As we return with another episode of The RRP podcast series we turn to a young DJ who has taken the Belgium scene by storm. Nico Morano is a DJ & Producer with the vision, creativity & raw talent to outlast the hoard of 15-minute ‘famesters’ saturating the scene.
As an artist, Nico Morano is beginning to reap the rewards for being one of the most consistent artists around. His variation on melodic techno sounds has gained him a loyal following in his native Belgium becoming one of the countries leading ticket sellers. His ‘Nico Morano and friends’ brand is now a staple at Tomorrowland & the underground Paradise City Festival while he regularly features at our favourite festival, Extrema Outdoor Festival.
In the studio, Nico is non-stop. A workaholic dedicated to perfecting his trade. In 2019 alone he has already released 5 productions on a variety of highly acclaimed labels. Hive Recordings, Universal Music & his own Atmosphere Records.
This combination of ruthless production & flawless mixing makes him one of Europe’s most exciting artists. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Nico in between his busy tour schedule to talk shop ahead of his exclusive mix for The RRP.
You started playing your first records over 16 years ago now. What was it that first inspired you to start playing music & ultimately making music as your career?
I still remember the first time I got in contact with proper ‘dance music’.
I was on a youth camp aged 14. During the week, I was completely influenced by our youth movement mentors. They were constantly putting on the CD of ‘The Members of Mayday’. That gave me a true addiction to house music.
I still love that compilation cd, from 1994. Check it out: ‘The Raving Society’!
You are of Belgium nationality & one of the countries most exciting talents. Can you tell us a bit more about the Belgium scene & how it compares to other scenes such as Berlin or Amsterdam?
Belgium was the country with the biggest density of clubs per capita, 5 years ago.
We were the number 1 clubbing country, by far. But over the last few years, unfortunately, that changed quite drastically. The number of clubs lowered and festivals took over the scene.
So everything changed a lot. That doesn’t have to be a negative thing, but I do have to say that as a consequence of that evolution, the periods without ‘open airs’, it is now more interesting to go to Amsterdam or Berlin, as clubbing is still big over there.
But on the flip side, if you are looking for a festival. Belgium! From May till the end of September, every week you can find something interesting in our country.
You are building quite a reputation within the Belgium festival circuit. You are a regular at Extrema Outdoor, as well as hosting stages at Paradise City Festival & Tomorrowland. How did these opportunities arise and what does it mean for you as an artist to programme stages at some of the worlds most famous festivals?
Being consistent is the key!
Listen to a set of mine from 10 years ago and a set from last week.
I always kept true to the melodic vibes. Ok, it might be a bit more of a progressive house sound now. Next year maybe a bit more deep house, but the main thing will remain the same: melodic.
This is why people know that when I’m scheduled they will not receive (unpleasant) surprises. Consistency created a very loyal crowd and that is what club & festival promotors need. Someone they can trust. He sells tickets and they can guarantee they know what they are booking.
Live Streaming is a tool that has been born into dance music with the introduction of technology. Do you think it is positive or negative for dance music to be able to capture these moments & share them with people not at the event?
Only one answer: positive all the way! Live streaming offers a superb platform for DJs / live acts in order to communicate what we do and what we stand for. So you can get in touch with other continents. You can build a new fan base, that previously couldn’t access your sound. So this is a superb advantage in all kind of ways.
Of course, there is also the issue of people needing to capture all this with their phones constantly. This is the part where I would say, “no, please just enjoy & dance.” Leave live streaming to professional live streaming companies. That way it looks professional, the sound is good and everybody can enjoy why they are there: TO DANCE!
In terms of your productions, we are really enjoying the sound of the music you are producing. What does the future hold in terms of musical output? Is there anything coming on your own label?
The future looks bright.
This year I have released on Days Like Nights, Hive Records, Elements, Universal Music Group & Atmosphere Records, my own imprint.
So it has been already quite busy.
But there is more to come:
Mid August a Sabb remix of ‘Nico Morano – Solaris’ is coming on Days Like Nights. Early September a new track called ‘Nico Morano – Believe’ is coming on a new imprint, called Ontourage Music. And in October another Atmosphere Records release is planned.
In November another one will be launched on Ontourage Music, so the next months are fully covered!
What has been the craziest part of your career to date? Has there been a moment or story where you just think ‘was that real?’
Last year I took over from Paul Kalkbrenner on the mainstage of Tomorrowland. I can honestly say I will never forget that moment.
But I can honestly say. Size doesn’t matter. I can genuinely enjoy a small venue the same way as a huge dancefloor with 1000’s of people. So I also remember that one night in January 2017 when I played an 11 hrs session in a club for 700 people, completely filled from start to finish. My never to forget moment number 2.
If you could produce a track with any artist past or present who would it be and why?
Shout out to my buddy Denis Horvat! The man is just such a legend in his studio. Denis, now you know…. Call me!