Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Nick Warren

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Nick WarrenBalance: 018 is his latest release. I have only heard a few of these compilations, but I must say, this is by far my favorite. There is just something about the way Nick produces these beats… or lack there of. I have had this disc in my CD player for about a month now, and I can’t seem to put it down. This release is actually two discs, and in the interview he talks about the difference between the two. Regardless, every track keeps me focused… and very few albums can do that. If you can listen to an album and never have to hit skip… that’s a great album. Balance: 018 is a great album. I had the chance to sit down with Nick last week for an exclsuive artist interview. We only had 15 minutes, but I made the most of it! Here we talk about the Balance compilation as well as his affiliation with Way Out West. It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Nick Warren.

So I can’t get Balance: 018 out of my head. That is going to be a fantastic release. Tell me a little bit more about that project and your expectations with its early May release.

It’s always tough doing a compilation album. People perceive there is some sort of goal or an idea to go off of. It starts with a blank canvas. To be honest, I tend to know my producers, the young guys that impress me at the moment. Slowly it starts to build like a puzzle. Once I have half the tracks of the compilation in place, I can build things around it. It gets a plan. At first there is no plan… it’s quite random.

I didn’t want to do something with a down tempo on the first disc and a down tempo on the second. I see it as a boutique hotel of the compilation series. They have had such a good roster so far; I was pleased to be involved.

You could call it house… you could call it progressive… you could even just call it electronic dance music. Is it possible to sum up your genre in one word?

Oh god, confused. (Laughs) Confused house music! It’s always been about a melody for me, even in the darker harder moments. There is always going to be an element of melody in there. I have always needed that bit of melody that steers on the side of underground.

Tell me a little bit more about your association with Way Out West.

We have been working together for a long time, since the mid 1990s. We still have the studio, and we both started taking a break from the project this year. I am doing some solo work right now. We keep talking about it; we just haven’t got in yet. Once the height of the summer has past, we will get in the studio for an EP.

You have quite an impressive catalog. You have stuff going all the way back to 1994. In all that you have produced, what’s been the most fun… the most inspiring project you have ever touched?

Oh gosh, that’s tough. I still don’t think I have done my best work yet. Once I got to that stage, I wondered what would I do now. I always think I can improve. I am always thinking about how I can improve. I just want to improve all the time. That’s what pushes me on and makes me want to move on to the next project. I would love to get into the studio with some musicians and vocalists. I want to go into the studio and press record. Play live for eight hours and see what happens.

You have been in the scene for a very long time. Who are some of your favorite artists right now?

On the electronic scene, Egbert. Solely, it’s on this album. There is so many stuff.. the dubstep I listen to a lot. I am into the fleet foxes as well. I don’t like to be stuck in a genre, especially away from my work. I try to be as weird and wonderful in my taste as possible. You need extremes in fashion and music to get into the middle ground again. It might not be stuff you can play in the club, but you’ll get some influence and mutate into what you are doing.

You used to DJ for Massive Attack. They are actually from Bristol, United Kingdom. Is that how you got connected with them, being from the UK?

Well I am in Bristol as well. I have been here since 1986. I actually moved out of the city. I can see it from my house. I was a big Bristol head myself. We were at the same parties and at the same white labels and record stores. We became really good friends, and the world wanted them to go on tour. They asked me to be their support. We spent three or four years on tour with Massive Attack. My job was to start with an empty room, and get that room on the right buzz before the band came on.

I see a lot of guys doing this lately… what’s the fascination with a residency?

I don’t do much of it personally; it’s not my bag. I did it years ago at Cream. Cream was the best nightclub in the world. It did me so much good. I like to move around each week and be in different places. Some people get sick of the traveling and like to be in the same place or like to build up a base.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

That’s always been the best thing about this scene, and I think someone asked me that five years ago… the great thing is I have no idea. Someone might change the entire scene next week. Someone might make a record next week that blows all the boundaries, and change everything. Until these things happen, as a producer or a DJ, you don’t know where you’ll be. I think I’ll be fly-fishing on a Sunday afternoon.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

I like to think that I have given some special moments in life, in music, in clubs, and stuff like that. It’s all part of growing up on the early days of this scene and we had no idea then how important they were to so many people. It was their coming of age to their late teens into his or her 20s. Those are important years for all people. The thing they heard and their future lives. I just hope they have added a little bit of positive education too.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

I want to tell your readers never to be that downhearted about the future of music. Something will always come along and smack you in the face like a wet fish; that wakes everyone up. And that’s just around the corner.