Our new artist spotlight is shining on the ever so fresh, Nasser Baker, though not so new to some as his productions have been popping up around town since 2013. Gentle reminders of Objektivity's label boss, Dennis Ferrer's, who has acted as a mentor to Nasser Baker can be found in his music, but he has expanded on that into his own distinct sound. That was especially found in the 2018 summer Ibiza hit "Say Something." Nasser has displaced a wide range of influence in his earlier releases such as, "Born Again" featuring Ghost of He from his Future Primitive EP in 2016 and his remix of Oscar G's, "Rain" featuring Seri on Nervous Records.
With mentions of two upcoming releases in 2019, Magnetic Mag took the time get to know the young producer a little more in-depth as he dropped a new exclusive set for our Soundcloud page:
Magnetic: A little origin story - Where are you from? What background do you have in music?
Nasser Baker: I was born in California but I was raised in New Jersey. My parents would always play me music from hip-hop to R&B, 70’s soul music, 80’s pop and rock when I was younger and still to this day. I went to school for a couple of years to learn music theory and to learn how to play the piano. I learned about classical music and I played piano in the school jazz band for two semesters. That was my first time being part of a band, which was super hard but fun.
MM: You were surrounded by gifted artists from an early age - can you elaborate on that?
NB: I’ve been blessed to have found a mentor in Dennis Ferrer, who is a well-respected artist and a brilliant producer. People don’t realize it, but the creative process is quite a personal thing. It's not an “everybody is invited” kinda thing - and I’m lucky to have the kind of relationship with Dennis, where I’m allowed into his process. He teaches me all I need to know about production and DJing, but at the same time, he’s learning from me too, which is kinda cool! You never stop learning, music evolves, technology evolves, and techniques evolve. But basically, I'm being held to high standards by both Dennis and myself. Nothing gets released unless it's worth releasing.
MM: When did you start DJ'ing/Producing? How long before you released your first track (what was it?)
NB: I started DJing when I was about 14 years old. One day when I was getting ready to go to the boxing gym to train, my father called me and asked me if I wanted DJ equipment. I said sure why not, he said he could get equipment for cheap. Soon after that, I stopped going to the boxing gym and started DJing lol. I started producing about a year later. I would always bang on the walls and on the kitchen table and my father bought me a drum machine. About five years later I released my first track which was a remix on Star 69 Records and two years after that my first EP on Objektivity.
MM: At a ripe age of, 25, you have been showcasing some large movements with your track, "Say Something," a debut on Circus Recordings. How has your production developed since you first started releasing?
NB: My productions have gotten a lot better sonically. I liked all of my song ideas, but I always felt they could have sounded better. I’ve always wanted to get the best mix possible with my productions. The goal is the perfect mix. I'm happy with the way my productions are sounding at the moment but I still don’t have the perfect mix. There is still a lot I have to learn. It is going to take some time, but I will get there. I plan on doing this for a long time!
MM: What are some things that have influenced the way you approach DJ'ing and production?
NB: I had a big influence from Dennis, from working with him. I learned from him that you don’t cheat people of our their money. The music consumer or party goer is paying for your music and to see you play, so give them the best quality music and your best performance. I want you to have a good time when you listen to my music or see me perform.
MM: You have two new releases coming out this year - "Shake it Shake it" (Original) & "Doschenchka" (Remix). How do you approach a remix versus an original production?
NB: With original productions, I focus on the groove which then inspires the vocal or melody. With remixes, it’s vice versa. I create the groove based on the vocal or melody that already exists. But actually, my next release will be a collaboration with Yulia Niko, a track called “Someone I’m Not.” I'm curious to see everyone’s reaction to it. I haven't tested it yet, tomorrow at Fabric will be the first time I’ll play it and then later that week in Tel Aviv. Come ask me again after Fabric!
MM: What are some of your favorite tools to use in the studio for your tracks? Why?
NB: My favorite tools to use in the studio are Big Kick, Juno 60, Mini Moog, Fabfilter Pro Q3, and EchoBoy delay. Big Kick is my go to to make my kick drums. I used to always struggle to find the right kick and when I stumbled across Big Kick that was it for me. Most of my kick drums are from Big Kick. The Juno 60 and Mini Moog are my go-to analog synthesizers for bass sounds. I like the grittiness in their character. The Fabfilter Pro Q3 eq is so clean and you can get surgical with your eq decisions. The Echoboy delay from Soundtoys is my go-to for delay processing. It is a great sounded plugin, easy to use and has tons of options to be creative.
MM: What are some of your favorite performances from the past year? Why?
NB: My favorite performances from 2018 were the two gigs I had in Ukraine in Kharkov and Odessa, over the summer. I was able to play what I wanted and the crowd had a great time. I felt so comfortable in Kharkov and Odessa. I loved the vibe and had so much fun seeing everyone's happiness. I can’t wait to go back!
MM: What's your plan for the next phase of your career? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
NB: The plan is to keep getting better with my productions and DJing. I want to continue to share fun music that people can enjoy inside and outside the club. I hope to travel and play in each crevice of the earth and to land an ollie. lol. My hope is to have my own label in the future five years may be too soon, I think eight years…I don’t know. That's the plan.