Interview: Nicholson talks 'Reverent'
You've had tremendous success already with your new album, 'Reverent,' coming in at #1 on the iTunes UK Top Dance Album chart AND hitting top 40 (36 to be exact) in the iTunes overall album charts, as well as hitting the top of the Beatport Trance album charts and Multi-Genre charts! Not to mention support by artists like Armin van Buuren and Dash Berlin! What are your feelings about the huge amount of success 'Reverent' has seen so far, and can you give us an idea of what the creation process looked like?
'Reverent' began as a university project where I was challenged to make a commercially releasable EP. For the project, I decided to make two progressive trance tracks and created 'Sunstroke' & 'Butterflies' and got a really good mark for them. So, I was left with two tracks that I wasn’t sure what to do with but felt they were a great starter for a DJ set and that set me to thinking about and producing the album. It really was a case of trying to build a storyline from there on in and it seems many are relating to it.
Is there any particular song (or songs) on this album that means the most to you? If so, can you tell us why?
I think my favourite would be my collaboration with my good friend Paul Skelton called 'Serenity’. The track has Paul saying 'The Serenity Prayer' in the breakdown and it holds a lot of meaning for both of us being artists struggling to make ends met during this difficult pandemic through no fault of our own amongst other things. 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from 'Reverent?'
I hope that they can see the storyline I was trying to convey, it’s a tale of success & failure, hope, and hopelessness with a splash of comedy and a great big pinch of unadulterated fun.
Like most artists, you've been doing some live streams lately. When and where can fans expect to tune in to catch you again?
My next stream will be on Halloween for the legendary London party 'Peach' alongside some of the greats including Lange, Slipmatt, Space Brothers, Ben Gold, Graham Gold, and many more.
Your new studio, EQ Studios, will be opening its doors soon. Another huge accomplishment! Do you have an opening date planned, and what is your vision for the studio?
I don’t have a definite date set as of yet as the climate isn’t the best right now for opening a studio, but hopefully the beginning of next year at some point. It’s a boutique studio for the discerning producer, so I’m hoping we can get some good residencies when we open as we've got the very best of analogue coupled with some of the most cutting edge digital outboard equipment available on today’s market. Also, we will be looking to nurture the best of the UK's emerging talent, giving them the tools and the knowledge to succeed and grow in the current industry.
You've been in the dance music industry for a while now. How do you think the scene has changed over the last few years and where do you see it headed, especially with everything that's been going on in the world lately?
The industry has changed beyond recognition since I first started in the mid-nineties. Tracks had a much larger shelflife than today’s two to four-week window that seems to be in play, and I find it creates a template culture where pretty much everything sounds the same or similar to other tracks. We have gone from a studio requiring thousands of pounds of equipment to only needing a laptop and I find this has, on the whole, killed a lot of the romance that a producer had with production. Some tracks back in the day took months to create, whereas today many expect a track done in a day if they are in with an engineer, and as the saying goes 'Rome wasn’t built in a day.' On the flip one thing that has changed a bit because of COVID-19 is people have had more time to spend on their works, thus the large influx of quality, original music we seem to be experiencing at the present. That can only be a good thing.
How would you say that your sound and style has progressed over the years and what (or who) have been some of your biggest inspirations behind your growth as an artist?
My sound hasn’t really changed since 2001, I personally loved the late 90's/Early Noughties Hard Trance sound. It’s anthemic, and that’s what I set out to create every time I do a production. Careers aren’t born from 'filler tracks' so I try to make everything I do as anthemic as possible hence why I have done so many remixes of classic 90's tracks. When I moved from Hard Trance to Trance in 2013 the only thing I did differently was slow down the project from 145-138bpm to make it more accessible. That’s why if you pitch up my tracks to 145bpm they are easily appliable to the UK Hard Trance sound and don’t lose much clarity.
Given your history and your knowledge of the dance music industry, what advice can you give to new electronic artists that are struggling to make a name for themselves?
The best piece of advice I could give anyone who is in this to make a name for themselves is 'Stop doing it immediately.' If you aren’t in it purely for the love then the time it’s likely to take you to make a career out of it will be far longer than you are probably willing to accept and you are probably better served to get a career that you love. This for me has always been a necessity for me as a way of venting my emotions, and if by chance I get the opportunity to make a living from it then all well and good. If not it’s no problem as I will do anyway regardless for no other reason than I love it.
What else can fans expect from you in the near future?
I have another album completed already and will be putting that into planning shortly, plus I have quite a few singles and remixes scheduled on some huge labels such as FSOE, so it’s all looking very exciting indeed.