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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Celebrate New Year’s Eve EDM style with David Guetta

The superstar DJ talks ageing, retirement and taking on Martin Garrix for NYE in Dubai.
David Guetta performs at the New Look Wireless Festival in London’s Finsbury Park in July. Getty Images
David Guetta performs at the New Look Wireless Festival in London’s Finsbury Park in July. Getty Images

David Guetta can’t remember the last time he had a New Year’s Eve off, but it was at least three ­decades ago.

Of course it makes sense that one of the most prolific (15 Billboard solo hits and counting), hardest working (this will mark Guetta’s fourth UAE gig in as many years) and richest (he reportedly banked US$37 million – Dh136m – in the past 12 months alone) DJs on the planet rarely finds himself without a gig when December 31 rolls around.

“I think the last time was when I was 15-years-old, that’s crazy, right?”, begins the 48-year-old cheerily, his French accent surprisingly strong, beamed down a crisp line from London.

“I have some nights off, but NYE is not one of them. I started to DJ in my bedroom when I was 14 and, of course, the first show you have is New Year’s Eve.”

Guetta’s story – early years spent building a reputation gigging clubs on Paris’s thriving electronic music scene – isn’t uncommon. But it’s a markedly slower trajectory than the sudden wave of younger competition flooding the airwaves. Guetta was all of 35 when his first album Just a Little More Love was released – twice the age of Martin Garrix when he released smash hit Animals.

“It’s just different [now],” says Guetta. “Most DJs of my generation were DJs first and then later would become producers.”

“The generation like Martin Garrix, they start by being producers and then because they have success from a great record, they become DJs – it’s a different approach.”

Guetta is, of course, going head-to-head with Garrix in Dubai, performing at Dubai Media City while 19-year-old Garrix spins at Meydan.

“It’s not an issue,” insists the elder. “He’s someone I really love. We were in the studio together when we discovered we were playing on the same night. We were like ‘oh my God, it’s so stupid’, but I’m sure we’ll have dinner together.”

So who’s going to put on the better show?

Guetta laughs. A lot. “I don’t know, what do you think?

“I’m sure people will have a good time whether they go to him or me – it’s New Year’s Eve anyway, people are going to party hard regardless of who’s the DJ.”

This isn’t the reply I was expecting from Guetta, a showboating superstar painted by the media in brightly coloured hues of arrogance and excess. Perhaps the evil mastermind who can take most credit/blame for the EDM explosion – flipping the music world on its head, making him, the producer, star while artists from Rihanna to Snoop Dogg queue up to be featured on his records – is mellowing out. Guetta’s stock has certainly fallen ­ever-so-slightly since the 2009-2011 period where you couldn’t turn on a radio without encountering one of his productions. He peaked at the top of DJ Mag’s influential Top 100 DJs poll in 2011, and has since slid down to sixth (Garrix incidentally sits at third). In two years he’ll be 50. Time to step back and let the kids take over?

“Well listen, I’m full of energy, I love what I’m doing and people are apparently loving what I’m doing, too,” he adds.

“I don’t think age matters. It’s all about ‘are you still excited to get onstage and do you still connect?, and I will keep on doing it if it makes me happy.”

David Guetta performs at Peppermint Experience at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Doors open at 8pm, Dh495 from dubai.platinumlist.net

rgarratt@thenational.ae

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