This weekend sees a huge lineup hit Villa with Rennie Pilgrem, Cutline & Nick Thayer headlining Major Bass which is the aptly renamed, very popular Major Break night. Nick Thayer has been making waves around the world for quite some time and more recently has signed onto Skrillex’s OWSLA label opening him up to a massive fan base and giving him a major platform to share his music from. Performing at some of the biggest parties around the globe, Nick’s last two years have been incredible and yet he remains extremely grateful and humble. Teknoscape’s Deputy Editor Kyle Woodward chatted with him briefly ahead of Major Bass.
Nick, you’re a man who plays how you’re feeling. Do you think that in 2012 as electronic music is reaching a bigger audience than ever your sound is changing due to change in demographic?
I have always strived to make music that I believe in. I would never let myself write music aimed at a specific audience. Yes I would certainly say the demographic for electronic music has broadened substantially in recent years, but this simply means that there are more people into electronic music, not necessarily that electronic music is catering to that audience.
Your sound has definitely progressed over the years, your early releases definitely having that old school breakbeat feeling to it, what’s been the main contributing factor in the change of your sound?
If I was still making records that sounded just like the records I was releasing in 2004 I would feel I had let myself and my fans down in a massive way. Growth is absolutely essential to the nature of being an artist. I listen to a lot of music, the majority of which is not electronic, and I let myself be influenced by everything I listen to. Put simply, the main contributing factor to the change of my sound is the music I listen to.
Following on, is creating your own sound something that is important to you?
Without question. Every couple of weeks I run a Q&A interview on my Facebook page, and one of the most prevalent questions is ‘how do I break through’, or ‘what advice do you have for a new artist’? I give the same advice I was once given: don’t try and copy what someone else is doing, as they are already doing that, and doing it better than you can. Instead, be yourself. Find YOUR sound. Because you can do that better than anyone else.
What gear and software do you rely on in the studio?
I use Cubase 6, and sometimes Ableton as my main production platforms. I use the Waves stuff for EQs and compressors. I have a bunch of outboard gear, the most used pieces being Prunes & Custard guitar pedal and a wah pedal. I use impOSCar and Massive for a lot of synth sounds and I design all my own patches on them.
In your opinion, how big of an influence is newer technology in creating unique music?
Technology can be both a huge help and a massive hindrance. Think about Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera’. That’s the one with Bohemian Rhapsody on it. That record was made on a sixteen channel desk. SIXTEEN. Now we have unlimited channels, but are we using those as well as we can?
I hear more and more artists talking about the steep increase in touring compared to 10 years ago. Do you feel that artists are being forced into spending less time producing music as they can’t earn enough money from it as a main revenue source?
Yes artists are certainly being forced to tour more as a result of dwindling returns from releasing records, but that doesn’t mean less time producing music. I can write music 36,000 feet in the air now which is something that would have been impossible even five years ago. Touring is certainly a primary income source now as you can’t download the experience of being front row seeing The Chemical Brothers play Star Guitar with those incredible visuals and just being lost in that moment, which is why these bigger artists are able to fill bigger and bigger venues. I don’t think the increased level of touring is such a bad thing. It really brings an artist’s music to the forefront now as you NEED strong releases to be able to tour.
How did the relationship between you and OWSLA come about?
I got an email one day from Skrillex saying he’d heard my remix of ‘Toot It Up’ and was playing it in his sets. I sent him some more stuff and we got to talking. When he came through Melbourne we caught up and he said he was starting a label and would I be interested in doing an EP for them, and of course I jumped at the opportunity. Being a part of the OWSLA family has given me the freedom and the confidence to explore what I can write and what I can achieve musically.
Your gigs have been getting bigger and bigger, how has the reception been around the globe?
The reception has been overwhelming to be honest. It has been a fairly manic year. This past month alone I have played in six countries across four continents. I find myself thinking every morning ‘is this real? Is this really my life?’. I feel incredibly blessed to have these opportunities.
How important is social media to you? Would you consider it to be the primary way of reaching your audience?
I find social media to be invaluable when it comes to interacting with, not simply reaching an audience. I mentioned I do Q&A interviews on Facebook every couple of weeks, and I try and respond to most of the messages I get on Facebook and Twitter. I know how I would’ve felt if those opportunities had been there when I was fifteen and listening to this band or that band and so I try and engage in those ways as often as possible.
Your career has taken a big step into the limelight in recent times, potentially opening up new productions and collaborations not necessarily possibly before. Who would you want to collab with who you haven’t before, dead or alive?
The best collaborations I find are ones that happen naturally. There are obviously many many artists who I would love to work with, but I’ve had opportunities presented to me this year that have been in that realm that I have turned down as the situation didn’t feel right. There needs to be a mutual appreciation there before any kind of musical melding can take place I think.
Thanks for your time and good luck with the upcoming tours!
Catch Nick Thayer alongside Cutline, Rennie Pilgrem and supported by FTW and Mr.eD at Major Bass @ Villa this Saturday the 21st of July.