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NEM3SI$ - I Live for the Night – talks superficiality, psychopaths, and bittersweet success, ahead of a plethora of evocative, emotional, and passionate upcoming melodic techno releases!

Reported by Jessica Alici / Submitted 23-08-23 16:01

NEM3SI$ has been a veteran in our scene for over 30 years; and continues to make epic dance-floor bombs that take the roof off! With his switch to Melodic Techno and some mammoth label releases in the pipeline, we decided it was time for another catch-up with this legendary artist.

Through your years as an artist you have enjoyed many subgenres of electronic dance music - talk us through them...

When I started making electronic dance music back in Holland in 1992, everything was still called House. The first real genre definition I heard was Gabber, which I started making under my Underground Nation of Rotterdam alias in 1993. That same year I discovered Trance, through some trips to Germany, where at the time everything was labelled Techno. Very confusing to be honest! At that early stage in my career, I really enjoyed every genre that I discovered, and this resulted in me producing records in most of them. I think I’ve released records in the genres of House, Techno, Trance, Speed Garage, Acid, Hard House, Hard Dance, Pop/Dance, Psytrance, Down-tempo and now Melodic House & Techno (which my wife teasingly calls Trance ha ha ha!)

Can you remember the name of the first track you made? Tell us about it….

Oh yes, I can, like it was yesterday! It was ‘Creator’ under my Divine Orgasm alias which I did with an old friend. I had recently discovered the then very new and exciting club/rave scene and it led me to quit my day job as a manager in a pro equipment store - after using all my available discounts for that year to buy my first modest studio setup. The first release was bittersweet - a big success and certainly putting me on the radar of some really cool labels, but also the start of a horrible experience. We didn’t really understand what the consequences were of signing a record and publishing deal without taking legal advice. Discovering you basically were tied down in an exclusive artist deal, rather than an agreement for the track and option on a follow-up, was hard to understand and difficult to swallow.

It ended in a big mess, complete with huge arguments and threats from one of the label owners, but I managed to get out of both contracts after a while. I learned a valuable lesson, which kind of set the tone on how I would handle my business in the future.

You recently immersed yourself in Melodic Techno and are now solely focusing on that. What was the reason for the switch?

I think it was a combination of things really. I felt restricted in what I could do within the boundaries of Techno regarding melody and emotion and there was a sense of being lost as an artist. I was enjoying it, but something was missing; it took me a while to figure out what I was missing or looking for. I think in my last few Techno releases you can sense the shift a bit, as it was starting to become more melodic and deeper. I had already dipped my toes in Melodic Techno with a few releases, and strangely enough they were among the best received, which proved this sound resonated much more with people. I felt artistically free and much happier in myself, more excited in the studio and less concerned if what I was making would fit a particular label. After some serious soul searching and a few conversations with my wife I felt ready and (in a way) brave enough to make the switch.

What was the first album that really had an impact on you?

God, that is a difficult question! I guess there were a few really, the first one that comes to mind is Kitaro ‘Silk Road’. The man is a true legend and a master on the synthesizer; for me it was an epic journey into a world of new sounds and feelings. After that it was Prince ‘Purple Rain’, the utter brilliance of the man comes through on this album and contributed a lot to my understanding of contemporary music at the time. Around the same time, I discovered Bob Marley, and I can safely say that all his albums left a big impact on me, musically but also in a more educational way. Dance music wise - two compilations weirdly enough, In Order to Dance Volume 1 and Serious Beats Volume 1. The impact on me was the combination of hearing the tracks through some headphones in the week and at the weekends banging out of the system at the clubs I would party at. It was also the first time I started analysing the genre in depth so I could produce it myself, understand the sound design and intricate arrangements, which were a far cry from the music I was used to.

You’re a bit of a gear nut! What’s your favourite piece of hardware?

Well, now we are really touching on something ha ha ha. There are a few as I really can’t point to just one, it’s simply not possible for me. The piece I loved the most but unfortunately don’t have any more, was my Otari Status mixing console. It was an analogue beast, 48 channel dual input with mute automation – huge sound and perfect for what I was doing at the time. Synth wise there are a few, Behringer Poly-D, Moog Subsequent 37 and one that I now regret not buying when it came out – the Alesis A6 Andromeda. But after saying all this, I guess the winner must be the Event Opal monitors I have been using over the last 12 years. What good would all the other gear be if you didn’t have great sounding and, above all, a fairly flat frequency response curve? They’re not just monitors; they really have become good friends by now! I know, I’m weird LOL.

What is your musical training & what instruments can you play?

I started when I was 4, my father slowly started teaching me how to position my fingers on the piano and play scales. Pretty soon after that he drilled all the scales into me and showed me the basics before hiring a private teacher for me. From there on I knew that music was it for me. I studied the piano almost every day for 14 years and attended a specialised school which enabled me to have music education integrated with regular education. After a full day at school I would come home and be straight behind the piano until dinner, after which I would go to my room and fire my synthesizer collection up which my parents had sourced for me.

At the same time, I learned to play the trumpet and percussion, do the ensemble and marching band rehearsals at school nights and the performances at the weekend. I learned so much from the instructors and people I played alongside, it was so much fun to do and a priceless experience. I’m still eternally thankful for the ride and all the people who gave me so much.

You’ve been in the scene for over 30 years. How has it changed and in what ways has it stayed the same?

I can’t believe it’s already that long! I still feel 18 in many ways; it doesn’t feel like 30 years!
So much has changed, the whole industry is totally different now. When I started out, it was all about the music and how talented you were as an artist. You were rated on your music and skills, as a producer, live act and DJ. You would sign a record deal based on the music you played them, the tracks that were at that moment available for them to sign. If you already had a few big records, it could sway their opinion in your favour a bit, but in general you were as good as the track you put in front of them that day. You would get gigs based on your abilities and again a few big records would sometimes help but if you were not good enough you would simply not play.

That’s pretty much all gone out of the window, replaced by how big your social media reach is and how many (often fake) plays you have on streaming platforms. It has become superficial just like a lot of society in general; it’s depressing at times and, in my opinion, very damaging for the human psyche.

Besides that, the way you make your money and the income generated has dramatically changed too. People hate to talk about it, people don’t like to hear it, but the reality is that artists need to make money too to survive and pay bills just like everyone else. No matter how much you love the music, you can’t live without money and if you really want to perfect your craft and make quality music – you need the mental space, time, surroundings and equipment to do it. To enable that, you need an income generated from that music and I think it’s important for people to understand this.

The joy of the party and the sense of unity and belonging which started the whole movement is still there, the anticipation and excitement is all still there too. The connection between the artist and audience in essence is still the same, it might look different, but the bond is like it always was. This is the reason I started doing it all and it’s the reason I will keep doing it until I physically can’t anymore.

Since your last HarderFaster interview you have become a father. How has that been, and how do you manage to juggle artist and family life?

Well, it has been interesting to say the least! Becoming a father was an amazing experience - scary at times, but certainly beautiful. So far things have been good but also challenging; suddenly you are responsible for this wonderful and crazy little boy who kind of runs the household now. They really should give parents a manual and prepare them for the rollercoaster ride the little psychopaths have in store for you!

After a while you get used to it, and you start to work out how you can get things done again and how to balance everything. The most challenging part for me has been that for now, I have to approach my studio time differently. In the past I could just go in and come out whenever I felt to some extent, now it’s kind of based on his school day and grabbing some extra hours here and there - which makes getting back into your own little world tricky. I guess you learn to work around things and have to do some serious time keeping getting things done and accept that sometimes you’re not going to do everything you planned. I’m really blessed though; he is an amazing character with a cool sense of humour and slowly dipping his toes into the world of music.

You have a plethora of stunning tracks due for release. Tell us about them?

The first release is out now, the track is called ‘Desire’ released on Phantom Recordings, a relatively new label which is putting some amazing stuff out there. I wrote the track on a day where I reflected on DJing and touring, missing a big part of me and the deep desire to do it all again soon. Next up will be an EP on Ballroom Records, a really exciting label with some incredible music out at the moment. These tracks are in a way reflecting a lot on my mental state at the time, it was difficult to balance studio time and other commitments which made it a bit of a struggle to stay focussed and in the zone. I think you can hear and feel it in the tracks; it gave them a deeper character with a bit more attitude. The last finished EP is coming out on Frequenza, another extremely cool and exciting label which I released on a while ago. This release is an interesting one as it contains the first track I did after deciding to make the switch but also my most recently finished track, so you can hear and feel the progression in the development of my sound.

For the first time in many years I can safely say that I’m proud of the fact I created them without fear of labels rejecting me or people not liking them. As an artist you are extremely vulnerable when you put your work out, the fear of rejection and dislike is always there in the background. When I started my career I had no fear, some people might even say I was arrogant as I didn’t care what anyone would think or say about my music. But that changed once I hit that stone wall of rejection, when no one seemed to like what I did. It took a while to learn how to deal with those situations, I think I mastered it for about 75% of the time now ha ha ha!

Who would you love to collaborate with and why?

This is again a really tough question as it sounds so simple, but I like so many different artists in different genres. When it comes to working with vocalists, this is something I can’t wait to do on a future EP and Lewis Capaldi is certainly one of them. His voice and the way he uses it really gets me; I think it would sound amazing on a deep dark but still emotional track. Every note he sings hits the soul! I might just one day just send him a track and see what happens; it would most likely be easier to win the lottery, but you can always try LOL. Another artist I would love to work with is Avis Vox, I only very recently by chance came across her releases and the production and her voice really fit my vibe at the moment. I like contrast in my music, a delicate balance of euphoria and darkness you could say. Lastly it would be MRAK, one half of the famous Tale Of Us duo. I absolutely love what he does and the fact he performs it live on stage too, an artform that got lost over the years a bit. He’s not afraid to do something less obvious, less predictable, a bit more out there.
Oh yes, I knew another one would pop in – Hozier. That voice!! I think I will leave it here before it becomes a top 50 of people I’d love to work with!

Lastly, if someone wrote a book about your life so far what should it be called?

I’ll go with ‘I Live For The Night’ – it sums up my never ending desire to party, to perform, to live life on the edge. As long as I can remember I have been like this, even at about 5 years old I would find it hard to sleep and look out of the window into the dark, dreaming of performing to thousands of people. Even then I felt a rush just thinking about it, and when I was old enough to do it all for real the feeling was 10 times stronger. To me night time is for adventure and it can never be enough for me really, I always want more.

To buy NEM3SI$’s recent release click here:



Images courtesy of NEM3SI$. Not to be reproduced with our permission.
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Other Features By Jessica Alici:
Mindbenderz talk ‘Lord of the Rings’ and fishing, as well as the creation of their new album ‘Celestial Gateway’!
Iono-Music artists One Function, Eliyahu, Invisible Reality and Dual Vision talk Robert Miles, kids, dogs and vinyl, while we chat about their current releases!
Luke&Flex talk influences, the Irish rave scene, why Flex wears a mask and Play Hard, their new EP out now on Onhcet Repbulik Xtreme!
Lyktum expands on his new album ‘Home’ – talking about his love of storytelling, creating new harmonies and the concept behind his musical works.
Pan talks getting caught short crossing the Sahara, acid eyeballs and tells us Trance is the Answer, plus shares his thoughts on his latest release 'Beyond the Horizon' - all from a beach in Spain!
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

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