Fedde Le Grand Talks About His Favorite City, Playing LIV Tonight

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Photo by Linda van den Broek
Fedde Le Grand
In the last four years, Dutch DJ, producer, and label impresario Fedde Le Grand has literally blown up. It's incredible to witness the breadth of his success, especially when he's said that in his early days people didn't even like his music. He founded major dance label Flamingo Records along with friend and fellow electro A-lister, Funkerman, because of this, and hasn't stopped since.

His 2006 single "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit" didn't just put him on the map, it blew him right off the charts, earning him a rabid following everywhere from Japan and Berlin to our very own shores, and all points in between. It nabbed him shelves full of awards, including a few right here during the IDMAs (International Dance Music Awards) in Miami, during WMC. And sure, it's earned him the clout to work with such international superstars as Will.I.am and Madonna, too.

But the Dutchman hasn't rested on his laurels, simply content to fade into music's history a one-hit wonder. And, while immensely proud and grateful for the success of that one track, he wants fans to know it was only the beginning of so much more to come. He's made his way stateside for a few dates, pausing from his massive residences at Ministry of Sound in London and Pacha in Ibiza to visit the good ol' U.S., and our very own LIV Nightclub at Fountainebleau Miami Beach. We got a chance to catch up with the very busy Mr. Le Grand, who talked to us about this latest album and how Miami's his favorite U.S. town.

New Times: I got a chance to speak to you a while back and you were just finishing up work on your album, Output. How did you feel about the final outcome?

Fedde Le Grand: It felt amazing to get the project finally finished and actually out into the ears of people. It took a lot out of me making an artist album, a lot more than any other project I've ever done just because there was so much of me poured into each and every track. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so nothing but 110% would do for each piece on there. But then all of a sudden, you're holding this proper CD in your hand and it's got your name on it, and your face, and your music, and even your 'thank you's' -- those are things that you read in CDs of other people, not normally yourself and here you are and you're one of those guys other people will be listening to now -- it was kind of surreal but such a great feeling.

How would you describe the record to someone who might not be familiar with your work beyond the mega-hit "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit?"



Well it definitely wasn't 12 different versions of "Put Your Hands Up," which I think some people were expecting, maybe. There's a lot of different music on there because I really wanted it to reflect me and where I've come from personally and musically. So you've got collaborations with people like Will.i.am, Mr. V who's an MC from New York, then I did a really funky, jazzy track with Rob Birch from the Stereo MCs -- and of course more dance floor tracks with Ida Corr, Camille Jones, Mitch Crown. It's pretty varied.

That track earned you crazy recognition around the world. Was it daunting for you to follow up success of that scope? Was there a sense of pressure, or did it not even affect your further work?

I don't put myself under pressure. It was amazing to see the track blow up and it introduced me to the world in a way I couldn't have imagined, but for me, I saw it as a stepping stone to work on and build on. You can either sit there and be a one hit wonder or you can get back down to it and do what you do. I'm not in this game to be a commercial success only, although of course I'm not complaining! But the most important thing for me is to do what I love and make the music that I feel like making. "Put Your Hands Up" just opened up opportunities that I wouldn't have had otherwise and that is the thing I'm most grateful for.

Talk to us about the new jam, "Rockin' High" featuring Mitch Crown.

It's a great track. It was actually the last tune to be put on the album and I had Mitch Crown do the vocals for it. Then Nicky Romero and Benny Benassi came up with two outstanding remixes so we decided to release them. It's the last single to be released from the album as well. The Nicky Romero mix has this great drop two thirds of the way through that's kind of a break beat. It just kills it on the dance floor. I've had some amazing feedback from other DJs and fans, as well.

You're in the middle of a string of U.S. dates right now that also has you hitting a few festivals, like Electric Zoo in New York, right?

I am indeed back in the States. It's been one of my biggest priorities this year to get over here as much as I can because it's such a massive nut to crack. I always have a great time, I really feel the love from people when I get here and some of the parties I've already done have been amazing. I did the Electric Daisy Carnival out in LA, which was insane. I'm doing Electric Zoo in New York, and then also Nocturnal Wonderland in Texas. If you go on my YouTube TV channel, you'll be able to see a load of footage from my last US tour on FLG TV Episode 06. It starts off with Barney the Dinosaur, which is a bit random!

But tell us the truth, your stop here in Miami will be your favorite one.

Haha, of course! Miami is actually the city I probably know the best in America. I'm always here for WMC, and I normally get to spend a whole week here instead of just the usual couple of hours and then back onto a plane. It's nice to kick back and chill out by a pool -- the sun is always shining. I get to go and take a look around the city, eat in the restaurants, hang out on the beach, meet up with other DJs, and party. For me it's great.

After this U.S. leg it's back to Europe and Ibiza?

Yes, I'm flying back to London for my Takeover Tour residency at Ministry of Sound, which has been rocking lately. Then I've got the Pacha Ibiza Takover and a load more dates around Europe -- it's been a heavy summer. We've been flying around so much from party to party this year that I've had to get a private jet, not because I'm flashy, but because it's just worked out cheaper to have one than booking so many flights. And this way I don't have to wait around in airports, so I'm all good with that.

What can you tell me about those infamous Flamingo Nights at Pacha?

Haha that would be telling! No, it's not that bad, I'm sure there have been other DJs who have had some pretty debauched tales to tell but for us, we just went out there to put on a huge party at one of the best clubs in the world. It was such a privilege to be asked to be a part of Pacha. It's a huge part of clubbing history, and when you step into the DJ booth in the main room for the first time, you get shivers all over. I love that club. It has a really special sense to it. A lot of legends have played there, so you're joining a really great family. And the clubbers are always up for a really huge night, so it's an electric atmosphere. If you ever get chance to go, you must.

Finally, what can Miami fans who've only caught you during WMC expect from your gig at LIV tonight?

Well this is the first time that I've ever played at LIV at Fontainebleau, and from what I've heard it's one of the best clubs in the world. Plus, apparently they've had people like Frank Sinatra playing there [at the Fountainebleau Miami Beach], so I'm really expecting to walk into something special. So I think Miami fans will be experiencing something new with me, which will be fun. I've got some serious tunes in my CD wallet as well, so I'll be letting rip, and it's my first night in the States for the Labor Day Weekend so, I'll be fresh and full of energy. I hope Miami can keep up!

Fedde Le Grand plays LIV Nightclub at Fountainebleau Miami Beach tonight, Sept. 2. Tickets cost $40, right here, or visit livnightclub.com.

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