Armand Van Helden
About Armand Van Helden
One of house music’s boldest innovations was the idea that a remix could not just reimagine a given song for the dance floor but even eclipse the original’s popularity altogether. No one better encapsulates that ethos than Armand Van Helden, whose remixes for artists like New Order, Tori Amos and Puff Daddy helped establish him as a savvy ambassador between the worlds of house and pop. Born in Boston in 1970, Van Helden began DJing hip-hop and freestyle as a young teen, and at 21, he went to work for the remix service X-Mix Productions. With his 1994 breakthrough hit, “Witch Doktor”, Van Helden had found his magic formula: A killer beat plus an unusual hook equals an unforgettable track. Much of the swagger in Van Helden’s music comes from classic funk, hip-hop and freestyle—it’s no coincidence that he titled his 1996 debut LP Old School Junkies—but what really makes his work sing is its carefree sense of fun. Nowhere is that more evident than in Duck Sauce, his duo with A-Trak. Their hits—like the 2010 breakthrough “Barbra Streisand” and 2014’s “NRG”—infuse tried-and-true funk and disco beats with the kind of zany, over-the-top energy that unites casual listeners and dyed-in-the-wool house heads in giddy abandon.