The David Guetta interview | 'Everything I've created has love, hope and joy; it isn't all dance and groove'
In this exclusive interview, the Grammy Award-winning French DJ and songwriter talks about how music can help the world wade through ongoing crises, and why listening to music is becoming a more solitary practice.
If there is one word that is recurrent in David Guetta's discography, it is 'love'. From his debut album, Just A Little More Love released in 2002, through the 2009 breakthrough One Love (which featured the Grammy Award-winning 'When Love Takes Over'), to his latest track with Sia, 'Let's Love,' the word has been synonymous with the French songwriter and DJ.
But it is not merely a buzzword, as Guetta insists in an exclusive interview. "That’s the beauty of music. Even in the most harsh situations, music sees us through. It has the power to transform us into a world of hope, where hatred doesn't exist. All that exists is love."
He agrees that his hometown Paris has shaped him as an artist, as well as the mood he likes to stir up through his music. "Paris is all about love. Be it the cafes, the hotels, friends enjoying at a club or just the streets thronged by couples and families spending quality time together. All of it oozes love," he says.
The maker of hits such as 'Memories,' 'Sexy Bitch', and 'Titanium' talks about why he felt the urge to make 'Let's Love' with Sia over Zoom calls, the debate over live concerts vs live streaming, and whether his music transcends nightclubs, to comfort listeners in isolation during times of social distancing.
Edited excerpts below.
Why was it important for you and Sia to make 'Let's Love' at a time when it feels like hate is taking over the world, given the pandemic and the consequent political crossfires?
The pandemic has definitely had a huge impact on the global music scene, and my thoughts really go out to all the people that work within the industry. I’m very lucky because I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat the next day, but it’s been very tough on a lot of people in the industry. For me, it has actually been a very productive period and I’ve also really enjoyed the down time. Sia and I wrote 'Let's Love' via Zoom sessions during isolation and it was inspired to give hope, spread love, and unite people during this crazy time we’re living in. It’s purposely made to be an uplifting track. People wanted to listen to music that made them feel good. I’m really inspired to produce feel-good music.
'Let's Love' feels inspired by another era — Synthwave from the 1980s. What are your memories from that time, and did you organically drift towards that genre?
When I think of feel-good music I’m naturally transported to the '80s. They were simpler times where everyone was together. No matter how bad the situation got, we were undivided. That’s what we need now, which is why I think I drift to this genre now, more than ever. We need to remind people about sticking by each other rather than turning against one another.
You have enjoyed a successful collaboration with Sia, with a hit like 'Titanium' in the past. What does she bring to the table, when compared to your other collaborators?
Sia’s voice is extremely powerful, and that’s what I, and she, were looking for, especially in this song — the power to make a difference with music and vocals. There’s a resounding passion in her voice, and when she sings, "This too shall pass," it naturally evokes that feel-good vibe where you’re suddenly full of hope, and you want to believe it because her voice is just that strong.
Has the lockdown increased your creativity, or did you use this period to pursue other endeavours?
I’ve continued focusing on music throughout the lockdown. My creative juices haven’t just flown towards creating new music, but also towards doing something unique and keeping the world connected even while apart. I’ve hosted two concerts through the lockdown, one of which had 8,000 people dancing from their balconies while I performed for 90 minutes. That was something really cool! I’d love to do more of these.
Do you think socially-distanced concerts like these are the future, or will we go back to the foot-stomping frenzy soon?
As far as we know, the virus isn’t ending anytime soon. So live streaming seems like a great option. Even after the virus is gone, thousands of people gathering doesn’t seem likely. So this really does seem like a safe bet.
Finally, at a time when the world is engaging in social distancing, do you believe your music is being enjoyed in isolation, in solitude? Has it gone beyond the notion of EDM as being the sound of nightclubs and live gigs?
EDM tracks have been sounding the same for the past four years. We created something that has a new sound, and it did create a huge buzz. Normally I don’t read any comments online, but with the Future Rave (Guetta's project with MORTEN) releases, I loved to read the comments and feedback; people were really excited. For us, that was super motivating and exciting, which is why we kept putting out more music.
I’d definitely like to believe that my music is being enjoyed even in the lockdown. Everything that I’ve created has an element of love, hope and joy, it isn’t all dance and groove.
All images from Facebook.
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