By now you may have seen the visual masterpiece that is the David Guetta/Nicky Romero music video "Metropolis," directed by street artist Mr. Brainwash. (If you haven’t, then catch up son!). Now you have the chance to win an exclusive prize package from the video complete with:
– 12 Postcards of stills taken from the “Metropolis” video which was directed by Mr. Brainwash in part with Burn Productions, Jack Back Records, WhatAMusic and Astralwerks Records. – A USB credit card shaped with three files: -“Metropolis” MP3 -“Metropolis” Music Video -“Metropolis” Behind the Scenes Video
Note: Only 100 packages were made, and one of them could be yours.
All you have to do is "Like" both VIBE and BlackBook (one VIBE reader and one BlackBook reader will have a chance to win a package) Facebook pages, and then comment below with an answer to the following question: "Why should you win?"
German producer/DJ Boys Noize, aka Alex Ridha, predates the ongoing EDMsplosion. He’s been a staple of the dance music scene for years, remixing everyone from N*E*R*D to Cut Copy. He’s also a tastemaker with his own label, Boysnoize Records, which just released Le1f and Boody’s Liquid EP. Last month, Ridha released his third album as Boys Noize, Out Of The Black, a collection of pulsing, simmering tracks to keep the dancefloor fresh. Snoop Dogg’s even along for the party, throwing a couple verses over the woozy bass of “Got It.”
I called Ridha at his home in Berlin to talk about his city, his album, and his North American tour that’s kicking off now.
What’s a normal day in Berlin like for you? Normally, when I get up, I have to go out with the dog first, because she needs to go out. She has the most priority in the mornings. When I go back, I do a lot of my label stuff, working out the music we’re releasing and talking to all the artists on my label, figuring all of that out. Basically, I’m doing the whole creative side of Boysnoize Records. That’s a lot of fun for me. Then when the sun goes down, then I go to the studio, which is also at home. Then it depends. I’m not a guy who can go in the studio from 9 to 5, that’s why I have it at home so I can go in a moment, because you can’t really force creativity, not in my sense.
If you were meeting someone who had never been to Berlin before, what would you tell them is the first thing they should do or see? Probably go to Kreuzberg and go through the streets and get a Turkish kebab, which is almost like the German traditional meal. It’s getting there. At night time, a lot of people come to Berlin to party, and I think you can do that really well because there’s a lot of illegal parties, there’s a lot of parties that start on Saturday and end up on Tuesday morning, so you have a lot of places like that, like the Berghain. Actually, you have to see the Berghain if you’re coming to Berlin for the first time, it’s probably one of the most amazing clubs in Berlin, it’s super techno and very dark. There’s no cameras allowed, you won’t get in if you have a camera on you. If you take a picture, you get thrown out as well. And then after that, you can eat a currywurst, that’s a traditional sausage, you know. And then there’s a lot of flea markets on Sunday. You should visit the wall as well, there’s still part of it in Berlin.
How is the way this record came together different from your previous albums? The first two albums I pretty much produced while touring, during my DJ gigs. Most of the time, I’m away on the weekends, and during the week I’m back in my studio. On this record, it was different, because after the second record I did, I wanted to try out new things and work with other people, that’s why I got into productions for other people like Santigold and Spank Rock. I did a full album with Chilly Gonzales, who’s a piano player, and we did this really fun electronic piano [project]. After that time working with other people, I felt the urge of making my own music again. So basically for this album, I took some time off to be in the studio only, I didn’t do any festivals or club shows this year and just enjoyed being at my home and in my studio all the time to make this album.
Is there a particular track that you’re the most proud of? It changes all the time. Right now, I’m pretty happy with the track I did with Snoop Dogg, it’s a pretty big honor for me to have him on my album. For me, it was kind of a statement to only have him on my album as a feature. For me, the most important thing was to make something fucking cool with him.
How did that collaboration come about? I did an official remix for him in 2009, I think it was, for his track "Sensual Seduction." You know how it is, the big record label asked me to do the remix, so I didn’t know if he knew it, and when I discovered Twitter, I wrote him directly asking him if he knew the remix, and he replied right away, saying he loved it and I should send more beats. Ever since, we’ve kept in contact. I met last year in LA for the first time, and this year I met him again and he invited me to his place and we recorded two songs together. It was really, really cool to meet him, he’s such a nice dude.
Do you have any dream collaborations for next time around? It’s always difficult for me to have a feature on my own music, because although I’m making a lot of different kinds of music as a producer for other people, for my own music I have a very pure vision and I’m more a fan of robotic voices than real human voices. On my album, you can hear a lot of electronic voices and different kinds of robotic voices I’ve been studying. Another thing is that once I work with other people, like a singer or someone, then it turns too much to me into a song or it’s getting too poppy, then it doesn’t really reflect me as a DJ or a performer. I’m not someone who plays shitty house records with cheesy vocals on it. It’s fine for the radio, but for my own sets I like it when it’s more in your face and not too much like mainstream or commercial stuff. It also means that for my music, I can’t really do that, just because I’m not doing that for my own music. I’m open to everything as a producer for other people, but for my own music, I prefer my own robotic voices and stuff like that.
Can you talk about the album title a little bit? I kind of started with the English thing almost immediately. I really liked the twist with the blue and the black, because out of the black doesn’t really mean anything. I liked that. It also kind of reflects me being in the studio at night. When the sun goes down, I can make some noise when everyone’s sleeping. I feel most relaxed at night as well, and most creative. The image sounded cool.
With this album, you’re finally going on your first full American tour. Would you say that has to do with the US finally catching up to the world of electronic music? No, actually, I’ve been touring a lot in the US since 2006, even 2005. I’ve been playing a lot of gigs pretty much everywhere. This is the first time I’m playing live, which is a new challenge and it makes sense, now that I have three albums. So I will perform my own music only, like a punk rock kind of concert. I’m bringing a big production as well, there are going to be some crazy things going on. I have one element which is pretty big, but I can’t go into much detail about it. I’m pretty excited to do that, it’s a new way of touring as well, I’m going on a bus for six or seven weeks. It’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll, I’m looking forward to it.
What can we expect from your show? I’ll be performing my own music only. I haven’t really done that, though a lot of people were wondering [how that would work out]. As a DJ, I do a lot of things in the moment, and a lot of things are spontaneous. I’m not mixing two records only, I do a lot of live remixing and live editing in the moment. This time, it’s my own music that I will tweak and remix live and have different variations on. I have a lot of controllers and effects units and a big production around it. There’s going to be one big element onstage, which is quite crazy. You should actually check it out, if you can.
Do you have any particular favorite places to go on tour? In the US, there’s a lot of cool cities. I’m a big fan of San Francisco, of Chicago, New York, L.A. Montreal is also a great city. There’s a lot of cities this time around that I haven’t visited yet, especially in the middle of America, Texas and stuff. I haven’t hit those places, I’m curious.
Those are probably places where it has taken a little longer to build a dance music following. Yeah, I feel like I’m on a mission, to be honest. Obviously, there’s the whole EDM thing, I guess I’m a big part of that as well. I think that’s a lot of music where it’s very functional, and I get to a lot of place where I hear the same music. It feels good to really be on a mission, to show different aspects of electronic music.
After having done this for years, I’m sure you know you’ve been ahead of the curve. I wouldn’t say that to myself. (laughs) But it’s true, there’s a new generation in America that is totally into electronic music. I think it’s amazing, because it opens a lot of doors for me as well. But obviously, once something gets really big, it’s most of the time driven by the really mainstream stuff and the more popular stuff. In the end, it’s just a new way of pop music. I think a lot of people that have just discovered it that like that, they will eventually move on to what’s after David Guetta and that kind of music. Once that happens, all those people will be discovered, especially in electronic music, there’s so much. I’ve been buying records, I have 15,000 vinyl records at home, and I still discover amazing electronic music every day, I’m buying new music every day, I’m finding old tracks, I rediscover them. So me as a total nerd in that, discovering new music, imagine someone who’s just discovered electronic music. There’s just so much to look out for after the mainstream stuff.
Who are some new artists you’re currently excited about? There are a lot of new artists that I love. There’s one guy I just found for Boysnoize Records, his name is SCNTST, he just turned 18 and he’s a very talented producer. We just put out an EP from him, there’s another one coming this fall, I’m very excited about him. You know how it is when you start off something and you don’t really know what to do, there’s a lot of magic happening in this moment. He’s really good. There’s another guy called Strip Steve who’s really more into the indie disco kind of thing, which I love. I’m going on tour with Spank Rock, who’s a rapper from Baltimore signed to my label, he’s super amazing. I produced his new album, which just got out as well.
Any other up-and-coming rappers you’re excited about, too? Yeah, there’s this guy Le1f, we’re putting out an EP he did as well. He’s part of this up-and-coming gay rap scene. He’s also a producer, he makes a lot of amazing beats as well. He also produced "Nasty” on that Spank Rock album. We just signed him, going to put out his EP with his friend Boody very soon on Boysnoize Records.
I feel like I have an internal Google Alert that lets me always know what Chris Brown is up to even though I don’t particularly want to know. So of course I have to deal with the fact that Brown will be featured on a track on Rihanna’s new album, Unapologetic. It’s called "Nobodies Business," because the pair love bad grammar as much as they adore each other, apparently.
While Rihanna, 24, has stayed mum on her relationship status with Brown, the "Turn Up The Music" singer attended Rihanna’s Halloween party last week and tweeted a photograph of himself dressed in Arab robes and a rifle.
Brown, 23, is currently halfway through his five-year probation after pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy awards in 2009. He was ordered to complete community service and a domestic violence program.
Brown was given permission by a Los Angeles judge to embark on his European tour at a recent hearing overseeing his progress on his probation.
The former couple have had a tumultuous relationship in the last three years, including a restraining order against Brown following the assault.
Here’s a thought: if it’s nobodies [sic] business, maybe don’t sing about it so much?
It’s hard to tell where the crowd’s flickering lighters meet the beaming LED screens strung around Randall’s Island like Christmas trees on steroids. The sun has set on the former juvenile delinquent reform school site as David Guetta steps onto the main stage for his performance at New York’s enormous electronic music event, Electric Zoo. The 35,000 dance music devotees look like a sea of neon-clad ants from up here. One thing is clear: The scene is definitely a zoo, and the 44-year-old Frenchman is its ringleader.
The show has begun. Spasmodic lights begin to flash and flicker while Star Trek-esque synths pump from the speakers. Guetta drops the opening chords of Sia’s “Titanium (Alesso Remix)” before announcing his arrival to the Big Apple this morning from Ibiza, the island that’s home to his famed Fuck Me I’m Famous party that draws the likes of will.i.am and Diddy weekly. “New York!” he drags out. “Are you ready to party?!” On cue, the break beat drops and concertgoers collectively go ape shit as Guetta dances, flails and orchestrates in the DJ booth. He neither sings, raps, chants, nor ad-libs—yet the man puts on one hell of a show.
“It always means something special to me when I play in cities like New York or Chicago or Detroit because this is where [house] music was born even though it became more of a European thing later on,” says the tall, lumbering producer/DJ from beneath a mangled mane of blonde waves and a grin so wide it teeters on goofy. The one-hour set wrapped 20 minutes ago, and he’s now lounging lithely on the black leather couch in his trailer, wearing a crisp black T-shirt with an eagle screen-printed across. The peaceful energy Guetta exudes is contagious in a way that anyone—from within a room to an arena—can feel, part of why millions flock to see him nightly across the globe.
This summer I decided to become a DJ. Being a hip and sexy young person living in New York City in 2012, you’re probably a DJ, too. I’d encourage you to put your petty professional jealousies aside for the sake of this story. In any case, there’s no need to sweat just yet: I’ve never actually played a set, or even decided on a DJ name, the perfect brand for my peculiar lack of talent. But it’ll come, and when it does it’ll be appropriately exotic sounding and hard to pronounce so that you’re afraid to say it out loud without sounding like an asshole. Something like Posso, perhaps, which is sort of like posse, but with an “o” at the end that would benefit from an umlaut. Posso means “I can” in Italian and—goddammit—has already been taken by two designer-slash-DJs from Los Angeles named Marylouise Pels and Vanessa Giovacchini, who used to have a line of spats that never quite took off, but was, Pels assures me, copied by all the best designers.
It’s late July and the sun is still blazing when Posso begins bobbing its heads and pumping its arms atop an improvised wooden stage on the “wet deck” of the W Hotel in Bali, Indonesia. There’s only about a dozen people dancing, but the ladies look ecstatic. On the giant screen behind them you can even see them mouthing the words: “She’s homeless. She’s homeless. Da dadee, da dum, da dadee, da dum...”
Pels and Giovacchini are two of the eight lucky DJs who’ve made the 24-hour journey to this off-season paradise to take part in the 2nd annual W Hotels & Burn Studios DJ Lab, a nonprofit boot camp where a team of veteran knob-twisters would teach a class of newbies how to become the next Skrillex. They’d learn how to dress, how to Tweet, and how to mix and scratch.
There’s a bit of that, but there’s also a multi- million-dollar marketing extravaganza aimed primarily at the Asian market where the W is opening five new hotels by 2014. Needless to say, everyone is extremely nice and very happy to be here, and the food is fantastic.
This year’s mentors include Rob Garza from Thievery Corporation, Paul Nolan, a big-deal sound engineer, and Jason Bentley, the music director of L.A. public music station KCRW, who the assembled journos interview as a group.
With electronic dance music back in vogue, the timing couldn’t be better for W, which has always had a thing for DJ booths and plays music throughout its hotels 24/7. The aim of the summit is to help some of the younger artists who play its various venues gain a foothold in the actual music industry, says veteran DJ-turned-producer Michaelangelo L’Acqua, W’s global music director and the man leading the charge. He is wearing wooden prayer beads around his wrist.
“For us as mentors to sit and share these intimate stories about our careers, about our failures, about our successes—it’s amazing,” he says from behind green-tinted aviators. “When I’m done with each session, I sit back and realize how much I’m learning from them. It’s been very symbiotic—it’s give-and-take and give-and-take.”
Two exemplary graduates of last year’s lab in Ibiza—a dandy DJ named Angus Wong from Hong Kong and a model-pretty DJ out of Tokyo named Eiko—have even returned as mentors.
“They represent the aesthetic values of W,” says L’Acqua, proudly. “We have a position in fashion—it’s one of our passion points—and these two represent cutting-edge fashion everytime they walk out the door or get behind a DJ booth. This is a beautiful thing and why it’s worked so well for us. It’s magical.”
The bow-tied and blazered Wong, who has spent the last year on the “wet deck” circuit, would hardly disagree: “They’ve given us a great opportunity to present ourselves to different countries all over the world,” he says, cheerily. “I’ve learned so much not only from the mentors but from the other DJs.”
After learning a bit more about the marketing strategy behind burn (lower-case b), a new energy drink for the Asian market put out by Coca-Cola that has partnered with W on this and other music-related projects, it’s time for a tutorial in actual DJing by Liverpudlian sound engineer Paul Nolan who makes tracks, on the sly, for David Guetta and everyone else you’ve ever heard of.
“You don’t have to be a great musician in order to make good music,” he says, reassuringly, as he sets up his decks. “If you can count to four, you can DJ.”
True to his word, in less than an hour of dragging and dropping, he builds a track that would be recognizable to anyone who has ever been to a club. I can’t wait to get back to the city to start my new career. Posso out.
Famous European DJ David Guetta is also a steampunk doctor, it seems. In this music video for "Turn Me On," from last year’s Nothing but the Beat, he appears to be constructing some sort of Nicki Minaj super robot from the annals of his shadowy Old World laboratory. Nicki’s silver lips start out singing while attached to a robotic skeleton which slowly transforms into a plasticine cyborg body, about which I can say… ah!
But then the regular Nicki shows up singing the same lyrics, so it’s hard to figure out which one is supposed to be the real Roman. Alas, the narrative never really resolves, though Nicki does eventually ride a horse. These are the type of questions you’ll have to think about while you’re at the club moshing your head off to this song on a headful of ketamine. (Guetta shows up for about five shots, by the way, like one of which you can see his face in. Way to know your role, dude.) If I told you that Guetta was Moby with a wig, would you be surprised?
● Madge is, as rumors have suggested, headlining the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. [CNN]
● Robert Pattinson spent a night out in L.A. alone with Sarah Roemer, an actress who once worked with Kristen Stewart on a movie. Are the waters already rough in that accidental marriage of theirs? [PopSugar]
● Can David Guetta save Will and Jada Smith? "Huge fans," the two were seen dancing away their marriage woes during his set in Miami called, of course, "Fuck Me, I Am Famous." [Page Six]
● Angelina Jolie is being sued for allegedly lifting the story behind her writing and directorial debut, The Land of Milk and Honey, from a Croatian journalist who claims to have published the story that became the basis for the film back in 2007. [Radar]
● TMZ reports that Sophia Coppola has begun reaching out to members of Hollywood’s "Burglar Bunch"–the group who made headlines a few years back (also known as the "Bling Ring"), when they robbed the homes of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom, in hopes of collaborating on a new movie, which is already backed by her father’s Zoetrope studio. [TMZ]
● Although ultimately "very difficult" and "bad," Scarlett Johansson tells Cosmopolitan that marrying Ryan Reynolds "seemed like a very romantic thing to do, and it was," adding also that, "It was the best thing I ever did." Reynolds, meanwhile, seems happy enough to have moved on. [E!]
My favorite pain in the ass in the whole world just returned from Paris. There she swirled in the beauty, the people, the art, the palaces and the food. Paris is a wonderful drug. I lived there a few times and it’s the only place I think I could live if New York defeats me. I find Paris more similar to New York than Los Angeles. The only thing that the French don’t seem able to create brilliantly is music. With a tip of the beret to Plastic Bertrand and the Gainsbourgs, little else ever caught my ear. David Guetta is a French DJ who has achieved world class status. He and DJ Laurent Garnier seem to be exceptions to the rule. In a rare midweek opening Pacha will host David Guetta tonight and I will be there.
I will be there after subMercer. I will DJ tonight at my favorite little haunt with Gabby Mejia and friends. Woody Allen once said something like his life is divided between miserable and horrible, so when he’s merely miserable that’s pretty good. My DJing is like that. Lately I’ve been just miserable and I’m feeling good about tonight, so come on down.