For the worldly, Nina Las Vegas is a name etched permanently into your brain as a top notch selector. One of the brighter younger stars at Australia's number one radio station triple-j, Nina Las Vegas has been cultivating the Australian dance music scene for quite sometime, a host with her own show since 2009 in fact. Her career first began working with Diplo on his Heaps Decent non-profit organization that supports emerging underprivileged and indigenous musicians.
Nina though is not just a selector or curator, she has stepped out into the world of production with recent collaborations with the talented Swick. She is learning it all and applying her tremendous taste to her very own creative works. The Nina Las Vegas sound is club oriented with a harder edge and plenty of tech inspired flourishes, but never losing focus on the most crucial component, having as much fun as possible!
When we spoke with Nina, she was embarking on her first ever North American tour, and if you catch Nina at a show, you know she will not be staying down under for very much longer!
How would you succinctly and simply define Nina Las Vegas as an artist?
Nina Las Vegas: I'm an energetic song lover, and I want to educate an audience with new stuff as well as pay tribute to great songs.
You're a renowned radio DJ, and also now an actor/producer. How have these roles influenced each other, or how do they influence each other. Has it been complementary, or have there been struggles?
Well, before I was on air, I was behind the scenes. I've always been a producer, I was making all the IDs between songs for years on Triple J, I was making mixes before I was presenting them. And I used to teach Ableton and stuff like that, so my technical skills have always been there because I use them everyday with work. I obviously have a history in music, as most DJs do, and then I think what really works is that I get sent a lot of music, and I start having to trust my ear, and I started realizing that people liked what I selected. So I figured that if my ears can match my skills, if that doesn't sound too deep, then I think I could make some cool, different stuff. Which is what I'm about. I kind of realized there was a lack of music that I wanted to play out. I stopped wanting to play that very Australia 80BMP sound that we've got going on still. It's cool, but I wanted to make harder stuff like stuff that I used to listen to when I first started.
Should we be excited for more Nina Las Vegas releases in 2015? I really love your most recent one, I think it was the Swick.
Yeah. We just put out a remix of Anna Lunoe, "Say It Again." So I pretty much spent all of last year and a bit of this year with Swick, just refining my skills, because I had spent so long working on Ableton as a DJ that actually sitting in a studio by myself doing my own originals was so daunting that I just had to kind of collaborate with someone to gain a bit more confidence, you know? And actually make sure that what I was making was cool, and it was so cool to do that stuff with him because we just gelled and everything worked that I'd made with his stuff. So we've actually got a stack more songs that are coming out on Fool's Gold soon. So there's like a three track EP, and then I'm working on my own EP right now, but that is kind of hold while I'm traveling, because at the moment I'm just focusing on playing really well, you know?
Is there a Nina Las Vegas philosophy?
I guess you just always have to be challenged. The moment things start getting boring, you have to switch it up. So I guess that's why I went into more music making last year and this year, I was just getting too complacent and things I was doing were too easy. I don't think you should ever slow down. If you're going to slow down you need to totally slow down and just have a break. I think the moment you want to slow down is when you should stop or think about something else. But yeah, just the challenging element. I always like a challenge. I would much prefer to take a risk, and gain a lot of respect for that and achieve longevity, than do what's easy.
Along with that idea of longevity, where do you see Nina Las Vegas in three years?
Nina Las Vegas is still going to be active, but I feel like I might be more of like a curator and a musician. I love the idea, I don't know, I'm getting very tempted into behind the scenes work. And I want to still be playing, and I want to still be doing cool stuff, but perhaps it's a more kind of curated feel a bit. In Australia I curate parties and events and bring people out that I like, and I'd love that to be an international model. I feel like there's not enough female trend setters that are outspoken in the scene, and I'd love to be one of them.
How do you go about curating music for beautiful explosions?
Well, it was really hard because it's so surreal what you have to do. I made an amazing mix which I loved, and then it was too complex for the fireworks. I had to watch a lot of fireworks and really slow it down a bit, because basically if you think about it, fireworks are like bang, bang, bang. And so all the songs had to have these epic build ups, or slow moments, and there was a total mood board with the designer that I had to work towards. It was kind of, yeah. A little surreal, actually, that it was just that kind of like designing for visuals, if you that makes sense
It's very theatrical!
Yeah, totally. It was full on. It was not an easy job, and the outcome is amazing, obviously. I'm so glad that I was able to do it, but it was just like the most complex piece of sound design I've ever done because I basically had to work with a 50 Italian man that just knew what he wanted, you know? And he'd been doing the fireworks for 15, 20 years in Sydney. So it was a big deal. It was really cool.