Dave Aude is one of today’s most illustrious producers, DJs and remixers. Thus far he has enjoyed 12 hit singles, has been nominated for a Grammy for his remix “I Want You” in 2010 and has done productions for artists such as U2, Coldplay, Chris Brown, One Direction, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Yoko Ono, the Pussycat Dolls, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Beyoncé and Madonna, just to name a few.
Besides being the brother of Major League Baseball player Rich Aude, he also operates his own label Audacious Records and is the co-founder of Moonshine Music. Dave can be seen at Six Flags on September 5 during Fairgrounds: Out at Night.
I have been hearing your name nonstop, from Ryan Skyy, Niki Darling, Katy Tiz and of course Mark Nelson.
How long have you been DJing and producing?
Oh man, do you really want me to tell you the truth? I been doing it for—put it this way, over two decades.
Really? I saw your picture, and it doesn’t look like that.
That’s what my wife says. I don’t know how that is. It’s just some weird thing.
What inspired you to get into the entertainment business?
I wasn’t inspired to get into the business, but I was inspired to make music. I don’t know how you get inspired to be in the business. And I think today people getting inspired to be in the business—they want to make millions and millions and millions of dollars. When I started DJing, I did it because none of my friends were doing it, and we all wanted to hear this cool, underground sound. The only way to hear it was to go buy it on a vinyl and make mixtapes. So that’s what I started doing, I started making mixtapes and just playing. It wasn’t the trendy thing to do; it was something that I liked doing, and I like music, and I liked playing music for people. Just doing that for a few years turned into a career. I also started producing at the same time. I started producing when I was 13 years old. I was just lucky that it turned into a career. I had no idea when I started all this that I would actually be able to pay bills and make a living that way. Growing up I also thought I would be a keyboard player. It was kind of the only job that I could do in the music business. No one told me about any other way to make money or to make a living. I thought you get into a band and get a record deal and make an album. I am so lucky to be doing this. I guess I was in the right place at the right time.
I asked a lot of DJs this question: It seems that recently people want to see DJs even more than they want to see entertainers. What is your opinion on that statement?
I think it’s because of technology. Technology has allowed pretty much anybody to make music. Everybody cannot sing and play guitar, but everybody thinks music in their head. Again, in a computer with all the different software, they can figure out how to be a DJ, and they could probably figure out how to make music. It’s easy. You don’t have to sing and play guitar or play piano. Because of that, people are aspiring to be DJs or producers, because it’s easier than it is to be a singer. At least it seems a lot easier.
You have produced for many artists. What exactly does it mean to produce?
That is a great question, the most popular question I am asking. People don’t know how that works. Basically, the record labels call me … and they say, “Can you do a single version for the club?” That is what a remix is. You are remixing for the club. They send me the session with drums, guitar, bass and vocals, and I remix it so that it is specifically made for the club. Remixing and producing are the same thing, except when you’re remixing you have a starting point. When you’re producing a record, you are usually starting from the beginning.
So you produce your own stuff as well?
Yeah. I have my own label, Audacious Records. It’s not a serious thing for me. It’s not going to make money or anything else, like to put my own records out without having to find the label or find somebody interested. It is a way for me to do it without getting into all of the politics and all of the red tape that is part of the recording business.
What do you like best about being a DJ?
I love watching people. It’s fun to see people having a good time dancing and watching them interact with one another.
I don’t know if this is true or not, but I was told that you hold the Guinness World Record for having the most #1 hits on Billboard.
I think that was just Nelson having some fun. They could not know how many #1 hits I have had, which is stupid because they could actually prove it by calling Billboard magazine. But I do have 105 #1s, as of today. I think the person next in line is around 40 to 50. It’s just a little niche I have carved for myself.
That’s pretty amazing in itself. Now let’s talk about Six Flags.
I am a West Coast guy, so I’ve never been to Six Flags on the East Coast. I have had a lot of friends from New York and New Jersey tell me that’s where they grew up and went on family trips. Six Flags is actually close to my house here in L.A. I am excited to do it on the East Coast. You know, it’s not very often that I DJ at an amusement park, so that’s definitely going to be something different.
Are you going to go on the rides?
I don’t know. I’m sure I will go on a few. I haven’t even thought about it. Listen, I have three kids. My kids are young, and I told my wife that at some point I will have to go on these rides. That’s what you do when you have kids, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. I got a headache just thinking about it.
Many people think that you need be a producer in order to be a good DJ. What is your thought on that?
My thoughts are that it’s pretty stupid, because why can’t you just be a DJ? There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the dumbest thing in the whole world. DJs are probably the most insecure people in the whole world, because you have to go up there and play music and hope that it’s music that everybody likes. You have to be very, very secure with yourself to be able to do that. People are looking at you to play music that’s cool. So for the first 10 years that I did this, I would do it with the music for the DJs as a producer, because I was the one who knew how. Which I thought was great. A lot of these guys through the years have learned how to make music just from sitting with me in the studio or other guys in the studio, and that’s fine. But I don’t think you have to be a producer to be a great DJ. I think there’s nothing wrong with being a great DJ just by knowing what sounds great. A great producer is somebody who knows what sounds good and what works. You just have to have a great ear.
Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about?
I have two new singles coming out very soon. One is with Andy Bell from Erasure. We had a #1 single called “Aftermath.” This is a follow up to that. That will be out in August. Also coming out in August, I have a new single with Olivia Newton John.