Way Out West hero and DJ genius in his own right Nick Warren finally makes his mark on the inspiring Balance series – with Balance 018: Nick Warren, a mix that exemplifies why he is revered by so many and furthers his reputation as a selector who truly understands the challenges and subtleties of a successful and enduring mix compilation. Here he talks cheesey remixes, classical electronica and being treated right in the club!
CGNY: The Balance 018 CD – how long did it take from start to finish?
NW: The process is about 3 months. When I first get asked to do them – I was like shit no! Cos it’s a massive process to do it. I contact all the talent, guys and producers that I admire and that I’m starting to take notice of. I tell them, I’m doing something and ask them to send in new material. It also goes through all the social networking sites as well. I end up with maybe a thousand pieces of music to listen to which is a bit daunting. But slowly you start to find these real gems that people have written and the excitement builds. And I get down to about 50 tracks I should think; these ones are possibles. Of course there is a group that I just know are going to go on it because they are so strong. And then there are a few maybe/maybe nots. I start to work on the mix at home, seeing what works with what trying it out on the laptop. Trying to figure out what kind of mood I want to create over the two CDs. So takes about 3 months in total.
CGNY: Planning to do any tours to promote the album?
NW: I’ll be in the States – a short weekend in May. Phoenix, San Fran, California – at the Liquid in the Bottle Festival. Then down to Mexico and then I’m going to come back to the States and tour properly in the fall. More of the east coast as well then,
CGNY: You’ve in the game for a While with Massive Attack and Way Out West and collabs with Jody (Wisternoff). We hear djs talking about how good things were “back in the day” and I’m wondering from your perspective how you feel things have changed?
NW: My perspective is looking ‘back at the day thing” is cool. But that’s because it was much easier then. The scene was new, the scene was strong. You didn’t have to do that much work to be honest. It was just there! These days you really have to work more if your trade is a dj or producer. You have to embrace all the social networking. You need to respond to your fans. You need to make your fans feel like they are part of your family and involved in everyday information. Writing music is really a joy but there is no income involved. So for me a part of the reason or what I see as part of my job as someone who’s been in the industry for a long time and been really lucky is (as you said on this album, there’s lots of names you don’t recognize); I feel it’s my job to promote these young guys. When I started, we’d get a record deal, and a publishing deal, we could give up work, we’d have money in the bank. Just to make music. That’s not possible for these young producers now. It’s my responsibility to promote these guys. I don’t need to promote a Madonna remix. That’s not my job anymore. My job is to find this young kid in Russia or maybe North Virginia or something like that and say “Hey people! These guys’ got a lot of talent, listen to his music. Visit his Facebook page, his Soundcloud page. Look at his releases. That’s the way the industry is now.
CGNY: Love it! Wonderful attitude to have and great to hear that you’re not jaded! It must be hard to keep inspired and energetic with the whole scene.
NW: It’s all about the music. Still each week I hear something “Wow!!Amazing". So keeping that hunger for music I think is very important.
CGNY: Your music covers quite a number of genres from trance, progressive to chill out – is there one you favor more?
NW: All about melody! There is a thin line between it being cheesy or being cool. I love to ride that line or hopefully I’m doing the right thing and I try to ride that line on the cool edge of melody. Because it’s a difficult thing to master. Even throughout my Massive Attack days, the first 2 or 3 Massive Attack albums and on to the Way Out West releases and what I do now, it’s always been about the bass line and the melody.
CGNY: Are there any times that you’ve heard remixes of your work and gone ‘Oh boy, they really messed it up!” or ‘They improved on it no end?”
NW: To be honest 97% of the time I’m just massively disappointed!!! I think they’ve messed up. You’re expecting something brilliant and it comes back oooh not so good. Especially the Way Out West stuff, Jody is very critical of remixes, I am as well. I’ve let a few things through that I’ve not been impressed with later. And also we’ve done a few remixes for Way Out West which I look back and I’m quite shocked with how poor they were! But then for instance, my new single coming out next month – Buenos Aires – we’ve had 3 remixes and they’re all brilliant so that makes it a joy!
CGNY: When you’re at home not listening to demos or your own tracks – what might you be listening to? Do you have a secret death metal collection?
NW: I’m a big fan of weird, electronica music. I listen at home to lots of this modern classical electronica music that’s being made. Also some dubstep – I’m a big fan of Scuba and those guys who are doing dubstep.
CGNY: I feel like dubstep is making a comeback. I hear more and more people talking about it on the scene here.
NW: Well its becoming more melodic and slightly easier to grasp for people now than it was in the beginning when it was a bit harder. It’s a more easy to listen to at the moment. There is also a band called Apparat who I think is amazing and their new album is incredible. But I still like my Foo Fighters and all that stuff!
CGNY: What do you think is the key ingredients to a good night at a club for you as dj or for us as club goers?
NW: It’s a rare thing to find. It’s about the environment. If you can find a club that has a great sound system, that has clean and comfortable places to sit and he staff actually treat the person who’s paid to get in like a human being and isn’t being pushed around. And those are rare things in clubs. I’m amazed that no- ones really cracked it in New York. You need an 800 capacity club that looks great, that sounds great, that has good places to sit, its warm comfortable, you can buy a good drink and the staff are really nice to you! Ha-ha!
CGNY: Well then saying that any favorite clubs you love to play?
NW: The best is always South America. Argentina, Buenos Aires. I love Greece. I really enjoy NYC. I’ve always had a good time at Cielo and last time I played at District 36 and that was a really good night.
CGNY: Is there anyone thing or venue or musical idea that you’re dying to try!
NW: Strangely I’m in the process of thinking of and planning for next year to go to South America; Argentina and Uruguay and get together a group of young producers in Argentina and some really amazing South American musicians. Guitarists, string quartets, musicians who don’t make electronic music and spend a week in the studio and just press record see what how the process evolves.
BALANCE 018: Nick Warren
By: Keith Mitchell
Nick Warrens legendary status within the EDM community is shown yet again in this supremely mixed installment of the latest and always coveted Balance Series.
With number 018 rumbling smoothly off to a mystical intro, the choice of the initial track is nothing short of beautiful as its low end chug factor meshes lusciously with its warm synthesized notes that are flawlessly arranged.
Are we to expect anything else? from the master of technical progressive house in all its glory. Nick reaches many ear drums along the way as he caters his sound from the mini to the massive. As the mix moves forward with subtle ease of sound, it remains tight in audio arousal and the listener can only imagine what the world would be like if Nick decided not to pursue his passion for shedding magical light upon not only the electronic crowds, but as well as his contributions to the world of music.
Balance 018 continues to prove that Nick has the ability to utilize his signature sound while we witness the absolute evolution as well. The first disc in this double pack of amazement is quite satisfying as he has shown that whatever genre he is working with, it is at the upper echelon of electronic. From big room brawlers, to hypnotic playgrounds, to simplistic minimal undertones, his ability to leave you lost in the catacombs of music require you to drop bread crumbs in order to find your way back to reality. The mix of rock solid productions just within the first disc made me believe that time travel is possible, maybe not in the physical sense of the word but the spiritual without question. Balance 018 is very appropriate as that is just what this mix provides. A consistently fluid seamless aural voyage that sets the standard and bar very high. There are astral physicists that mention the possibility of more than one universe calling it a “multi-verse”, well if humans had the ability to witness this other space and time, I imagine that this is the kind of music that would be playing.
The emotive vibes sent out through Balance 018 define Nicks ability to keep the electricity pulsing as the sound soothes the soul with its rather refreshing approach. An introspective look and take of the past, present, and future are put on display as the acid like technical sounds move in and around disc 2 of the EP. As EDM fans continue to label and classify genre’s, we tend to forget that the most important aspect of music is the quality, in whatever realm the audio is bread from, or used live. Hands down, or in this case up describes the utmost respect for Nick as he meets all of today’s challenges with dropping a contemporary mix. If I could choose one word to describe this latest masterpiece from Balance 018 featuring Nick Warren it would be: precision. The sound found within the confines of this deep, dark, and thought provoking dream like voyage filled with dashes of light should give plentiful amounts of inspiration to all producers, dj's, and fans of electronic music.
Thanks to DJ Keith Mitchell - reviewer for CGNY.