Q&A with Fedde le Grand
Everyone knows Fedde le Grand, the Dutch DJ/producer who burst onto the mainstream dance scene with "Put Your Hands Up For Detriot." It was one of those tracks everybody easily loved. It had awesome hook, dirty beats, and an outrageous climatic peak. But with such success, an DJ could easily fall prey to the one-hit wonder category in the dance music scene. But not le Grand. He's proved he definitely has more tricks up us sleeve than just a catchy song.
After an epic party at Set during Winter Music Conference, le Grand is ready to take over the decks at Mansion this Saturday night to prove to a real Miami crowd that he's got the goods to keep us dancing. After the jump, le Grand's people sent us this interview with the superstar DJ where he talks about his love for the Magic City, his Flamingo Nights parties and why his newest album is being held back until 2009.
So your date at Mansion in Miami is part of your North American tour -- what’s that all about?
Basically, it’s a 3 week, 15 date marathon that sees me playing in some of the biggest cities in the States and Canada. As well as Miami I’m hitting New York, LA, Toronto, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, Calgary. We kicked off in Quebec on Thursday and believe me, it’s nice to be down in the heat of Florida after the temperatures there!
So last time you were here it was obviously for the Conference and your record label Flamingo Recordings held their Flamingo Nights party at Set – how did that go down?
Ah, it was one of the most amazing Flamingo Nights we’ve ever thrown. We’ve taken the party to some of the best clubs in the world but that Set night just blew my mind. We had Andy and Dorothy Sherman singing live on stage, they ripped it up with '3 Minutes To Explain," then MC Gee came on -- he’s the voice behind "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit." everyone went nuts! We had massive visuals behind us, lighting that blew everybody away, our dancers got the whole place jumping, there was so much energy inside the club that night by the time we all got out afterward we were totally buzzing! People in Miami know how to party, without a doubt!
What is it that sets your Flamingo Nights parties apart then?
I think it’s that we come at the concept of a club night from a completely different point of view. For us it’s not just about getting five DJs with a big headliner, it’s more about doing something more creative and showcasing our music in the most amazing setting. We have our artists like Ida Corr and Camille Jones as well as special guests like Rob Burch from the Stereo MCs and Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas doing live performances, so essentially the first part of the night is almost like a concert. The scale of production we do as well puts the night on a different level. Our dancers are phenomenal, we’ve had them wearing mirrorballs helmets, balloons; it’s almost like a mini-Vegas show is some respects.
Going back to Miami, how vital is city not just to your tour but to dance music as a whole?
Miami's probably one of the most important places for dance music, quite simply because of the Winter Music Conference. You have people from all around the globe, all the different music territories flying in to talk business and of course to party. You probably get more work done in one week in Miami than you do all year round -- if of course you act sensibly and don’t party too hard. But it’s the perfect location, I couldn’t imagine having the Conference anywhere else but Miami. Hot weather, gorgeous scenery, amazing clubs, exciting crowds and of course beautiful people.
So you’re on tour -- any particular reason or you just wanted to come party with us?
Haha, a bit of both really. I love playing over in the States and Canada, but I never get to do it as much as I’d like to, purely because of the distance factor. I live in the Netherlands in Europe so if I’m going to come over, I want to do it properly and hit as many dance floors as I can. Also it is essentially a tour to promote my new artist album Output. It was originally due to come out in September of this year but we had that much interest in it that the release date was pushed back and it’ll now come out early 2009. It’s not a bad reason to delay the album really, the fact that everybody wants a piece of it.
Tell us a bit about the album, what can we expect?
Well don’t expect 14 tracks that all sound like "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit," put it that way. I think it will surprise a lot of people who are just expecting your usual DJ/producer album where every song sounds pretty similar and it’s all been built around the dance floor. This is an artist album, it’s not just me as a DJ, it’s me as a person, a reflection of my musical personality that I’m putting out there. I originally started out listening to and playing hip-hop and funk, and on the album I’ve worked with Mr. V from NYC on a track called "Back & Forth," and I’ve also collaborated with Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. Then we’ve got a track that I did with one of my all-time musical heroes, Rob Burch from the Stereo MCs. That one has so much funk riding through it's sick!
I wanted to put something out that will stand the test of time and not date as something from dance music in the year 2009. I’ve invested a lot of myself into the album but now all I can do is sit back, let it fly and see what people think. Me personally, I love it and am extremely proud of it. And I think above all else, that’s what matters the most.
Apart from the likes of Will.i.am you also worked on a track with Madonna, how did that come about?
Well that was quite a random story actually. Remember Madonna did those promo tours for the Hard Candy album? She did one in the States at the very start and they mashed up "Put Your Hands Up…" with "Music" and the crowd went wild when they played it. She’s a clever business woman so she obviously clocked the reaction -- the next thing you know her people call my people and they’re like, “Madonna wants Fedde to remix 'Give It 2 Me,' can he do it?” I had to check my diary -- haha. Of course I did it, what producer wouldn’t? The remix got released over here in the States and did pretty well I hear. I never got to meet her though, they just send you the parts of the track over, you do what you do, send it back and if they like it, great! Definitely something great for my "life CV" though.
Finally, why should people come and see you play at Mansion on Saturday night?
Well apart from the fact that it’s one of the best clubs anywhere in the world, this is the first time I’ve played in Miami since Conference and it’s to a true Miami crowd, so you better believe I’m pumped up for it. I’ve got new tracks in my box, I’ve got an energy right now that’s going to rip the floor apart. I want to see a sexy, jumping, heavy house crowd ready to throw it down for me because I came here to party and I’m not leaving till we do! See you on the dance floor Miami!