Better known by his stage name R3hab, Fadil El Ghoul is a Dutch DJ and music producer signed under Afrojack’s (“Take Over Control”, “No Beef”) label, Wall Recordings.
Even the most casual of music listeners would be familiar with the name DJ R3hab as the tag R3hab Remix can be found in most remixes of popular chart-topping songs. The 29-year-old has done remixes for as well as produced music with the likes of Far East Movement, Calvin Harris, Kaskade, David Guetta, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Taylor Swift.
The 29-year-old was recently in Malaysia to perform at the PLAY club, The Roof on 10 December. It may have been a Thursday night but fans were definitely “Ready for the Weekend” as the DJ started spinning some hits on the decks.
Part of the crowd waiting to party with R3hab.
The crowd ‘got low’ as DJ R3hab played his set which includes remixes of Rihanna’s “B***h Better Have My Money” and John Legend’s “All of Me”, as well as “Burnin’” (a collaboration with Calvin Harris), “Outside” (Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding), “Get Low” (Dillon Francis & DJ Snake – “Fast and Furious 7” OST) and more.
Prior to DJ R3hab taking the stage in the wee hours of the night, the packed crowd was first entertained by local DJs Chukiess & Whackboi, H3 (who opened for Skrillex a couple of months back), SlashSaifulHassan, Keith Mintz, La Short, Erultronic, Twinny & Triple Trouble.
We had the chance to take the DJ aside and have a little chat. Seeing that this was not his first visit to Malaysia, he once even chose to stay in KL out of all the Asian cities he could’ve stayed at, taking a walk at KLCC – “the park and all” – and trying out local delicacies, the Dutch DJ of Moroccan and Algerian origins seems at home here.
R3hab playing at PLAY.
You’re back with a new song, “Strong”. How’s the reception towards it been?
DJ R3hab: Really good. KSHMR and me back at it again after “Karate”. I think it’s a cool song because it has vocals and the melody’s strong. It’s a good concept, strong in general. My love for you is strong; so I think it relates to a lot of people.
The music video for it looks great, where was it filmed?
The music video was filmed in New Orleans but it looked like it was filmed in Brazil.
So, do you prefer working alone or collaborating with someone else?
I think together is fun, you know. Because then you look at every record with a different window. Working with [another DJ], you perceive it this way and I perceive it that way and you combine things and it becomes something different that you couldn’t have done alone.
Have you ever thought about collaborating with a Malaysian artiste then?
Yeah, I was actually thinking of collaborating with a local artiste. Somebody from KL who could rap or sing. I was just thinking about that lately, it would be really cool to have, like, record for the nation but I got to find time.
R3hab signing merchandise for his fans.
Well, you’ve been here [Malaysia] a couple of times now, has this country inspired you in any way in terms of music?
Travelling in general inspires you. There was nothing really specific but every time I come from Asia, like the whole run, it’s so different than Europe. You come home inspired because you see how big the world is.
Recently, you remixed “Wildest Dreams” for Taylor Swift, how was that like?
It was amazing. I remember, somehow, I woke up at night and I had a missed call from my manager. I called him back and he said, “We got this thing, Taylor wants a remix.” I was so excited I couldn’t sleep anymore.
I’d definitely work with her again if she wants to. Her records are great, her voice is amazing.
The crowd going wild for R3hab.
What do you plan to do next? Maybe take on another genre of music?
I’d love to try some local artistes from different countries, that’s one thing that’s on my mind. I did record for Enrique Iglesias and some other people. I just like to be in control of myself. So when I’m making dance music, I can release myself and I don’t have to go through a lot of political stuff, it’s more creative.
You travel around a lot, what do you do when you actually get to rest?
I’ve got some off days next week, five days. Off days are studio days. I mean, for me studios are relaxing. I’ll be working on a couple of records. I have five to six records that are 95% that I have to polish. But the polishing is very important, sometimes the last 5% is the hardest work.
When do you plan to come back here again?
Six months, hopefully. I try to do it every six months. That’s my goal, six months.