David Guetta: 'My kids decide which tracks go on the album'
As one of the first DJs to arrive on the electronic dance music scene, David Guetta has earned himself the nickname “the grandfather of EDM”.
But it’s hard to think of the fresh-faced Frenchman as an old-timer when his finger is so firmly on the pulse of what young people are into today.
“My two children chose the tracks for the album,” confesses the musician at the launch party for new double album ‘7’.
And he's not joking. The DJ uses his 14 and 11-year-old’s school run as an integral part of the creative process.
“It’s true,” he insists. “I play them all my new tracks in the car and they’re like, ‘No. Not that one. No. No…’ I swear!”
Seems like an international DJ at the top of his game might seek out the opinion of his peers before he drops an album packed with collaborations from a who’s who of pop including Justin Bieber (‘2U’), Nicki Minaj and Jason Derulo (‘Goodbye’).
“The kids are the future!” says Guetta. “I’m always thinking about the future. I’m not too interested in the opinion of people my own age. Ha ha!”
The new album ‘7' is an innovative step for the DJ. While disc one is everything you’d expect from the ‘Titanium’ hitmaker (including two new bangers with Sia: ‘Flames’ and ‘Light Headed’), the second disc is more underground house. So underground, in fact, that Guetta didn’t even put his name on it.
“With the name Jack Back, I’m trying to make things clear for people,” Guetta explains. “It’s like, do you want normal Coca Cola or Diet Coke? It’s still Coke, just a different type of Coke.”
This new direction for Guetta essentially allows the Grammy Award-winning DJ space to experiment with a less commercial sound, while still keeping his fanbase happy.
“If I decide to do a show with this kind of music, I don’t want my fans to be disappointed. This way, people know it’s David Guetta, it’s just he’s not going to be playing the hits.”
But it’s Guetta’s superstar status that gives him the freedom to create an album with two different styles of music.
The star describes how his collaboration with South African DJ Black Coffee (‘Drive’) came about.
“The Black Coffee track is one of my favourites from the album,” admits Guetta. “I spent a few months in the studio in Los Angeles and I said, ‘Hey. Come over and say hello whenever you want.’
“But we ended up saying, ‘Why don’t we just make the track right now?’”
It’s this kind of synergy that excites Guetta about making music - going from nothing to a complete track in less than 24 hours.
“It’s like magic,” beamed Guetta.
“But it’s funny. Because he’s a bit more underground, so there’s sort of a battle between us. I always want to do more, but he wants to do less!”
Even on the pop disc, Guetta is pushing the boundaries of what people expect from him with his first Spanish-language collab (‘Para Que Te Quedes’ with J. Balvin).
“I was going through a period of self-doubt,” confessed one of the most successful DJ/producers of all time.
“When I was younger, I had a lot of passion and drive to be at the top, but when you’re there, you’re afraid you might fall.
“This is really bad energy. People were asking why I was working in Spanish. They thought it was strange.
"But I’m really proud of this song! As a DJ, I always want to get the people dancing, but I want to do it in new ways.”
‘7’ is Guetta’s seventh album, but it feels like the beginning of a new era in the DJ’s career rather than a retreading of his tried-and-true hits.
However, the artist's ultimate goal hasn't changed one bit...
“I make music so we can all be together. The magic of clubbing and festivals is that there are poor people, rich people, gay people, straight people, black people, white people… We are all one.
“Music comes from the heart and it’s for everyone.”
Luckily, Guetta seems to have the perfect teenage advisors to make sure his tracks go down well regardless of whether it’s mainstream or underground.
“For me, music is either good or it’s not. It doesn’t matter so much what kind it is.
“And now with streaming, young people just like what they like. And that’s it. They don’t care what type it is.”
Heading to the White Island this year? Get tickets to check out David Guetta’s new direction for yourself.
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