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Feature: Nightbob [Interview]

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The expedition across the night sky continues with ‘Constellations: Scorpius.’ This time we are in the hands of prolific Dutchman, Nightbob. A veteran producer with numerous releases under his belt, Nightbob delivers his finest work to date in ‘Scorpius,’ a mix compilation replete with originals and remixes in his own distinctive and unmistakable style. Each Nightbob track is marked by alien sound selection and glossed with a crystalline mix culminating in a piece of music that bears his artistic signature. The dj mix is equally representative of his aesthetic, as he masterfully works within the framework of the all-SLC-6 Music compilation concept. We had a chance to catch up with the storied Dutch DJ for an exclusive chat just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hi Rob, thanks for joining us today, tell us where in the world you are and what your plans for the week are?

I am living in the city of Nieuwegein, Netherlands and beside my daily job as a train conductor I fill most of my spare time with producing or remixing music. But since I followed some masterclasses mixing and mastering I also do some sound engineering jobs for others, which is also a great thing to do. These classes were very intensive and interesting, I gained a lot of knowledge about this subject. My teacher was the artist Love Over Entropy, a very talented DJ and producer, he inspired me a lot.

Tell us about growing up and living in the Netherlands, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

When I was a teenager I was blown away by electronic music like Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, and Yello. The upcoming Italo disco in the 80’s of the 20th century did the rest, with my reel tape recorder I created my first remixes and continuous mixes by simply cutting and pasting the tape.

Can you name five tracks that were influential in your musical development?

Five tracks that influenced my musical development were Kimen – Marina (Ilya Gushin Remix), Marcus Schossow –The Last Pluck (Fluffy Mix), The Temper Trap – Science Of Fear (Michael Woods Remix), Jerome Isma Ae – Smile Whe You Kill Me, and Lemon8 – Disco Demon. I still use some of them as reverence tracks in my productions despite their age! But I am also very fond of productions by Matador and Dubfire, two of my heroes.

How has the pandemic affected your inspiration or creativity in the studio?

During the first major Covid-19 lockdown everything got on hold big time.. Of course I had time enough to work on some older projects, but I also had to deal with a huge producers block. I noticed all my inspiration was gone, I even thought I lost my skills as well. I figured the main cause was the actuality and tension about the unknown effect of the virus, but also the abundancy of time made me lazy a bit. Procrastination is the most accurate diagnosis.

Once nightlife eventually resumes globally what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

If nightlife possibly resumes I suppose it will explode. People had to stay in for ages, I think they accept and comply all measures if they only could visit their favorite clubs. I would!

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? The impact it’s having on travelling DJs is hugely significant. What is your feeling on all the live stream sets happening now?

The upcoming streaming facilities has had a huge effect on the music industry, people don’t need to buy music anymore. It’s easy to follow your favorite artist and listen to the latest productions. I also get inspired by listening tosome stream, but I still buy tracks to keep the industry going. It became hard to earn some money from productions. Another source is receiving great new music by promotional posts, these are send to listed artists.

You’ve recently compiled the latest installment of SLC-6 Music’s Constellations series ‘Scorpius’. You’ve written quite a few originals and remixes specifically for the mix in fact. Tell us a bit about the collection and process behind putting it together.

Constellation: Scorpius was born after I met David MacIntyre a while ago. I was jobless at the time and was in a very creative flow, so I filled my time with producing and remixing. David had the plan to remix some of his released tracks, create some new originals, and do a collab track with David. I loved the idea and did the job! It all worked out tremendously, we’ve got a shiny and complete album now with 14 tracks, a 120 minute continuous mix and a Youtube movie with stunning images. Very proud!

Were their any specific inspirations you drew from in writing some of the tracks on the collection? And where does your inspiration generally come from?

The inspirations I got for writing the new originals came from some vocal chops I found. They yelled for a mysterious and dark styled track with some catchy and melodic lines. The genre and atmosphere needed to fit in the subject of the album, so a spacy sound was needed. I usually get inspired by such minor elements, a special sound effect or soundbite might do the job!

How difficult was it deciding on the mix flow from a listener’s perspective?

I build a mix by selecting tracks in the same rootkey, or keys which are naturally combined. It’s a process of trying and listening.

Walk us through the production process on one your tracks on the release, one of your favourites if you like.

One of my favorite remixes is Donde Nace of Don Satur. I recorded a vocal chop and processed this. I created a catchy arpeggiater with a Buchla Easel synth and added chops of the original lead to it. It took only a few days to finish this remix.

Do you think the digital era changed the way we perceive DJ mix albums? Do they still carry the weight they once did?

I think DJ mixes are becoming more important these days for lovers of electronic music. People are streaming more and more, mixes are pleasant to listen to if they tell a story. That’s how I compile my DJ mixes, build up in a logical and stylish way.

What’s a piece of gear or software that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

My favorite tool is my ancient Access Virus C, a powerful synthesizer of the nineties. I can say this instrument is used in nearly every production. It’s a difficult synth to understand and operate, but once you have figured that out it’s sound and possibilties are just stunning. I am also very fond of some u-he virtual instruments in my Cubase DAW, also very powerful and unique!

Who do you show your music first before introducing it to a broader audience or sending it out to labels?

I usually show my tryouts to some friends and colleague-producers. When they are as enthusiastic as me, I will proceed with the production and try to find a suitable label. But I actually never search for a label that much, I mostly work for just a few.

Is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so why?

I would love to produce some soundtracks for a SciFi movie, thriller or horror, it does not even have to be dance music. I love creating weird sounds or effects, mysterious pads or atmospheres. I usually put a lot of time in compiling breaks in my tracks, they must draw attention and even tell the story of the track. I sometimes build my track around a break when I gathered some interesting sounds.

There are a lot of factors that affect the perception of an artist other than his music these days, social media for one, how much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? And what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

In my opinion social media can do a lot for artists, on the other hand the same media are overflown with many many artists and pages, it is getting harder to stand out. The trick is, find something that is not done before, like this Scorpius project. Never done before, it will be noticed! Repetition is the keyword, otherwise not everybody will spot your posts due the abundancy of information on timelines. Artists can’t do without social media anymore.

Current five favorite tracks?

My favorite tracks of this year are Spalamp – Into The Dark, Zoo Brazil, Wolf & Moon – Thunderstorm (Dave Seaman Remix), Choopie and Sharkieboy – Moon in the Window, Boris Brejcha – Schattenmonch and nearly everything made by my hero Stan Kolev. I love a lot tracks by the way, so this list is far from complete.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My second love is photography, which gives me piece and joy too. Shooting a killer picture has about the same effect as creating a killer track. I sometimes use one of my pictures in the artwork, which I create for a label, which gives me double fun.

What does the remainder of 2020 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I think 2020 has started a bit disappointing due covid, throughout the year, it has started to affect the music industry hard. But we need to stay positive and find a way to present music. I will never stop doing this. It’s just like water, it will find its way!! Stay save and play music!

‘Constellations: Scorpius’ is available for pre-order now via SLC-6 Music: https://bit.ly/3lrMDXY

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