“I was a little scared about how my fans would react” – hmv.com talks to David Guetta
He’ll be back in the UK for some huge shows this summer, so we sat down with David Guetta to find out how the tour in support of his new album Listen is going, why working with Emeli Sande was a long-time dream realised and his plans for his big UK appearances this summer.
How have you found taking Listen out live?
“It’s been amazing, it’s the most exciting part of this job, I’ve been a DJ for so many years, but that's the bit of my job that turns me on the most. Playing this new record out and seeing the reaction of the people has been amazing.”
It must be fun to put live sets together now, you’ve got so many songs to choose from..
“What I tend to do is a mix of things. I play a lot of my own music, a lot of new stuff, but I make sure there are plenty of classic tunes in there. I keep it fresh too by doing mash-ups, I blend my tracks together with hot electronic stuff. I try to make shows unique, when I play my records live, I wanted to be different from how they sound on record.”
How have you found the reaction to Listen? You said in the build-up you wanted it to be more song based?
“That’s true. I feel like the album has won a lot of respect for being a little different. I’m glad I did it, I was a little scared about how my fans would react, a song like ‘Dangerous’ has a slower tempo, I was afraid they would wonder what I was doing. But it’s gone really well, I’m very happy.”
Had you wanted to make that move for a while?
“It’s still an album that makes you want to dance, but it is more about the songs. When I started to produce music, it was less about songs, more about the beat, now it is going the other way. I’m not the one person to try this, you’ve got Avicii and Calvin Harris and lots of electronic producers who are doing this. I always want to combine the emotion of a great song with the energy of electronic production.”
Did that influence the vocalists you chose? Singers like Sia and Emeli Sande…
“Absolutely. I made the songs in very basic form and then looked at who I wanted to sing. All those songs are very emotional and I wanted an artist who could do it justice. People like Emeli Sande, Sia and John Legend, they really give that in their performances.”
Are there any vocalists you’d love to work with who you’ve not been able to get?
“Emeli Sande was the last one, I was dreaming about working with her for ages, I’ve wanted to work with her ever since I released ‘Titanium’. One day I did a TV show in France and Sia was not available and I asked Emeli if she would come and sing.”
“She did and it worked really well. We did a couple of studio sessions after that, they were good, but not amazing, neither of us were super happy with what we did. Then this time we did one of the last sessions for the album and we recorded ‘What I Did For Love’ and I was so happy because I finally got it right.”
Are there any old school legends you’d love to work with?
“I’m always open to anything, it all depends on the song, old school, new school, famous, not famous, it all depends on the song.”
Would you ever work with a rock band?
“Sure. If there’s one thing that really works for me it’s energy, and that’s what rock and EDM have in common. It makes a lot of sense to me, you can see it in festivals, crowds love both, it works really well.”
You’ve got some big UK festivals coming up, you must get on well with UK crowds?
“I love playing in the UK. I discovered house music in the UK, I was buying my records at Black Market (a much-loved, but now closed record store), first time I heard house music was at Shoom, this club in London. I have a very special relationship with the UK. Playing Chicago and London feel like playing places that are part of my history, there are always that bit more special.”
What kind of stage show are you bringing along?
“It’s a big, big production. Animations, fire, so much going on. Every time I make a new album, it’s having a new face, I need a new production, new concept, new vibe, I always want it to be better than last time.”
Finally, when can you see yourself starting to work on new music again?
“I took a little break and I’m starting to do new music again. The pressure of making big tracks and the album is behind me. I’m going to have fun twisting buttons and making beats again. I’m based in the US now, so I don’t travel as much, I can work on my laptop. I only need a studio for vocals, the rest of the production can be done anywhere.”
David Guetta’s new album Listen is out now and available in hmv stores. You can preview the album on the right-hand side of the page.