Words Miranda Wilkinson
A few days ago, OVERDUE had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the phenomenally successful DJ David Guetta, ahead of his appearance today, at MDL Beast Festival. The event, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, is a landmark moment for the Kingdom, uniting a generation of music lovers in a totally new, purpose-built setting.
What comes across immediately when talking to David is his passion, dedication and above all his consummate professionalism. Like most big names, he’s been in the game a long time and it shows, he’s engaged, patient and forthcoming with his answers.
He is an extremely affable character and manages to retain a distinct humility with a boyish charisma which hints at his French roots.
The magic moment for him came very quickly, when he started DJ’ing at a Cabaret/Burlesque club in the Pigalle district of Paris which grew to become one of the most successful nights in the city. After that helped build his reputation, he decided to abandon his studies in economics and law at just 21 to pursue music and DJ’ing and follow his calling.
Very often when you meet people at the top of their game, their story comes across as somewhat serendipitous but David is quick to point out his strong work ethic. “I am a hard worker” he says, “and I am very loyal” these are no doubt qualities that help him remain one of the most in demand DJs and artists to today. The usual ingredients form part of his success he muses, “passion is the key, choices that aren’t easy, working harder than others and of course dedication. Do what you love.” This isn’t new advice but he imparts it in a way that comes across with a fresh and evolving outlook about his life.
As an artist his mission was to popularise the dance music genre, which he has arguably done, and really make it mainstream. “I am an idealist, I think of a world without borders, without sexual divisions, my music is one of tolerance, it’s a representation of people at their best. It’s a blend of black music and white music, funk and disco with new wave.”
Although dance culture came from the US and the UK a large number of French DJs and artists have shaped its music and when asked about the relevance of this he says “Perhaps we added a new dimension, maybe we intellectualised it”.
David characterises himself as a dreamer, a hippie. “I consider myself a truly global citizen as I travel extensively with my work but I have definitely been marked by my French education and upbringing which definitely manifests itself in many elements of my life but especially my style .”
As a working nomad, David has learned to create a home wherever he is and crafted very distinct habits when it comes to creating his home away from home. He always packs two Rimowa suitcases and arranges his room in the same way each time, no matter where he is. “This might seem a bit obsessive”, says the DJ, “but it helps me to feel at home immediately and then I can start to work.”
His style is contemporary with a nod to his French heritage, his favourite brands are Céline and YSL and he wears Off-White Nike trainers. He is equally low maintenance on the grooming front, he takes CBD at night to help him sleep and when he is in Marrakech he always stops by the Souk to purchase cactus oil which he says is very good for the skin. Do we see a new beauty trend emerging?
David Guetta manages to do what the French do best, taking their innate sense of taste and artistic integrity and converting the world. David Guetta we are converts and we are listening…
MDL Beast is a new festival which runs from 19–21st December and combines music, arts and culture in Saudi Arabia. It welcomed 130,000 visitors on its inaugural day. For further information visit www.mdlbeast.com