David Guetta on turning 50, returning to his roots with new album 7, and why he isn't worried about making hits

R Prashanth Vidyasagar

October 28, 2018 11:39:48 IST

What does it take to have sold over nine million albums and 30 million singles worldwide? What makes people want to listen to a song and an artist again and again?

The most basic factor is perhaps likeability and the track playing in your head long after you’ve heard it. The track lingers so much that it calls to you like the Pied Piper, and makes you want to press play again. For some it could be the tune, the lyrics or the vocalist. But being able to ‘conjure’ all these together, is only possible by an all-seeing and knowing eye. And today, that all-seeing eye we talk about is French DJ, songwriter, record producer and remixer David Guetta.

Most people know about Guetta, whether they like the genre of music he works with or not. This Electronic Dance Music (EDM) artist began DJing around France in the early '80s; from small gigs to being the main act, he progressed slowly but steadily. It was his remix of David Bowie’s 'Heroes' called 'Just for One Day', that was the turning point in his career. The track, released in 2003 and with Bowie’s approval, went on to become a banger. In 2009, Guetta landed the third spot in the famed DJ mag top-100 list, moving up to second place the next year, and first in 2011.

It was 2009 that Guetta became a household name with the release of his fourth album, One Love, that comprised tracks such as 'Memories', 'Sexy Bitch' and 'When Love Takes Over', which went on to become massive hits. It was during this very year that Black Eye Peas released ‘I Gotta Feeling’, one of their biggest-ever hits which was produced by Guetta. He won consecutive Grammys for his tracks 'When Love Takes Over' (Electro extended remix) and 'Revolver' (David Guetta's One Love Club Remix, award shared with Afrojack) in the best Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical category.

David Guetta. Image courtesy Ellen von Unwerth

David Guetta. Image courtesy Ellen von Unwerth

Guetta’s career since has been on an upward spiral. He has collaborated with the biggest and the best, and has played at the most celebrated EDM festivals in the world. Now with the release of his latest album 7, he has gone back to his roots. This two-disc collection showcases Guetta’s strength from both worlds. Under the alias of the Jack Back Project he has composed some brilliant underground house tracks.

We caught up with the man himself and spoke to him about his music and more. Excerpts from the interview:

What made you want to go back to your roots? Why complete the circle now?

Because it felt like the right moment. I’m at a point where I really want to make the music that I love and go back to my roots. I’m at a point in my career where I’ve had success and now I just want to do whatever I want to do. Not everything is going to be successful and I’m okay with that. Of course I do hope that my fans love it!

Very few attain the kind of superstardom you have in EDM. How is the view from the top?

It’s great actually! I’m in a very nice head-space at the moment where I’m just comfortable with what I’ve accomplished and want to focus on making the music that I want to make.

I loved your mixtape, especially the tracks 'Pelican' and 'Afterglow'. It takes you back in time and is yet futuristic. Can you tell us about your experience of working on these tracks?

Thank you! When I started making these tracks I really went back to where I started. In the end if you let me produce something, this is what I will come up with. These songs come really naturally to me, because this is what I know best.

What is your earliest memory of working on EDM music?

Well my earliest memory of music is when I was playing with a record from my mother. I was four. But I started working on music later, when I was 13. I was in my bedroom, practicing after school almost every day.

If you had to write a resume and had the highlight the top-five moments in your career so far, what would they be?

I’ve been doing this for a long time, so there are quite a lot of moments that come to mind. But one thing that I would say is a big achievement is that I think I gave DJ culture more respect. I've said this before, but I am proud of it. Playing my first gig would also have to be on the list. Because I was so lucky, it was an important moment in my career. Ibiza is always special, I really like the island and the vibe. But it’s hard to pick specific moments, because I have had so many amazing memories over the years.

The new look is awesome. What prompted you to go for a makeover?

Thank you! I thought it was a good time for a change, because I am doing all these new things. New album, new music, new hair. And I’m happy I did it!

You turned 50. Does that number get you thinking more or change things for you?

I feel great! It has kind of changed the way I look at my career. With this new album I had so much freedom. I really made the music I wanted to make instead of worrying about whether something is going to be a hit or not.

Can you tell us a little about your life and lifestyle growing up?

I was always busy making music. My friends used to complain that I was spending so much time making music instead of going out with them!

If you could turn music composer for a full-length feature film, which one would it be for?

That’s a difficult question. Maybe a James Bond movie or something.

Updated Date: Oct 28, 2018 11:39 AM