Nick Curly interview: ‘I have house and techno inside me’

GERMAN DJ Nick Curly says he’s not really up for the house vs techno vs EDM vs real vs fake wars that have been turning the dance scene into a bitching session over the last few years. He says he doesn’t mind what label you stamp on him, as long as he can “tell a story”.

With less than a decade behind him, Curly is a relative newcomer, playing and producing house in the vein of Chicago legends Frankie Knuckles, DJ Sneak and Derrick Carter from around 2008. He was a big name behind the ‘Mannheim sound’ at the end of the last decade – the deep, techy pulse that’s been the dominant movement in the last few years.
With releases on Defected, his own 8Bit and the now-defunct Cecille, he’s never out of the charts on Beatport, RA, or other DJs’ sets for that matter.
He’s jetting in to Dublin tomorrow (Saturday) for a set at Pygmalion. He’s just celebrated 10 years of his label 8Bit, and promises to have a few classic aces up his sleeve, as well as some exclusives.
We caught up with Nick for a quick chat before he lands in Dublin.

You’ve just dropped the Reverie EP this week, will you be playing All People at Dublin this weekend?
It’s making it into most of my sets at the moment, so sure why not!

Have you got any new tracks or exclusives ready to play on Saturday?
I have a New Order edit I have been playing for a month or two, kind of testing it. I definitely will drop my new track Olimpic. This is out on Paco Osuna’s label in January

You’ve just celebrated 10 years of 8Bit Records in the summer – what’s it like to hit that milestone? Do you allow yourself to play some ‘classics’ from the vaults or do you strictly like to play new tracks when you’re DJing?
It feels great. When you start these things you do it for a bit of fun. You never set milestones in place or imagine that people around the world will buy your records for 10 years. I appreciate this a lot and never take it for granted. I love it. As DJs we all keep our old favourites in our bag.

What’s the ethos behind your Trust parties? Can we expect the same vibe in Dublin this weekend?
On the Trust parties, we try and raise the bar as much as the situation allows. Production, line-up, vibe, music. Parties are a work of art. There are lots of moving parts and there are no guarantees it will be great. So far we did OK. We get better all the time I think. I give you my best in Dublin but with Trust we bring the whole crew to town.

When people think of German dance music a lot of times they automatically think of techno, but what made you go down the house route at the beginning?
I come from Mannheim in Germany which is between Frankfurt and Stuttgart. When me and my friends start going out we went the first years to a club called Vibration, where they played more house music. Thats where I get my first influence from. Later we spent more time in Frankfurt where Sven Väth had his legendary Omen club and start to fall in love with Techno for the first time. I have both house and techno inside me.

I read an interview from years ago when you said DJ Sneak was a huge inspiration, have any younger artists inspired you in a similar way?
Yes that’s true, in my first years when I start listening to electronic music, the early productions of DJ Sneak inspired me a lot. These days some young guys like Nicolas Jaar – for example – are great. I do get my inspiration from all kinds of music now, even hip-hop and recently some 80s stuff.

We did an interview with Dave Clarke recently and he seemed really defensive about what definitely WASN’T techno. You’re often dubbed tech-house, but what’s your opinion on naming genres? I guess a lot of artists don’t label their own music.
That’s true. I like all kinds of music. I listen to the track and make my own opinion, if I like it or feel it and where it could fit in my sets. We are DJs… we play sets… me personally I like to play long sets where I can tell a story, start with house, go to techno and maybe back to house. I would not name me as a full techno or 100 per cent house artist. Tech-house? Sure why not.

A lot of electronic artists migrate to bigger cities such as Berlin but around 2008 you stayed put in your hometown of Mannheim, even helping create the ‘Mannheim sound’. Do you think it’s important to cultivate smaller ‘scenes’ outside of the big city hubs?
Yes I like to support my hometown. We do have great artists here like Johnny D, Gorge , Steffen Deux or Ray Okpara. Also once a year the number 1 festival in the world happens here – Time Warp. Why should I move to Berlin?

You’ve just had a successful festival season, and the 8Bit 10-year anniversary parties – but what’s next on the horizon in the near future and further on into 2016?
Yes that’s right, I had a great festival summer . And also we celebrated 10 years of 8Bit with 10 dates through Europe. Next year, I will focus on our Trust project more. BPM is confirmed for us, new residency at Razzmatazz Barcelona, back to Watergate in March. First time in Dubai for Trust in March – seems like Tiga will join us here. Lots going on. Just how I like it!

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