Have you ever been to a party with terrible music?
In a social environment, the musical selection naturally plays a decisive role in the ambience and can liven up or dampen the mood. Experiencing the latter inspired an ambitious teenage R3HAB to get into DJing and music production.
"I remember going to a school party as a teenager and realized how much music affects the mood," R3HAB said in an interview with worldmusic.blog. "With that I realized how important it is to curate (the music) properly."
13 years ago – almost until today – the Moroccan-Dutch DJ and producer appeared with his first production "Mrkrstft", which was finally remixed by dance music icon Hardwell. The record was the first of many collaborations with befriended Dutch DJs.
R3HAB's next notable release came in 2011 with "Prutataaa", a collaboration with Dutch compatriot Afrojack, who signed him to his Wall Recordings label a month later. His connection to the "Dirty Dutch" scene helped him grow, but R3HAB flourished thanks to his unadulterated devotion to the genre by being one of the most seminal artists in the game at the time.
R3HAB (via YouTube)
A new chapter
"I think if you do something for yourself in life, you are more motivated and go even more," argued R3HAB. "I like doing things for myself, it's just a different feeling." And so in 2016 he decided to start his own independent imprint CYB3RPVNK.
When asked about the process of founding his own label, R3HAB explains that "like everything in life, there have been ups and downs". "But," he continued, "I think I saw early on that it was very important to do things for yourself."
It wasn't until 2017 – ten years after his career – that R3HAB presented its debut album. The 17-track collaborative offering called Trouble was published independently and demonstrated his versatility as an artist. With big room cuts, underground flavors and everything in between, Trouble marked a new chapter for R3HAB.
The following year he released his second album. As a metaphor for the ups and downs of life, The Wave takes the listener on an emotional journey. Consisting of 16 tracks, R3HAB's dazzling second album plays with polarities and has a record for every mood.
Aside from its acclaimed studio albums and originals, R3HAB has released several sensational remixes over the years, including its version of Pitbull and Ne-Yo's "Give Me Everything" (with Afrojack and Nayer). This particular revision led to remix requests from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Tiësto, among others.
Since then, R3HAB has become one of the most sought-after remixers in the industry. Contemporary music superstars such as Taylor Swift, Madonna, Coldplay, Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers and many more have commissioned him for official remixes.
R3HAB's most popular release came when it reinterpreted A Touch Of Class' platinum-certified single "All Around The World". It proved a success giving the 2000 hit a club-centric twist, as its remix has amassed more than 423 million streams on Spotify alone since its release on CYB3RPVNK in the fall of 2019.
Recently, R3HAB teamed up with Mr. Worldwide on a remix of "I Feel Good". "I hear Solomon, ARTBAT, I'm grateful for everything," commented R3HAB. "When the Pitbull came up, I thought, 'Hey, this is a song I can have fun with.'"
“I know a lot of people think Pitbull is cheesy,” added R3HAB, “but I like him because he makes people happy. I remember Pitbull going to a party that I hung up at – it was a little party – and he was after me. When he came the place rocked. He played 'Give Me Everything Tonight' and 'I Got No Rent Today' and I had fun! "
heaven on earth
Long before becoming a world-famous, multi-platinum DJ and producer, R3HAB went to school and worked part-time to support his family. Growing up with a single mother, he learned the value of hard work and got his first job at the age of 13.
That level of discipline did him good. When R3HAB realized that his calling was to be a DJ, he believed in himself and focused on his goals. "I knew that if I worked hard I would be successful," he wrote in a recent Instagram post. "With a bit of courage and determination, you can really achieve anything you imagine."
In addition to the success in the music industry, another goal in life for R3HAB was to buy a Lamborghini SVJ Roadster – his dream car. “I don't value material things very much, they're just milestones,” he told us. "It's a fond memory that I made my (teenage) dream come true."
“I always hate it when people post something like this, 'Hard work pays off,'” he laughs. “But there is a story behind it. And when I talked to my friend about it, he encouraged me (to share). He said people could get inspiration, so I posted it to inspire, not to brag. "
R3HAB says that while the car is beautiful, "it doesn't mean anything". Further explanation of his main goal was to think about where he started and where he is now in his life: a life of passion and determination. "It is good to create heaven on earth, but at the end of the day you cannot take anything with you."
Adjust to the time
Due to the global pandemic outbreak, R3HAB admits it took the first two months of the lockdown to relax. "It was nice to take a break from traveling and not have jet lag," he said.
Before long, "it felt like a long vacation" so R3HAB decided to adapt to the current situation. The style of music that R3HAB produced also had to adapt to the times. "It was different in that I wasn't doing music for live sets and festivals because I didn't have those festival moments," he explained. "So I made more music."
He's been busy for the past two years, releasing some of his most popular singles to date. In 2020 R3HAB teamed up with the triple threat HRVY for "Be Okay" and later that year they joined the Norwegian singer-songwriter Alida for "One More Dance", both standout tracks that year.
The acclaimed dance-pop crossover "Sad Boy" starring Jonas Blue, Ava Max and Kylie Cantrall was released in September 2021 and has since included an acoustic version, a club remix, a VIP edit and a rework by All That MTRS and Cat Dealers .
"Most People," a recent collaboration with three-time Grammy nominee Lukas Graham, is another notable production. “'Most People' is a record that celebrates the reward for work,” explained R3HAB. "Tomorrow is not promised, so we have to acknowledge and celebrate the good things we have today."
Graham also appeared on a recent episode of R3HAB's CYB3RPVNK radio show, which celebrated its ninth year earlier this year. "You can run CVB3RPVNK radio for almost 20 days without a break," he said. "It was nice to do something for the fans every week."
Along the journey
R3HAB's first show was in Japan a few months ago. "I love being in Japan!" he cheered. "It felt good (to be back on stage). I expected to be a little nervous, but it was good." If anything, he was willing to do more, stating that COVID was a reminder to enjoy his freedom.
In October, R3HAB joined their longtime friend and co-worker Afrojack for a standout B2B set at EDC Las Vegas. "It's nice to play with Afrojack because (because) it's all natural," he said. "Then we had to do it again at EDC Orlando and there was no stress for me. I enjoy touring this way."
R3HAB (via Facebook)
Later this week, R3HAB will perform at Saudi Arabia's largest music festival SOUNDSTORM, presented by MDLBEAST. He is accompanied by Armin van Buuren, deadmau5, Martin Garrix and over 150 dance music artists for the important second edition of the festival. "I'm very excited to be going back there," he told worldmusic.blog. "I'm looking forward to being part of the ride."
Alongside the festival, the MDLBEAST brand recently hosted their very first music conference, XP. The program explored how we can empower future generations of artists, how NFTs and the blockchain are changing the industry, and much more.
MDLBEAST also has a music streaming branch called "Frequencies" and its own imprint, MDLBEAST Records. Coincidentally, R3HAB started the label by releasing a tech house track with Fafaq and DNF called "Ringtone". "It was an honor when you asked me," he said. "Mainly because I'm Moroccan."
“I'm working on finishing my album,” he tells us. "That'll be dropped early next year." According to R3HAB, fans can expect airy dance music on this upcoming album. "Let's just have a little fun."