Calling On a Kingpin Named Afrojack

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Dutch DJ/Producer Afrojack was undoubtedly meant for big things. Born in the small town of Spijkenisse in Holland, he was raised with some of the core values a big-city kid might not get. Considering that small town lies just outside the largest port in Europe (Rotterdam), it makes sense that he came up thinking about the vastness of the whole wild world. Furthermore, there’s the revolutionary legacy of Erasmus, de Kooning, and Koolhaas to consider. A legacy that now lives on in the beat of the deep, dark night. Add the fact that Afrojack himself is a full six-foot, nine-inches of unmitigated talent and, well, you get the idea.

But big things only come to those who grab them, and for the past year and change Afrojack has been out grabbing with all the gusto a go-getter can manage. TTen singe-ful singles in 2010, and another rage-crazed eight this year alone, not including Pitbull’s #1 “Give Me Everything” (along with Ne-Yo and Nayer). Then there’s his hectic DJ schedule. When Afrojack last hit Miami, he boothed up at LIV, and on Saturday he was back in town at Mansion for a sold out show. I caught up with the man born Nick van de Wall at the W South Beach, where he was ensconced in a sky-high penthouse duplex perfectly befitting his position as a DJ kingpin.

Like all kingpins, Afrojack traveled with a rather large entourage. It consisted of a childhood pal, a Vegas club owner, and another half-dozen or so swells of various notoriety. Despite being about to face thousands upon thousands of rabid dance fans at Mansion, the Dutch DJ was completely cool, calm and collected. Almost too cool. Then again, he’s already faced enough rabid dance fans to fill a few stadiums, and we’re just talking about this month.

Out under the stars of South Beach on that exquisitely-appointed W balcony, Afrojack chatted about getting with Pitbull (“His manager reached out to me… I went into the studio and did my thing”), learning their track had topped the pop charts (“I was on a plane to Miami and my manager emailed me the news”), the rapid-fire mouthpiece’s way and wile (“I’m pretty sure that Pitbull knows just what he’s doing at all times”), and how the song they did together gets spun “everywhere” he goes, even Lollapalooza (which Afrojack played on Friday), Tomorrowland, and Electric Daisy in Vegas.

We chatted about other powerhouse DJs such as David Guetta (“he’s like my best friend”) and Pete Tong (“he’s like a role model”), and how the latter continues to kickoff each and every weekend “not just in the UK,” but across the entire continent. “Everyone who listens to dance music in Europe listens to [Tong’s] Radio One show.”

We chatted about mixing it up (“I ask them what kind of remix they need, whether it’s a radio remix, club remix or whatever; then I listen to the track to see how it feels, see if I even want to do it), and what’s coming up (“I’m actually working on a track with Cee Lo Green“), and how Afrojack was really keen on getting back into the studio this September in order to record his first proper LP, which will be released on his own Wall Recordings. Also slated to appear will be Pitbull (“we’ve got to do a followup”), Leona Lewis (“I really like her voice”) and DJ R3hab (“he’s like my protege of sorts, and he’s killing every remix right now”). Among those remixes R3hab is killing is “Judas” by Lady Gaga, who just so happens to be on Afrojack’s wish list. The way things are kicking for the DJ kingpin though, one may as well switch that wish list to one that simply says “to do.”

Photo by dhArma.