|Armand Van Helden|
Armand Van Helden at the Forum in Trier, Germany, 2004
February 16, 1970|
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Armand van Helden (born February 16, 1970) is an American DJ, record producer, remixer and songwriter from Boston, Massachusetts. He was one of the main proponents of the speed garage genre, remixing various artists such as Katy Perry, Daft Punk, Britney Spears, Enrique Iglesias, David Guetta, Sam Smith, Bloc Party, Janet Jackson, Juliet Roberts, KRS-One and Sneaker Pimps, among others with this musical style. He is closely linked to the electronic music scene of New York, however much of his chart success has been in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom.
His greatest successes have been the remix of the song "Professional Widow" by Tori Amos, "Spin Spin Sugar" by Sneaker Pimps, My My My" featuring Tara McDonald (containing a sample of "Comin' Apart" by Gary Wright), as well as "You Don't Know Me" (containing a sample of "Dance With You" by Carrie Lucas), which is Van Helden's own work and topped the UK Singles Chart. He also featured in "Bonkers" by British rapper Dizzee Rascal, which also topped the UK charts.
Van Helden was born to an Indo (Dutch-Indonesian) father and a French-Lebanese mother but traveled around the world as a child, spending time in the Netherlands, Latvia, Turkey and Italy as his father was a member of the U.S. Air Force. At the age of 13, he bought a drum machine and started DJing two years later.
From circa 1986-1988 he was in a rap group name "Define" because they were de finest around and they defined rap music. His name was DJ AVH, along with fellow crew members, Sir Beat, & Lopoka. They performed all over Europe and helped hone his DJ skills.
He returned to Boston in 1988, moonlighting as a DJ in Boston clubs. He attended college in Boston. He quit his legal-review job in 1991 to work as a remixer under the management of Neil Petricone and X-Mix. He took up a DJ residency at the Loft, a top Boston nightclub at the time. He released his first official single, a mix of Deep Creed's "Stay On My Mind" through Nervous Records (US).
He released "Move It To the Left" (credited to Sultans of Swing) in 1992 on the Strictly Rhythm label, which became a moderate club hit and led to a string of singles released under several monikers for that label. His first track to make the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart was "Witch Doktor," which made the top 5 in 1994, and led to opportunities to remix acts such as New Order, Deep Forest, Jimmy Somerville, Deee-Lite, and Faithless.
However, it was the "Professional Widow" remix that established him and became a dance hit around the world as well as a number-one hit in the United Kingdom. Van Helden stated of his compensation for the remix: "it was like $10,000, and that was a little below what I was making back then for a remix, but I had the time." However, it led to work remixing the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Puff Daddy, as well as Daft Punk and Sneaker Pimps, adding to his reputation as one of the world's top house-music musicians.
"Cha Cha" was another top-ten dance hit from his first album, Old School Junkies: The Album, which was released in 1996, along with "The Funk Phenomena." A greatest hits album appeared the next year, followed by a breakbeat album later in 1997. "You Don't Know Me" was a number two hit on the Billboard dance chart, a number one hit in the United Kingdom, and a top 20 single on the pop charts in Australia and Canada. The song was the breakout track from his 2Future4U album, which was released stateside on Armand's own label, Armed Records.
Van Helden released the Killing Puritans album in 2000 (also on Armed Records), which contained the hit "Koochy". The track was based around Gary Numan's five times UK chart hit, "Cars". His single "Why Can't You Free Some Time" made it to number 34 in the UK in 2001. His New York: A Mix Odyssey album released in 2004 produced two hits: "Hear My Name", a collaboration with Spalding Rockwell that reached number 7 on the Billboard dance chart, number 34 in the UK, and the top 40 in Australia; and "My My My" featuring Tara McDonald, which reached number 4 on the world internet charts, number 5 in the Belgian and Dutch charts, number 6 in Australia, number 15 in the UK, and top 30 in the world dance charts.
In 2005, he released the album Nympho, featuring the singles "Into Your Eyes", "My My My", "Hear My Name", and "When the Lights Go Down". The album reached the top 30 in Australia, and number 48 in the UK. "When The Lights Go Down" reached #52 on the ARIA Chart in Australia, and was a dance and club hit.
Van Helden was the featured DJ in the Southern Fried tent at Get Loaded in the Park at Clapham Common on the August Bank Holiday in 2005. He treated concertgoers with an incredible mash-up set that is still spoken about today about being one of his best performances.
Two of his songs, "My My My" (featuring a sample from Gary Wright's "Comin' Apart") and the Dark Garage Mix of the Sneaker Pimps' "Spin Spin Sugar," are featured in Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME 2. He also edited music for Deee-Lite.
In 2006, he re-released "My My My" featuring the British singer Tara McDonald, which reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 in the UK dance charts. Remixes included the Funktuary radio edit and Stonebridge remix.
In 2008, Van Helden gained more commercial success by remixing "INSPIRE", a No. 1 hit by the Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki. This remix was released on the album Ayu-mi-x 6: Gold. Also, in 2008, Van Helden released two albums, You Don't Know Me: The Best of Armand Van Helden and a mix album titled New York: a Mix Odyssey 2.
In May 2009, Van Helden collaborated with British rapper Dizzee Rascal on his single "Bonkers". It peaked at number one in Rascal's native United Kingdom, where it stayed for two weeks and became Van Helden's third chart topper in Britain.
Later in 2009, Van Helden worked with A-Trak to create "aNYway" which was released in October under the name Duck Sauce. The duo later gained chart success with the song "Barbra Streisand", which peaked at number three in the United Kingdom and within the top ten of the charts in other European markets.
In early 2011, Armand Van Helden stated that he has an album planned for 2014. Armand Van Helden teamed up with fellow DJ/producer A-Trak to form Duck Sauce in 2011. The duo scored hits with "Barbra Streisand" and "The Big Bad Wolf".
In 2013 Duck Sauce released the song "It's You", a hit in the dancefloor throughout the world and has been nominated for the MTV Video Awards. In October of the same year they presented two new songs, "Stereo Radio" with Duck Sauce and "I Know A Place" (feat. Spank Rock).
In 2014, Van Helden collaborated with Cheap Thrills label boss and DJ Hervé to release their recent song "Power of Bass"
Duck Sauce, released their debut album Quack, released on April 15 through Fool's Gold Records. The album features the duo's long chain of singles. The new Duck Sauce video for "NRG" is filmed as an infomercial.
In April 2015: London-based Snakehips released Forever Pt. II EP, which spurred a series of well-received remixes. Armand Van Helden, as part of Duck Sauce, remixed their song "Forever".