If you have been to a progressive house show in the pas year, odds are you have heard Don Diablo + Matt Nash’s incredible track, Starlight or a variation of it. The track was officially released this past week on Ultra Records. We wanted to take you a bit behind the scenes of the track, so we decided to talk with Don Diablo and find out a little bit more about the track itself and his plans for 2014. Check it out.
1. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Tell us a little bit about Don Diablo and how you started.
You are welcome! I am Don Pepijn Schipper a.k.a. Don Diablo, born in a small village in Holland and currently residing between Amsterdam and London. I started making music videos and short films, and I made my first song when I couldn’t find the right music for one of my film scenes. A friend sent the track to a record label…and now here I am talking to you guys!
2. Who are some of your biggest influences?
My first idol was Freddie Mercury and later on I got hooked on synthesizer music by pioneers like Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis. Not long after my love for electronic music grew stronger thanks to acts like the Prodigy, Junkie XL, Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Groove Armada. I loved the concept of being able to make full songs without even having a band.
3. Tell us about the story of “Starlight” – how it came to be, the inspirations behind it, how it has helped you gain recognition, what it means to you, and anything else that you’d like to add.
I had already worked with the singer on Starlight, Noonie Bao, before on a track called “M1 Stinger”. That collaboration was such a great experience that we decided to do another track. Starlight started of with a very simple nursery rhyme that we ended up vocoding to make it a little more edgy. When the combination of the vocal and the big bassline that comes in straight after it was done, it felt like something special finally came together as I had already tried several things with the vocal before that just didn’t feel right. When we finished it, I was so happy with the result and was even happier when Axwell ended up signing it to his Axtone label. Then not long after, the Swedish House Mafia premiered the track during one of their last concerts and it became one of the most sought after tracks. Nobody knew who had made the record for a while. Eventually, when it was revealed who was behind the record, it definitely made a big impact on my career. The record kept growing and seeing all of the big names playing it in their festival sets was definitely a gamechanger. The fact that Billboard listed it in their “top 50 gamechanging EDM records of the year” list was definitely the icing on the cake.
4. What was your reaction to the incredible reception of it?
I felt humbled and it gave me an incredible drive to start working even harder in the studio on new ideas and songs to seize all the opportunities that were handed to me after the success of Starlight. This resulted in records on labels like Protocol, Size X and Spinnin’ plus a titlesong for the new Batman game “Arkham Origins,” another dream come true. Not longer after I saw a drastic change in my DJ schedule and now I am finally able to connect with more people in many different places so it definitely gave me so much more than I expected. But I believe that as a producer you should not depend on the success of just one record so it felt great to get so much airplay and support on the records that followed after.
5. If you could collaborate with anyone who would you choose?
Peter Gabriel, Rick Rubin, Kanye West, Ellie Goulding, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Alex Metric, Damon Albarn, Q-Tip, Bon Iver and Missy Elliot are definitely on my list.
6. What do you see in 2014 for Don Diablo?
Besides doing more clubtunes and traveling around the world to play clubs and festivals I am working on the release of my international debut album, paired with a short film and possibly a book. Besides that I am working on developing my visual live show “The Hexagon” which I hope to tour with in 2015 and beyond.