Dave Audé on His Billboard Hits and What it Takes to Remix Madonna
In his 15-year career, Los Angeles-based DJ and producer Dave Audé has made 80 No. 1 Billboard dance hits, including remixes of pop stars such as Madonna and Rihanna, as well as bands like Korn. Nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for his remix of Dean Coleman's "I Want You," Audé's extensive resume also includes serving as music director for the Pussycat Dolls tour, running his own record label, Audacious Records, and producing a weekly podcast, Audacious Radio. All Shook Down recently spoke with Audé about his chart-topping hits, producing EDM/pop crossover remixes, and his radio show. He headlines The Grand for Bastille Day this Saturday, June 14.
Given your history of working with pop artists, which artists have you been working with lately?
I'm happy to be busy with a few new singles with Akon, new music for Andy Bell (Erasure), new songs for Nadia Ali, new songs for NERVO, and a bunch of remixes.
How does it feel to have six Billboard No. 1 dance hits this year, and 80 total so far in your career?
I'm fortunate to do something every day that I love to do. I don't know anyone who has a better job than me.
Is there a specific formula you stick to when making remixes?
I just try and breathe new life into each project without totally losing the integrity of the artist or song.
How do you try and keep the main sound or vocals of the artist you remix with the advancement of all these technological tools that can blend, switch up drum loops, and such? Is it hard not to drown out the artist at times?
I tend to keep the original vocal and arrangement mostly intact. I also don't chop up the vocal to the point where it's unrecognizable. This is the main ingredient in keeping the integrity of the artist, and the main reason people hire Dave Audé.
How do you go about choosing which artists' tracks to remix?
I don't choose, and never have. Labels contact me when they have new releases. My remixes serve as a promotional tool for their new releases.
Is there more pressure on your when you release remixes for huge international artists like Madonna?
I approach every remix exactly the same, and I work on each remix the same amount of time. When it's right, it's right, and I work on each one until I think it's perfect, which takes time.
Your most well-known remixes are those of pop artists. How have you seen the pop sound evolve since you began your career?
Well, I've seen digital technology change the way artists write, record, mix, deliver, and promote music. Things move much quicker, which is good and bad. I've seen technology allow some artists to release songs whom without the assistance of Auto Tune might have never released previously. I've also seen dance music and DJ culture explode into the mainstream, which is what I've been waiting for since I started producing and DJing years ago.
What do you think of pop music heading more towards dance, with EDM producers producing more and more for mainstream artists?
Dance music is hot, so it makes perfect sense. I would however like to see more EDM producers working with seasoned producers, so we make sure this whole thing doesn't fizzle out. It's nice to have great beats, but you also need to have great songs, and great produced vocals. So many young EDM producers are popping up so quick it's hard to tell one from the other, so it's the song that's going to stick out in the end, and that's a good thing.
When did you decide to start your own label, Audacious?
A few years ago I thought it would be fun to have a record label. It's had its fun moments, it's also a lot of work that I really don't have time for. I wish I had two or three more clones of myself so I could do everything I want to do.
You also have a weekly podcast. What do you normally goes on during a show?
I'm just showcasing what I believe to be great music and great artist interviews. I think the interviews are a good way to connect with the artists. Technology has really made it fairly easy for me to get the hottest producers and DJs on the phone for a few minutes to connect a voice with some of these amazing songs.
You produce, remix, and DJ. Which of these is your favorite or which do you feel most comfortable doing?
I've always been the guy who does everything: I play all the instruments, I record all the instruments, I do all the arranging, I do all the editing, and once in a blue moon, I even throw in a backup vocal into the mix. So you might say I am a control freak. And having said that, DJing is the perfect occupation for any control freak. Loving all three equally, yet in different ways, I can't pick just one.
What can we expect your set at the club to sound like?
Lately I've been banging it out a bit, but don't worry boys and girls, you'll definitely hear the big tunes as well. I'm not trying to educate, I'm trying to facilitate the party and get people dancing. DJing shouldn't be so serious -- it should be about having fun, and that's what I'm trying to do.
And with 15 years of touring under your belt, how much longer do you see yourself doing this for?
Until there's no one on the dancefloor when I'm playing (laughs).