After a stint in Texas, electronic dance music producer Wolfgang Gartner moved back to his native California, where he resumed recording in a new studio. Now that he's all settled in, Gartner's got a treat for his fans too: a brand-new album that boasts so much hip-hop star power he may become to rap what superstar EDM producer David Guetta is to pop.
But longtime fans of Gartner that have been devoted to him for hits like "Undertaker" and "Animal Rights" need not worry: Even with the big collabos, the Wolfgang product sounds no less underground.
Weekend in America, which dropped on Tuesday (September 20), features 11 tracks. Thematically, it's an effort borne of "life on the tour," according to Grammy-nominated Gartner.
"There is definitely a sense of patriotism there," Gartner (born Joey Youngman) told MTV News recently. " 'Illmerica,' the track came far before I knew the album was going to be called Weekend in America. Once ['Illmerica'] became a song, I started having these mental images of when you're flying over the center of the U.S., you see the little houses and you see America.
"And for some reason, that's what this song made me see: the soul of America, which is the bad part and the good part and all of the messed up stuff and the good stuff combined," the producer continued. "For some reason, that's just how it made me feel.
"Weekend in America was more alluding to going out on the weekends playing these shows, [where] I'm playing these tracks that I've been making. I'm playing other people's tracks, too, but it's kind of a culmination of what I see and what I hear out there that influenced the making of this album."
Even before its official release, America tracks like "Space Junk," "Menage a Trois" and "818" have already taken off as singles on the EDM scene. But with Tuesday's album release, Gartner emphasizes what his hard-core fans already knew: He's got a serious love for hip-hop. Rap princess Eve is featured on the party-hard "Get Em." Dipset's Cam'ron and Jim Jones jump on "Circus Freaks." Omarion belts on "Still My Baby" and as WG fans know, will.i.am gets busy on "Forever," which was released earlier this year.
"I definitely listen to hip-hop more than I listen to dance music," Gartner confessed to us. "When I'm in my car, all I listen to is rap. Obviously, I'm really into the Dipset crew — that's like half my playlist right now, the new Jim Jones album. I listen to a lot of old Snoop and West Coast. A lot of old Biggie and the classics. Kanye. I really like Drake, Lil Wayne, that whole [YMCMB] crew. I could go on and on with what I feel for hip-hop."
Of course, with that many hip-hop features on tap, many will draw comparisons to Guetta's pop crossover success, which has helped to bridge the dance and mainstream music worlds. But while their styles may be different, it's a comparison Gartner welcomes.
"David Guetta has been instrumental in creating the climate that we have now, where I can work with Eve and I can work with will.i.am, and they are receptive, the public is receptive and radio is receptive," Gartner explained. "He played a role in opening the door up for people like me to do the same thing and have success. I think the dance music community, including myself, owes something to him for sort of paving the way for that."
Weekend in America is available at Beatport.com. Next up for Gartner is the video for "Get Em," with Eve.