India Exclusive: India on the cards for David Guetta?
The French DJ talks about post-Covid performances, the rise and fall of EDM and returning to the subcontinent
If you’re a busker in a city that David Guetta is chilling at, there’s a chance that he may start following you on Instagram, if he’s impressed, of course. Known for his nose for talent, the French DJ, who’s currently a resident of Dubai, says that he loves following fresh talent he comes across to see where it’s going. “Sometimes, people think of all the famous people I’ve worked with but I love working with those who aren’t necessarily that famous as long as they have the talent it takes. Like Sia, before we did Titanium,” says the hit-maker, who has worked with the likes of Justin Bieber, Akon, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Anne-Marie.
Probably because he remembers where he comes from, working with Chris Willis, who was equally unknown, till they made When Love Takes Over with Kelly Rowland. And I Got a Feeling with Black Eyed Peas happened because will.i.am heard When Love Takes Over and wanted something similar. “It’s intimate to make music with someone. It creates a connection quickly or doesn’t work at all. When you have a hit together, it’s something that stays with you forever, so when you meet again it’s always a little celebration,” he says. Ask him to pick his favourite collaborator and we already know the answer: “Sia, because we have a connection together”.
Rise and fall of EDM
For someone who’s been around since almost the birth of the genre, he admits that there’s been a rise and fall. Here’s the problem: “When we started to make this type of music, we were trying to do something against music that was too formatted. Even pop music had too much of a format. Unfortunately, EDM started to be even more formatted than pop because it became so popular that people came in to scene for the wrong reasons when they saw the money and fame. At the end, when everyone is doing the same thing, people get tired of it,” says the current No. 1 DJ, who has been focusing more on the future rave music in the last year. “I think that’s the future – going back to rave music but with an underground vibe,” he explains.
What about EDM in India? “Though I haven’t heard any yet, I want to go back and play in India again. When I first came to India, EDM was still a little bit new to them, and the response was amazing. The scene has only become bigger,” says the DJ who admits he spent three months in London, eating at Indian restaurants. “I love Indian food! And though I don’t know much about Bollywood, every time I speak to Indian fans, they suggest I do a Bollywood collaboration. I need to study it a tad,” he says.
An opportunity that may come sooner than later as he reveals that he’s actually looking at an iconic site in India to do a concert as a part of the United At Home series he started in Miami, before taking to New York, his hometown Paris and now the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
“We were discussing where to do it next, and I’m keen on India! So, let’s see. I started the United at Home project during the pandemic as I just wanted people to have a good time in confinement in Miami and collect some money for people. I wasn’t expecting it to be so successful: The first event got 15m views and we collected 1.5 million dollars. It was special to perform at Le Louvre Museum (Paris) and now on top of this iconic building in Dubai,” he smiles. They’ve collected a few millions till now. But it’s not just about the money. “People still need to be entertained as you can’t just work and stay at home and not do anything. I got thousands of messages about little moments of happiness, which is crucial right now,” he adds.
During the lockdown, he’s made more music than ever. “I’m more of an optimist who tries to make the best out of situations. I’ve made the best of the rare opportunity of waking up and sitting in bed instead of rushing for flights as usual,” he hints at new records releasing soon.
Recently vaccinated in Dubai, where he spent the lockdown, he’s looking forward to the underground music scene, he says, “Life is more normal in Dubai so it’s nice to be able to go to restaurants. I feel blessed because I got the Covid-19 vaccine because in my home country, France, it’s difficult for even older people to get the vaccine,” he says.
And what of performances post Covid-19? “The next few years is going to be the biggest party time in history as there’s been so much frustration due the pandemic,” he laughs. But it’s possible that musicians might have to simplify production on stage “because if you’re travelling with a 100 people for your show that might become very complicated,” he warns.
Given that he’s worked with Rihanna (titled Who’s That Chick?), we ask him his thoughts on voicing opinions on social media. “I don’t think musicians have to voice their opinions because we are not politicians. But if you feel like it, you should be able to do it as every individual, of course. But it doesn’t mean that just because you’re famous and successful, you’re right. Sometimes I give my opinion if I am passionate about a topic. But I don’t lecture people. I’m saying how I feel but I’m not forcing someone to do the same or even saying that I’m right or wrong. I’m not saying my opinion has more value because I am the number 1 DJ than any other citizen of any other country of the world. It’s a personal choice,” David concludes.
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From HT Brunch, February 28, 2021
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