The big Fourth of July party weekend is almost upon us, and there’s no better way to get an early start on the festivities than with an epic set by Afrojack, a giant in the EDM world literally and figuratively (he stands 6’9”). The Grammy-winning Dutch superstar DJ/producer — who was featured on Pitbull’s No. 1 hit Give Me Everything and Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls) — steps behind the decks Thursday night at Mansion, and he’s excited to be back in Miami for the first time since headlining the Ultra Music Festival in March.
Afrojack — real name Nick van de Wall — talked to Miami.com about new music he plans to debut, the state of dance music in America and what he considers his perfect day (it’s pretty mellow).
What can we expect from your set?
Because I just released my debut album Forget the World, I’ll definitely be playing tracks from that. It’s been amazing getting the response and support from fans. I’ve also been trying to experiment more with my sets and have been playing a little bit more hip-hop, too.
Are you performing anywhere else during the Fourth?
I’ll be traveling across the country all weekend. After Miami, I head to Vegas to play at Wet Republic, and then I’ll be in Texas, followed by Chicago. It’s gonna be nuts, but I’m ready to party all over America.
How much focus will you be able to give to breaking out some new music?
I’m always working. When I am not playing at clubs and festivals, I’m on my computer mixing new tracks. Even on the plane I’m working on new music. I’ve got quite a few new releases coming up that I’m excited for everyone to hear. I like giving fans a lot of new content and music. That’s why I do what I do.
What’s the musical mission of your label Wall, and what are you looking for in label mates?
Passion. As long as people have passion for what they do and they’re willing to really go after their dreams, I support that. Of course, it’s important that they are talented as well, but passion really goes along with it.
You’ve been ranked in the Top 10 by DJ Mag for the past three years. How important is that to you?
I really appreciate the support, but getting a ranking by a magazine or publication isn’t why I do what I do. I genuinely love my fans and want to give them my best music possible. I’m always striving to do better for myself. As long as the fans keep liking and supporting my work, I’m going to keep doing it.
You’ve collaborated on a few hit singles, even hitting No. 1 with “Give Me Everything.” Has electronic music finally cracked the mainstream in America?
I think it’s been a work in progress, but I think most people would agree that dance music is blowing up in the U.S. right now. There have been so many great collaborations with A-list mainstream artists and electronic music, that I’d definitely say it’s mainstream. On Forget the World I did tracks with legendary artists like Sting, Jared Leto, Snoop Dogg; They’re so different, but all are mainstream.
Any new collabs on the way?
Lots. I’ve got my new track with Snoop Dogg called Dynamite, which is on my new album, and Sting and I did an amazing song called Catch Tomorrow, which we actually just performed live together on Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series. That was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Describe the perfect day in the life of Afrojack.
The perfect day for me is not as exciting as people might think. I’m always traveling, sometimes performing in two or three different cities in one day, so a perfect day would be relaxing with my friends and family. I love watching TV — my favorite is The Simpsons — so watching that and maybe playing Call of Duty would be awesome.
You’re in Miami fairly often — what do you think of the city?
I love Miami; it’s been like my third home for a few years now, just after Vegas. The vibe is always so cool, and people just want to party. You get the beach, great food and really dope clubs; it’s always a great time.