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Interview: Nomas

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'Orbit: Nomas' is the first in a new series from SLC-6 Music highlighting core artists from the label. The series features new originals, remixes, reworks, and previously released music - all swirling in orbit around the featured artist. In this first episode, Nomas is the barycenter. The Italian-born, German resident has been a music producing tour de force since his first commercial release under the Nomas moniker in late 2018. The pace and quality of his music are gathering steam with releases on Steyoyoke, Beatfreak, Balkan Connection, Mango Alley, Freegrant, SLC-6, Massive Harmony, Purified, Eat My Hat, Dreaming Awake, Pure Trance, OLD SQL, Addictive Sounds, and others.

The celestial musical bodies swirling around Nomas which comprise the release include two reworks from the man himself, a new solo original, a collaboration with frequent partner D.J. MacIntyre, remixes from Kandar, Kenan Savrun, HeoliK, Edvard Hunger, and Nightbob, as well as re-releases of four originals. Cumulatively, these tracks showcase the dark, emotional, and epic style that is distinctly Nomas, and which has made him an integral part of SLC-6 Music. We had a chance to catch up with Nomas for an exclusive chat just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hello Nomas, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hey there, thank you very much for having me! Despite the world situation right now, I’m actually in a very good mood. I was listening back to the “Untrue” album by Burial.

What are your plans for the coming week?

During the last few weeks I finalized a lot of tracks, both solo and collaborations, so I think I’ll switch a little bit on recording some new dj mixes.

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

When I was younger, eurodance and deep house music played a very big role in the italian club scene, especially in Tuscany, the region where I come from. I was a big fan of that sound and it pushed me to dig a little bit deeper into the world of electronic music, discovering artists like Mauro Picotto, Joe T Vanelli and, later on, more trancy stuff like Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren.

You’re now based in Germany, what prompted you to relocate there and how long have you been living there?

I’ve been living in Germany for more than 10 years now. I was moved by the desire to change something in my life, know other people, see other places and, last but not least, find a job that gives me the chance to be financially independent.

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is that true of yourself? Talk about where your inspiration comes from.

I think the word “inspiration” is very often misunderstood. For me inspiration is the mood you reach showing up in the studio everyday, working on your stuff. It is not something you have to wait for, it’s something you create yourself by doing the work repeatedly. Of course, I had the chance to see a tiny little bit of the world in my life - new countries, people and sounds, etc. can influence your taste pretty heavily. I really think that our music is like our baby, we grow up and evolve together and every new experience takes us a step forward.

You’re known for a melodic house & techno sound, it’s a genre that continues to be one of electronic music’s most popular categories, what is your feeling on the state of that sound at the moment?

I have always been a big fan of the end ‘90’s, beginning ‘00 trance music. I really like the fact that a piece of music can be so emotional and, at the same time, so powerful. So yes, melodic techno was pretty much a natural evolution for me, I think it has much more in common with old trance music than with techno itself. It is a genre that is here to stay, especially if everyone tries to give it his own interpretation, instead of trying to sound like something we already have.

You have some new music out this week on SLC-6 Music’s new Orbit series, tell us a bit about the project and how you ended up being the artist to launch the series.

The Orbit series is a great way for the most prolific producers to have their works collected in one release. I also had a couple of tracks remixed by other artists sitting around waiting to see the light. This is actually the best way I can imagine to finally have the chance to listen to them, together with the tracks that make us a part of this wonderful family.

So there are thirteen tracks in total on the release, some are originals and some remixes, how many of these were produced specifically for this collection and how do you feel about your music being remixed?

When David told me about the new Orbit series, I wanted to make this one special, so, I decided to rework the first two tracks I released on SLC-6 (“Cosmo” and “Vesper”). There is also a new track called “Elysium,” produced together with D.J. McIntyre himself, as a sort of highest point of our wonderful collaboration. I really like my tracks to be remixed just because I like to remix myself. It is always very fascinating to see where other people’s imagination can take your work.

Since your first release in December of 2018 a good percentage of your releases have come out on SLC-6 Music, what makes the label such a great home for your work?

As I started with music production years ago, I really thought that sounding like someone else would have been the right way to be successful in this business. As soon as I realised that this is actually the worst approach you can possibly have, I decided to let it go and just produce music that I would like to listen to again and again, no matter if trance, techno or whatever. David was the first one who believed in my work, always pushing me a step further. If my name appears on big labels today, it is also thanks to him. That’s why I’m so loyal to SLC-6, you can travel the world but you’ll never forget the place you come from.

Talk to us a bit about your production process, pick a track from the release and walk us through the process of crafting it.

Pretty much every one of my tracks comes to life in the same way, and the Orbit tracks are no exception. I always start programming the chord progression, then the lead sound, the arpeggios and then all the rest. Because my music is very melody based, I prefer not to start with the beat - it takes me nowhere concrete after hours and hours of work.

What does your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this track?

I started producing music in my old place, on a small kitchen’s table with nothing else than a MacBook, so I always preferred being in the box. I think plugins nowadays have an incredible sonic potential, you just have to learn to use them properly (and I still don’t :-D). Also, as I moved to a new house, I stayed in the box, expanding my arsenal with new MIDI controllers, speakers and so on. There are three plugins I could not live without, Diva, Sylenth and Serum. I love how they sound and, once you have learned how to play with them, you always reach the sound you have in mind.

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. What platform has become your go-to-source when it comes to discover new music?

There are many actually. I always try to be up to date going on Beatport every week looking for new releases. Other than that, in addition to the classic Spotify’s playlists, I found myself using 1001Tracklists a lot, especially during this pandemic year, where pretty much every DJ did live-streams on Twitch and YouTube.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? Has it played a factor on your creativity in the studio? Or has it made you more productive?

I don’t want to lie. Since I’m at home from work (November 2020), I’ve never been so productive in the studio. Sure, it is a very bad situation for our world, but I think we should try and see the positive aspects of it. We will never have so much free time again (hopefully) and I prefer making the best out of it instead of complaining on how bad life can be. Of course, that’s just my way of looking at it, everyone reacts in a different way, there is not a right or wrong way to deal with something like this.

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

Usually, finishing a track is always a great joy for me. I always have the impulse to just call it done and send it out. After months of producing, I realised that there is always room for improvement, so, as soon as a new track is done, I take a step back and send it first to a couple of producer friends, for example David MacIntyre, my mate Basil O’Glue but also friends from Italy (also producers) and DJs I’m in contact with.

How do you see yourself continuing to evolve as an artist in the coming years?

That’s the wonder of being a music producer actually, you don’t really know where the path will take you. What I know is that my sound signature is slowly taking form and the only thing that I can do is just keep on sketching stuff in the studio day after day.

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

I’m a massive fan of the first Blade Runner movie but that said, I know I could never do a better soundtrack than Vangelis did. For me, that’s not music any more, it is something bigger. Instead of a movie, I think I would prefer producing a soundtrack for a documentary, maybe one about our universe, it’s something that always fascinated me.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Spending time with people that really mean something to me. Oh yeah, and videogames, I love videogames :-D.

What does the remainder of 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I have various releases coming out in the next few months, and I am looking forward to those. Other than that, I think I’ll try to finish some new material and maybe, when the world starts again, try to play it myself somewhere.

'Orbit: Nomas' is available for pre-order now via SLC-6 Music: https://bit.ly/3c3U1pP

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