Not to “drop” names or anything, but Taiwan’s first ever EDM festival, Road to Ultra: Taiwan, this month “produced” some of the biggest names in EDM visiting the island, Armin just saying. City543 caught up with Fedde Le Grand, the Dutch DJ and producer best known for his hit “Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit” who has consistently ranked amongst the top 100 DJs in the world by DJ Magazine since 2007, after he played a fun and explosive set at the festival, alongside the likes of Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Alesso, Ansolo and Robin Schulz.
在今年九月台灣首次舉辦的大型電子音樂節——Road to Ultra: Taiwan 邀請到許多電音界的重量級人物來到台灣。也沒有刻意要提到幾個大牌明星的名字的意思, 但像是Armin Van Buuren (阿曼凡布倫)也有參加演出。Fedde Le Grand (費德勒格蘭德) 在精彩的表演結束後特別撥出時間接受City543的訪問。這位荷蘭籍的DJ兼音樂製作人以「Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit」這首歌聞名；從2007年開始，Fedde Le Grand就是DJ Magazine百大DJ排行榜上的常勝軍。這次一同出席音樂節的表演者還包括 Armin van Buuren (阿曼凡布倫)、Afrojack (艾佛傑克)、Alesso (艾利索)、Ansolo (安索羅)、Robin Schulz (羅賓舒爾茨) 。
Please tell us about your latest single, “Cinematic” featuring Denny White.
This really is one of those tracks that I feel will go down as a true favorite of mine. It was a long time in the making, but it was very much a labor of love. Denny White has one of those voices that gives the track so much emotion and energy. I was also very humbled when Ultra asked to use it as their soundtrack to Ultra Japan’s official 2014 Aftermovie. I’m really hoping to make another track with Denny in the future, so keep an eye out for another collaboration soon.
這首歌真的是我真心最喜歡的歌曲之一！製作的過程非常漫長，但這算是嘔心瀝血放入了很多愛的作品。Denny White擁有那種可以賦予音樂許多情緒與力道的聲線。當Ultra詢問能否用這首單曲當作2014日本Ultra活動紀錄片的配樂時，我深感榮幸。我很希望未來能有更多和Denny White合作的機會，所以大家可以開始期待我們更多作品。
What’s a regular work day like for you?
I’m in the middle of my Ultra tour, so a lot of ‘work days’ are spent either on a plane, waiting in airports or sleeping before a show. When I’m back home, I spend a lot of time in the studio trying out new ideas and working on my forthcoming album. I also try my best to catch up with family and friends.
You’ve been in the scene for quite some time now. What is your secret to staying in the industry?
To be honest there isn’t much of secret! I’ve always felt if you want to stay at the top of your game you have to make music and play shows that keep people interested. Music is one of those industries that constantly changes so you need to make sure that you move with the times and don’t get complacent. I’ve always maintained a high work ethic, and that’s allowed me to keep doing what I love.
How has the EDM scene changed since you released “Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit” in 2006? And how has this influenced your own music?
EDM wasn’t really a ‘thing’ when I released “Put Your Hands Up”. However, it has really turned into the biggest driving force in dance music, which has had both positive and negative effects for the industry, I think. On the one hand, more people are into dance music than ever before, which is great, but also I think there is a saturation of music, which means a lot of the time quality is sacrificed for quantity. I’ve always tried to maintain a high standard with my music and not just flood my fans with tracks.
從你2006年的單曲「Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit」之後的這段時間，你覺得電音市場有什麼改變？這對你的作品又有什麼影響？
在「Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit」發行的時候，電音其實還不是很主流。但是，電音真的已經成了舞曲音樂發展的最大推動力了。不過，我認為這有好有壞——一方面，越來越多、甚至是前所未有的人潮，開始喜歡舞曲音樂了，這是一件好事, 不過，我也覺得這種類型的音樂數量已經非常飽和，代表「品質」就常常在大量產出中被犧牲了。我總是努力維持去做出高標準的作品，而不是用一大堆歌曲搪塞我的歌迷。
You’ve said that you spend a lot of time thinking about the tracks you’re going to play at events like Ultra. What was your thought process while putting together the set for Road To Ultra: Taiwan? What were you trying to achieve?
I never like repeating sets, so I’m always trying out something new at every show. Taiwan I feel is beginning to really fall in love with dance music so I tried to showcase the best of what that scene has to offer. I got a really good vibe from the crowd so I think I did a pretty good job!
RTU: Taiwan is the first large-scale EDM festival in Taiwan. What were your impressions after playing the show?
I think because this was the first festival of its kind everyone really knew it was a special event so were going especially crazy. Let’s hope it’s the first of many!
As Taiwan’s still very new to EDM, what would you recommend for EDM fans and DJs in Taiwan who want to grow the scene?
I think there really isn’t a better time for EDM lovers and DJs in Taiwan. The scene is in its infancy, and so there are so many new opportunities for aspiring DJs and producers. I’m sure by next year the festival would have grown, and I can’t wait to come back!
You’ve been playing festivals in Asia for some time now. What were your impressions of Taiwan during your trip? What, if anything, makes Taipei stand out?
Taipei is such a vibrant city, and the people are so welcoming. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay as long as I would have wished as I had to hop on a flight to Bali, but rest assured I’ll be back soon!
Taiwan’s famous for its food. What did they feed you while you were here?
All the food was amazing! I tried this thing called the Changhua Bawan (彰化肉圓), which are a kind of large dumpling made from a dough and stuffed with pork and vegetables. They were delicious.
Where did you go to party after your set was over?
I know this sounds a bit boring but I was so exhausted I just headed back to my hotel!
Your name’s a bit difficult for Taiwanese people to pronounce. What’s the most unusual pronunciation you heard while you were here?
(Laughs) There were some odd variations that were pretty funny, but even people in the west struggle to pronounce my name sometimes so I wasn’t offended at all!
So what’s next for you? Can we expect your new album soon?
Once my Ultra World tour is done, I’m heading back to Holland to get back into the studio to polish off my album — not long now!
Are there any artists, particularly in Asia, who you would like to work with next?
I haven’t really thought about who I’d like to work with next — I’ve been so busy touring. But if there are any Taiwanese producers out there who think I’d like their stuff, send it over!
What advice do you have for young and aspiring DJs?
I’ve always said that if you want to be a successful DJ then you’ve got to be prepared to work incredibly hard and also to fail a lot. The key is to try get your sound out there as much as possible, and nowadays that’s pretty easy to do with things like Soundcloud and YouTube. Master your craft and when you think you’re ready, approach a label, and if you’re good enough, everything should fall into place from there.
Do you have any recommendations for people visiting your hometown?
If I can give any tips when it comes to my home country, then it would be to make sure you don’t just stay in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is really, really great as it’s got so much cultural diversity; there are amazing places to eat. But Holland isn’t just about Amsterdam, in fact, most of the DJs – amongst others, Tiësto and Hardwell – actually stem from the south such from Breda, the city where my studio is located. So when you visit Holland, make a cultural DJ trip and visit the south as well.
Translated to Chinese by Teresa Lee; with contributions from Kevin Chen.