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
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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.
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.
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
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
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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!