What could role-playing games, the Internet, Disney cartoons, the Grammys, and dirty Dutch house beats possibly have in common? Simply, 24-year-old Nick van de Wall, better known to Miami's party crowd as superstar DJ Afrojack.
The award-winning, chart-topping, Pitbull-collabing import from the Netherlands is embarking on his massive Jacked summer tour. Unfortunately, production delays have caused some cities to reschedule. But since Miami is special, van de Wall hasn't canceled our show. He's just moved the party from Bayfront Park's Klipsch Amphitheater to South Beach's Mansion.
Yet even if he were still playing that big concert bowl on Biscayne Bay, van de Wall doesn't see himself as some kind of arena-rock god. He'd rather create a hyped, inclusive environment where everyone can enjoy themselves on the same level. Because deep down, he's just a fan too.
"My main thing is playing my favorite music to people that like the same music and having a party together," he insists. "I'm going to party with you. I'm going to have a drink with you. I'm going to chill there, and I'm going to watch the show, and I'm going make sure everyone experiences a spectacular concert."
Van de Wall has been DJing for about nine years. And in that time, he's seen a lot of things change. EDM, a fixture of popular culture in Europe for decades, has only recently exploded in the States. Kids who've been locked into metal, punk, and hip-hop are discovering new genres, in part because of people like Afrojack. And he couldn't be more pleased.
"The dance community, there's so much love in there. I'm so proud that we're expanding so much," he says. "I want to share that. I want to have people know how crazy it is and how much fun it is. And the people that already know are just going to have one of those great, legendary nights that you wake up the next day [and say], 'Oh, my God, what? That was so insane!'"
But van de Wall also wants to hold it down for the old-school fans, promising to play both his more popular, radio-friendly tunes such as "Give Me Everything" and "Take Over Control" as well as more underground hits like "No Beef" and "Replica." And, of course, he promises to drop that new-new no one's ever heard before.
Clearly, van de Wall knows how to make fans happy and bring a little something for everyone. He does it by staying true to his roots and just remaining a regular guy. In fact, you probably have more in common with this Grammy winner than you'd expect. "I take a lot of inspiration out of my childhood," he says. "I'm only 24. I have a lot of people going to my show that are the same age.
"What I try to stand for, if I stand for anything, is to have fun on the Internet, make sure you're on the nice networks, talk with people, communication. I love PlayStation. I love old Disney movies. I love stupid, weird role-playing games."
Amid a nationwide tour, constant praise, a high-profile lifestyle, and nightly champagne showers, van de Wall refuses to forget where he comes from, who he is, and the people who matter most — the fans. "I hope to see all those people I have already, including the tall guy with the weird glasses and the big Afro that's at all my shows in Miami. And, of course, everyone that's never, ever gone to my shows," he says. "Miami, I love you guys! It's good to be coming back. It feels like home."