Exclusive Interview: Afrojack announces remix contest, reveals motivation behind talent search
On Monday, Dutch pioneer Afrojack made a huge surprise announcement across social media. The announcement detailed a new talent competition ‘Global Remix Battle 1‘, which would see DJs compete to put together the best remix for Afrojack’s own recent hit ‘Let It Rip‘. The winner(s) of the contest have the chance to get their hands on a pair of PMC monitors, as well as the opportunity to be signed to Afrojack’s own label Wall Recordings, which has played an integral role in facilitating many musicians’ rise to fame. We caught up with Afrojack to talk about his brand new contest and his plans for the rest of the year.
As you’ve just announced your brand new conest ‘Global Remix Battle 1’ can you tell us more about what it involves?
It’s a remix contest to name it very bluntly, but the underlying idea is actually more of a talent scouting project. We’re looking for new DJs, new producers, new remixers that dream of having a career in the music industry but feel like they never got their shot. By doing this we hope to find not just great producers but also great people, that’s what we always try to do here at LDH and Wall, we try to find the right people that have passion for the right things and give them a platform and help in every way we can. So instead of just looking for something, we don’t really know what we’re looking for, but we do know that 9/10 times when we set things like this up we bump into people that are amazing and are just who we want to work with. It sounds very hazy but at the end of the run it makes sense.
So for the remix that is chosen as the winner, what happens next for the artist?
There might be multiple people winning, or there might be no-one winning, you can win a pair of PMC speakers, which are the highest grade monitoring systems there are for studios. Then if we find a dope remix, the dopest remix we will release on the label, but what we’re aiming for more is to find people behind the remix that might have the potential to actually become popular DJs/producers. That’s what we’re trying to do, we have a very big network I’ve been producing for a very long time, had some Grammys here and there and I know some famous people, some singers, some rappers, we just try to find people that we can multiply our platform to, I think that’s the easiest way to put it. For me I’ve been playing the big parties, I’ve been playing the big festivals, it’s been a lot of fun but most importantly for me the most fun I have right now is when I get to give that stage to someone else and see their face light up when they see it for the first time.
As this isn’t the first talent competition you’ve put together, can you tell us about the Vocal Battle Auditions that you held earlier this year?
Basically it’s the same thing only for singers and dancers, we found a couple of people, actually our initial selection was 100 x 1200, then we closed it down to 25. We went into the studio with them and met them and introduced them to the studio setting. Some of them had never even seen a recording studio, one of the people that made it through the last round past Tokyo even, she had never sang before on a microphone. So it’s very interesting the kind of opportunities you can give to people. The global VBAs were amazing we went to Tokyo with the final 15, they went through training, they did all kinds of stuff, they got to do rehearsals, they got to perform and see some of our other signees perform. That was very motivational and inspiring, I think maybe even more so for me than for them, because it showed me that this is what we can do here, we have the budget and the ability to move people around to the right place to get the right motivation and get the right experiences to move towards the right direction in order to become a successful artist.
Why is finding new talent so exciting to you?
I don’t know, I get this question a lot like why is it exciting but I don’t think anyone knows why something excites them like why do you like doing interviews why do I like eating pancakes, why does a car guy like cars? I don’t know, but I do know that I love it and it really makes me happy and it might even make me happier than performing or producing myself. So in my head this is definitely my biggest priority, I really love my fans and I really love doing Afrojack stuff but the idea of replicating my own experience for someone else to create their dream life and it’s a tiny trouble to set it up, for me it’s out of this world that mindset, that really makes me happy.
Why did you choose the song ‘Let It Rip‘ for artists to remix?
I think it offers a lot of versatility because of the rapping part by TITUS, but also that the sounds in general are very modern and very ‘right now’. This song is together with BROHUG and the sounds that are used in the record are very current-day club music. So, it’s easier for people that are involved in music today or go out a lot to make something that inspires them. I think that it would have been a lot more difficult if I selected one of the other songs that was more forward-thinking or more old-school, I think this is right in the middle.
Are there any characteristics that you’re looking for in particular when choosing a winner?
With this remix I really want someone to do their own style, the thing that they like most and that they think they’re best at. It’s more so the presentation around it because you have to take a picture of yourself and a picture of your studio setup and tell us about yourself. So, if someone sends us a dope remix but they don’t fill in anything, we’ll still reach out but we are will already think less of you, like it’s not a winning skill if somewhere it reads description but you didn’t fill in a description. It shows a kind of laziness that we’re not looking for so that’s definitely the only advice I can give to everyone, be as elaborate as possible. If you’re really smart and you really understand the opportunity we’re giving you, you’ll go for it and make five remixes. If you want to win then you want to win, and we want to work with people who want to win. We don’t want to work with people that think ‘oh maybe I might win’, no lets go get it! If you really want something it’s not that hard to show that you really want it.
Can you tell us what you have planned for the rest of the year?
I just released my Press Play EP with a lot of the Wall Recordings artists and some other people. We have a tour next month through America, the Bringin It Back tour, so a full month in America and one gig in Mexico City and some gigs in Canada. Then November we have a Europe tour and we’re doing some studio sessions in Dubai and we might visit Tokyo for a bit. December, Asia, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, America. Then we have our studio sessions in the snow in Val Therons in the French Alps where we built some studios in the apartments, snowboard all day and make music all night.
It sounds like you have a very hectic schedule planned!
It’s not, it’s fun. I think my hectic is nicer than ‘oh for the next three months I’m getting up at 8AM and I’ll be at work at 10AM, work until 7PM, go home watch a movie and go to sleep five days a week’. I think that’s probably more hectic in the long run than what I’m doing.
To enter Afrojack’s competition simply visit his website and download the stems for ‘Let It Rip’, revisit the site later on to upload your finished remix. The contest is open until 14th January 2019 and provides a huge opportunity for upcoming producers to showcase their talents.
Enter the competition here.