Iconic DJ and producer, David Guetta, shows us around his recording studio in Ibiza. He talks to us about the different generations of artists that continue to inspire him, and his quest for the sound of the future: how staying fresh, and keeping one step ahead in terms of composition and production is paramount.
With music production constantly evolving, Guetta always has one eye on the future. He talks us through his new Genelec setup, and how it helps him translate studio vibes to the big stage.
The Studio Tour
The right recording environment is everything, and Guetta's Ibiza studio is perfectly tuned to cater for all applications, from pop records to powerhouse tracks fusing underground and EDM.
Sound of the Underground
“I started listening to funk, which inspired me, then disco, hip hop, and eventually house,” David Guetta tells Headliner, adding that James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Prince were big influences in his early career. “Then later, artists such as David Morales, Erick Morillo, and Masters at Work - all those people who gave me motivation to be a producer and make house music. Then later, other young producers. Usually I listen to really old songs and that inspires me to create a song itself.”
Production wise, Guetta is focusing on some of the underground sounds that are not really big yet, to find something fresh himself:
“My thing was always to combine a super fresh production: the sound of tomorrow with some songs that are timeless,” he confirms. “So, you know, combining something that is the sound of the future but making it in a way that it can touch more people as you are making a real chord progression that is emotional and can touch people's hearts – that has been my recipe.”
According to Guetta, a good quality as a producer is to know what you're good at and be able to surround yourself with people that can complete you.
“I am not a good songwriter, I am not a lyrics person, but if I hear 10 different melodies, I can tell you that 'this is the one', and I think that is a skill,” he says. “Of course I can play a bit, but I am really a DJ..!”
Guetta has been a fan of Genelec speakers since discovering them through a friend back in 2008:
“I went to my friend's studio to work with him and loved the sound [of his Genelecs], and he explained to me that at the time, Genelec had this tuning system where you'd use a microphone that would allow you to adapt the speakers to your room,” he explains. “I had no idea this was possible, but it sounded so professional, and was still affordable; and now finally I've got these big Genelec speakers in my current studio a few years later.
“When producing, I am not playing too loud, and although they are huge, they are also so accurate at low volumes, which is really important – and my new Genelec subs are so much better than my last ones, as again they are so accurate at low levels. I can make a beat here, play it in a club that same same night, and it will translate perfectly. This Genelec system is also powerful enough to create a club feel in the studio! This is my reference, and in my opinion, it's the perfect setup.”
Guetta recently began working on a new sound that he says he is very proud of:
“It's hard for producers to find something new, because so much has already been done,” he admits. “But now there is a bit of a gap for DJ, as underground is so hot right now, but the energy is not enough for big festivals. The problem is, the alternative for that is to play EDM - which is now a dated sound. So it's been a problem finding a sound that has the energy of EDM with a cool factor of the underground, but I feel we have nailed it - so that is my focus for the next month or so, and then I have to go back to making a big pop record for radio, too. That is where I am at, musically.”