Alan Walker is on his way to becoming one of the biggest names in the EDM game. The 19 year old Norwegian producer rose to fame in 2015 when his debut single “Faded” blew up overnight and became a viral smash hit.
This success brought Alan stateside this past weekend, when he hit the Solstice Stage at the Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago. Rocking all black with his signature bandanna covering the lower part of his face, Alan kicked off his hour set with some deep hardstyle hits.
Embarking on his first North America tour, Walker Tour: Summer 2017, with the first tour stop being in Chicago at Spring Awakening Music – I, Journalist Without A Beat had the chance to sit-down with Alan to discuss a wide range of topics including how he preps for his set, touring with Rihanna, and possibly a debut album.
It’s awesome that you are kicking off your North American tour in Chicago. Is this your first time in Chicago?
Alan: Yes, it is.
Are you enjoying the city’s scenery and the vibes at the festival?
Alan: It looks really cool, [Spring Awakening] and the city I seen from the sky on the plane, it looked really nice. But its crazy warm [laughs].
Who were some of your favorite producers and DJs growing up that made you want to tap into the music business?
Alan: When I was younger I was really into techno music, I was really into old school music where you had these techno beats. For the hardcore stuff like dubstep, I really liked Skrillex, DJ Splash and also a Spanish producer, DJ Ness. He [DJ Ness] also inspired me to get into making music.
What can fans expect from your set at Spring Awakening?
Alan: Well today, I’m going to play a little hard [hardstyle, type of edm genre] more than usual. There’s going to be a bit of a mixture between my new stuff, my new songs and also more down tempo. Nothing above 130 BPM.
How much prep goes into creating your perfect set for an performance?
Alan: I always try to have a variation in all my sets. I also try to have a combination, where I can go down tempo and go back up to up-tempo. When I prepare my sets I don’t really think about anything else. I include my songs and upbeat songs because when I’m playing at a festival I don’t think it’s the best thing to play down tempo [songs]. I try to have a wave in my set, where its up-tempo, down tempo, then up-tempo again.
What were your initial thoughts when you learned that “Faded” went viral?
Alan: It was crazy and unbelievable. You saw numbers, and it kept increasing, going up so fast. At the time it was hard to understand what was going on. I think seeing it and experiencing it was really cool, but I also try to avoid thinking about it [when creating new music] because it makes you think “Oh God, this is not better than Faded”, because it’s an impossible song to beat.
You’re new single “Tired” is doing very well since its release – How did you start the process on the new record?
Alan: It all started with my music lawyer, he was talking to the team [Alan’s team] and he heard this song “Tired”, written by Gavin James, but it didn’t have any production. Then my lawyer was like “I can send this out to Walker and maybe he can try to do something”. That’s pretty much what happened – I sent in the first demo and they approved it.
Last year, you opened for and toured with Rihanna on her ANTI Tour (U.K. dates), what was that experience like?
Alan: I was supposed to do four shows with her, but one of them got cancelled due to terrorist attacks [The city of Nice incident]. Touring was really cool and was really a unique experience to play for a very different crowd. You had people there to see Rihanna and then you had people there to see me. It was a magical experience and I’m really glad I got the opportunity to go on tour with Rihanna.
What was it like meeting Rihanna?
Alan: Oh I didn’t get to meet her [laughs]. I wish I could have.
Looking toward the future, who are some artists, DJs, and producers you would like to work with?
Alan: There’s so many options, but I would love to collaborate with Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Martin Garrix and maybe Kygo.
Are there any plans in motion for a debut album?
Alan: Not necessarily, I have an idea but its not 100% yet. It may be something in the future.
Do you have a message for your fans here in the United States?
Alan: I would like to say thank you all so much for all the love and support. It’s such a true honor to be back in the U.S., being on tour and doing shows for you guys. I would also like to say thank you so much for liking my music, listening and supporting my music – I will forever be honored and forever thankful.
Be sure to check out Alan Walker on his Walker Tour: Summer 2017, check out the dates and cities below
See more photos from Alan Walker’s Spring Awakening set, just click the photo
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