With over ten years as a globetrotting, arena-filling DJ, Netherlands-born Fadil El Ghoul, better known as R3HAB, is no stranger to success. Now, the artist known for electronic singles like his remix of Zara Larsson’s “Ain’t My Fault” and Ella Vos’s “White Noise,” has achieved a long-overdue triumph: releasing his first full-length album, Trouble.
R3HAB’s 17-track love letter to EDM showcases the DJ’s ability to offer sweet electronic trances alongside heavy, energetic records in one, cohesive album. From beginning-to-end, Trouble—also the name of the album’s second track featuring American pop singer-songwriter VÉRITÉ—is one easy listen that doesn’t disappoint but also doesn’t surprise: R3HAB fans have finally gotten their proper filling of the DJ’s celebrated sound.
Below, we speak with Ghoul about his debut, the cities he plays in and of course: the powers of Twitter.
Where was the first set you ever played?
In my home city, Breda. It was just a small party with some friends like 19 years ago!
Favorite city to play?
I think every city is different, but it depends what’s going on at the time. I love Miami, LA and New York—and I definitely love Bangkok and Amsterdam. Every city is so special and that’s nice.
Does your DJ set change depending on the city that you’re in?
100 percent. Hip-hop is a little more popular in some countries and markets, other countries prefer the faster tempos. That also makes it more special because you can diversify yourself.
What was your overall approach to putting together your debut album Trouble?
Just having fun in music really. It’s cheesy, but it’s the truth!
With it being a debut album, did you feel any added pressure?
I’ve tried starting an album a couple of times and every time I felt pressure, but now I don’t. I was so excited to put this out and to work on it. It was an enjoyable ride, very much so.
Along with VÉRITÉ, you have many other collabs on this album (including Felix Cartal, Skytech and Rynn), how did those come about?
It sounds weird but many times it just starts over a Twitter follow. You’re fans of each other, you follow each other, and then you start to send some ideas back and forth and then you start working. Most of the people I worked with on this album I’d been following for a while so that worked out really easily.
Anyone not on this album that you still want to work with?
I like Skrillex, I feel like that would be really interesting. If someone makes a good record, that’s inspirational. So for example, when Skrillex released his remix for Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” I was immediately inspired. That was dope.
We spoke with DJ Ruckus who said something really interesting about success in the DJ world—that for it, you’ve got to “do your homework.” Do you agree?
Definitely. Study the game, you know? When you’re nonstop good things come. I listen to all songs coming out in all genres—but I enjoy it, it’s not work for me, I just get inspired. I love what I do.
Trouble is out now on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube and Apple Music.