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Nelski talks WMC, Wickerman and Wham ahead of Uber's Bank Holiday Special

With his unique brand of electronic music and ear for a solid rave hook already catching the attention of Carl Cox and Pete Tong, we caught up with hot up and comer Nelski for a chat ahead of the Uber Easter Special.

Richard Dyer

Date published: 28th Mar 2012

Easter Sunday sees James Zabiela headline a superlative line-up of house and techno talent at Carlise's Melting Pot, for the second Uber of 2012.

Joining James for this Bank Holiday mash-up will be Soma darlings Silicone Soul, Nelski (live), Snowbombing's Marc Roberts, and many more.

With his unique brand of electronic music and ear for a solid rave hook already catching the attention of Carl Cox and Pete Tong, we caught up with hot up-and-comer Nelski for a chat  ahead of the Uber Easter Special.

Listen to a 60 minute Nelski mix here:

Nelski Live 2012 Preview by Nelski

To some viewers you might be a new face, but 2011 saw you rise from obscurity to international recognition in the space of 12 months. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey over 2011?

Yeah 2011 was a big year of firsts for Nelski. First Beatport Top 10, first play at Ministry of Sound, first live show, first festival and first album so, with that I had a chance to reach a lot of new people in a relatively short time. It was an intense year and I loved it. It's just given me a drive to make sure that this year is even bigger. I need to have a sense of progression with everything I do, and I'll keep working hard to get that.

Your live show as we know it was conceived in the Skiddle tent at the Wickerman last year. How much of a baptism of fire was that?

About as hot as it gets. No room for error as there were no other live acts in the Skiddle Bass Camp last year. So it was all-eyes-on and little room for error!

You’re playing at Uber over Easter weekend; looking forward to it?

Uberlly! It's a great space with a great line-up, and a great crowd so I have heard - which is a recipe for success. So, yes, I am looking forward to it immensely.

Is the live mix you’ve done an indicator of what people can expect from the show?

Exactly, I've managed to put together a mix of the kinda tracks you could expect to hear in my live show. 'Could', as the thing with the live show it keeps developing and new unheard tracks could creep in at any point!

What makes your live show stand out from other producers' live projects?

There are a lot of people performing 'live' who are simply triggering loops and samples on-the-fly. It's almost like a live re-editing/remixing. My live shows are about playing my own tracks. Playing keys, performing percussion and live vocals so it is totally unique to me and built around my music.

The show is a concoction of visuals, vocals and music. How difficult is it to coordinate all these elements, and can you give us a sneak insight into what equipment you have in your set-up?

Thankfully it's fairly easy with thanks the backbone of the set; Ableton live. I also use a handy piece of kit Called the AKAI APC40 - this gives me hands-on control of everything with a strike-of-a-pad, a turn-of-a-knob and a play of a keyboard. It's amazing, I love living in these technological times!

You have just released a massive remake of The Chemical Brothers classic 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl' with Seamus Haji, which has been flying up the Beatport Chart since its release last week. Tell us a bit about why you chose this track and how you 'remade' it.

Seamus Haji & Nelski - Hey Boy Hey Girl Preview (Original) [Rising Music] by Nelski

It's such an iconic track, you could say we'd be crazy to attempt it. It came about through Seamus Haji having created a kind-of bootleg/edit which has been getting a fair bit of heat. That's when we thought it needs an update, but rather than simply sampling the original and sticking it under some new beats and noise, we wanted to put our fresh modern take on it without being confined. So literally we re-made the track from the ground up with all new synths, and even re-recorded the vocals. At first I used my vocals but being British they were way too far off the mark, so I called upon the services of a friend Angelo over in Philadelphia USA. To be fair he pretty much nailed them. you can still hear a layer of me in there low down tho. It's great to see it get such a massive reaction. At first it's the vocals that get the reaction because it's so well known, but as the new synths start to develop in there and people start to hear it's an update, then people really go wild into the drop. It's great to see it in action, especially in a festival/big room arena.

Although you now live in London we’ve heard you are originally from Liverpool. Are you still in touch with the Liverpool club scene now?

Well, technically I'm from Cheshire, but Liverpool was my City. Unfortunately I don't really get the opportunity to get back there much. It's a bit of shame now you come to mention it, perhaps I need to get that sorted out.

If you could only pick three Desert Island Discs, what would they be, and why?

Tanner Ross - the B-Side (No19 Rec's): This is the type of track were, when you shut your eyes you could be anywhere, and I could use it to mentally escape for a bit. It's beautiful and emotive, and you all need it in your life.

Wham - Club Tropicana: I love fun in the sun. So I'd play this to make me feel like I'm at my own Club Tropicana.

TJR - Funky Vodka: This is by far a fave record at the min, and I'm sure for a while. It will be guaranteed to keep me in a good mood time and time over until my rescue!

You have just played in Miami at the WMC for the first time, supporting Chris Lake. How was your first experience of Miami and the club scene?

If there's one thing to really stick out it's how fractured the scene really is. From a consumer's point of view it's great as you can very specific over what 'flavour' of house you're into. From an industry angle it has made things a lot tougher as the markets have gotten very small. Someone who is big on one scene can be totally unheard of in another house sub genre. So for me this has but an emphasis on crossing-over genre boundaries. But, the party at Mynt Lounge with Chris was amazing - we will be releasing some footage soon, so keep your eyes on my fan pages for this.

Festival season is upon us! Can you reveal any plans about what you will be up to this summer with them?

I'm gearing up for a busy summer indeed. My favourite time of year is the festival period and my favourite gigs are festival stages. The standout shows Rough Beats and Nature One Festival in Germany where I'll be heading it up with John Dahlback. It all starts this weekend though really, I am off to Asia to visit the Philippines for some shows, then off to Holland for my first time the week after, and another debut trip to Sweden to play Solidaritet in Stockholm the week after that! So exciting times!

And finally, what else lies in the immediate future for you?

as I write I am at the Winter Music conference in Miami. another couple of days of pool parties and then as mentioned i'll be heading across to the Philippines, Holland and Sweden. So I'm gonna to try use all this travel time to get some brand new material together ready for my set at Uber! I can't wait to see you all there.

Catch Nelski with James Zabiela, Silicone Soul and more at The Melting Pot, Carlisle for Uber Bank Holiday Special on Sunday April 8th. Tickets are available through Skiddle below.

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