Clyde Narain grew up listening to reggae, soul and calypso in Suriname, a South American republic sandwiched between French Guiana and Guyana. But when he moved to Holland, he met MTV and fell in love with pop music—Depeche Mode, A-Ha, The Bangles, Culture Club and The Police—and further expanded his musical horizons with hip-hop. Today, he is better known as DJ Chuckie, the father of Dirty Dutch. The filthy talented DJ braved Ibiza’s spotty cell reception and staggering international long-distance charges to talk with Vegas Seven about the past, present and future of house music from Holland.
From Tiësto and Laidback Luke to Sander van Doorn and Ferry Corsten, Dutch DJs are dominating the electronic music scene. What’s the secret to your collective success? Is there something in the water over there?
In general, Dutch producers have been working hard, and finally the sound is being heard in the right way, so there’s a market there for all of us.
What other country is producing top-notch DJ talent?
I think about Sweden. The Swedes have been killing it, too.
Is Dirty Dutch an event or an entire sound?
Dirty Dutch started as a party, as a concept—the way I saw the music as representative of Dutch clubs—but eventually … people started associating a certain sort of music with it. … So some people see it as a genre.
Why has house music been huge in Europe for a while but only recently caught on in America?
In America, the big music genres you have are hip-hop and rock music. … It took guys like David Guetta to produce big records for big artists so the mainstream could see it.
You’ve playing European festivals all summer. What’s the difference between those crowds and Las Vegas nightclub audiences?
When I do the big festivals in Europe, I focus on playing the big-room kind of stuff, less vocal stuff, and try to play more big-room house music. Whenever I play in the nightclubs in Vegas, it’s more about vocal effects and music. … I try to find the right balance between entertainment—records people know—and education—some new stuff that I might pick, or some new records that I know will hit the clubs really good.
“Let the Bass Kick” was a huge hit for you. Do you think the follow-up will be as successful?
Oh, for sure, for sure. At the moment I’m working on my new album, and it’s going to be with a lot of different features … a lot of effects and big surprises on there. And I’m sure there’s going to be [a single] that’s just as big, if not bigger.
You’ve remixed everyone from Lil John to LMFAO. Who else would you like to work with?
I’d love to do a Jay-Z record—a remix or an original track. He’s one of my favorites, as hip-hop artists. I’m a big fan of hip-hop; I think that’s why my music works in the States.
The recession is lingering in the U.S. How has the down economy affected the mood during the summer festivals over there?
You don’t see anything about the recession in Ibiza. It’s really crazy, because … you buy a vodka Red Bull [and it] is, like, 36 Euros, and that’s only one vodka Red Bull—so if you do that for two weeks, you will come back broke. … [But] I wouldn’t say Americans have less money because the people who go to Vegas have something to spend. The last time I was in there, there was a guy who spent $500,000 in two days. It’s just crazy.
What’s one thing you’d like to tell your fans?
Follow me on Twitter! Twitter.com/djchuckie.