With his third long-playing album Pop Life, the return of the legendary ‘F*** Me I’m Famous’ parties in Ibiza and massive bookings all over Europe and the US, the superstar DJ is taking things to the next level. A household name in his native France, the multi-million selling producer, recording artist and promoter has found the rest of the world is rapidly catching on.
“I just came back from Coachella,” he says, of LA’s revered rock festival. “It was huge! I saw an article in USA Today that said the highlights of the festival were Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Arctic Monkeys, Rage Against The Machine… and David Guetta. That’s crazy! I was really impressed.”
Yet perhaps the only crazy thing is: what took them so long? David has been DJing since the age of 17, when he first spun tunes at the Broad club in Paris. Throughout the early Nineties, he continued to wow crowds playing an eclectic party set of house, hip-hop and garage at Parisian venues as diverse as Le Centrale, Le Boy and notorious former cabaret spot Folies Pigalle. Many people would be more than content with this. But it remained important to David to take his music to as wide – and diverse – an audience as possible.
“For me, it is all about sharing my passion with people,” he says. “That is why I am a DJ. A lot of producers, they don’t think it’s cool to play for people. But even in the studio I love to play for my friends. When I DJ, I play for the party – because I love to share my music.”
At first, taking his music to the rest of the world proved to be an eye-opener. “I went from a business class ticket to easyJet,” he laughs. “Which is totally fine with me. It was really funny more than anything.” Hitting Ibiza, the English and US holidaymakers were initially not too sure what to make of David and his team handing out flyers full of exotic-sounding French names.
“People would laugh at us,” he remembers. “Especially the British people.” They weren’t laughing for long. As Daft Punk, Cassius and the rest of the French dance scene exploded, David’s Ibizan ‘Fuck Me I’m Famous’ nights became the Number One destination, thanks to an ethos that harked back to the original spirit of clubbing.
“The idea is to have people who don’t normally mix,” says David, of the hugely successful nights he runs with his wife Cathy. “Clubbing had become like ghettos again, when it comes to my own night I try to do something different. At my night the social barriers come down – there are not many places where you can find a superstar next to a billionaire, a model dancing next to a student.”
What started as an ironic name – David wasn’t well-known at all outside France – ‘Fuck Me I’m Famous’ soon proved apt, with everyone from Kate Moss to Penelope Cruz to P Diddy joining the fortnightly pilgrimage, fired up by David’s skills as an irresistible party DJ. “My wife brings the glamorous people,” he admits, “and I bring the crazies.”
By now David had become one of the most in-demand DJs in the world, headlining nights in America, Australia, Japan, South America and beyond. Meanwhile, David’s career as a recording artist was blasting off into the stratosphere. His first two albums Just A Little More Love (2002) and Guetta Blaster (2004) had already reached 2 x gold in Europe, while the Wally Lopez mix of ‘Just A Little More Love’ became David’s first UK hit in 2003, and remains a deathless Ibiza anthem to this day. In 2005 he was nominated for a Grammy for his remix of Deep Dish’s ‘Flashdance’ and earned that rarest of seals of approval – the invitation to remix David Bowie, in the shape of his peerless “‘Heroes’” track. He was named DJ Of The Year at London’s House Music Awards. Then, in 2006, David Guetta vs The Egg’s mash-up ‘Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)’ was a Top 10 smash around the world. In the UK it held the Top 20 for over two months! Meanwhile, three Fuck Me I’m Famous triple gold-selling mix CDs, together with a record label of the same name, plus roadblock nights at the Miami Winter Music Conference, soon ensured FMIF was one of clubland’s most revered brands. The Guetta Sound was truly becoming a global phenomenon. “I am like a tightrope walker,” David admits. “It is difficult, but my goal is that the super-cool DJs of the world play me, but I’m being played on the radio, too. That’s very hard.”
But David is about to show that gift is no fluke. The 14 tracks on new album Pop Life prove we’re dealing with the rarest of talents – someone who can move hearts and minds on the dancefloor and the Top 40. “It’s a balancing trick,” he says. “When you make a track for the club, it is the repetitiveness that makes it work best; so it becomes hypnotic, like a trance. But when you listen at home, you look for music with a lot of changes – because that is what gives it emotion. And I love emotion. So I have to have both.”
Hitting the ground running with two huge tracks, ‘Love Is Gone’ (classic Guetta, featuring Chris ‘Just A Little More Love’ Willis on vocals) and ‘Baby When The Light’ (“The total opposite of what I usually do… a very feminine kind of fragility”), Pop Life features co-writes for the first time – with Cathy ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ Dennis and Karen Poole (Jamelia/Girls Aloud/Lily Allen), to name two – and it’s David best album to date, destined to be the soundtrack to this summer and beyond. It’s also suitably-named, from the one DJ who knows pop isn’t a dirty word; whose club nights are open to one and all.
“Yeah, some DJs say pop is a dirty word, but I’m trying to be different!” he says. “Of course dance music is pop music! I’m always faithful to my community, but this album also has big, quality pop melodies. It’s the best album I’ve produced. I’m really happy and proud of it.”