Nicola Noir is Zurich based musician and producer who runs Schieff Musik. Recently he released 14 tracks strong debut album Frères that draws inspiration from various sounds of jazz, disco, wave and rock. The style he's after can be described as a downtempo or slow house music with a melodic but always slightly groovy touch. Over the web, he's been releasing tracks and dropping free downloads on his Soundcloud for a while. Tracks were featured and used in many sets around the world, from up and coming DJs to the world biggest names.
As a DJ he played mostly around Switzerland in clubs like Zukunft with a few international gigs in countries such as Turkey, Germany and Sweden... We asked him a few standard questions for our regular 101 series and that's what he had to say.
What was the funniest / most bizarre request you’ve ever had while playing?
I think it was one time I played really dirty music, like 90s wavy disco, psy-rock and breakbeat at Kauz Club at a time when there was only played downtempo with a lot of techno influence... Some girl came to me and asked if I'm going to play also some good music tonight or it will be this bullshit all-night long. Maybe that was the funniest request of all.
Can you describe your studio setup for us?
I keep it really simple. I have a few hardware synths and drum machines, a few big ones and some really small ones. I'm working a lot with instruments like acoustic guitar, e-guitar and e-bass. For my arrangement, I mostly work with logic. And I have a lot of software synths that I really like to work with - like Arturia Prophet and Analog Keylab.
Some commercial producers get a huge studio and they do horrible stuff... And some have just a laptop and live in the jungle and they can do an amazing work. So it's always up to you what you want to do.
Could you tell us the story about your first gig?
My first gig was at one of my own occupied house parties in Zürich, I can't remember which one. I only remember that I was a horrible DJ at the start. I was crazy nervous, so I made a lot of mistakes and very well mixed track was more an exception than a rule in two hours of my set time.
Name three artists that currently inspire you.
Oh wow, there are 300, but maybe my favourite artists who still inspire me today are:
DJ Koze: I mean, what can you say about his music? Nothing. Just listen to it and enjoy.
Nicolas Jaar: He's a real master of innovative and individual sound. He created a new genre in this world, the Nicolas Jaar. Every time you hear him you will recognize the sound and the style.
John Talabot: John is hanging around the big level of techno scene, but he's always doing what he loves most on his label Hiverns discs. It's a bit fucked up and dirty music which normal techno and house listeners would never buy or listen to.
Recall the worst experience of ‘killing the vibe’ in the club.
It happened to me a lot. You start the DJ set and right when you are going to have fun and good vibes are building the electrical-generator stops working and the whole party stops for 10 minutes. You will never reach the same energy and you have to start again. Definitely a vibe killer. Happens a lot on outdoor festivals.
What do you do before and after your set?
I always try to do different stuff. Sometimes I drink a lot with my friends and then I'm playing a little bit drunk. Sometimes in my hometown, I'm driving to my gig, don't drink and then go home right after my gig. But most times when I'll play international gigs I party with all the people there because it's always a really nice and euphoric experience. But I don't have a strict ritual what.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I think that was my holiday job when I was about 15 years old and was still going to school. It was a brickie job in wintertime and it was maybe -10 degrees. Damn.
Or a DJing job which was even worse than my first gig because I had to play for a fashion show in a real shitty fashion shop. Worst people I've ever seen.
Last but not least. What's the best advice you've ever received?
I think that was one night in club Zukunft in Zürich. None of my friends were coming with me that night and the people didn't really like what I was playing and I didn't know what to do.
Kalabrese was standing next to me and I've asked him what is wrong tonight and why the party just doesn't start already.
He looked at me and said: "Eifach musig mache", that means: "just make music".
In Swiss/German it sounds better, but with this sentence he let me know to not be worried about peoples reactions, just focus on your own thing. In the end, it's just disco/club and it's about enjoying and having a good time.
Since then I stress less.