Fedde Le Grand: "Remixing Michael Jackson Was Daunting"
EXCLUSIVE! The DJ/producer talks remix duties, mankinis, playing SW4 and who he's backing for the MTV Clubland VMA this year...
Dutch DJ/producer Fedde Le Grand has been devastating main rooms around the globe since the early noughties. A regular at almost every dance festivals you can name, we chatted to the Put Your Hands Up For Detroit hitmaker about why dance producers shouldn’t chase chart success, remixing The King Of Pop and his return to SW4…MTV UK: It’s your first time back at SW4 in six years later this month, how excited are you to play it again, and what surprises are you going to bring to the decks?
FLG: Really excited actually, I love coming to London and besides Ministry, SW4 is one of the only other opportunities to do so. It’s always an awesome weekend. The line up is always really diverse too so it means you have to keep the set fresh and throw in lots of surprises…but it wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you would it!
MTV UK: What is it about SW4 that makes it stand out from other festivals?
FLG: Yeah the diversity in the dance music they put on is a big thing. With that you get a varied crowd which always makes a set more fun. Different people enjoy different parts and it's always great for any DJ to see what gets the best reception at a festival – it's how you make your shows better for the next time.
MTV UK: At this year’s festival there’s a number of back-to-back sets (like Tiga & Audio and Bicep & Simian Mobile Disco) – who would you most like to go B2B with that you haven’t already?
FLG: Good question! Difficult one though... I’ve done quite a few with Mark Knight in the past, which has been awesome. The set can just go anywhere as the other person keeps you on your toes. I’d like to give it a go with Eric Prydz I think…he’d be a really good challenge as he literally has the most eclectic music taste I’ve ever heard.
MTV UK: You’ve got a fair few high profile remixes under your belt including recently the mighty Michael Jackson. What goes through your mind when you’re approached to remix an artist like MJ and/or while you’re working on the track?
FLG: Well that was an especially exciting one and with that, a really daunting task. MJ has been a huge inspiration on my music so I really wanted to do it justice – that’s pretty much all I’m thinking!
MTV UK: Have you been producing for any big names recently? If so what can you tell us…
FLG: There is something I’m working on that’s pretty exciting, but I can’t say too much about it right now…
MTV UK: After your mid-00’s success in the commercial charts, are you, like most DJs/producers I imagine, happiest making your music for the main room or would you like to have a Top 10 hit again one day? Or is that just a bonus when that happens?
FLG: I think since then why I make music hasn’t changed but the sound has developed and developed. Charting success is one of those things that you should never chase as a producer because you just start to make music you think will sell – rather than what you believe in. Having that said, I must say that there really has been a period where I specifically wanted to stay away from the more commercial tracks as I felt that what was charting just wasn’t really me style-wise. At this point there are so many great dance records that are just really good musically and may just prove to stand the test of time. That is what I love…so who knows ;)
MTV UK: Will your new track 'Feel The Love' crossover do you think?
FLG: Ha. Well that’s a track with a funny story. It’s actually the vocal version of “Lion (Feel The Love)”, which I still love and just recently decided that I wanted to give something back to all my fans for showing me such great support for all those years, so basically letting them know that I Feel The Love!! I love playing out the track as it gets a great response, but still the response on the give-away has been quite overwhelming for me so I’m super excited to see where it will go and have decided to follow-up with this AWESOME music video which I’ll release shortly.
MTV UK: Tell us about playing a 6-hour set like you did in Bulgaria the other day, how do you prepare? Have you ever run out of tunes to play? Do you need to put on a really long track in case you need the toilet?!
FLG: Haha! Its funny, everyone always asks that about the long sets! 6 hours is a long time, so yeah…you genuinely do have to get a nice long one and sneak off. Good to time it when people are a bit drunk so they don’t notice!!
— Fedde Le Grand (@feddelegrand) August 3, 2014
MTV UK: What’s been the most embarrassing or cringiest thing that’s happened during one of your sets?
FLG: Hmm, not sure about embarrassing but in Brazil there was this guy dancing in a mankini right in front of me….couldn’t get rid of that image for a while!
MTV UK: Are there any new talents out there who you are keeping your eye on and who you think are destined for big things?
I know he’s not really a new producer but I’d like to give credits here to my Feel The Love collaboration partner Michael Calfan. I think he’s super talented and really am awaiting his big break.
MTV UK: What’s been the biggest/best dance tune of the year so far in your opinion?
FLG: The Disclosure and Friend Within record (The Mechanism) is certainly up there for me – I really like that this kind of music is starting to get recognition in America now, its good for the scene. This one is also a serious dance track and less accessible than Disclosure’s more pop inclined stuff so I think its great!
MTV UK: What big three tried-and-tested tunes are you championing at the moment in your sets?
FLG: Deorro – 'Yee' because its massive, Calvin’s 'Summer' as its great for day time sets and my own 'Twisted' track as you have to support your own material.
MTV UK: Up for the 2014 MTV Clubland Award at this year’s VMAs are Calvin Harris ‘Summer’, Disclosure ‘Grab Her!’, DJ Snake & Lil Jon ‘Turn Down For What’, Martin Garrix ‘Animals’ and Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams ‘Stay The Night’ – which vid do you think should win and why?
FLG: I’d have to say Zedd and Hayley Williams. Love the track. Love the vid. I think Hayley is super super cool anyway and I feel that really translates into both the track as the video. So job well done as far as I’m concerned!
MTV UK: Finally, a clip of David Guetta performing at Tomorrowland is going viral – what do you think he was thinking about at that particular moment?!!
FLG: …did I leave the back door open?
Fedde plays South West Four Festival on Saturday 23rd August in London, head over to southwestfour.com for last remaining tickets…