VIBE Exclusive: R3hab Dishes on Akon, Enrique Iglesias and Ultra

Last week, VIBE caught up with EDM star spinner, R3hab – born Fadil El Ghoul – just before his Ultra Music Festival (Weekend Two) performance. The Dutch house producer, brought up through the ranks by the likes of Afrojack and Chuckie, tells VIBE why he’s all about the fun, fast, emotion and is at heart, a pop music fan.

VIBE: What can we look forward to in your performance at Ultra Music Festival?
R3HAB: Just a lot of new tracks. I’m really excited about weekend two, because that’s where the magic happens. Got some new visuals, nice production. New songs…just going to be really massive. I think a lot of people are looking forward to weekend two.

Define your sound in three words.
Roller-coaster-ride. Fun. Fast. Emotion.

You have a pop music heavy background. Can you talk a little about the pop artists you’ve worked with or produced for?
Enrique [Iglesias], who I met in Miami, was one of the coolest dudes we’ve met. He’s a cool guy, very relaxed. Looks exactly how he looks on TV. Very humble, down to earth. There was just a good vibe with the team, and they were very grateful that we helped him and I was grateful to have the opportunity.

What other pop artists have you worked with?
We worked with Red One – maybe somebody that’s not in the front, but of course Red One wrote for Pitbull, Havanna Brown, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez. So I think Red One’s really big, but what’s cool in the studio with him and all those guys is that they never forget to have fun in the studio. So you come in, it’s very relaxed and everybody’s having a good time. Good music’s made when you’re having fun. I think that’s what I’ve learned.

So you don’t abide by other artists, like deadmau5, who say they have to be miserable to make quality music?
That’s their thing, you know? When Akon was in the studio with us, he lights up the room, and that’s what you need in the studio. You need somebody that gives everybody that extra boost. A ‘studio booster’. If anything, Havanna Brown is such a cool girl. She’s fun.

You do a lot of remixes – you’re the remix king. What are some of your personal favorite remixes.
Calvin Harris – I like ‘We Found Love’ with Rihanna. Actually, Tiësto’s ‘Chasing Summer’ is a lot of fun to work with.

If you could choose a rapper to come and spit on an original R3hab track, who would it be?
I like Drake always.

Craziest fan experience?
At Ultra it would be hard, because security is so good at Ultra. Just crazy party people. I always thought it was funny when girls run up the stage, and then try to stage dive themselves and fall.

Do you help them or laugh?
I actually basically laugh. Security will help them.

You have the number “three” in your name. So does DJ Bl3nd. How does that make you feel?
I think I was first. Bl3nd copied me. He’s doing awesome, right? Killing it with the young girls. It was funny. I went to the festival, and he runs up to me, a little kid, and said ‘What’s up?’ I asked, ‘Who are you?” and he said, ‘I’m Bl3nd.’ I was like ‘you’re Bl3nd?!’

Some DJ-producers drop singles. What about a compilation?
Nah. If I were to do something, it would be an album, but we’ll see. It has to get done. It has to stay fresh.

Who are your favorite DJs to watch live?
Afrojack would be one. He’s very tall, and when he comes out people know it’s him. Plus, he plays his own stuff. Maybe Calvin Harris, because he’s cool. You can go out all night, listen to him for three hours, and still not be bored. That’s what I like about a DJ. And Knife Party’s just awesome.