You're about to read an article written by one of the biggest and longest running Afrojack fans known to man—and regardless of your opinion at the end of this article, know that I am still a fan. Perhaps this is a common call to decency. Perhaps it's out of line. Perhaps it's exactly what Nick has been waiting to hear, or perhaps it'll just be rambling for a few paragraphs. I’ll let you guys decide. My main point is that the 'Afrojack music' that I fell in love with in 2007- early 2009… well, it's just not the same. And while I'm not sure if this decline in quality music is tied to his sudden rise to success, his flings with Hollywood dumbass "DJ's", or the fact that he gently sucked at the teet of David Guetta's long-gone mainstream career for some time. Whatever it is, I want to get to the bottom of it, but first let's start with some brief history on how I became a fan in the first place.
2007 marked my true introduction to the dance music world. Sure I had heard Kaskade songs in high school, and put Benny Benassi's 'Satisfaction' on repeat at house parties, and hell -- I even knew a Bob Sinclair song or two, but my first year in college ushered in an entirely new chapter in my musical journey. I was first exposed to the likes of Thomas Gold, Dabruck & Klein, Spencer & Hill, Steve Angello, Laidback Luke and many others through roommates, mutual friends and at every bar at school. From the frat parties, to the dimly lit house keggers, my college campus was littered with the entrance of this seemingly new genre.
As I grew an attachment to the sounds, naturally the next step was to attend a live performance with my buddies so we could finally witness the scene for ourselves. Attending Pacha for random gigs helped spark my interest, but it wasn't until seeing Laidback Luke that I truly achieved an appreciation for a new authentic sound that was totally different from the strictly progressive and electro tunes I'd been exposed to. Throughout the show, Luke played a few songs that absolutely blew my mind. He later referenced these as the production from a new artist: "Afrojack."
Starting with a somewhat underground career in 2007, Nick van De wall set the pace for an entirely new sound with his Dutch "Afrojack music". Never had America heard the bouncy sounds, cut up samples, and organic energy that were clearly displayed in his early releases like "Esther," "Claudia," and the Lil' Wayne sampled "Zeggie." And when I first heard his remix of Spencer & Hill's "Cool," I was enamored and focused on how such an authentic sound could come from someone so close my very own age. Blending the genres of Dutch house, electro, and a third, (at the time) indescribable element, Afrojack restored my faith in the upward progression of quality dance music.
Now I had my task set: to scour the Internet for every possible track I could find from the mysterious Dutchman. With my homework set, I was immediately put onto his string of releases on Spinnin' records and subsequently, his own label label imprint, Wall Recordings. Captivated by what I was hearing, I quickly spread the words to my fellow classmates, dance music fans, and bloggers. Never had we heard something so original, so vivacious, so-fun filled that it made you want to ditch whatever you're doing at the moment and purely rage.
Still fairly new to the house circuit, Afrojack hadn't made a trip to the U.S. yet. I patiently waited, and when he finally announced a date in NYC at Santos Party House, there was no chance I was missing this show. A crew of about 12 people attended with me.
Now this might be difficult to wrap your head around, but I need you to visualize this: an Afrojack show, with no neon clad attendees, glow sticks, or Kandi f*ckin bracelets. These were true fans. As the place slowly packed, discussion of his set list began to rise. "I hope he plays Cool," "I can't believe he's FINALLY in the U.S.," and “He better throw on his Hide and Seek’ remix". When the hushes turned to resilient chants for the 6-foot-9 Dutchman, the night began with an energy level through the roof. But for some reason—I wasn't THAT impressed. Was I spoiled from the illustrious sets I had downloaded from Amsterdam, London, and the rest of Europe? Or was I straight up being a "hater" or “EDM Snob” because he didn't play a couple of my tracks? Who knows? Regardless, I left the show with an appreciation for seeing my favorite DJ live, but I also with a bad taste as I sensed his slow but sure transition into mainstream dance music.