Known for his electro house style, Nick van de Wall aka Afrojack has plenty more to give than just his electro house excellence. The producer has crossed the boundaries of pop, progressive house, moombahton and more, but even amongst all these genres, Afrojack insists he still has more in him. With the energy surrounding the Dutchman’s 14-track ‘Press Play EP‘ at full, Afrojack explores all genres featuring artists across the electronic music spectrum. Amongst the Grammy award winners freshly debuted EP, are some previously released tunes including ‘Step Back‘ and Nicky Romero’s remix to Afrojack & Jewelz & Sparks’ hit ‘One More Day‘. However, despite the re-releases, the bulk of the content is fresh and notably festival ready.
Kicking off the EP with Afrojack’s ‘Bringin It Back‘, the tune pays direct homage to his initial rise to fame, with a similar structure to his late hit ‘Bangduck‘. In a Billboard exclusive breakdown of the EP Afrojack admits,
“It was the first time I did this type of track since I made Bangduck almost 10 years ago…”
Coming off the tunes lead track, Afrojack dumps listeners straight into a new type of groove – introducing some house, hip-hop fusion entitled ‘Let It Rip‘ featuring artists Brohug & Titus. Afrojack has worked with rap artists before, but almost never over such a robust house production and it’s Swedish trio Brohug who truly inject their signature bass house sound into the collaborative effort.
Speaking of signature style, it’s Afrojack who jumps right back in following the bass house collaboration, ‘Let It Rip‘ with a re-release of his tune with MC Ambush, ‘Step Back‘. Just like ‘Bringin It Back‘, ‘Step Back‘ puts forth a very nostalgic Afrojack sound. Also incorporating similar lead styles to that of his hits like ‘Bangduck.’ No matter if Afrojack is focusing on multiple genres, he certainly pays homage to his origins.
Now several tracks deep, Afrojack begins to open up the influence within the EP. The next tune is heavily drawn on the progressive house – a realm the dutch notable is extremely familiar with. Following several genre bending tunes, Nick keeps the genre-defiant mission of the EP intact. Featuring fellow Dutchman and newcomer Chasner on the fourth tune off the EP, ‘Own Game’, Afrojack only has praise for the youngster saying,
“Chasner is from Holland and is going to be 21 years old and is a talented producer. He’s young but works very hard, so working on the record with him was a lot of fun, especially seeing his reaction when I played it live for the first time…”
‘Own Game‘ features swelling builds enticingly rich vocals, and a simply spectacular drop sure to bring festival-goers worldwide to their feet. Following the progressive masterpiece, Afrojack introduces listeners to ‘Another Level‘ in which Nick deems “as a tune long in the works.” Inspired by his work with Martin Garrix on ‘Turn Up The Speakers‘. The tune which was supposed to become an epilogue to the hit just never had the time to come together. With Martin’s permission, ‘Another Level‘ became what it is today – an Afrojack original (co-produced by Martin Garrix).
Moving on from the hearty beefed up track that is ‘Another Level‘, the EP begins to open up even further. Introducing the first collaboration with Jewelz & Sparks on the EP entitled, ‘When You’re Gone‘, the trio, including vocalist Ester Dean introduce one of the first light-hearted tracks of the Press Play EP. The tunes emotionally charging chord progressions and sound design give way to the perfectly nestled vocals of Ester. It’s no surprise ‘When You’re Gone‘ truly comes together as one of the stand-out works on the EP.
Perfectly fitting, Jewelz & Sparks make the next appearance on the catalog list as well with Nicky Romeo’s remix of the duo’s ‘One More Day‘. Talking mainly about how fun it is to work with the German duo, Nick praised their ability to work in different genre’s as well as Nicky’s work on the remix saying,
“They’re [Jewelz & Sparks] very good at making pop, trap, and all kinds of music as very talented producers. Nicky came in and did his own take, which took off!”
Taking a major genre switch from the previous two tracks, our 8th track off the EP ‘Time‘ brings thumping basslines and a very club-inspired atmosphere to boot. Definitely a notable switch in genre and production preference for the Wall Recordings man, it’s an attention-grabbing bass house tune without a doubt. Next comes the introduction of the golden years of electronic dance music. The track simply entitled ‘2012‘ brings massive big room appeal and raring melodies. With the debut of tracks such as Zedd’s ‘Spectrum‘, Calvin Harris’ ‘Thinking About You‘ & ‘Sweet Nothing‘ and Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Save The World‘ in the same year it’s no wonder the thumping track uses such a momentous year as a title.
Following the flashback, Afrojack takes listeners on a ride with the 10th track off the ‘Press Play EP‘, ‘Bassride‘. With little depth of thought to describe the idea behind the tune, Afrojack simply explains,
“I wanted a cool bass house track that I made myself…It’s almost always the second record I play in my sets at big shows.”
Evoking similar ties to JOYRYDE with this tune, the man behind the EP certainly poses a massive rhetorical question, what genre actually gives Nick difficulty? With that question being asked, it’s only appropriate to enter into the grimy tune ‘My City‘ featuring DISTO. The use of various contradictory tones, including warm full-bodied brass and chilling metallic elements – the tracks moombahton turned trap breaks paired with the bass/dubstep like influence give ‘My City‘ a totally unique feel.
Once again like earlier with Jewelz & Sparks, DISTO makes yet another drastic influence on ‘Put It Down‘. The Costa Rican’s use of familiar Latin elements like moombahton breaks as well as his influence in trap and bass (similar to ‘My City‘) completely drive the tunes overall sonic arrangement. Simple synth lines overlay complex percussive breaks which seem to define the sound design between both ‘My City‘ and ‘Put It Down‘. If you listen close enough, the latter (‘Put It Down‘) sports a similar ambiance to that of DJ Snake’s bass music production.
Working our way into the final two tunes on the EP, ‘Flawless Victory‘ featuring Ricky Breaker and ‘Pop That‘ with Oliver Twizt, Angger Dimas, & MC Ambush, the tunes are all across the board in terms of genre. Within ‘Flawless Victory‘ alone, we get odes to hard trap, moombahton, and hardstyle. Needless to say, a handful of genres are incorporated into the track, nevertheless, amongst all the genre-specific influence, there’s just one word to describe it – hard. Even Afrojack agrees via Billboard going on to say,
“… I think it’s the most aggressive drop I’ve ever made. I’ve never made anything in that hard style level, in that way…”
Finally, the closeout track ‘Pop That‘, gets straight into it, with nods to Jersey club with similar percussive elements popularized in the EDM sphere by 4B & Teez’ festival hit ‘Whistle.‘ Moving into the second drop the tune opens to the familiar electro house style we know, especially from Angger Dimas, ending the EP on a familiar tone from Afrojack.
All there’s left to say since everyone will have their own opinion of the EP is in somewhat of an ironically short statement:
Take a listen to Afrojack’s Press Play EP for yourself.