If you’ve spent any time inside a night club, or have any remote interest in electronic dance music, you have heard of DJ R3hab. He is a young, brilliant producer and DJ who is killing it on all cylinders. Signed to Wall Recording, he is part of a strong team headed by Afrojack that is taking the music world by storm. Over the weekend, we caught up with the man himself at Pacha NYC to get a little insight of a superstar DJ’s life. In the interview he brings us into the studio with him and Afrojack for the prodution of “Prutataa”, talks about his beatport smash “Sending My Love”, and gives us a preview of his relationship with such legends as David Guetta, Kaskade, and Calvin Harris. Spending time with R3Hab was truly a pleasure and he has been one of the nicest guys I’ve had the honor of speaking with. He is a huge contributor to house music and represents everything that is going right for the genre. If you haven’t caught on with his Chainsaw Madness Movement, the interview below should do all the convincing.
BD: Hey guys, Dylan Farella of BassDownload.com with DJ R3hab at Pacha NYC. You’re a few stops away from finishing up your North American tour, how was it overall and how would you explain the how the fans have been?
R3Hab: Tonight is the last gig in the USA and tomorrow we go to Canada. I’m really surprised how electronic music grew over the last few months. In March when I came with Afrojack for the first time, it was already huge, but now everybody knows the tracks and there is so much love going on. For example, we went to Arizona; and you don’t know what to expect. However, we enter the club and 400 people are all sweating and partying, knowing almost every record. Vegas over Labor Day weekend was so crazy, they told us it was one of the busiest nights ever. Electronic music right now in the states is on the rise, and I’m very happy right now to have the opportunity to tour in the states. It’s incredible to come over here all the way from Holland to play music.
BD: If you were an average everyday house music fan, which DJ would you go to see play a set?
R3Hab: I like Dada Life, Afrojack ofcourse and Swedish House Mafia is big to see. I’m very curious about a live set of Angger Dimas, I’m a big fan, and I think he deserves a spot in the states right now, hes very good with production. What I’d also like to hear is Knife Party. They just finished a record with Swedish House Mafia that is crazy. You know what else is cool? When I’m at a festival like EDC or Ultra, I like to go to Skrillex or something because its something different that gives a lot of energy to the crowd.
BD: So you just finished your mix of the new Guetta and Usher single, do you want to tell me a little about that?
R3Hab: It took me a long while actually to produce, one of the longest projects of this year. It’s a very emotional track and Usher is singing very sad, the chorus is very emotional and it is hard to dissolve into something more party. I sent a couple of ideas back and forth to David Guetta, and he was like “This is the direction I want you to go”, and gave me really good advice. Finally, I finished it and thought it was really good because there is an emotional break and it transforms into energetic party mood. The emotion goes from “I’m sad, but tonight I’m going to go party”. That’s what I wanted to do with the track and I think it worked out really fine and I’m very proud I can officially remix David Guetta, it’s a big honor.
BD: You’re infamous for dance floor killers, how did you get into the club music scene?
R3Hab: When I was young around 17, I went out to a house party, I heard a couple of tracks, and one of them was D Ramirez’s remix of “Yeah Yeah” and I was like “Wow! This is incredible how can I make this!” You know what’s so cool? I’m not a singer, rapper, writer, or a pianist… and electronic music you can make it without any musical experience besides good hearing. So I started to make music. It was really bad in the beginning. I made a few tracks and they were horrible. So I had to practice a lot more and after years of practice we came further and further. The style was evolving, that was the hardest part, creating a style. And now were here with the R3hab sound, Chainsaw Madness. It’s so fun to see a lot of people like it, I’m very proud of it. It gives me a lot of energy to do a lot for the people because sometimes it takes over 15 hours to finish a project and it’s so hard to work on one melody for hours. You can imagine, the loop gets boring sometimes, but when it gets boring, you have to make a new one.
BD: We’re definitely behind the Chainsaw Madness Movement at BassDownload. What is a studio session with R3hab like?
R3Hab: It’s actually really simple, I just use a PC I don’t use a Mac. I have no hardware, I don’t even know how to use a synth hardware. I just moved and I am going to get a bigger studio in my home where there is space because honestly, I made all my music in my bedroom. I lived in a very small house with nothing fancy going on. People get an expensive studio but it is not necessary. You can make very nice music from your laptop without having expensive speakers. I know for example Angger Dimas makes all his music on his headphones. I am an in the box guy, that’s it.
BD: You work very closely with Afrojack, what is your relationship like, in the studio?
R3Hab: Afrojack and I in the studio are really funny. When we made “Prutataa”, we were playing around with some ideas. When we finally had the idea it only took us 2 hours to fix, it was like madness. I cannot explain how it worked, but we were actually fucking around with the idea for 3 hours and nothing came up. Within 10 minutes the idea came and I was like “BAM! Lets do the ‘di di di di’ sound” and Afrojack dropped the ‘wah wah wah’ sound. All of a sudden it was like ‘wah wah wah wah WOOH’. It went so quick, when you have 2 guys with fresh ideas in the studio it goes really well. We have similar taste so it doesn’t clash. Right now we are working on the follow up to “Prutataaa”
BD: How about out of the studio?
R3Hab: Touring with Afrojack is really fun. I sometimes warm up for him and the crowd is really wild. I finish and he goes on, and the crowd is 5 times as wild. I can’t believe it, it’s not possible. In El Paso, the crowd was going nuts while I was playing, then he came up and you could not even hear the music the screaming was so loud. Afrojack is incredible, like when he puts on “Take Over Control” it sounds like a rock concert.
BD: Who is one producer on Wall Records we can expect to come up and do big things?
R3Hab: Bobby Burns is doing really nice, I think he’s also a really good DJ. Also, Apster is doing really well I heard his new tracks its like each production gets better and better. He will become very big.
BD: On that label you produced a track called ‘Sending My Love’ which is climbing up to the top of beatport. Did you know the song would be such a success while you were in the process of creating it?
R3Hab: Basically I had the idea 2 years ago. It was a full track with vocal and I stripped it down and decided to work on it with Swanky Tunes. I thought it would be a really cool collaboration between electro-chainsaw madness and progressive. When you’re working together, 5 guys, you’re sending it back and forth until it is almost perfect. I sent it to Afrojack who tells you honestly if he does not like it, but he was like “Wow, this is some good shit”. We sent it to Tiesto, Guetta, and Swedish House Mafia and they all started playing it. That’s when I knew it could be really big. People really sing along with it; it’s like sending a message in the club. Funny thing was I gave it to Afrojack around EDC and told him I only wanted him to play it. So everybody was thinking it was his record, but he was promoting me big time, I have to thank him for that.
BD: You’ve done remixes for Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Pitbull, & LMFAO, only to name a few. Which of your remixes is your personal favorite?
R3Hab: Drop wise, I like the Jennifer Lopez mix the most. The drop is very fresh and it took me a long time to make. The Wyner Gordan remix is really good for the ladies to sing along with. In the club, I really like the Calvin Harris mix; it’s just dirty. Funny thing, when I finished it, I sent it to him with the Kelis vocals on top and the best idea came from him. He said “please remove the Kelis vocals”. So I removed those vocals and added a top melody, and I was like “You’re right Calvin, the Kelis vocals didn’t sound good on it”. I have to thank him for that. Whenever I play it, it is big, very party and very ravey.
BD: Do you have your mind set on any tracks right now that you plan on mixing?
R3Hab: I’m remixing the new Tiesto, “Maximal Crazy”. Also, the new Benny Benassi and new Sebastian Ingrosso. That and a lot more new stuff coming up I just need to finish the paper work. I’m also working on some new originals with some new sounds to keep it fresh. Also nice to say, Kaskade made a remix for “Sending My Love” and I’m really honored that he wants to remix me, he is a musical genius. I am also remixing one of his tracks right now. He is a really great guy, when we spoke it was in a friendly production way. Just making music and having fun.
Check out how the madness went down at Pacha when R3Hab dropped his original mix “The Bottle Song”, Soundcloud of 3 of his favorite bangers, and his most popular hits on beatport.
Calvin Harris – Bounce (R3Hab Remix)
Wynter Gordan – Til Death (R3Hab Remix)
Jennifer Lopez – Papi (R3Hab Remix)