Nick Terranova AKA Starkillers has been one of America's favorite modern house music producers since appearing on the radar in 2006. From the early days of Discoteka, Nick's first single on Spinnin' Records, all the way through to his Gold Record accomplishment in 2011 for Pressure featuring Nadia Ali and Alex Kenji; Starkillers has learned the ropes of the Electronic Music industry -- the good, the bad, the beautiful and the breaking.
With experience in working with some of the world's most well-known labels (Spinnin' Records, Made Records, Ultra Records, Hysteria) and playing alongside some heavy-hitting DJ's - there was bound to be a bright and successful future for Starkillers. Beyond the launch of his radio show "Killer Radio" in 2012, Nick has also been busy with an exciting new project-- a record label. Brawla Records is the brainchild of Terranova's extensive experience and his personal beliefs on what music should achieve. Check out our interview below, and be sure to keep up with Starkillers on Facebook, Twitter & Soundcloud for all future updates about Brawla Records.
Congratulations on the launch of your new label! Can you tell us a little bit about the vision behind Brawla Records? And at what point did you decide to build your own label?|
Sure… Brawla is my heart and soul. Anyone who knows me personally will understand the meaning behind it. For those of you who don’t, it’s a head nod to the all of those that have come before me and fought for something they believed in. It may be a right or an opinion, a belief that fuels their passion or existence. It also symbolize my constant fight to stay relevant in the ever changing music industry. When I started this fight, electro house reigned supreme, then came the shift to a more techy progressive sound, and now it’s the big drop EDM formula taken the industry by storm.…so I have no choice but to fight, I brawl and in doing so I evolve.
What do you feel will separate Brawla from other labels?
Brawla doesn't follow a formula, I personally receive and listen to every tune that gets submitted to the label. Let me just say, there is some unbelievable talent out there that nobody has heard yet and some of them will start their brawl soon. In addition, we (my team), will give the same back-end promotional push whether we are releasing a tune of an established artist or an artist that is unknown. Actually, if a tune is big and we really believe it will move, we may put more promotion behind the unknown artist.
Do you currently have specific artists in mind for Brawla Records? What has the spike of interest been since your announcement?
Brawla's first release is one of my own: Starkillers Ft Alicia Madison Silence, the buzz around the record has been exciting and humbling at the same time. It’s different when you get feedback on your own record as opposed to signing a record to a label you don’t own. But as far as the artists go... some names you will recognize and some you won’t. This much I can say... Brawla will be known for the quality records we put out, not necessarily the quantity. Don’t get me wrong, the releases will come hard and fast.
You've been with labels such as Dim Mak, Ultra, Doorn, and Spinnin' in the past - would you say that your experiences with those labels have shaped your desire to perfect your own label style? The good, the bad AND the ugly?
Working with and being featured on all of those label is the reason for my existence, they are the reason my fans know my music. The promotional power they have is unprecedented and they have allowed me to work with many talented people. Some wanted Starkillers signed exclusively and some wanted a contract for a certain number of records, some just wanted the record. Any way you look at it they all wanted a piece of me, it's flattering, but it's also restricting at times. I get it, they're protecting their investment, but I have fulfilled my obligations, I have grown, and now I have nobody fighting for me... my only option is to fight for myself and the artists I believe in.
Your most recent release, "Silence" featuring the vocal talent of Alicia Madison is a track very open to interpretation. It almost feels as though you are conveying a message through the lyrics. It's a very powerful song, there's a lot of underlying emotion. What can you tell us about this track?
It is NOT EDM. Come on people we are all aware of the umbrella term, but there is no EDM genre on any site that you buy music from. Silence is a solid progressive house record. It has a little something for everyone. A sexy sing song vocal for the ladies, a nasty electro driven lead for the Glovers and Hoopers, and of course a big, but not over the top drop and build for the P.L.U.R. newbie. All you have to do is listen to Alicia’s voice and you will feel the passion behind her words. “Gotta keep moving forward – you’re gonna hear me when I call...when the silence breaks.” I am breaking my silence, Brawla is the call.
You have continuously pushed the boundaries of Electronic Dance Music with high energy production, larger than life performances and experimental sounds that are completley unique to your own being. I would say tradition is not a word commonly found in your dictionary! What goes into producing for you? What are some elements you look for when making music?
Actually tradition is huge when I make a record, I may be pushing the envelope, but I don’t ever forget where I came from. How I got my start. I pay homage to all the artists before me. I do that by trying to be original and blaze the trail. Yah, some of my records may sound similar to other records out there, or maybe I used a sample, but I have never not given credit where credit is due. I have always said I wish “Funk Phenomena” was my original, but it wasn’t so I worked my ass off to get the “Okay” from Armand Van Helden to put out my 2009 remix. If I didn’t know the history of the music I produced then all I would be is… a shell of a producer. I produce because I love music. I don’t sit down and say “I’m going to make a hit record” it doesn’t work like that. Music evolves, even in a single studio session. I never know where I will end up at the end of the day, I just sit down and work.
What is your position on the current place Electronic Dance Music is at?
I hate this question because I don’t want to sound like my opinion is what matters. I will say this. The more corporate this “EDM” bubble becomes, the more you will see producers and dj’s come and go. There used to be an art to djing, controlling a crowd, and programming a night of music. Now they will take any 17 year old kid with a hit record, give him a usb full of music and tell him to hit play, then turn around and charge a promoter 100 grand plus for two hours on the decks…excuse me two hours on a computer. The dj’s and producers are just going to get younger, because younger means longevity.
Beyond the label and summertime touring, what will you be getting into this year? Any exciting projects you can share with us?
I like swimming and crocheting…just kidding. I have a few projects I am working on outside of the dance music world, but you are all well aware of what it takes to build and empire. My focus really is the label and fresh music.
Anything you want us to know about the music, the label, or life?
Just chase your dreams and work really hard, and don’t forget those that helped you along the way. I know that sounds cliché’ but nobody is going to hand it to you. Brawla is my life work, and beyond me having any kids, it will be my legacy. Nobody can take that away from me.