By Scott Stenholm and Kyle MacLelland
As producers for 'Larry King Now,' we are used to producing interviews with an eclectic group of musical artists. One week it's Kid Ink or Tyler the Creator, the next it's Jack Antonoff or Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac.
But when Larry sent us out to the desert for weekend one of the 2015 Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California to talk to some of this year’s headliners, we decided to interview artists from a genre of music whose ascension in recent years has been both awe-inspiring and whose stars are internationally beloved by millions but are rarely covered in mainstream media - at least in comparison to other 2015 Coachella artists like Drake, Hozier, AC/DC or Jack White.
We sat down with David Guetta, Alesso and Porter Robinson -- three "EDM" artists who are at three different stages in their careers but all who heavily contribute to an electronic music business that was reported last year to be worth a staggering $6.2 billion.
First, David Guetta - who has over 55 million followers on Facebook alone and whose Coachella performance is the closing act in the Sahara tent - Coachella's "rave" tent - this year. Guetta will be Larry's in-studio guest two days after he closes out the Sahara tent weekend two and he expressed his fear about meeting the man he has long revered.
David Guetta: I am from France. When we watch a movie about America we see Larry King. It's scary but scary is good. If I do Coachella one week and Larry King one week after, that's a good two weeks. That's a good month. It's a big deal.
What's the craziest fan encounter you've had at Coachella?
It was me being the fan. When I saw Tupac on stage - with the hologram. I was playing that year. It's unbelievable but my kids are always coming with me to Coachella - which I think is so cool for such young kids and they were like five or eight and I was speaking to them about that with them today...it was legend. With Snoop and Dre and Eminem and Tupac. It felt so real. I am always blown away when I come here. Like yesterday, I went to see Flosstradamus. That was insane! Oh my god. Fuck...fuck! It was like a punch. I loved it.
Are there any other artists this year that you'd like to see?
I love The Weeknd. I saw him yesterday. I am going to see Drake tonight. Honestly, I think nothing is going to beat Flosstradamus... It was ridiculous. And its so crazy because of "Hey Mama" (Guetta's new single). I have done a new set in the last month that is a combination of trap and EDM and it was working really good but I was doing this on my own and I was having this conversation with my manager. Could I do what I have been doing lately because it is so rock oriented and then I saw them and I was like, "Fuck! Those guys are doing this?!" It's crazy. I love it. So this pushed me to keep the direction that I have been taking.
Is there anyone from days past that you wish could come back and play Coachella?
Marvin Gaye. I'm a huge Marvin Gaye fan. The music that I listen to is kind of surprising because when I'm home I'm listening to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder - not super futuristic. People always think I'm always listening to music that is super futuristic but not necessarily because I love the emotion in those records.
If Larry King were to introduce an act at Coachella, who should it be?
Oh wow. That's a cool idea actually. I would love him to do this... When I have a record that is the most unconventional, I'll ask him to introduce the video - to be part of the video. That would be so cool. Oh my god. It would have to be really crazy. Even this record I have with Nicki Minaj, imagine him introducing Nicki Minaj!
Tell us about the big surprise in your set tonight.
We are going to have the comeback of 'The Black Eyed Peas'. It's very, very last minute.
Who are some up-and-coming artists that you have your eye on?
Flosstradamus, man. I took a punch in the head. It was amazing.
In 2012, Madonna (who made her own mark on Coachella this year) called Alesso, "the next big thing in dance music." The Sweden native has worked with world renowned artists like One Republic, Usher and David Guetta. This year at Coachella, he is one of the headliners with his name appearing on the official poster in between Steely Dan and Alabama Shakes.
Are you excited for your set this weekend?
Alesso: Yeah, I'm excited. I'm so fucking excited. I have this brand new production and a bunch of new tunes and content and we have a very special guest joining me on stage. I'm about to explode - that's how excited I am.
Who is the special guest?
It's Ryan Tedder from One Republic. We are doing three songs together. A couple years ago we did a song together called "Lose My Mind" then I remixed his track "If I Lose Myself" and now we have this new track coming out that's called "Scars" on my album. He's a super cool dude and very, very talented. It's going to be very fun.
Any crazy fan encounters here at Coachella?
I haven't stumbled upon anyone who is too crazy. They are all just so super happy. At night, you can't really see who is who so I think [I'll] be okay.
An artist playing this year that you'd really like to see.
Florence and the Machine... Drake... Kiesza - I saw her today.
Anyone from yesteryear that you would like to see come back and perform Coachella?
Michael Jackson. I'm an insanely big fan of him. Since I started listening to music I have always been a fan.
Has he influenced your music?
Yeah, of course. And how he developed as an artist. How he did everything from dance music to rock... I don't think we will have that kind of artist ever again.
What would you think about Larry King introducing your set here at Coachella?
That would be hilarious because I don't even think Larry King knows who I am.
To you, how does Coachella separate itself from other music festivals?
It's not just a bunch of electronic music - it's all kinds of music. It's great. You get everything you want... You get people who are not in the lineup joining people on stage. The whole environment, the whole atmosphere is unbelievable. You're in the desert.
Is electronic music the one genre that can be incorporated with nearly every other kind of genre?
It is definitely one of the few that I think you can do it in a good way. Like I am very influenced by alternative rock music... Look at Avicii, he brought country music in. You can do it in a really cool way without making it too messy or weird.
Is there an artist or genre that you'd like to work with that you haven't?
There's a bunch of talented people that i'd like to work with. But for me, its all about creating a song that you've never really done before. Whether it is top line or core progression or a lead melody... it's just about trying to find that magic moment you get with someone else in the studio. That's the goal really.
What is more important - the music you are playing or the performance itself?
Both. To be able to play your own music in front of thousands of people going crazy and nuts and screaming and singing along - that's an indescribable feeling. It's like a drug to you. All this energy goes straight into you and you feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
At age 22, Porter Robinson is not a name easily recognized by the Sinatra or Michael Jackson generations. But after his song "Divinity" was hand picked by Google to be the sound that elevated their annual 2015 "year-in-review" video that has garnered over 32 million views worldwide, it is no surprise that he was recently nominated for the 2015 MTVu Artist of the Year. His set from Coachella weekend one has been said to have been one of the best of the weekend.
An artist playing this weekend that you'd really like to see?
Porter Robinson: There are so many. Lil B, Ryan Hemsworth, Ratatat is one of the first concerts I ever saw - they are amazing and I don't think they have toured in awhile... Nero - one of my peers and an artist who I saw at Coachella two years... also Flying Lotus... the taste level for Coachella is just so high. The lineups are the best and there are probably fifty artists I'd like to see.
Anyone from yesteryear - dead or alive - that you'd like to see at perform at Coachella?
I am definetily more inspired by contemporary music but I'll answer on behalf on my father: my dad wants to see Queen at Coachella. He wants to see Paul Simon - all stuff I grew up with. You know, I think my answer would actually be Genesis.
If Larry King were to introduce an act at Coachella, who would you like to see him introduce?
I would like to see Larry King introduce Lil B. You know, Lil B is an enimatic artist and I would be very interested to see how he would handle it. That would be very interesting to me.
What was it like having your song "Divinity" selected as the song for Google's annual "year-in-review" video this year?
For an artist who tries to make music that's sentimental, is there anything more nostalgic and sentimental than looking back on a year with touching footage and with the Google stamp of approval and having it air on New Year's Eve? It was so perfect... it was fantastic from start to finish... it actually helped me in Japan a lot. That advertisement was pretty successful and important in Japan... that offer is the kind of shit where you drop everything and do anything to make this happen. Massive, massive shout outs to Google for that.
I understand you were on the debate team. Do you ever feel like you have to use those skills in your current gig?
Especially earlier on when I was a better rehearsed. I did public forum debate which is one of the more casual styles of high school debate... debate culture is crazy. I think I'm worry-prone. I'm very prone to anticipate bad stuff that's about to happen. In my career, in how I interact with the public, how I use the internet. Right now, I'm thinking about all the stuff that could go wrong with this [interview]. I do my best to preclude as much of that stuff as I can. By virtue of doing any public speaking, that helped me get in front of crowds... it curbed some of my anxieties to have spoken in public before.
You can follow us (Larry's producers) on Instagram for more pictures from our weekend at Coachella: @ScottStenholm and @KMacLelland
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.