[Interview] Afrojack Talks About the ‘Global Remix Battle I’ & New Music

Afrojack is one of the most influential DJ’s right now. Having multiple Grammy’s and platinum records under his belt, Afrojack is a force to be reckoned with.

We sat down with him to discuss his contest to find the best new upcoming producers. Afrojack’s “Global Remix Battle I” which began September 25th, is open to people from all over the world. There you can download the remix parts of a track taken from Afrojack’s new Press Play EP which was released on August 31st, 2018. Entrants are asked to remix a track in a way that showcases their skills and style before uploading it to the website (via private SoundCloud) where it will automatically be entered into the contest.

Participants will have the unique opportunity to receive a personal mentorship opportunity from Afrojack via an artist development agreement, have their remix released on Wall Recordings and win a set of PMC result6 studio monitors.

So tell us, what was your main driving point behind the Global Remix Battle I ?

Well, I grew up in Rotterdam where there were a lot of clubs, there were a lot of DJ’s & lot of promoters so I got very lucky that I grew up in a heavily evolved DJ industry basically.

I know there’s a lot of people that are in India or Africa or South America or even like some western countries that don’t have that many clubs. So I can understand it might be more difficult if you’re one of those areas like Iceland or something to get your career started versus when you’re from where I’m from.

And over this year, I signed a lot of people like Quintino etc, all kinds of people. It was fun but it was always within my own network so all the people that I found were within my own network or were from friends of friends or my manager knew someone or whatever since we combined Wall recordings with LDH Europe over the last year. We have a strong enough team and a strong enough network to actually provide this opportunity to people that aren’t necessarily within our network.

So that’s like the reason we’re doing this to actually give people a shot, that might not have gotten a shot before. We call it the remix contest, but it’s scouting in disguise.
Like you can’t say we’re having a talent scout, it’s like well how do you explain that? So we call it the remix battle because it looks very flashy, it has some promotional value and we hope to find people that are amazing people and have little talent or not so amazing people but with amazing talent. We want to give a platform for them to be who they want to be.

You were a judge for the Global Vocal Battle Auditions held by LDH Japan earlier this summer. What were you looking for when selecting the finalists?

The people behind the talent. So we found some people that could sing very well but they didn’t necessarily have the right vibe or mindset. I think a lot of people will always have a set of ideas. A lot of people are very focused on “shining”, like as if they want to get some likes or something, like have their ego stroked.

So that’s the most important thing we looked for, and that’s why we did the last Global VBA in Tokyo. we brought out the last fifteen contestants to Tokyo to see how they handle weeks of training, group dynamics, what their social skills are like, their reason for being here–not just asking the question but actually being able to see it in their behavior.

Actually, I just spoke about this to someone else and it was actually very humbling and like beautiful to see; All these kids that I never met before. Like living the start of their dreams, where before they never had that.

When you have great people that don’t take it for granted but are actually humbled and lucky and passionate, that’s like the most beautiful thing there is. Like you give someone a chance to let them become what they want to be and you don’t have to do anything. That’s the thing, we provide the right situation. Of course, you have to have a certain level of skill. It’s not just you’re a nice guy but you can’t produce *laughs*.

You recently released a new E.P. called Press Play under your main Afrojack alias which has done quite well commercially & with fans. Tell us more about it and can we expect anything from your NLW & Kapuchon side alias’s soon?

Yeah, it was very cool! It did well, got featured on a lot of cool Spotify lists, it was dope.

For NLW & Kapuchon well maybe or maybe not. It’s actually nice, the Kapuchon thing. I made a lot of music for that but like I don’t know how to release it right now because I’m doing a lot of things. I was thinking with the Press Play EP to do it as NLW because it’s all club records. I think the way the market is changing, it’s very important for everyone to realize–also the for the future of Afrojack—to keep Afrojack as he is.

I’m keeping the combination of both pop radio records and the underground club records. I basically made the NLW alias just to do only underground stuff or some more experimental stuff, but I think I’m just going to put that out as Afrojack. Like there are so many other things to do. I’ll just keep my music as Afrojack, it makes it a lot easier for everyone to understand.

You recently also got off your European tour and you have a North American tour coming up as well along with the residency at Wynn in Las Vegas. What was that like & what can we expect musically from you over the next few months?

That’s like the less exciting stuff for me. I love the touring and I love the stuff that I do on a daily basis, but it’s not as exciting to me as being able to present new talents to the world.

So, of course, we’re doing the American tour next month and will one show in Mexico some shows in Canada too. But the whole month of October we’re going to be touring but I’m also going to bring some of the producers, so we can also work on music outside of the club shows and the bigger shows. And I have a whole lot of new music from all the wall producers so it’s gonna be like like the old days like eighty percent IDs and twenty percent of floor fillers. Its gonna be fun!

You were recently named in Forbes’s 30 under 30 list and were an opening keynote speaker at their Under 30 Europe Summit in Amsterdam on a panel about the concept ‘From Crowd Pleaser to Team Builder’. So tell us about your transition as an artist from a crowd pleaser to a team builder.

I think your transition should be what it is and you shouldn’t focus on trying to push your transition in any kind of way.

Like my transition from a crowd pleaser to team builder went by accident, like I would have called it dead until I read the article afterwards like it’s just okay that’s what you call it whatever but this is the same thing. It is still exactly what I did ten years ago I’m doing what I want to do when I want to do it and I think if more people did like that and take appropriate training, then it’s gonna be very easy to become successful what you want to do and that’s it.

If I didn’t believe in that I wouldn’t start this remix battle because I really believe that everyone has the potential to become something but they might miss the environmental motivational triggers. It’s like a very important subject in psychology and sociology. People really need to be aware of that.

You very recently did both Ultra Beijing and Ultra Japan in under forty-eight hours so how do you manage your mental and physical health while on tour?

I think the most important thing, not just in the music industry but I think in general in life is that life is very hard. If you surround yourself with people that know you, ones that you can be honest with is going to make things a lot easier.

I think most of the thing we try to do too not just for myself but also my whole team and my whole team on the ground like. Be honest with everything, communication is key. And always be real in life and then you’ll be fine.

Alright, so last one question is what advice would you give to all the producers taking part in the Global Remix Battle I Contest.

Do what you love. Do what you think you’re good at. Do what your mom or your dad says he really likes about your music.

And fill in the description like if you’re leaving the description empty we already know you’re lazy or something so you’re already behind on the people that did fill in the description. Like wherever there is space to type something type.

You can never be too elaborate. Like if you write a book we will probably want to talk to you regardless of the remix but if you write nothing but you do a great remix we still might not want to talk to you because, well maybe we will release your remix. But the people we are going to work with on the long haul they got to be good people with everything in the right place.

Talent Search is Open and Runs Until January 14th, 2019

To register yourself and enter your remix in the contest follow this link.