R3hab rises to fame
R3hab will perform at Academy on January 25.
It's a little after 11pm when Fly phones the Netherlands to speak with R3hab. For a DJ-producer who spent 2012 travelling the world to play decadent extravaganzas like Electric Daisy Carnival and Tomorrowland, the working day has - in theory - only just begun.
''I'm actually about to go to bed,'' he yawns, and those Facebook photos screaming with strobelit gigs and sweaty fans wearing I NEED R3HAB sunglasses suddenly get a little bit quieter.
Having just rocked up to work, however, Fly is lamenting being so far from bed and is feeling pretty jealous of R3hab. Not just because he's only one interview away from sleep, of course - more for the fact that he (generally) leads the all-night lifestyle, playing clubs from New York to Mumbai.
The year 2012 was massive for the Dutchman, whose heavier brand of big-room house won him a breakthrough artist award at the Miami Winter Music Conference, and has earned him remix duties for Calvin Harris and David Guetta.
''You always hope for it but you don't really expect it … It's really cool that that happened so quickly,'' R3hab says. ''I just started making music in my bedroom, then all of a sudden things changed, and you travel around the world, I think that's very different to [what] I ever expected.''
R3hab's rise to fame, in many ways, matches the current trajectory of EDM, which has spilled out of clubs and on to mainstream media channels with ecstatic brashness. He is quick to point out, however, that it's not a new phenomenon for his home country.
''In Holland, dance music always has been really big,'' he says, name-checking demi-gods such as Tiesto and Ferry Corsten alongside newer artists such as Laidback Luke and Afrojack. ''In Holland, it's very normal - like, the number one radio station, they also play electronic music, while in the States, that was sort of impossible, like, two years ago.''
Another big change in the land of electronic music in recent times has been the gradual phasing out of the ''pure'' DJ - in a world of push-button beatmatching, artists have had to step-up their creativity.
''With a DJ right now, it's also about playing your own music, it's not only about DJing - it's a combination,'' R3hab says. ''So that's why I tried to start making music really quick.''
The music is made ''really quick'' in terms of output, too - with the combination of a laptop and production software such as Ableton Live, R3hab is able to make music on the fly (literally) while travelling between shows.
''Software works so easy and you're on the road so much, so you want to make it really easy for yourself,'' he says.
''These programs have become so good. Back in the day, it was impossible, where right now with the software, things are amazing … that's what's so cool about EDM music - you make something, and then you can play it directly [to an audience], I think that's one of the most amazing things.''
Taking newly-minted tracks for a test run in clubs is a pretty vivid proving ground and a special prerogative of electronic musicians.
''People also react to it - they like it or they don't like it, it's really different than other genres.''
Of course, the kind of sound that's going to get the best reaction at clubs and festivals is the epic, trance-infused house music that has become the electronic taste du jour.
''For example, Axwell, Swedish House Mafia - those, like, massive big tunes, they do so well because they climb and climb, an uplifting feeling the whole track, and that's what makes the track so good and so nice,'' R3hab says.
''Melody is king. Good melodies will always stay, as long as they are uplifting.''
Alliance @ Academy Presents R3hab
WHEN: February 1, 9pm
TICKETS: At the door