The Guru had the pleasure to chat with one of the biggest names in Dutch house music before his show at The Westcott Theater. We met around 11:30 at a quiet reserved table at Beer Belly Deli and I had 10 minutes to fire off as many questions as possible. I found Fedde to be an extremely cool, down to earth, and truly principled producer/DJ who’s representing the roots of house music and techno on a daily basis. The EDM world is lucky to have his influence being more and more central to the genre. I’ve included our entire Q&A session. For my EDM fans only.
Armed with some advice from a friend at Newhouse, I got right down to business with the interview. Here we go!
Name your first musical experience. When did you know you had something with DJing?
At sixteen I realized it. I had lots of side jobs but started DJing in small cafe for school kids. That’s when I knew, but looking back I think it was very early on, probably ten years old. I had a dual cassette deck, I would pause one and record with the other–you know–and fast forward through the other track and kind of make my own mashups. I was always busy with music.
Can you name some influential artists from those early days?
The music you get in contact with growing up is the foundation of what you like–thank God my parents were into all kinds of stuff! Really old school [American] stuff like James Brown and George Clinton. My mom listened to Enya, stuff like The Beatles, Matt Bianco. When I started I was very much into hip-hop but as the genre got more superficial I discovered House.
[laughs] In the world?! You know how many places there are?! Green Valley in Brazil, Yalta in Bulgaria. Also I would have to say… Ultra is one of my favorite music festivals.
Favorite artists/song EDM?
I own a label so I’m really into searching for young [artists]… There are two guys from Holland called Roul and Doors, their stuff is fresh and that’s what I like about it. It’s new. There are two guys from Germany called Jewelz & Scott Sparks and so far I’ve literally liked every release. I think these are my best bets right now.
Given your status in EDM is it important for you to hit these small venues?
I know it might sound weird going from Sensation, a 40,000-50,000 capacity venue to one that’s five to 600. The cool thing is that at small venues you actually reach your real fans. Way more intimate, you can communicate directly with them. It’s a different animal all together; I actually love to do it.
What are your thoughts on the explosion of EDM in the USA and what is your thought on dubstep?
It’s good and it’s bad. The more people that know this music, the better it is but when something gets well known it gets more commercial and that doesn’t always benefit the music itself, it tends to get generic here and there. I’m trying to be polite about this. [laughs].
What’s your role in this dynamic? Are you fighting against anything? With your music I feel that authentic Dutch house niche more than artists like Tiesto.
I try to make clear what I stand for. By supporting young kids who have something real to add to the scene. Musically I like stuff that has a touch of techno to it, which is one way to say it. I think it’s important that there’s something in the music that relates back to the House [music] I got to know. I’m not really trying to fight anything. I try to create an island–a safe haven–where you’re allowed to do what you think is cool instead of going with the trends. As far as dubstep I think it’s great, skillfully produced, cool because it’s different in a way. [Fedde did mention that he felt like dubstep is a bit of a fad, in so many words]
What is the future for Fedde le Grand?
Two main things… my album at the end of the year, a compilation of what I’ll do all year plus extra tracks. I wanted to do an album, because on an album you’re allowed to do something that’s really “off” that doesn’t have to make it to any chart; something that’s just cool and not even related to house necessarily. That and I’m doing a podcast show.
Thanks Fedde, great to meet you, appreciate your time!
You too! Thank you, man, great questions!
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