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Feature: Nick Warren & Nicolas Rada [Interview + Podcast]

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Hi Guys, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, tell us where abouts in the world you are the moment
Nicolas Rada
– Hi PA, thanks for this interview. I’m now in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Nick Warren – I’m in Sri Lanka ahead of my gig here and a 4 date tour of India, always exciting to play in this part of the world.

How did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a DJ and producer? What were some of your early inspirations?
NR
– Since I was a teenager, around 2002, I’ve listened rock bands like Zeppelin and Purple. I’ve been always seduced by dark sounds. Then, with all the internet possibilities, I discovered many other artists, like Hernán from my own country, and also the compiled albums from Global Underground. And there was Nick, who has always been a great reference for me, as well as Danny Howells, Dave Seaman, Paul Oakenfold, just to name some of them. Those mixes made me wish to be a DJ and to be able to mix some sounds. Then, I started to produce.
NW – From an early age I listened to bands like Kraftwerk, Edgar Froese, Jean Michel Jarre and Kitaro. I was always intrigued by electronic instruments and loved the bleeps and bangs made by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. This led me to be an obsessive vinyl collector and that hasn’t stopped to this day.

The global scene is constantly changing and evolving, there has been a wonderful Progressive House resurgence happening over the last year or so, is there anything you can attribute this to?
NW – I think there has always been a strong sound but maybe not always so trendy. The more accessible style of Techno is melodic and that is pretty much what Prog has been for years anyway – it is so difficult to pigeonhole it. I have always been proud to be called a Progressive DJ.
NR – I think that not to hang on to a specific sound, makes music evolve continuously. I try to apply that in my productions – to try different styles, new sounds, not only from electronic music, but also from other musical styles and cultures.

In terms of sound and I suppose crowd response as well, where do you see Progressive music at the moment, what sounds are really working for you on the dance floors?
NW
– Our style of music is in a very good place right now as far as I’m concerned, the Progressive sound is taking influences from the Ethnic and Afro scenes, as well as shades of Techno.
NR – Music is not Maths. So there appears the ability of the DJ to play a track which really works on a specific moment of the set. When the DJ knows the track is good and that it will have a good answer from the public, to detect at what moment of the set it must be played, is the best. Progressive sounds are quite special – sometimes they have a dynamic energy between percussion and the basses, and sometimes, the melodies and the pads surround people in some moments of relaxation.

And where do you see the scene going over the next year or so?
NR
– That’s a little unpredictable and I like it. To be surprised and that the places to make a show change constantly, avoid this profession becoming monotonous.
NW – That is what has always been impossible to predict and the reason that electronic music evolves so well. Going bigger I hope!

Do you think the term ‘Progressive House’ is misunderstood by artists, DJs and fans that sit outside the sound?
NR
– For me, Progressive is a way of producing, but sometimes people tag it by the title itself. The selection of sounds and the constant musical change, make this style to be dynamic and evolving. Nobody should reject ”Progressive House” because of the name, first you may know whether you like it or not. And if you are a Progressive producer, your challenge is to let new ears to discover this style. While more people open their heads to music, labels will disappear, and people will be able to express what they like and what they don’t.
NW – I think there is a tendency to overthink things and trends, or to worry about stuff like Beatport placing the tracks in the wrong genres, but to be honest that affects a very very small number of the public. Like all genres, if you produce and play high quality music, then there is a good chance it will be noticed and received well.

You’ve had a fascination with percussion since your childhood Nicolas, tell us how that shaped your productions today?NR – As a child, I wanted to play drums, I really loved that instrument and I keep loving it. Percussion in a track is almost the 50% of the groove, and provides the style of the same and its energy. Nowadays, I try to adapt my musical taste to my productions.

You also played piano as a child, how important do you think learning music theory is in becoming a successful electronic music artist?
NR
– As I couldn’t play drums, I bought a piano. The piano is an instrument which teaches you everything: music theory, harmony, melody and rhythm. It covers the whole hearing range, is analogic and can be used in almost all music styles. It’s not necessary to play an instrument to make electronic music, but having that knowledge lets you know to use a scale, to deal with it, to play a melody. Then, for example, you use a MIDI, and with any sound texture you can achieve amazing things. I think we all must know a bit about piano.

You’ve just collaborated on the latest EP for Nick’s The Soundgarden imprint entitled ‘Land Of Dreams’, there are 3 brand new originals, tell us how these tracks came together as EP and please share the production process on the title track with us?
NR
– The credits are for Nick for combining three tracks which complement. He had the idea in his head, and we went ahead together with it. We started with ‘Serengeti’ (the name of a national park in Africa), he had some live analogic sounds and some tribal percussions. Then, we continued with ‘Land of Dreams’, he sent to me some sounds he really wanted to keep in the track, following his musical perspective and experience. Some months ago, we made ‘Hands of Strangers’, with some sounds of the 80’s and 90’s. The three of them have a lot of things in common, and details that Nick wanted to preserve.

Where did you meet and how did the relationship evolve into a studio partnership?
NW
– I became aware of Nico’s productions some time ago and we’ve kept in touch ever since. I feel that I work better in a partnership and Nico was a great choice for my music outside of Way Out West.
NR – Nick has always been a reference for me, so I’ve shared with him all my productions. We’ve chatted, and once during one of his tours in Argentina, we had dinner and there we met in person. He told me about some projects we was planning and from that time on, we started working together.

Do you have different roles in the production process?
NW
– I start the ideas and get them to a stage where I feel I can send them over to Nico and then he adds his magic.
NR – Nick’s agenda is tight. Therefore, when he has something in mind, he prepares a project and then, like he says, sends it to me. I continue working on it and make a feedback. We both decide if it needs some adjusting, or sometimes Nick tries it and then we decide if it is OK. As I said, Nick’s experience lets him know very clearly what he wants and how he wants it. Sometimes that is an advantage, and sometimes a challenge. But the most important thing is to try that we both like the production, I think that this EP is a good example of it.

Given that Nick is constantly travelling we would guess you spend very little time together in the studio, rather passing files back and forth. How often do you both get to sit together and work on music?
NW
– It hasn’t really happened that way so far, its all about firing music back and forth on the internet. Hopefully in 2019 we can find some time  to spend in the same studio together!
NR – We don’t have much time together. The greatest part of the production is made when we both are in different continents. We try to be genuine with what we like and with what we don’t, because we don’t have time to discuss it in a studio. We produce, and if we don’t like it, we go over it.

How has working with Nick helped your own solo productions Nicolas? Have Nick’s years behind the decks and dance floor vision brought a new dimension to your own productions?
NR
– Definitely. The perspective of an artist like Nick must always be considered. In one way or another, artists are the ones who teach people like me. Sometimes, he sends to me a musical piece that I wouldn’t have used, and once I finish the track, I realize that that piece had a reason. That’s the experience of his musical taste and his musical perception.

So Nicolas we hear you’re working on an album at the moment, what is your vision for the project? More club-based or a broader spectrum of styles? And when can we expect to hear it?
NR
– Yes. Well, that was one of the challenges he offered me when we met, and I’m absolutely thankful. He gave me total freedom. So I decided not to do it in a specific style, but to make a musical passage between moments. The album contains downtempo, deep house, progressive house and ambient tracks. It’s a shortcut of what I like most: diversity. It’s almost finished, and I hope that in a few months you can hear it in your houses, your cars, and some tracks in the clubs.

You’ve recorded the latest edition of our podcast series, a b2b set which we’re absolutely loving, tell us a bit about it?
NR
– Well, Thanks, we’re happy you’re enjoying it. This is a mix featuring the music we play out and shows how our music works in the scene.
NW – We’ve included tracks from our EP together and some of the new music which we both admire and love – it’s a snapshot of where we are right now and we both hope everyone enjoys what they hear.

What is it about DJing that still makes it such a powerful artform?
NR
– I think that by the mixture of tracks you choose, you reveal your own personality to people through the music.
NW – I think its mixture of thinking (rather arrogantly) that one has such great taste that everyone else will love it, LOL. Also you are the only one in the room that knows what’s coming next which makes it great fun! But, on a more serious note, its just really fun to play other people’s music that you think is great.

So, Nick, what does your festival schedule look like this year? Where are you looking forward to playing?
NW
– Jody and I are doing some live Way Out West live shows in North America and the UK on the festival circuit, as well as some solo festival gigs in Hungary etc. I’m back at Burning Man this year, and I’m also headlining a festival in Sri Lanka and get to visit the country for the first time, which I am hugely excited about.

Argentina is well known for it’s love of Progressive music, there are always great events happening and a ton of young production talent rising in the scene. There must at some level be some negative aspects as well, how could the scene be further improved in Argentina, Nicolas?
NR
– I don’t consider negative all the talent we have. That makes oneself improve. We should be grateful that Argentina is an important point for international artists – it has a special energy from its people. Argentina must learn in other subjects, not music.

What is it about Argentina that makes it such an amazing place to play Nick?
NW
– It has everything I love, great music, wine, food and fishing. And the people are always incredible!

Argentina aside, where is your favourite place to travel to DJ, Nick? And why?
NW
– I actually think Europe is an amazing continent, varied from top to bottom with diverse cultures and a great club scene.

Nick, please tell us about your recent b2b set in Germany with Hernan, all your shows together seem quite magical?
NW
– We played for 8 hours at The Soundgarden Graefenthal in an ancient monastery which was really special, we do work very well together and I feel we compliment what each other plays. That and Hernan is a great friend of mine!

There must be a different feeling to the ones outside of Argentina to an extent, do you approach a gig in Germany any differently?
NW
– Not really, you are booked to play your style, not what you think different countries want to hear. This has always been my motto.

Tell us about your The Soundgarden event concept Nick, how does it differ from a regular gig for you?
NW
– For The Soundgarden events we bring a whole concept to you, from the visual aspects to the more eclectic music. I often get to play an earlier set that I would normally so I can bring in the more deep and chilled sounds, which is something I love.

Nick, your love for fishing is well documented, where are some of your favourite places to fish and what are some of your favorite fish to eat?
NW
– Argentina, Scotland and Russia, plus the USA, are all incredible fishing destinations – for me the more remote the better! I prefer to eat fish from the ocean as they have a cleaner taste to river fish.

What have been some of your biggest tracks to play in 2018 so far?
NW
– Black 8 & Arrab “Sandwaves” Bjork “Mutual Core” Nicolas Rada remix, Carlo Whale “Crackle”
NR – The list can be long, but our ‘8 Bit Era’ Remix was one of them, and I’ve also been playing some of the new tracks coming in this EP and also in the album.

Lastly, what else can we can expect in 2018 from you guys? What future productions or upcoming DJ gigs can you tell us about?
NW
– Our EP ‘Land of Dreams’ is out on The Soundgarden now. Nico will be joining us for our annual Sudbeat & The Soundgarden ADE event this year. After many fantastic years at Panama, we are heading to a new and exciting location for more of a festival vibe!
NR – The album is one of them. About the gigs, I’ll continue playing all around my country as usual, and in August I will be in Hungary, and in October at ADE.

Tracklist:

  1. Dio S – Alas (Savvas Remix)
  2. Jamie Stevens – The Forgotten Dive (Original Mix)
  3. Arina Mur – Pearl wings (Original Mix)
  4. Nick Warren & Nicolas Rada – Land Of Dreams (Original Mix)
  5. Dimuth K & Berni Turletti – To 15257 Km Away (Original Mix)
  6. Dj Zombi – Crypto Maniacs (Interaxxis Remix)
  7. Deeparture (nl) – Trinidad (Silinder Remix)
  8. Nick Warren & Nicolas Rada – The Hands Of Strangers (Original Mix)
  9. Luka Sambe – Rululu (Original Mix)
  10. Nick Warren & Nicolas Rada – Serengeti (Original Mix)
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