“DJing was a skill, you had to know how to mix two records back to back and rock the crowd.”
The name Nick Holder is synonymous with house music. For South African house music junkies in particular, you can’t think Nick Holder without thinking Summer Daze. But Nick was around long before that single was released in 2001 and fondly reminisces about the joys of yesteryear “so much has changed since the good old days of vinyl. Back in the day we just had House and Soulful Techno from Detroit, now we got so many genres of House and Techno. DJing was a skill, you had to know how to mix two records back to back and rock the crowd.”
Fast forward a few years and Nick decides to make a move that’s becoming more and more popular with international DJs and producers; he moves to SA. “I had many offers to DJ here back in 2000 but turned them down. 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 visit. When I landed in SA I was in shock, I could not get over how big deep house was here. Then I heard the music the SA producers were making and I said to myself, “so this is where deep house is hiding out.” The fruits of this bold move are clear to see. The list of local collaborations is endless and has ultimately resulted in a heavily South African inspired album released by Nick this year.
New experiences and environments aside though, he admits the making of this album was a challenge. It was originally due for release in 2007 but a host of setbacks resulted in it being held back till now. That hasn’t taken anything away from the greatness of the album and it even features local acts such as Lee Ann King, Moneoa and spoken word artist Sphelele. Released with Baainar Records and distributed by Soul Candi, it seems My Sound has finally received the royal treatment it deserved all along.
Back in the studio, Nick has also been working closely with other local producers and offering them a little wisdom and guidance. The likes of Da Capo and Problem Child are signed under his label DNH and he promises to help them in releasing their respective albums next year.
The mentorship doesn’t end though with those under his wing, and Nick Holder also offers a little bit of advice to all other up and coming producers. One of his biggest hits, Summer Daze, was a sample of the Pat Metheny Group’s song Slip Away and seeing as how sampling is becoming a popular trend amongst our producers, he saw it fit to share some information on the topic, “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.”
As the interview comes to an end, it becomes a little clearer as to how this man has managed to stay at the forefront of an ever changing game; it’s the right combination of resilience, patience, intellect and talent. That’s how Nick Holder holds it down.
Look out for him on your local radio stations promoting his new album, My Sound and also watch out for two music videos to be shot here in SA soon.