INTERVIEW: Nicky Romero (2013)
Although he’s been producing tracks for a few years, 2012 has been the breakthrough year for Dutch DJ/Producer Nicky Romero. His massive Beatport hit “Toulouse” was followed by collaborations with David Guetta, Fedde Le Grand, Calvin Harris, Zedd, and Nervo. Coming in as the highest new entry on the DJ Mag list at #17 was another major accomplishment. Chatting with Nicky at Amsterdam Dance Event, it’s easy to see why he is achieving all this success – not only is he musically talented, he is a genuinely friendly and passionate, as well as grateful for all of the support he receives.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: So you have had a good week haven’t you?
Nicky Romero: Yeah it’s been crazy, super crazy.
RS: Let’s retrace it, I first saw you at the Jimmy Woo party when you were back in the VIP area. Everyone attacked you and wanted to take a picture with you.
Nicky Romero: Yeah, it was crazy. I wasn’t expecting so many people to be there awaiting my Q&A. It’s insane and a little unreal that so many people want something.
RS: You said that the Protocol party was the best night of your life.
Nicky Romero: That was the best night of my life; it was amazing to have all those people show up for the show, especially David Guetta. Who can say that David Guetta played at their party, it was awesome. I had a feeling that it was going to be the best night of my life and it was.
RS: Protocol is your label, right?
Nicky Romero: Yes
RS: Why did you decide to start your own label?
Nicky Romero: I wanted to start a platform of my own movements, sounds, and artists so that I could do parties and possibly have an album. I really just want to have my own movement and platform to create music and spread my music and sound.
RS: Going back to this week, you were in the studio doing a track with Guetta and Afrojack. What track is that and when is it going to be out?
Nicky Romero: There is no name yet, we tested it out last night and it is going to be super nuts.
RS: Last night you found out that you were the highest new entry on the DJ Mag list at #17, how did you react to that?
Nicky Romero: The list is very important to me; it is about prestige and something that you earned. It is crazy that I got an award with Porter Robertson and Headhunterz. I got one for the newest high entry and they got one for the biggest rise and the biggest hardstyle producer. It’s crazy to see all the support, I can’t even describe it. It’s insane that so many people show love for the music that you make. I am so happy that I have all this support.
RS: How do you think that your career might change because of the high ranking?
Nicky Romero: I think that a lot of promoters look at the list and if you are the highest new entry, you are something special and new, I believe that they will check me out. I think that there are going to be some more gigs coming out, I am looking forward to it. This was a crazy year, it is my life and I love it.
RS: Early on you did lots of collaborations with Firebeatz, Bingo Players, Basto. When you do collaborations how do you do them, are you in the studio together?
Nicky Romero: The ones that you just named are old school collaborations from 2010; they were some of my first ones. Lately I have worked with Calvin Harris, Guetta, and Fedde Le Grand on new stuff, and I have one with Nervo coming up. We try to work in the studio together, and since Fedde Le Grand lives pretty close, we could. I invited Nervo to the studio and we worked on music together. I usually traveled to London most of the time to work with David Guetta in the big studio there. It really depends, sometimes I work online but I love to be in the studio so I can feel the vibe.
RS: When you collaborate with David Guetta what role does each of you play, how do you bounce ideas off of each other?
Nicky Romero: David is great at bringing up ideas, sounds, and arrangements that he wants to make. He is super creative and has crazy ideas. He likes to set things up and knows what is going to work so it is really a pleasure to work with him.
RS: How did you meet up with him, how did he find you?
Nicky Romero: He found me through my remix for “Flash,” he said he loved the sound and asked if we could work together. He asked me to play his party and now we are a team and it feels like family.
RS: One thing always confused me, what was the story behind Jack Back?
Nicky Romero: Jack Back is his label. Just like I started Protocol he started Jack Back. Sometimes we release a track on his label or on mine; it is just our underground label.
RS: So regarding the song “Wild One II,” Jack Back is the label not a person or a DJ?
Nicky Romero: No, it is not a person or a DJ. Jack Back is also an alias for us two. Everything on Jack Back is also a part of me.
RS: When you work with vocalists like Matthew Koma on the Fedde Le Grand track that he did, do you write the track and they write the vocals on top of it, how does that work?
Nicky Romero: I made the track and the melody, Fedde worked it out at the drop, and then I worked and mastered it again and sent it to Matthew Koma, who is super-talented. He then wrote the vocals and that is how we made the track.
RS: Is there anyone out there that you would like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Nicky Romero: I would love to work with a guy named Tony Romera, a young guy from Paris that is doing amazing things. I would also love to work with Skrillex.
RS: That’s cool, there seems to be different camps in the Dutch DJ world. There are the trance people, the hard house/dirty Dutch people, and the more techno people. Have you ever thought about working with someone from the other camps?
Nicky Romero: Yeah, Headhunterz is a good friend of mine and he lives next to me. We love to work together and share ideas. Tonight I am going to be doing a performance at his show in Ziggo Dome. I love to listen to new stuff and to collaborate and learn which is very important.
RS: What’s the best way for your fans to follow you?
Nicky Romero: Twitter and Facebook, I am very personal with my fans so I try to share a lot from my personal life. If you follow me there you will definitely find out what I do.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Nicky Romero: Thanks for your support, it has been amazing. I can’t describe how happy I am with the position I am in.
RS: Did you have any idea that you would come in the Top 20?
Nicky Romero: No, I didn’t have any idea of even coming this far. Everything that I have now is a blessing.
Interview conducted during Amsterdam Dance Event 2012.