The IDM Extended and Full Interview with Nick Holder.
When you have been around since the late 80’s / early 90’s, surely things change. Career wise, what’s different now from the time you first lugged your vinyl crate to the disco?
Well to start my back ache days are over haha, But so much has changed the good old days of vinyl. Studio equipment has been replaced by music programs and Keyboard Plugins. Back in the day we just had House and Soulful Techno from Detroit, now we got so many genres of House and Techno, I used to be able to spin house and techno at a party now people are all about what genre of house do you listen to. Also DJing was a skill, you had to know how to mix two records back to back and rock the crowd, but now we got all these programs that beat match and overnight laptop DJ’s. But I really miss watching a DJ spin vinyl and that analog sound. The sound of an mp3 will never sound as good as vinyl, but you can’t stop technology.
You’ve currently been in SA for a lengthy period of time, what was the motivation behind deciding to spend an extended amount of time here?
I had many offers to DJ here back in 2000 but turned them down, at that time I was spending a lot of time spinning in UK, Then a friend of mine producer Abacus said I need to go to SA, my music is well known there, so in 2009 I decided to go and at that time I was slowly fading back into Hip Hop. When I landed in SA I was in shock, I could not get over how big deep house was here, I felt like I took a time machine back into the 90s when house was big in Toronto. When I heard the music the SA producers were making I said to myself, “so this is where deep house is hiding out”
How different then is the SA house music scene when compared to your home country, Canada’s, one?
Well in Toronto we had a strong scene in the 90’s, House was getting high rotation radio play and we had quite a few good house clubs, overall we had a strong scene. Things changed in early 2000’s, R&B and Hip Hop and Pop dominated the radio and House music went underground, and now we get 1 or 2 House shows on University stations, The same thing also happened in New York. It’s quite sad because we only have one good House club left in Toronto, and parties only take place 3 times a month there. If I ask my 16 year old nephew if he likes House his reply is “I don’t know what that is” but he can tell me the latest by Jay Z or Lil Wayne, In SA I noticed house is everywhere and get’s heavy rotation on radio, I refer to SA as House Nation!
You have a new album out to add to your illustrious list of full length albums and compilations, how was it making this album? The collaborations, the highlights and the challenges?
Making this album was a rollercoaster ride, it was to be released in 2007 but things went all wrong, I had released 3 albums on NRK in the UK and was about to drop “My Sound” then the label went bankrupt and I went back to the drawing board and decided to do it on my label DNH Records. Three years go by and I decided to do the album on vinyl then cd, the album sampler came out in the UK and as I was about to do the cd, one of the artist who is well know decided she wants me to remove her tracks off the album, another setback. So now it’s 2012 and I was like “this album is coming this year”
So I decided to release the album mixed on CD only and collaborated with Zaki Ibrahim, Sacha, Trackheadz and also worked with SA vocalist Lee Ann King, Moneoa and spoken word artist Sphelele. Also the album is exclusive to SA for now on Baainar records and distributed by Soul Candi.
To Stay inspired I listen to many styles of music from Hip Hop to reggae to jazz, I also got a lot of my inspiration from spending so much time here and listening to the different styles of house from here, whether it be tribal or deep. I don’t think this album would have sounded the same if I never decided to take a trip here.
A few of our local artists and producers have had the opportunity to work with you on various projects, is there anyone in particular that you have taken under your wing to groom or signed to your label DNH Records?
There are a few producers I have taken under my label Gmbos, Problem Child, Soulcool and a few others, One of the artist who is doing very well is Da Capo he is in high demand and his remixes are doing very well, I am glad to see these cat’s taking off, and next year I will release an album from all 4 of them.
With a little research, one will discover that you also had your hand in hip hop production. Do you still make hip hop music?
A lot of people don’t know I was into Hip Hop before I was into house, I was also in a few DMC DJ competitions back in the day, I started a Hip Hop label in the mid 90’s called Treehouse Records and released a few singles, I did an album in 2007 with a bunch of Hip Hop artist from Toronto that I never released under the name “Headnodz” that I might release in Feb of next year. Toronto has a lot of talented Singers, Rappers and producers, the problem in Canada is you have to leave the city in order to make it, a perfect example is Drake.
I have a lot of ideas I’m sitting on so next year I might get back in studio and work on some new stuff.
Back tracking a few years to Summer Daze. It features a sample from Pat Metheny Groups single, Slip Away. Could you offer some advice to the younger producers out there on the proper channels when it comes to sampling a song?
When it comes to using samples my best advice is to get them cleared through the label or the publisher, The problem is If your song blows up chances of getting caught are high, I’ve been warned once and sued twice, and I tell ya it’s not worth the risk, I paid a heavy price.
Lastly, what are the plans to promote the new album? Tour dates? Listening sessions? Music videos?
So far I am doing radio interviews and doing a few gigs, also I will be shooting two videos here in SA this month.