Hi dear you, that just get here coming by anywhere on the internet. Let me give you an introduction about the scenario of this amazing interview with Nicky Romero. We met in 2014, he was 24 years old, it was exactly 2 days before his birthday on January 6th and was our first interview. Back then, we talked about how his life has changed since “Toulouse” and his performances all over the globe in big festivals, his own shows, events with his label Protocol and the music they were releasing. He was doing so many new things, it was literally to soon to realize all that life change point, he was pretty young too, so am I, who looked at him full of joy and admiration for who was standing in front of me at that moment.
Nowadays, 5 years later, it’s secure to say that we can sit, look back and have an honest conversation about everything that happened since then. It’s good to look at and have a different point of view, a solid one about all the good and bad sides of being a super DJ. It was a deep and long conversation, I’m warning you before, but I’m proud to walk through the new Nick remembering the old one and glad for the artist and person that he became, so let’s get started!
Looking back for our first interview, I will redo some of the questions that we did in the past. For start, how would you describe the changes in your sound and your life between these two performances at Ultra Music Festival, one in 2013 and the most recent one ?
“I would say in 2013/2014 I was in a different mindset, back then everything was still quite new, so 2013 was my first main stage play on ultra, 2014 was my second one, and 2014 was the first time that I got a slot where actually the field was packed, so back then I was focus in on a lot of progressive house songs and I kind of took my place in the industry with songs like “Legacy”, “I Could Be The One”, “Warriors”, “Symphonica”, “Toulouse”, they all were pretty much the songs of the moment, so I would say, and that sound was still quite new back then. I wouldn’t say that I’m the one that invented, but I’m definitely one of the artists that probably amplified that sound. A lot of people would know me, would come for me to hear that sound on Ultra, now the music scene has changed so much that also means that I changed a lot, because I needed it to find a way out, to find balance to progressive house music but also the music that works on Spotify, so my set, and there are new people at ultra now that probably wasn’t there 5 years ago because they weren’t old enough, so this entire new scene, new industry, which is exciting because I get to redefine my own sound and my own career. But it’s all about finding a new balance and where I may wanna go sound-wise, and I think all the artists start dealing with this, so personally, I think I more balance now, I feel that like I’ve seen a lot, I’ve been thru really high things in my life also really low things, where I was feeling not great at all and feeling really down actually, so now I think I hit sort of balance and I know this is what I can do and this is what I can’t do and this is what is gonna affect me and this is not gonna affect me and make it easier to maintain what I like to do and then it’s not gonna cause me a lot of energy and I have more energy to make a lot of records now. Back then I would be impacted by everything, so that is the big change I think.”
I remember once you posted on your Instagram about what you were dealing in your life, it was an honest conversation with your fans where you explained what you were going through in your life and the problems that you were facing, and after Avicii death, what it was your reaction when you knew about it and if you thought about your own experiences in life.
“That’s is a pretty deep question. But to give you the most honest answer I try to be as honest as possible and as open as possible to fans because I feel they deserve the truth, they don’t deserve an instagram reality, they need to have the real reality, and the reality is that not everything that happens on social media is actually real, most of that is made up and only shows the best side of themselves, but we cannot be that perfect version of ourselves, because every person goes thru ups and downs, I felt because I had to cancel a few shows because of my mental state I just couldn’t tour so I wanted to give the people the honest version of what is going on in my life, what the reason is that I had to stay in I know that I have been spoken a lot with Avicii on Whats App or on the phone or in real life about things that he was facing it, feelings that he had and I know that he was dealing with a lot of anxiety, how to be called, just like I do, now is not that much anymore, sometimes it’s still there but in the past it was much more and I think eventually, Avicii was such a talented producer but I think he was not the kind of guy that was really comfortable in such a big audience he was a pretty shy person. I would say I’m a really bit more into bigger crowds that’s fine with me, but I just have to watch other things, so for me I’m very, like that is impacts every time like when there is a lot of people tryna touch you and tryna taking pictures, those impacts in different things, and in Dutch we have a slang, it’s like a word for it, we call “prikkels”, with means things that touch you, so I have to maintain a level of balance to myself and sort of Avicii. But I didn’t know about his last mental state because he was really in his world, so I wish he had told me more about how he felt, because you know, no one deserves something that happened to him, but sometimes I felt really bad but I wouldn’t say I was this closer as he was.”
I think is important to talk about because a lot of producers and DJs complaining about how touring can be really exhausting, sometimes a DJ do 3 shows in the same day, have to travel from country to country and that is really hard to their bodies and mental health. How do you think talk about that on the scene would prevent those things to happen?
“First thing, we all have to step into the light and say, this is how we feel, it’s not normal, it’s not human to leave a life like this on a daily base, even though is great. But a lot of people in my own environment they think you have the best life, you have stages, you have drinks, you have good cars, you have nice houses, there are always girls, you know? That is how they would look at it, and it’s hard to explain to them, listen this work is really hard work, it’s almost the life of an athlete, you have to be fit all the time, you have to eat well, I don’t drink in general, but you need to maintain the good level of health in order to maintain this industry, that is so much going on I think it’s important that we all, not only me, but everyone in this industry and not only in this industry also in the film, in the acting scene, in the sports, they need to be honest about how they feel, so they can educated other people in the world where social media takes over, everybody likes to share their perfect version on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Snapchat, whatever, but most of the time, behind every photo, there is a story, you know? And that story, I feel like we should try to put a little bit more in the daylight, and tell them what the reality it is, I agree, that’s is what I do it and that is what I speak about it.”
Talking about touring, I would like to hear from you a positive point and a negative one about how touring changed your life.
“What the positive side is, to start with, is that I get to see a lot of amazing places, I’ve been to almost every little or big place in the world where I wanted to go as a kid, there is still a lot to be discovered because the world is so big that I had not to get the chance to really discover every country but I’m definitely been to the most highlights and the hotspots in most countries, so I got lucky to see all of that, a lot of people wouldn’t even see that, now I’m in Miami and friends of mine or family says ‘Oh, you are in Miami, I wanna go there, I wanna see Miami’ and I’m like I’m in Miami then, for the last 10 years I got 5 times every year, It feels like I’m just traveling to the city where my grandpa and grandma would live, five minutes away, so this got normal to me and that is something which is negative, because I get used to this life so much that I sometimes I forget to see the value of touring and also the fact that you can not see your family and friends as much as you want, that would be another side. Touring is much as a benefit but it also it gets normal, everything in life gets normal if you would drive for ya every day from this day on your own life I’m gonna tell you now in a year it’s gonna feel normal to you.”
You are preparing a world tour, right?
“Yes, Redefine Tour.”
Are you planning to go to Brazil? Do you hope soo? Can you say something?
“No, I mean, I think we are going to Brazil, I just have to check when, where and how. Last night I posted an image on my Instagram, I don’t know if you saw it, it’s said Green Valley, I spoke to promote of Green Valley and we are trying to get a date there as soon as possible cause that is one of my favorite clubs in the world to play, but we go to Brazil quite often hopefully we can come back with this tour.”
Do you will have some special on this tour? For you or for your fans? What are you preparing?
“That it’s gonna be hopefully a few artists that I can bring on stage for all the year, so they can see then performing live, like we’ve done last year on Ultra with Roses and Taio Cruz and I would like to have that live element going in my set its load more to a point where I actually get to play piano and a drum live in my set, I’m not sure how far we will get this year but this is definitely something that I’m trying to achieve in the next few years in my sets.”
View this post on Instagram
About music production, you released a pack on Splice and I would like to know what is your favorite plugin to your own music.
“That’s easy. It’s Kickstart and It’s a plugin called kick, next to the fact that we do the Splice simple pack, we put a lot of time and effort into creating plugins and we have amazing partners in doing so, the big example its Kickstart, this is very technical, but its a plugin to create that bounce sound in your production and a lot of producers have been using it, I saw last month that Timbaland was using it and his Masterclass, also a lot of bands use it, a lot of artists, DJs, producers, also hip hop guys, that is one of the most successful plugins that I’ve worked on. I just like to be hard of the production process so we do the Splice simple pack to create sounds to make easier for beginnings producers to have solid sounding kick drums, solid sounding drums and then we try additionally do plugins for people to help them out how to side chain and ducking and editing their sounds and that is something that is a very important thing in my life, which is to educate the new generation and to help other producers out with simple tasks. Since you are studying music production, the real question it is, when is your song coming out on Protocol Recordings? I think that is the real question.”
No pressure, I just started college, we have to wait a moment, but you will be the first to hear something from me, it’s a deal.
About your music, specifically, your sound really changed as you said you started with Progressive House, so how would you define the way that you are trying to go with your music? Do you have a goal, a point where you are trying to achieve or you are just testing new things?
“Well, currently I’m trying to find my way into what is my sound on Spotify and radio, I think I’m very solid in the club music, I know what to do, I know what to make and I’m trying to take new elements, like Future House, Future Bass kind of sounds, I’m trying to implement there in my new sound to have a new look at progressive house I think, but there is definitely where my heart is, at the same time I’m trying to develop a sound that works a little bit more for Spotify and for radio and that is something that we are still finding our balance in, I think right now with the now song with DallasK and XYLØ, it’s one of our firsts songs that feel I little bit like Nicky Romero but still good to be played on Spotify because it’s 122bpm, what is still pretty fast, for your reference, I played 126-128 usually so I found out that needs to be a little bit closer to what I play in the clubes for people to understand that it’s gonna be a Nicky Romero record. So that’s something I learned last year.”
Anything else that you want to add? Something that you are planning for next year or for now?
“Did you bring some pão de queijo?” [chease bread]
OMG, I didn’t, I should’ve, next time I promise I will.
Next time whatever if you are doing an interview or just meeting me don’t forget to bring it.
Nicky Romero it’s going to perform on June 1st at Laroc in Sao Paulo, save the date!