Hi Nate, pleasure to have you back and huge congratulations on the new album and the baby. How does it feel now that both are released?
Amazing and a little overwhelming. Two huge events in my life happening within a month of each other has been pretty crazy, but I’m thrilled that the album is finally done and I’m totally in love with my daughter :)
You are actually an ‘Audio Engineer’ – wow, how does it help you in your music?
The technical side of audio engineering definitely filters down into a lot of aspects of creating music. Whether I’d suggest that everyone get a degree before getting into writing electronic dance music? No, I don’t think its essential at all, but having that knowledge is an added bonus.
What kind of challenges have you faced being in South Africa, away from main scene in perhaps Amsterdam/USA/UK?
It’s mainly travel issues you have living all the way down here. The electronic dance music is pretty much a global phenomenon, so it’s not like we’re out of touch with things down in SA. Flights are ridiculously expensive though and you’re looking ridiculous amounts of time spent in the air when traveling from here. Not ideal when traveling makes up the bulk of your job!
You have been closely associated with Max Graham’s Re*brand label, could you elaborate on your role in it?
Officially I don’t have much of a role in how things are run at Re*brand. Re*brand is really Max’s baby, but he and I have been working very closely for the last 4 or 5 years now and I think Re*brand’s identity really is both of us right now.
A lot of people say that Trance has become stagnant in its growth, due to the same sounds. What is your thought? How do trance producers keep themselves abreast with new sounds?
Haha, yeah, I’d agree… and I would say exactly the same thing about EDM, Techno or Deep House for example. I think every genre is becoming stagnant now with it being so easy to grab a laptop and get into the DJing/producing business. That said, every genre has artists that are pushing boundaries and doing something interesting. I’m all for experimenting outside of trance, which I’ve seen a lot of producers doing. I do feel though, it’s important to be honest with yourself and write music from the heart. It’s too easy to say you’re trying to keep things fresh when in fact you’re selling yourself short to get a piece of the whole “EDM pie” so to speak.
‘Music Is More Than Mathematics’ is your fourth album and first in the progressive & uplifting genre. What was your approach for this one, how was it different from your other albums?
Well, my other albums were predominantly psy-trance offerings. My third album, ‘Love Technology’ was really a tipping point for me, where I started doing crossover stuff, and ‘Music Is More Than Mathematics’ I feel is my first album to realise my style outside of the psy-trance scene. It was a bit of a milestone for me, being on Armada, but also mainly as I feel this album was a great opportunity for me to try new things and kind of carve out a niche for myself.
The Track name “Annapurna” intrigued us, are you into mountain climbing? Or how did that name come about?
I am actually… the whole rock climbing thing is a recent development for me, but I’ve always been fascinated by the size and age of mountains. The name of the track was actually inspired by time I spent in Pohkara, Nepal. You have a view of the peak of Annapurna II from there that is just stunning.
There’s a definite trend in having more vocal tracks in albums lately, while ‘MIMTM’ has just 4 in it, any reasons for this?
No real reason at all… I don’t feel I need to put vocals on everything unless I like the vocal and vice versa. I hardly ever write a track and go “hey, maybe we should stick a vocal on top”… it’s usually a case of finding a vocal, and building a track around that instead.
Any reason for starting your album world tour in Washington DC and then playing at home in Cape Town?
No not really, that’s just how the dates fell into place. We had Washington booked and it was a coincidence that the album release date fell exactly on that day. We just finished up the Cape Town launch though and it was fantastic… sold out crowd in your home town? Always a pleasure :)
There was a huge uproar in the industry about a 10-year old producing a track and talking about ghost production & mastering, what is your take on it?
I’ve been quite vocal about how I dislike everything about it. Firstly, as someone who has worked in this industry for almost 12 years now, it’s not easy… it’s hard work and you’re constantly under a lot of pressure to perform. Something I don’t feel 10-year olds should be subjected to under any circumstance. We all want to be astronauts and race car drivers when we were kids, but you don’t see people handing out drivers licenses to 10-year olds do you? It also just highlights everything I think is wrong with the scene at the moment. It all boils down to money… who can you buy off, who can ghost produce for you, how much money can you throw at PR campaigns… what happened to talent and passion for music?
What has happened to the South African trance scene, everyone expected it to be a sought after destination after ASOT 500 but it is really struggling lately.
Well, as I mentioned, traveling from here is hard. It’s tough bringing out internationals and not easy to turn a profit with events. Cape Town is also not a city full of venues… a lot of the bigger parties all happen outdoors as we have plenty of space for that, and those tend to mostly be psy-trance festivals. There’s still a huge following here, just not enough events happening which is a shame.
A lot of people say that thanks to artists like Simon Patterson, Jordan Suckley, Harmonic Rush – psy trance is becoming mainstream. What is your thought on the psy trance scene as a spectator now?
I left the scene because personally I’d become very bored with it. That said I like what Simon Patterson, Jordan Suckley and other artists are doing. I think they’re injecting a much needed melodic aspect back into the music which for me had become terribly monotonous and stale.
You have done many tours to India, last one was a long one with Max Graham. Do you have any peculiar story you want to share with us about it?
Haha, I guess there’s tons of peculiar stories when looking at it from a foreigner’s perspective in India. It’s a crazy country but I love it to bits. We had a great time on tour last year as well. I think the traffic for me is still one of the hardest things for me to get my head around… my record so far is being in 3 accidents in one trip from Mumbai international to my hotel. My driver managed to hit a pedestrian, scratch another car and knock a cyclist off his bike in about 30 minutes of rush hour traffic! LOL!