Italian producer Nihil Young has been contributing to the dance music scene for 10 years, mesmerizing us with his special blend of deep and tech grooves and sublime melodies. As he releases his stunning new Ascension EP on his own Frequenza imprint, 6AM digs deeper…
Hi Nihil, it’s a pleasure to chat with you today, how is 2019 treating you so far?
My pleasure :) 2019 is being excellent so far! I have some good releases lined up and I just found out that my next Frequenza single “Ascension” got played by none other than Tiësto. I have a forthcoming remix on Spinnin’ Records, another one on KMS and another Toolroom single just confirmed, lots going on!
What goals have you set yourself for this year and what do you hope to achieve?
I’m working hard to deliver a string of good releases and remixes on Frequenza, plus a residency for the label in a couple of cities in Europe. I’m also looking to deliver more EPs and I definitely want to work on my second album this year.
Who or what first turned you on to DJing and producing and what was your first release?
I fell in love with turntablism when I was a child. I would mix tapes with my dad’s tape recorder. I used to listen to hip hop and scratch music from D-Styles, Q-bert, Babu and more. I Think Jam Master Jay and D-Styles are the ones who really made me want to learn djing and scratching. I then got into house music and went on to play local events in my hometown. When I turned 17 I started making Hip Hop beats, I learned Reason, FL, then Cubase and finally got an Apple computer and learned Logic Pro and then Ableton Live. At that time I was only 19 and a friend of mine showed me some of that sweet Minimal music that was popular back then including tracks from Minus, I was blown away. Coincidentally I was buying vinyl releases from Trentemoller and Stephan Bodzin, Ellen Allien, Apparat and more. I fell in love with electronic music, Techno and Minimal. In 2009 my first vinyl release ‘Bye Bye My Brain’ was released on my label Frequenza.
How would you describe your sound?
Panta Rhei, as Heraclitus would say. It’s hard for me to be genre-bound, I like to explore all sounds and go with the flow, from deeper to progressive to Techno.
I would say it’s a mixture of House, Techno and Progressive.
You’ve just released your new ‘Ascension EP’, how does it sound and are you happy with the results?
I’m absolutely satisfied with the results, I tend not to think about it too much, and settle with what’s done is done. If I start thinking about what could have been done better, my head would explode – lol. I wasn’t expecting someone as big as Tiesto to play it, so that alone makes me satisfied and humbled.
What was the inspiration behind the tracks?
Alchemy, Jungian psychology, meditation and nature. I was reading The Red Book by Jung – a timeless genius who I strongly recommend to everyone as it inspired me a lot.
‘She’ is dedicated to my lovely spouse.
You’ve been running your Frequenza label for 10 years, congrats! Who can we expect to hear and what’s coming up in the near future?
Thank you! I’m trying to keep it interesting but coherent, giving space to up and coming producers and adding some well established ones to the plate. There are lots of surprises to come. I will also keep the Frequenza Radio thing going as I love doing it and it’s getting some great feedback.
Your own discography is pretty huge, have you got a favourite release or remix and which was the biggest labour of love to create?
I am probably most happy with a remix I did for Moonbootica’s Superdrive. My song’ Align’ with Wolf Story and Gathier is also something I loved producing and I am very happy with the results. There are also Soul Doubt as Less Hate and Visions, 2 tunes I made in very important moments of my individual evolution.
You’ve remixed tracks for the likes of Kevin Saunderson, John Acquaviva, Etienne de Crecy, Moonbootica, Dennis Ferrer as 7th Star and more. Who else would you most like to make a remix for?
You also produce under the name Less Hate, please tell us a little more about that project.
I started the project Less Hate in 2012 when i lived in Berlin. I wanted to make something entirely different and pause Nihil Young for a while. The first tunes got signed with Kindisch and other excellent labels, getting plays from the likes of Sasha, Hot Since 82 and many more. I evolved the sound from organic and micro house to a mixture of disco, house and sample-based music. I was contacted by Kolombo to get one of my tunes on a Warung compilation, then Cr2 licensed a vocal deep house tune I produced and sang on, and finally i was very honored to receive a remix request by the french house legend, Etienne de Crecy. I am putting the project on hold for a year or two as I decided to focus on the evolution of Nihil Young for now.
Have you plans for a new album?
Yes, I’m definitely going to produce one this year. I will use my voice on some tunes and I intend to do a few collaborative works with some of my friends, along with some fresh talent I’m meeting on the way. Hopefully it will be finished by the end of 2019.
What’s your current favourite piece of studio kit?
My Focal SM9 monitors. Ableton Live, Logic X, Sub37 by Moog, Sylenth by Lennar Digital, Universal Audio Apollo and their plug-ins.
You’ve seen the music scene change a lot over the years since you first started out, how does it compare to now and what needs to change for the better in your opinion?
There are way too many cases of plagiarism, people who take entire tunes off of some label’s / artist’s catalogues and release them as their own, people who straight out copy tracks. It even happened to me and my label and it happens to many other artists. I would love to see that end. I don’t like the elitism, but I understand it. I don’t like to complain about the state of things, as there are too many people whining and complaining. Maybe i would like to see them doing less remarks – about how an artist or a female dj sucks – on social media and start working and improving themselves first.
Lastly, I would love to see some retailers and streaming platforms be more transparent and honest, and pay their fair share to artists and labels.
What’s been your most memorable gig to date and where would you most love to play in the future?
I did a Frequenza showcase at Egg in London a few years back. It was incredible, I love that club. I also love playing more intimate, small rooms, like the Chalet in Berlin where I had some great experiences. I would love to explore Asia int he future as I’ve never visited.
Which producers are currently smashing it for you?
There’s lot of great talent out there, props to my friends: The Saunderson Brothers (Dantiez and DaMarii), Loui Fernandez, Talal, Gunther, Pols, Johnny Kaos and Van Sorgen. An excellent artist I recently discovered is Ben Bohmer.
Which dance track holds the most precious memories for you?
Robert Miles – Children
Finally, please tell us a secret nobody knows about you?
I’ve had that freaky thing called Sleep Paralysis since I was a child. Once I saw myself from above, I was floating all over the room. As the years went by, I was able to master it and control it and it would take me places, kinda like lucid dreaming. If you are reading and you have this thing, don’t be scared, just breathe deeply, you can turn it into a celestial experience. I had OCD and I was slightly Autistic and that side of me never left me completely, but I was able to heal a lot thanks to the use of Psilocybin and Ayahuasca.