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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-25
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Producer/DJ Afrojack on Michael Jackson, uniting music fans
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Dutch producer/DJ Nick van de Wall—better known as Afrojack—has blown the roof off clubs internationally with hits like "Take Over Control," featuring singer Eva Simons, to "Give Me Everything" with Pitbull and Ne-Yo. He has remixed everyone from Snoop Dogg to Michael Jackson, and has launched his own label called Wall Recordings with artists like R3hab and Sidney Samson.

Windy City Times tracked down the party animal all the way to Europe to find out more about the man behind the turntable.

Windy City Times: Hey, Nick. How are you?

Afrojack: I'm okay. I have a little bit of a voice problem because I have a throat infection.

WCT: Oh no. Where in the world are you right now?

Afrojack: I'm in Amsterdam for a music festival.

WCT: Congrats on the award you won on MTV.

Afrojack: Thank you very much. I just found out today. I have no idea what it is exactly, but it's a best act award so that is good for me.

WCT: Yes, the MTV EMA for Best Dutch Act.

Afrojack: That is really cool. It makes me proud for my country.

WCT: Let's talk about that. Where did you grow up?

Afrojack: I grew up basically in Holland in a small city called Spijkenisse. It was pretty much the lower ladder of social class for the first 10 years of my life. I lived together with my mom and she brought me up. I wasn't a very popular kid in school. I was more in the background.

I started making music when I was 11. I was playing keyboard when I was 8 or 9 years old, and when I was 11 I was in a break-dancing group. One day I came with my own edits of certain tracks. They wanted to know how I did it. Back then I used a program called FastTracker 2 and I downloaded FMStudio. I worked with that for the rest of my life.

WCT: Were you always into computers?

Afrojack: I used to love video games; I still do. I thought when you could make music with it that it was the coolest thing ever. I was also a graphic designer. I used to make music and create websites as the same time.

WCT: Have you done any music for video games yet?

Afrojack: No, not yet, I hope to really soon.

WCT: You just did a remix of Michael Jackson's "Bad." You must be a big fan.

Afrojack: Yes, it worked eventually so I am pretty happy with what happened. Michael Jackson is the biggest pop legend ever. No one even comes close. It was so scary for me to remix him.

WCT: Is there anyone you would want to work with but you haven't?

Afrojack: I would like to do a totally new weird song with Lady Gaga, a whole new idea. Shoot me if you want to but I think Katy Perry rocks, too.

WCT: Where did the name Afrojack come from?

Afrojack: When I grew out my hair it was half-Afro. It grows straight up and is really weird. Jack is a moniker in house music. A long time ago it was synonymous with house music—jacking music.

WCT: Now I get it. You are on the Jacked Tour now.

Afrojack: We called it the Jacked Tour because it is Afrojack and all of my friends. It is really fun.

WCT: So you are bringing your whole posse with you this time?

Afrojack: I do every time but this time out we are bringing Shermanology, who I signed to my label and R3hab who I trying to build up. Basically, all of those guys on my label I have been working together with them for such a long time and I thought it would be fun if they came along with me in America. There is some funny stuff on my YouTube channel about it. We have a good time when we are out there.

WCT: It must be rewarding to have your own label now.

Afrojack: It is not just a place to release music but it is a company also. It takes care of me as well as the other artists. We work together as a group. It is not just about releasing albums. We produce the music and send ideas back and forth. We use all of our connections to make it the best thing ever.

The most important thing is if we do a party, like we are doing at the Congress Theater, it has to be the best party ever. It's not about selling tickets or the best show; it's about the best party. I want everyone to going to my show to get absolutely crazy and make it feel like a different world, like playing a video game and losing yourself in a different reality. It hasn't happened in America, but if people fight at my show I will get in between those motherfuckers myself!

WCT: I saw you perform at the Spring Awakening festival the last time you were in Chicago.

Afrojack: That was sick. One of the best parties I have ever been to. I was so amazed by how many people were there. They were all having fun together. I think it was one of the best shows of my last tour.

WCT: It was such a diverse crowd with straight and gay people all mixed together.

Afrojack: People don't care anymore if you are straight or gay, if you are Black, white or Asian. If you love dance music, then we are friends.

WCT: What's your favorite drink on this party tour?

Afrojack: I drink vodka—way too much, actually!

WCT: You better drink some Red Bull with it to stay up late.

Afrojack: Trust me: When the party is finished, it doesn't mean the party is finished.

WCT: There is no afterparty this time?

Afrojack: Maybe I will throw a private one. How is your house? I will only bring about a thousand people.

WCT: Can you imagine? Afrojack in my backyard! [Both laugh.]

Prepare to get "Jacked" at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., Nov. 17, then look for Afrojack at B96's Pepsi Jingle Bash Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Allstate Arena.

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