Armand Van Helden has been in the business for over three decades now, remixing everyone from Tori Amos to Dizzee Rascal and dominating the charts with seven studio albums. This year, he joined forces with A-Trak to form Duck Sauce, who will be hitting the Field Day stage on New Years Day. BBM’s BEN HARLUM caught up with Armand to discuss the project.
You’re hitting Field Day with A-Trak, how did Duck Sauce come about?
Basically I had hung out with A-Trak, we were friends for a little bit and we had loosely talked about doing something together. One day we figured out ‘lets do it’ so A-Trak came into the studio, we decided to do some house and pretty much rolled from there. It was that easy.
What does he bring to the table that you might not have explored previously on solo projects or with other artists?
I don’t do much collaboration with other people, it’s quite rare actually, so when I do it’s a totally different thing to me being alone. He brings a whole different vibe. It’s a partnership that works in unbelievably good ways, but only because it’s being done correctly.
What has the experience been with A-Trak?
The thing is, honestly, we hope that people understand how much fun we’re having when we are making these songs. We’re laughing our asses off in the studio, so I hope our tracks portray the energy that we were feeling. It’s very simple and organic, we’re not trying to be the future of music, we have fun making it and we hope it comes across that way.
I think, especially in the Barbra Streisand song, you can tell how much fun you’re having.
Yeah, that actually is the song where we had the most laughs, for sure. And people literally laugh when they hear it, a real devious laugh, so I hope that we’re putting a smile on everyone’s face when they hear it.
How will the Duck Sauce set at Field Day differ to what we’ve seen you do in your last few trips down to Australia?
Well we’re playing together, so we vibe off each other. We’ve done two shows so far, a small one in Miami and one similar to Field Day over in Los Angeles. One thing we did decide on, though, was that we hadn’t taken Duck Sauce too seriously so far so why should we start now we’re touring? So A-Trak gets all the house tracks he wants to rock, I get mine, and we’ll wing it in the moment. The only thing we work on while we’re up there, is how long we want to let each track play before we throw another in.
You kinda get anxious up there because I’ll play two, he’ll play two, and when it’s the switchover you want to rock the song so badly that if we don’t wait until the timer has counted down we’ll end up playing one minute of every song. [laughs] We have to remind each other to let each track marinate, let them do what they do, and then mix out.
This is your third decade in the industry, what makes dance music so fresh and exciting that you haven’t gotten sick of it?
I mean, I love music. A few of my friends are passionate by nature, but I’m not passionate about anything in my personal life. My passion is music, it doesn’t matter if I’m DJ’ing or not, I just love music. If I was to look twenty years from now and ask why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing, it’s because I love music. That’s the easiest response, I think.
Finally, I have to ask, if Barbra Streisand’s people come to you and A-Trak because they’ve heard the song, and ask to do a collaboration – are you up for the task?
Oh absolutely! You don’t turn down Barbra Streisand!
Duck Sauce are playing Field Day ‘11
Midday -11pm New Year’s Day
The Domain, Sydney
Tickets on sale now
Tickets & Info: www.fuzzy.com.au