Nothing But The Beat (2011) – Movie Review

We review David Guetta documentary NOTHING BUT THE BEAT

Nothing But the Beat follows DJ and producer David Guetta over a period of a few days in his very hectic life. The film opens as he is preparing to perform a sold out gig in Glasgow, and he talks animatedly about his love for the Scottish crowd and the nervous excitement he feels about trying out his brand new, previously unheard material for the brutally honest, and passionate, Glasgow audience. His friendly demeanour and obvious delight in getting to do what he loves for a living are evident from the first five minutes and this is just the beginning of a whirlwind journey with one of the most successful producers in the music business today.

Travelling from Britain to various parts of America, Ibiza, France and everywhere in between, he works an incredibly gruelling schedule and often has three or four gigs in a day, followed by another couple the next. Making his ‘beats’ all the while, Guetta is extremely passionate about his music and that energy and enthusiasm are infectious – his face lights up when he talks about sharing his music with crowds of people in venues of all shapes and sizes. He’s been working towards this career as an international DJ since the late 1980’s and despite his name being one of the most frequently recognised in the UK and US charts today, this has been a long time coming.

The main focus of the documentary, however, and the main focus of David Guetta’s career, is the evolution of house music and the way in which this genre is discussed and debated in the film is incredibly interesting. Guetta talks about the origins of house music in the 1970’s and 1980’s and the fact that while it was widely rejected in America, the UK was much more open to the genre and was a site of reference for him as a teenager, working as a DJ in a gay nightclub in Paris and watching the amazing way the crowd would respond to this sort of music when he mixed it.

His aim, therefore, has been to help house music and dance music evolve into something new and over the past twenty years he has certainly done so, collaborating with some of the most influential names in hip hop, R’N’B and pop all over the world to create new, fresh dance music that appeals to people on every continent. He talks about this sort of music so passionately, and with such focus and determination,that it’s impossible not to cheer him on. For someone experiencing such phenomenal success, he comes across as very down to earth – the fame is most definitely an added bonus for him.

While his personal life isn’t dealt with in too much detail, it’s obvious that having had his adoring wife of over twenty years, Cathy, by his side at all times (wherever he goes, she goes, helping organise festivals and dance parties, and giving him unyielding support at every one of his gigs) has helped keep David as grounded as he is. They are a team and this aspect of his life is definitely not something we think about when we see him DJ-ing in front of a crowd in Ibiza, or in the music video for his latest chart-topper.

It is evident from his excited acceptance speech when winning two Grammy awards in 2010 that he feels that he has achieved something significant for dance music and is obviously proud that the genre he loves so much is gaining the respect it deserves – there is no hint of arrogance or self-importance in the way that David Guetta talks about his work. Everything he does is in an attempt to share the music he has been a fan of for such a long time with the world and this makes him a joy to watch. His enthusiasm is infectious and when you pair it with his total lack of arrogance and his years of experience and depth of knowledge of house music, it’s little wonder that he’s currently a force of nature in the music industry.

Nothing But the Beat is a really fascinating watch, and worth putting aside an hour of your time to see. It’s fast paced, informative and paints a really impressive picture of Guetta, and the team around him. It is available as a free podcast on iTunes now.


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