With ZoukOut 2017 looming around the corner, we had the pleasure of chatting up one of Singapore's favourite DJs, R3hab. We asked him about his debut album, Calvin Harris, Singapore and more.
Check out the full interview below.
Let’s start off with your album, Trouble. You’ve been in the game for some time now, why was an album not released earlier?
I thought about it many times but I really wanted to wait for the right time and the right music to release my debut album. It had to click. And with Trouble, it clicked right away."
What inspired the album and the songs in it?
This might sound cheesy, but the album is inspired by life and love. It’s the mixed emotions that are all such a big part of living life and really experiencing it, feeling it. The bad times, and the good. Translate that into songs and you get Trouble."
How do you decide which songs make the cut for the album and which get released as standalone singles?
I released almost all songs as singles on this album, except for ’Talking To You’, ‘Shanghai’ and the interludes. I felt it would be great to release them one by one but also to leave a little surprise for the album release, by having songs on it that wasn’t released yet. I kind of wanted every song to have its own moment as they are all unique to me."
You’ve frequently collaborated with NERVO and it seems like you guys have a great relationship. Are there any plans for more collaborations with the girls? Perhaps a collaborative EP?
I have a lot of plans and ideas for the future, I’ll reveal them when the time is right! Haha.
You’ve played in Singapore many times. What do you like about Singapore?
I love the melting pot of cultures in Singapore and the amazing vibe that brings. It feels so clean and safe and tolerant. Everything is possible and the people are one of the friendliest in the world.
What’s your favourite food to eat in Singapore?
Because of that amazing mix of cultures I feel like everything tastes amazing in Singapore. I literally never had a bad meal here!
You’ve worked with Calvin Harris on the track, 'Burnin’'. What was that like? Did you guys actually get together to work on it or did you just send the tracks back and forth?
Because I was touring a lot at that time, it was a lot of sending the track back and forth but we did also get to spent some time in the studio.
You’ve experimented with a lot of different styles over the years and you’ve noticeably moved away from the harder styles. Why the change in styles?
It’s kind of like my personality, I love to explore and re-invent. I’m always looking for new exciting things and trying to improve myself and the music I make. You learn and grow as an artist and I think you should always go with the flow. So in my case, that meant trying out other genres as well."
'Samurai (Go Hard)' is still among one of your biggest hits. Do you still get that same rush when you play it during your sets now as you did when you first released it?
Absolutely! It’s one of my all time favorites."
What was it like working with KSHMR?
It’s great. I respect KSHMR very much as a producer and as a person. His talent is amazing and it’s always a lot of fun working with someone that really has a passion for music."
You learn and grow as an artist and I think you should always go with the flow. So in my case, that meant trying out other genres as well."
— R3hab on his artistic process.
What does "EDM" mean to you?
EDM for me is like having a party every day of the year. The energy of the music, the festivals, the clubs, it’s all one big celebration."
What was your favourite line-up that you’ve spun with?
So many great line-ups but I am really feeling the ZoukOut line up 2017!"
What advice do you have for any aspiring DJs?
Try to find your own sound, something really close to your heart, follow it and go for it. Don’t hesitate or listen to others opinions too much. Because, in the end, it’s your life and you gotta do what feel you want to do."
What’s it like touring across the world? Does it get boring after all these years?
It never gets boring, although sleeping on flights is something I could miss (laughs). Apart from that, getting to see the whole world every year and doing what I love is a blessing. And I am super grateful for it."
DBS Live Fresh Card members & all other DBS/POSB Card members are entitled to purchase discounted single day tickets, which include prices at S$124.20 for Day 1 and S$133.20 for Day 2. Get your tickets here.
This year's edition of ZoukOut, Singapore's only dusk-to-dawn dance festival, is scheduled to take place on December 8th and 9th at Siloso Beach in Sentosa.
Special thanks to Zouk for setting up the interview.