Justin Prime: Bigtime Moves

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By Michelle Fetky

After scoring his career’s biggest hit earlier this year, Justin Prime has continued to enjoy a momentous 2014.

“Cannonball (Earthquake)”—his ultra-catchy collab with Showtek featuring Matthew Koma—put him on the map for most of the EDM world, and it’s afforded plenty of other opportunities in the studio and the DJ booth. He’s continued to tour the world and he recently released “Striker” and “Fairchild,” a pair of rattling, electro-house bombs on Dim Mak, plus his soaring remix of Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow.”

As he made a late-summer gig stop in New York City, we caught up with the 28-year-old Dutch DJ/producer (aka Justin Putuhena) and discussed his latest bigtime moves.

DJ Times: When you started producing music, you began with hardstyle. But you’ve moved on from that sound…
Prime: At the end of 2011, I stopped producing hardstyle after eight years. I then made “Cannonball” with Showtek, which is what blew up my career on a worldwide scale. I do still like to play one or two hardstyle tracks within my sets, though. I am still very much influenced by hardstyle. I actually just did this new remix for Iggy Azalea and I used a hardstyle kick.

DJ Times: Did you have any expectations with “Cannonball” when you sent it to Showtek?
Prime: I didn’t and I’m not quite sure that they did either. The funny thing is, I made this song for fun. I sent it over to Showtek and they played it for the first time at EDC New York—and social media just blew up. From that moment on, Showtek and I knew we had a really good club song ready for release, but we never expected it to get signed at Universal, get played on the radio, get us two Gold records and even get us a Platinum record. It’s cool, though, because now I can call myself a Platinum recording artist. We had a feeling it could become a good club song, but we never imagined it would become a radio song.

DJ Times: How was it working with Showtek?
Prime: Fun, as usual. I was working a lot with them before “Cannonball.” We’ve been ghost-producing for some major EDM artists, so the three of us were a production team for a little while. Next to “Cannonball,” I worked with them on other projects, which I can’t say anything about. That’s why it’s called ghost-producing. But I only ghost-produce for one person now because I don’t have a lot of time anymore.

DJ Times: Your main studio gear?
Prime: Cubase 7.5 on the Macbook Pro combined with the Universal Audio UAD-2 OCTO Ultimate 2 plug-in bundle. I use a Bomb Factory compressor—it gets you those really rich, warm and crisp sounds.

DJ Times: And in the DJ booth?
Prime: To DJ, I use Pioneer’s CDJs and the DJM-900 mixer. As long as I have my USB sticks with me, my headphones and earplugs, I’m all set to go.

DJ Times: In your view, how is the U.S. scene different from Europe?
Prime: Well, the funny thing is, all those years Europe was watching America, and now America is watching Europe. It has turned around. I came to America and you guys still wanted hardstyle, which I prefer, but in Europe they were already busy with new developments, making the music softer and taking the music back to progressive house. We are already busy with the next thing in Europe and it’s really funny, because normally you guys would be on this already, but now you are following Europe.

DJ Times: Do you expect to collaborate again with Showtek?
Prime: Not at the moment because we are both focusing on our own careers, which is a good thing. But never say never because we actually could. So, that’s a no for now, but maybe a yes for later.

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