location is different from another when it comes down to music – especially since the internet. The world has become smaller. The connection is way easier to make, it was already there, but it’s only starting to take real form.
It’s really weird being back. When I visited last year, South Africa wasn’t really connected to the world. All the [international] festivals stayed away and there were only local organisations. I know how it happens. I’ve seen it happen in other places of the world – from Croatia to Belgium with Tomorrowland. And even though it’s a bigger corporate structure, it’s still beautiful to see how much it brings to people and their location.
Basically bring the world to South Africa, and you bring South Africa closer to the world.
Speaking of which, is there anybody on the Ultra SA line-up that you’re personally a fan of?
AFROJACK: When I saw the line-up, I was like ‘oh my god’ this going to be amazing ‘cos they’re all my friends [laughs]. So yeah, I’m a fan of everyone. I did meet Blasterjaxx for the first time tonight though and, my newest best friend, Martin Garrix.
You dropped your latest single ‘Ten Feet Tall’ four days ago. What has the public reaction been so far?
AFROJACK: My fans love it and to me that’s the most important thing. Outside of that, it went up to 10 in Japan, Holland and America when it came out. In England at 22. It’s a nice extra.
Afrojack, I’m speaking to you right before your set. As we know, a good set is a good journey. What journey can Cape Town expect from you on this Valentine’s Night?
AFROJACK: I’m surprised you know that… not a lot of people know that these days [smiles]. I wanna show the newer side of myself, so I’m going to play some music off my album. But I’m also going to give them what they want, this is not my festival, it’s Ultra, and I’m on a line-up with a lot of different artists and it’s a diverse crowd.
As a winner of two Grammys, what did you make of the accolade Daft Punk received at this recent Grammy’s?
AFROJACK: They deserved it. And yes I know a lot of people are not going to agree with me. To me they’re getting rewarded for all their achievements, the Grammy they received was like a lifetime achievement award. It just so happens that ‘Get Lucky’ is what got them there. They might not be the founding fathers of electronic music, but they’ve been around for a very long time – since the 90’s.
A lot of people are saying that there’s a 90’s resurgence. As a child of the 90’s how do you feel about that?
AFROJACK: A good song is a good song. If people like the song, they like the fucking song. If disco comes back, it comes back. It’s always going to come back. Eventually, it doesn’t matter. It’s really about the act that’s playing it.
But don’t you think with the over flooding of EDM nowadays we’re heading for the same damned conclusion as euro trash in the 90’s?
AFROJACK: That’s only going to happen if the main leaders of this culture are going to put out shit. When they get lazy, there’s always shit. The best place to see it is in rock ‘n’ roll. It kept evolving and evolving, and then at one point there came pop rock bands and the essence changed.