"With great success comes great sacrifice" - Don Diablo

As a pioneer of the Future House movement, Don Diablo quickly took over the dance music circuit with hits like “On My Mind“, “What We Started“, and “Cutting Shapes“. Over the years, the Dutch DJ has collaborated with Jessie J, Gucci Mane, Diplo, and Tiësto among others, on songs that are known for their futuristic and out of the world production.

Don Diablo continues to make a name for himself in the industry and is all set to release his next studio album FOREVER and the accompanying world tour this fall. Read on to know more about what inspired him to create Future House, how he built the HEXAGON empire, and why he almost gave up music!

First of all, congratulations on HEXAGON’s 100th release with “The Rhythm”! How does it feel that your record label has come this far? 

Thanks! It feels amazing! But it’s not just about the number of releases, it’s mostly about the impact we have managed to establish on the dance scene and the amount of new talent we were able to give a chance to get heard for the first time.

When you launched HEXAGON, what was your original goal and vision? 

When I created my version of Future House a few years ago I noticed a large number of producers started to move in the same direction so it felt only logical to set up a platform and to bring the sound together on one platform. My vision was to create on manifest a new sub-genre and to help upcoming producers at the same time.

You have an exciting couple of months ahead of you – your third studio album FOREVER comes out this fall. What can your fans expect from this new album?

Sonically, I will always try to find more interesting ways to keep pushing things forward on a production level but at the same time I will put even more of my personal story into this album, so it feels like this will be the most personal album to date. 

A peculiarity about your music is the presence of vocals and emotions; how important are these for any Don Diablo track? 

They are essential. For me, music is emotion and I enjoy making an occasional banger, because those are the records that get played most by other DJ’s, but in the end, I want to hit people in the heart. I feel it’s important to inspire people, to give them a soundtrack to the story of their own lives filed by my own experiences. 

The theme of unity and coming together runs strongly through all of your songs. What is it about that sentiment that drives you?

Growing up I was always an outcast and making music really gave me a sense of purpose but even before I made music myself it helped me through some of the darker times on a personal level. It’s great to see a massive crowd jump to your records but it feels even better to have a positive influence on people’s lives outside of the dancefloor. Throughout the years we have created a big family where everyone supports each other and there is a unique global connection that goes beyond any language or nationality and I am very proud of that. 

When you try out something new, do you ever get bothered by the fact that some of your fans won’t like the change in sound and would want to hear something similar to your old stuff? How do you deal with this dilemma? How do you manage to keep “your” sound alive?

It’s always hard to please everyone. As a producer you have to keep pushing things forward otherwise you are just repeating the same tricks. I tried to find a balance by switching up my sound step by step and by mostly keeping a lot of the trademark elements in there like my melodic approach, the piano sounds, and the futuristic elements. So, no matter what genre or style I produce in you should always be able to recognize a Don Diablo song.

You’re one of the very few producers who made ‘Future House’ a global genre. From where did the whole concept or the idea behind this sound come through?

It was quite simple actually. It really felt like something was missing at the time. On one side you had the super abrasive EDM MainStage sound that was popular and on the other side, you had the deeper more club orientated sounds. At the time I was playing both clubs and festivals so I was looking for a sound that would have enough energy to play out on a festival stage but would also feel intimate enough to play out in clubs. That idea resulted in a trilogy of three records based around the concept of time: “AnyTime,” “Back in Time,” and “Knight Time.” Looking back on it these three records were the start of that specific sound within the genre.

Even though you’re the face of the Future House movement now, not many people know that your journey to the top was hindered by multiple setbacks including record labels duping you and facing countless rejections. What kept you going despite all these hardships?

Good question! I actually left music several times over the years, because of this, but I also always came back to it. It simply felt like it was my calling. My biggest challenge was to not let all of the outside negativity, financial setbacks, and business politics hold me back from making the music I wanted to make. It wasn’t easy but the struggle made me into the artist and person I am today, so I guess it was all supposed to play out like this in the end. 

Since you’re on top of the game right now and in a different country almost every other day; how do you cope up with the jetlag and gruesome touring schedules?

I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs and I try to eat as healthy as possible. Obviously, all the travel, sleep deprivation and stress does take a toll on you but I see that as a part of my journey and one of the reasons why I am successful in what I do. With great success comes great sacrifice so I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. 

One thing that intrigues us is your live performance attire and your futuristic fashion sense. What was the inspiration behind the HEXAGON clothing line and how does it tie back to Don Diablo, the musician?

My clothing line ties back to me in the sense that just like my music all the ideas stem from my brain. I basically only produce clothing items that I like wearing myself and most of the items have a futuristic element to it. I also implemented a lot of details which makes my clothing travel-friendly like for instance double zippers, inside pockets on both sides, double-sided jackets and where possible the use of material that doesn’t wrinkle too much. I put a lot of love into my clothing line just like my music. 

Even though we’ve got so much more to discuss with you, unfortunately, we’ll have to bring this conversation to an end. Wrapping it up with a special message for your listeners on JioSaavn and when can we see you perform in India? 

India has my heart. Always. No matter what you guys always bring the energy, show me so much love and most of all you are openminded and truly trust and respect my vision as an artist, which means the world to me. I have done several performances in India this year and we are already planning new dates, I can not wait to come back! मैं तुमसे प्यार करता हूँ India! 

Listen to Don Diablo‘s biggest hits only on JioSaavn and don’t forget to vote for him as 2019’s #1 DJ on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs