An internationally renowned DJ and producer, Fedde Le Grand came from humble roots in the heart of The Netherlands. His deep love of music began at an early age, and morphed from his foundation in hip-hop to his current chart-topping dance music over time. Grand’s latest track with D.O.D. “Love’s Gonna Get You“, embedded below, is a banger that brings it back a few decades with a funky, circa-90’s feel.
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Sean Ritchie: Let’s start this off touching on your home country of The Netherlands. What was it like growing up in Utrecht, which is about 20-minutes outside of Amsterdam?
Fedde Le Grand: I actually grew up in a village, which is actually a suburb of Utrecht. The cities and the few villages around are kind of merged together. I was actually quite protected in a small community, which as a kid was nice actually. It was safe and you knew everyone.
As I got older, I just wanted to see some more of the world, or at least some more of Holland. So, I started to go out in Utrecht. Then from Utrecht it was Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, I met so many different people in all layers of the community – rich to poor, junkies to artists. It’s a very interesting city. It was kind of this nice progressive way to grow up.
SR: Definitely, it’s actually similar to how I grew up here in New Jersey with its relation to New York City. You know, you’ve been there, it’s a wild place. So, what would you suggest a first-time visitor to do when they come to Holland?
FLG: Yes, it is! I would definitely check out Amsterdam for sure. There’s so many places and things to do. But, since our country is so small, you can cross the whole country in three hours, I would recommend to go outside of Amsterdam, as well. Take Amsterdam for two days and then just see the country itself a little bit.
I would definitely recommend going down south. There’s a place called Masstricht, which is [almost] the most southern point of Holland. It will take you about two hours from Amsterdam, so it’s not that long. It’s just a different scenery down there. The weird thing about our country is that every 30 minutes you drive you’ll hear a different accent. I think for such a small place it’s pretty versatile.
SR: Definitely! Now, to bring it back a bit, what was your first, real introduction into music? How did you get exposed to it?
FLG: For as long as I can remember I’ve always been into music. My parents didn’t have many rules, but there of the rules were you had to follow dance lessons, play at least one musical instrument and we had to do sports. Those were pretty much the only three rules, outside the common rules [for every parent]. I played keyboards for a while, and I think that’s where my music interest peaked.
Then, later on, I got into hip-hop mostly. I actually was in this dance group back in school, but when hip-hop changed I kind of got fed up with it. That was also around the time when I started going out, and some friends introduced me to house [music]. It just grabbed me from the first party I ever attended and I just never left. There is just no other energy like there is with dance music. I think that’s the great thing about it.
SR: That’s cool to hear! Having listened to your music for such a long time, and now knowing that you had a history in hip-hop before you brought it into dance music, it makes sense, because you can hear it in your music.
FLG: Yeah! I mean hip-hop is very funk based, especially the old work, and actually it’s come around to the new work now. It’s kind of back to the funky roots, which is great.
SR: Absolutely! To fast forward a bit, your new track with D.O.D. “Love’s Gonna Get You” just came out a little while ago on Spinnin’ Records. What was your thought process behind it? How has it been received so far?
FLG: Actually, the fun thing now is that a lot of guys are going back to get inspiration from the early house days. The melody with this feels kind of 90’s or maybe late 80’s, and I think that’s along the vibe that’s going on right now in general. It has that old-school feel to it, but in a modern jacket. Besides that, D.O.D. is a very, very talented producer also. It came together quite quickly. Spinnin’ was very happy to sign it. This was actually my first release on the label. It’s been received very well. I think it’s one of the best club tracks in a while.
SR: I had a chance to listen to it before we got on the phone, I’m a fan for sure. It’s a nice track. It’s actually funny you said that too, because last week we were talking to Laidback Luke and his new song “With Me” had the same idea in bringing it back to a 90’s dance-floor track.
FLG: Yeah, it’s cool it’s kind of relevant again! Of course the 2.0 version, but it works.
SR: For sure! On a broader level, when you do have some down time and are looking for a vacation yourself, are you a beach guy, in the city somewhere or up in the mountains? Where are you headed?
FLG: I only take vacations once every three years. That’s like a good, proper vacation. I do a few days here and there in between though. But, if I do a full-blown vacation, I prefer Asia actually. I usually do a bit of both and start out in a city that I like, for example I love Tokyo, but do that for five-seven days and then I choose a nice resort somewhere and do another two weeks there.
FLG: Yeah, I mean you do want to see something. But, because I don’t take vacations that much and I’m already traveling all the time, it’s nice to be in a city and then be by a pool sipping cocktails doing nothing else.
I have to say over the years I’ve done Mexico, Australia and of course a lot of Europe when I was younger – Asia, Indonesia and Thailand, as well. All told, I think I prefer Thailand the best. The level accommodation that you get there is just second-to-none. The foods nice too. So, if I were going for a resort I would definitely go to Thailand. I would go somewhere else though to see a big city.
SR: My friend kind of detracted from life a little bit for two months and went to Thailand. He said the locals there are just absolutely the friendliest ever.
FLG: Yes, they’re super nice! I think it’s also because it’s a Buddhist country, which is why in Indonesia I prefer Bali. It’s just good karma if you’re nice to people. It’s kind of embedded in the culture in those places. I do like the food a little better in Thailand though.
SR: Music really does have that healing effect. I always love to ask well-traveled people what are a few destinations that they haven’t been to, but still want to hit. What are a few places on your list?
FLG: There’s actually a lot of islands that I haven’t done. I’ve never been to Hawaii. I also haven’t been too much to Africa. I think that’s a very interesting place to travel. I’ve done South Africa of course and Morocco, but everything in between I’ve never been there. I think it would be very interesting to travel there. I definitely want to check out that part of the world, because it’s one of the few places I haven’t been to. Then, a few islands here and there.
SR: Both of those are on my list too. One of our objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling. I feel like that has a huge correlation with music, you’re constantly traveling the world bringing a bunch of people together in one location. People from all different cultures, backgrounds and languages, but music is really that combining bond. Talk to how special that is to be able to travel the world uniting people under one roof.
FLG: I think that’s the great thing about dance music, because you don’t necessarily have to speak a certain language to understand it. You can still enjoy it. I think that’s why this music is so good at uniting people. It doesn’t matter where you are from. I think the biggest complement you can get from someone that you haven’t met is when they come up to you and tell you about their hard times, and your music was part of them pulling through. That, to me, is always the biggest compliment in the world.
SR: Music really does have that healing effect. Lastly, to wrap this up, what does the next couple of months look like for you? I know it’s festival season, so I’m sure you’re busy.
FLG: Yeah, I always take a few days off just before summer, so I can prepare and make sure all my tracks are done. I won’t really have any time for another three months or so. It all starts [tomorrow] and then it’s pretty much non-stop for three months.