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Fedde Le Grand: Carefully prepared output

Dutch house DJ/producer Fedde Le Grand broke through with a bang a couple of years ago with his massive anthem Put Your Hands Up For Detroit, but he’s backed this up with some impressive success since then – not the least, being handpicked by mega promotions company ID&T as a resident of sorts for their massive Sensation parties across the world. In late 2009, Fedde is finally ready to drop his debut artist album Output, and as he tells ITM, it’s a lot more than a dozen slammin’ club tracks. Here he tells us all about it ahead of his upcoming tour with Stereosonic.

You’ve changed sound and direction with Output a bit, so that fans of the sound they’re used to hearing from you might be a bit surprised. We’ve seen this happening a good bit this year with the likes of Tiësto and Dizzy Rascal. What’s behind the new sounds?

It’s my first artist album and it was really important for me that it reflected me as a person. There have been a lot of different kinds of music that influenced me over the years and I wanted to incorporate that into Output. For me, I wanted to create a real artist album, not just 12 tracks that sound amazing on the dance floor. I could have done that but this album was so important to me and I had so many different ideas running around in my head that I wanted to develop as part of a full body of work. Hip-hop has always had a huge influence on me, Rob Birch from the Stereo MCs has always been a personal hero of mine and he sings on Wild & Raw which was just amazing for me. So I hope what you hear when you listen to the album is a piece of me, a reflection of what I’m about as a person and as a producer. I’m happy with the end result.

I promise not to dwell on it – so please afford us this one question if you will. It became a number-one summer anthem of Ibiza and is instantly recognisable on dancefloors throughout the world. Did you ever imagine Put Your Hands Up For Detroit would garner you such acclaim? And, at this stage, is the attention it gets becoming tedious, or does it still remain a blessing for you?

Of course it’s still a blessing for me, the royalties are great! Haha I’m joking. But no, Put Your Hands Up was a very important tune in the whole path of my career and I’m incredibly proud of what I achieved with it and the fact that so many people did and still do love it. That’s an amazing feeling. I never expected it to blow up like that and all of a sudden it was everywhere. It was a really big turning point for me particularly when you’re talking about on a international level. But you can’t sit and look at one tune and say, Oh that’s great, I did well, I’ll just leave it at that. I love the fact that it’s part of me, but I have a lot more to give musically and a lot of different ideas too.

You’ve been using the initials ‘FLG’ when presenting your deeper house or underground work. Can you tell us a bit about that?

A lot of DJs do this to be honest. Fedde le Grand is definitely more associated with a more accessible and ‘commercial’ sound if you want. It’s big house tracks, vocals, melodies, that’s what people come to recognise as the ‘Fedde le Grand’ sound. But as FLG I am creating a different, more minimal, techy sound that strips down vocal elements and really brings it back to the beats and what you can create with a groove. So when people see a track by FLG, they’re not going to expect a ‘Fedde le Grand’ sounding track and vice versa. It’s nice to be able to have a bit of diversity as an artist and different avenues you can channel alternative sounds through.

Your remix of Cunnie Williams feat. Monie Love Saturday 2009 featured on Ministry of Sound Australia’s Progression 2 back in April, and you’ve introduced something darker in Output. Is this a conscious effort to head into deeper territory, or are you just enjoying the variety?

It’s like I said before, there are a lot of dimensions to me as an artist, it’s not just a flat thing where I come out with one track and everything else that follows is the same.

You’ve mentioned Australia among other places as one of your favourites to come play in. Why is that so? What makes this place one of your faves?

The weather! Everybody that I meet in Australia is so friendly and so interested in what I’m doing and really up for a party. I think because of the distance thing too, you get artists like myself that only come out once, maybe twice a year, and it’s not because we don’t want to but we live so far away. But maybe because of that, when I do get to visit, I get such an amazing reaction that it always makes me want to come back. And did I mention the weather?

You’ve been here quite a few times now – for Future Music Festival, Stereosonic, Sensation in Melbourne, and now you’re back for Stereosonic in November and December. All massive festivals and events. Are you excited about your trip over this time?

Who knows? You never know what the future holds. I love playing at the big festivals, the feeling you get when you’re playing for thousands of people and they’re all in tune with you, that’s something you actually can’t really explain. But sometimes smaller venues, there’s that intimate vibe, a real close connection with the dance floor, it’s a different experience. I guess if anyone owns a small venue and wants to book me, just speak to my agents!

To coincide with the release of Output you’ve also got a new show to bring to Stereosonic. What have you got in store for us?

It won’t be a totally new show, more evolving from the one we have at the moment, but the main different is that now we will bring our own VJ with us so we can do more with the whole Output effect during the show.

You’ve got some very promising young talent working with you on your label Flamingo Recordings at the moment. Who or what should we be looking out for in the coming months?

Definitely look out for Hardwell. He’s joined the Flamingo family with his own label Blackbird, developing his own style of very stripped down minimal house that’s huge in Holland at the moment. He’s very talented, hard-working and just got the right attitude for someone I want to work with and help develop.

And one last quick one – did your parents really make you take ballroom dance classes when you were a kid?

Haha, I can’t deny it, yes they did! It’s always good to have options.

Fedde Le Grand’s Output is out now through Ministry of Sound and Universal. inthemix is a proud presenting partner of Stereosonic in 2009! Keep your eyes peeled to our Festival Page at inthemix.com.au/stereosonic and check out the national tour dates below…

Sat 28th November – Moore Park, Hordern, RHI & Surrounds, Sydney

Sun 29th November – Claremont Showground, Perth

Sat 5th December – Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne

Sat 5th December – Bonython Park, Adelaide

Sun 6th December – Eagle Farm Racecourse, Brisbane