David Guetta Talks "Nothing But The Beat", Tearing Up the Studio with Ludacris and Sia, and Rock Music
Wed, 29 Jun 2011 10:45:33
David Guetta keeps it real on Nothing But The Beat.
Guetta's forthcoming dual album, due out August 30, 2011, serves up one disc chock full of pop hits as well as an entire disc of entrancing and enthralling electronic instrumental tracks. He's not only one of the most infectious, innovative, and invigorating DJs ever, but he's also one of the most important pop presences of the 21st century. Nothing But The Beat further cements his divine status as an architect of timeless electronic music and pop gems. Look no further than the club banger of the decade "Little Bad Girl", where Ludacris and Taio Cruz heat up the dance floor over Guetta's unique production. Then there's "Titanium" a searing, soulful song with Sia. Guetta can do it all, but it simply comes down to Nothing But The Beat…
While sitting in a chic Los Angeles hotel, Guetta is the epitome of cool. Donning a sleek black leather jacket, shirt, and jeans, he resembles a Quentin Tarantino hero, but with a warmer sensibility and firm handshake. He's also extremely excited to talk about Nothing But The Beat, and that's what he did…
David Guetta spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about Nothing But The Beat, ripping up the studio with Ludacris and Sia, and so much more…
What's your take on Nothing But The Beat as a whole?
At first, it was a very strange situation. I'm a DJ, and I came with that new sound. The sound is a bridge between urban and electronic music on my last album. It became so big. It put me in a situation that was a bit tricky. I cannot make an album that's just normal pop music because I'm a DJ [Laughs]. The sound that was really new when I came with it two years ago is standard now, so I thought, "How can I reinvent myself?" That was the challenge of this album. I came up with the idea of making a double album. One disc is 100 percent vocal with all of the biggest superstars like Usher, will.i.am, Taio Cruz, Ludacris, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, and Jennifer Hudson. They're all really incredible, amazing people. Even Timbaland is on the record. The other disc has no vocals at all. It's only electronic beats. I want to use my success also to show people who aren't necessarily from my community but love my songs on the radio to also discover something that's a little more specialized.
Is it important for you to conjure visuals with your music?
I've always felt that was a little bit of my weakness. I'm getting better at it. You can see it in all of the videos on this. When I tour, my show is more visual because I was initially playing clubs and now I do a lot of concerts at big places. Of course, I have to come with something. On some bills, I'm competing with bands, and I come and just play records [Laughs]. I'm also bringing a proper show. That's a bit new to me. I'm learning and discovering it. I'm starting to understand it.
What's the story behind "Titanium"?
That song is interesting because it's different from anything else on the album. All of the guests on the album are from pop and R&B, and "Titanium" is a little bit like a UFO flying over it all because Sia is a more of an indie artist. I think she's the only white girl on the record [Laughs]. I fell in love with the song. At first, she wrote that song and demoed it. She wanted to give it to another artist, but I felt her voice is so incredible and the song is so emotional that I really wanted her to stay on it. The song also uses some acoustic elements which is very different from what I usually do. I think it makes it very interesting.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, "Little Bad Girl" is the perfect club banger.
You're totally right [Laughs]. It's the absolute club banger. I've been playing the instrumental in my DJ set for a long time now, and it's one of the biggest records of the night every time even though people don't really know it since I'm the only one playing it. For people who often come to my shows, it became the record they wait for. At first, I wanted to keep it instrumental. One day, Taio Cruz came to my place in Ibiza, and I played him the instrumental. He fell in love with it, and he came with that huge song. It was undeniable. We recorded it in my home first, and I love it so much as a song and as an instrumental. It's the only song that's on both the instrumental and vocal sides of the album. Ludacris came with that raw energy. I think it's going to be a monster!
What influences you outside of music?
I don't really do anything but the beats. That's why the album's called Nothing But the Beat because that's my life. I play records when I DJ almost every night. I do about 150 gigs a year. The rest of the time, I just make beats and work on music. I don't really have time for anything else. I have a family. I already don't have enough time for them.
Would you ever want to do a rock-influenced album?
When I say I'm influenced by that kind of music, it's more from a chord progression point of view because I come from a more underground background. Before, my music was more simple. It was like drums and a bass line, and that was enough to make people dance. When I started to make songs, I had to study how to do it a little bit more. There are some really incredible rock bands coming with really interesting music even though on a production level, that's not how I would do it. It's very interesting and inspiring for me to combine a rock chord progression, hip hop artists coming with crazy urban melodies, and a dance production style. It makes the music very rich. Why not let's see? You never know what's going to happen.
How did the electronic side of the album come together?
I make lots of separate tracks, and I pick the tracks that make sense together. I do this for the songs, and I also did it for the electronic album. I think it's really going to surprise you. It's very strong. It could be an album on its own.
Was it especially fulfilling to expand while going back to your roots?
It was important for me to use the success I'm having to share my culture with other people and the kind of music I play when I DJ. When I DJ I play my big records, but I also play some darker more experimental beats. I'm happy that I can show this to some people who aren't necessarily going to clubs, maybe it's because they're too young or they're too old—or they think they are [Laughs]. It's important because there are two sides of me and both are important.
Are you excited for Nothing But the Beat ? What's your favorite David Guetta song?
VIDEO of this interview coming soon!