2020 will go down as a year that none of us will ever forget. That much is certain. But in the case of Afrojack (real name Nik van de Wall), it’s definitely a year he’ll remember for all kinds of reasons.
Nick has battled the severe restrictions we’ve all faced and watched as the industry he’s dedicated his life to crumbles with cancellation after cancellation after cancellation. But, in keeping with his fizzy, vibe-some signature and his enduring positivity, he’s found ways to keep himself inspired, creative and sane… And it’s clear his fans have appreciated that, too.
One of the most consistent DJs to appear in the upper ranks of the Top 100, since 2011 Nick has been in the Top 10 almost every year (bar 2014 when he hit the still-impressive 12th position). This year is no exception as his loyal following has voted for him to remain in the top percentile once again — up a healthy two places. This could be down to many reasons but we suspect it’s his consistency. Pre-COVID or more recently, Afrojack has constantly honed a wide-armed eclectic style that transcends the usual, often formulaic EDM theatrics for sounds with much more groove and longevity. This has always been the case with the 33-year-old Dutchman, but it’s especially evident in his output throughout the year.
One of his busiest years to date, 2020 has been iced with Afrojack’s sugary goodness time after time after time. Kicking off in December with ‘Sad’ (a collaboration with young Spinnin’ sensation Chico Rose), there’s been a release nearly every month from the man; first came the hugely successful, feel-good, sing-alone ‘All Night’ with ex-Fifth Harmony member Ally Brooke, then came the high-voltage collaboration ‘1234’ with Fedde Le Grand. A high-grade riffy stampede, even during rave’s peak shutdown it had fans clamouring for brighter days… It was closely followed by two more major hits over the summer; the emotional heartstring-tugger ‘Cloud 9’ (with Def Jam artist Jeremih) and the riotous ‘Hot’ with SAYMYNAME. One of the Afrojack’s heaviest tracks in years, its wild riff, big bassline and swaggering breaks reminded everyone how versatile and broad Afrojack’s sound truly is. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Complete with appearances on the HyperX celebrity gaming series, hints that he is going to dust off his old techno alias Kapuchon (which is Dutch for hoodie — a garm Afrojack is seldom seen without), various live streams (including one of our own Virtual Festival events), his longstanding Jacked Radio series and massive singles ‘Speechless’, ‘Hey Baby’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ all wrapping up the summer, the message from Afrojack has been clear: stay busy, stay vibey, stay strong. And stay in love, too… Beyond the music, easily the biggest reason why Afrojack won’t forget this strange old year in a hurry is that he got married to singer, reality TV star and self-styled Twerking Queen Elettra Lamborghini. Congratulations Afrojack!
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
“My wife, Playstation – mostly Call Of Duty and FF7 remake – FL Studio.”
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
“The government/politicians do not care about the entertainment industry, nor take it seriously. We’ve always been strong by ourselves as a culture — music, DJs, promoters, venues all do this for passion. We will survive.”
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
“Since the start of my career my influences, collaborators and friends are from all walks of life, from Carl Cox to Nervo, Honey Dijon to Solomun. Music is music, no matter what skin colour, gender and even genre.”
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
“Daft Punk ‘Around The World’.”