Showtek have become a marquee DJ’s favorite partners in crime.
After sharing the studio with the likes of Tiësto and Hardwell, the Dutch duo were a natural collaborator choice for David Guetta on his forthcoming album Listen. The Janssen brothers ended up with credits on three album tracks, including “Sun Goes Down,” “Bad” and “No Money No Love.”
Listen to the full premiere of “Sun Goes Down,” featuring Magic! and Sonny Wilson, exclusively on Billboard:
Billboard caught up with Showtek in their Netherlands studio to discuss the collaborative and creative process with Guetta.
How did the collaboration with David come together?
Last year, David invited us to support him at Pacha Ibiza, and after a few times, he invited us to his home studio to listen to music. He was the first artist we ever showed “Booyeah” to, and he was crazy about it. He said we needed to work on a track together. He was working on his album when we met him, so he had so many songs and so many ideas. He said, “Let’s do something together and see where it ends up.” So we did “Bad” together, which is one of the songs on his album. In January, we spent two weeks working on new songs with him in the studio, and it took 40 to 45 total days afterwards to finish the two songs due to our touring schedules. We’re very excited to have three songs on his album. We made some songs more in his style and some more in ours, like the club songs we do with crossover potential.
What was the creative workflow like collaborating with David?
Our whole career started as producers, we never dreamed of becoming performing DJs. When we started making music, it was a hobby that started when we were 15 or 16. Working with David was a great chance to try producing pop, reggae and the dance music from nowadays. The songs definitely have a good Showtek touch but also more crossover pop and reggae styles from David. It’s fun to try and do different stuff and experiment and see where you can go with it. It’s good to be diverse and try different stuff. David is very good to work with. He has the ability to put things together I’d never think of, he’s been doing it already for like 15 years. He’s very good at knowing what to put together with what and have a vision for how it should be produced. Putting a different style vocal with a different sound and find the right people to work with.
David also works with Giorgio Tuinfort, so we were working in studio with him and others he’s working with too. We always work together as a team. David enters the studio with a song as an idea of how the song should be about. For him, it starts with a lyric, and for us it’s about having a catchy melody. When you put that together, you have great ingredients that can work together. We made 25 versions of “No Money No Love,” because he’s really detail-oriented and everything must be perfect. It took at least six months, because you don’t see each other every day to make it really fit and have new vocal sessions and trips to see each other.
How was working with David different than other big artists like Tiësto?
Tiësto was the first big artist we worked with, which was good for our careers and helped us enter the scene and learn. Tijs is a different kind of genre artist as well. With him, we started with trance stuff then turned to house. But with David, we said from the beginning that we needed to be new and diverse and crossover. He’s got a bigger range of what he can do in terms of bringing diversity and the pop side, while Tiësto is more club and party music. David is always doing something unique in his songs that make them interesting; it’s never just another dance song. I think for Showtek, we’re similar with our hooks, melodies, and the way we produce sounds from scratch. We put a lot of time into that one special hook, and it was the perfect combination with David.
Any interesting stories from the Listen sessions?
One day, we took the last flight to Ibiza and missed it, and we were supposed to play for David that night. We called and explained what happened. We were still in London and he flew to Eindhoven, which was not the normal route just to pick us up. He said “I’ll pick you up if we work on the song together.” So we all got our laptops and just worked for two-and-a-half hours straight in the plane to finish the song, and then we played the whole night together. We really invested every hour we had to make it happen, and David is the hardest working mother—-er in this industry. He really puts his life into his music and that’s the way he works with all the hours he travels. It was really inspiring to work with him.
David Guetta’s new album Listen will be available Nov. 24.