Afrojack grew up just outside Rotterdam, about an hour south of Amsterdam — “Or, if you’re like me and you’re driving at night, thirty minutes,” he laughed — though, as he’s risen to fame as a DJ and producer, the city has become something of a second home (not to mention a homebase) to him.
“I have lots of friends, a lot of connections here, ” he told MTV News. “The club scene is ridiculously good. You have a lot of Dutch DJs, so you’re going to have six parties every night, in different clubs, and they all have big DJs. My friends from the rest of the world, when they come down, they all come down to Amsterdam, and I take ‘em around.”
So, given that the 2013 MTV EMA will take place this Sunday in Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome, it makes sense that Afrojack is serving as a sort of unofficial ambassador for the both the show and the city.
His new single “The Spark” has been chosen as the official EMA anthem, he’s nominated for Best Electronic (up against the likes of Calvin Harris, Avicii and Daft Punk), and he’ll be performing with Snoop Dogg at Sunday’s show.
Yet despite all that — hours before hitting the town with Miley Cyrus — he still somehow found time to take MTV News on a tour of Amsterdam’s canals, hopping aboard a private boat, popping some champagne and pointing out the many sights.
“Of course we’re on a boat, it’s the only way to travel here,” he laughed. “It’s an amazing city … you don’t see it anywhere else in the world, the old buildings, the canals. It’s an historical city, there’s a lot of international culture … and, of course, people know Amsterdam, for other things, too.”
As if on cue, our boat drifted through the city’s Red Light District, and Afrojack took a moment to reflect on one particularly wild night that involved none other than Snoop, who, not surprisingly, really likes this city a lot.
“Oh I saw him out one time, he was definitely enjoying himself,” Afrojack said with a smile. “Everyone enjoys themselves here. This is a party city, for sure.”
As we coasted through the canals, Afrojack waved to plenty of “Wooh!”-ing tourists, made sure to show off the many houseboats that dotted the waterways, and, of course, couldn’t help but revert back to childhood as we passed beneath one of many bridges (“When I was a kid, and I would be on the bridge, I’d see people on the boat, and I’d be like ‘Wow, I’m going to spit on that dude’s head!’” he laughed.) But through it all, his focus remained on Sunday’s show.
After all, it’s going to be a showcase for him, his music, and his city … and with performances from Katy Perry , Miley Cyrus and Bruno Mars and a whole lot more, he’s going to have to bring out his best. And he’s more than ready to meet the challenge.
“You know, Miley, Katy … they are great, and I may have heard a few things about their performances,” he said. “But I’m going to represent, you know? The first time I ever came [to Amsterdam] was to do a show, and now, you know, I’m performing at the biggest show.”