Scottish DJ, Turntablist & Producer Jan Nada agreed to lay down some insight into his forthcoming album ‘Pale Horse’, as well as selecting and blending a gorgeous valentines mixtape for our readers listening pleasure.
Lock into his diligently selected mixtape below and kick back and enjoy this in-depth interview which highlights DJ Nada’s unique creative perspective, his inspirations, and how he feels about his record collection, as well as mentioning his hopes for future projects…… 🙂
First and foremost, thank you, Kutz, for taking the time to share with us here at Revel…….
Thank you for asking me, Miff. And it’s Jan; the Kutz Cobain thing was a bad pun which Scottish Emcee, Ciaran Mac and I came up with before our first gig together and the name kind of stuck. Usually, I DJ under the name Nada or have done since 2014ish……
Miff – Ah, cheers for the clarity… Jan it is then. 🙂 Can you cast some insight into your initial journey into turntablism/DJing, what year did you get into it? Who fuelled your fires? And did you find yourself part of any collectives/crews?
Jan – Regarding DJing itself, I have been doing it longer than I haven’t. I got my first set of decks at age 13 and have been on them ever since. Turntablism was an element I got into purely from scratching initially, then felt inspired by watching old DMC and ITF videos which made me decide to finally have a go.
As for finding myself part of any collective, there has been no crews, no cliques, no covens – just Lil’ (well, not so Lil’) old me 🙂
Miff – Tell us about the soul mix which you have so graciously spun for us this Valentine’s… What do these select tracks mean to you? And what magic do you hope to weave by blending the alchemy of soul, funk & disco?
Jan – Anytime I spin records, I just want to make people smile, laugh, and express themselves. I used the Valentines theme to play a lot of the records that I wouldn’t sit in a standard “mixtape”.
There’s mixing and scratching but it’s tastefully done of course, and I tried more to syncopate the mix around what I think people should be doing while listening. I hope it helps people break the ice and set fire to tears. Let’s all be making love out there, not lust 😊
Miff – Masses of respect for the Mixtape Jan, you’ve blended those tracks punctiliously and I’m positive your select sounds will help set hearts on fire.
I am interested in hearing about your personal journey into defining your own unique, music- making/production style, what elements/realizations have helped you find your distinct sense of self within your overall creativity?
Jan – I make a varied amount of music and generally try to make whatever’s coming through at that particular time. It could be a hip-hop beat or a melodic rave thing. My direction really just depends on the mood I’m in or if I’m working on a brief. More recently I think I’ve been able to crystalize my influences through my musical output a bit more cohesively.
Miff – In September, of last year you turned your attention to, Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5’s – Cross the Road (Cross the Rave Remix) What special elements did you bring into play regarding that fun song? And have you any artists in mind for working on future remixes?
Jan – I saw the band perform the track in Glasgow’s, Cafe/Bar venue, Stereo and thought “that needs a fucking rave remix”. I had already done some remixes for them, so I asked, and the Colonel sent the parts. The remix kind of wrote itself, laying down hoover, square lead, jungle break and the vocals and horns over the top.
I liked it as it was a complete throwback to the early to mid-90s, Happy Hardcore stuff, reminding me of the English Electronic group from the ’90s, Technohead, with their track “I Wanna Be A Hippy” or DJ Paul “Rainbow In The Sky”. The track made me smile anyway……
Miff – Last year you were a semi-finalist at the IDA UK & Ireland DJ Championships 2018, what category were you placed? And how was that overall experience for you?
Jan – I was placed within the ‘Technical’ category, which I wouldn’t have given myself much of a shout in. Scratching has always been my thing, so being placed at all in the technical category was an absolute buzz for me. The experience itself was cool, met some nice people. The stress and self-discipline aspect of preparing was a bit grueling however, it was good to test myself and my dedication to whatever the fuck it is I’m doing.
Miff – Your ardent flames of creativity have been blazing over the last while, providing full attention and focus on laying down your forthcoming album titled ‘Pale Horse’. Can you give us insight into how these tracks took shape, the sentiments behind this current music and whom you have been collaborating with?
Jan – ‘Pale Horse’ was a trip. Most of the tracks I began as sketches and ideas between July and October 2018 while my mother was in the hospital and then recovering from a pretty bad case of cancer. It was also a reasonably turbulent time personally for me away from that, so this was me trying to express feelings and ideas I had through the only real outlet I had……
After I got back and rested a bit after the IDAs, and the dust began to settle, I began to compile and finish the tracks, which seemed to fit together. Initially, it would have been an EP, but it turned out at 12 tracks.
As far as collaborations, I have had a few people working on vocals for certain tracks which I may release later with a few remixes.
Miff – Over the last while you have been providing excellent tasters to certain tracks from your forthcoming album over on, Nadacorp social media page, tracks that demonstrate a gripping selection of samples. Can you shed some light on the choice of samples you have extracted, spliced & diced for the album, and is there a running theme of expression throughout this body of work?
Jan -The idea behind Nadacorp was a sort-of pastiche of a big soulless corporation. To appear gloomy and corporate, but the message behind it is to the contrary.
Nada – No, Corp – Death = LIFE. I admit I did not do Classics at predatory school.
Rather than solely musical output, I have some other plans for other multimedia and artistic projects I will put out through there. I’ll also have some other non-musical enterprises starting soon, so keep ’em peeled over @thedjnada social media FB page.
Miff – When is the album set for release? And will there be a launch party?
Jan – It’s my father’s birthday on the 17th February and would ideally like to have launched the album on that date, however, the reality Is, I shall be out celebrating with him on that day, Haha! So, I am shifting the release date to sometime next week.
There won’t be any launch party, but If anybody wants to hover outside my window and listen I’d be mighty appreciative. … https://nadacorpgla.bandcamp.com/
Miff – I understand that each creative project can bring its own unique revelation or challenge. What has been the most significant, most notable transformation, revelation or challenge to this particular creative process this time around?
Jan – Life, death, heartbreak, abyss, rejection, paranoia, deception, mistrust, depression, anxiety, pain, catharsis, magic, spirituality, God, tribalism, journeys, love, hate, good, evil, angels and demons. I’m still working a few of those out but I’m amazed at the way life, love and art can brighten up the darkest and bleakest of times.
Miff – Regarding, Nadacorp, do you hope to bring various creative elements under the one umbrella of Nadacorp? For example, collaborations/ DIY label/ production/remix work?
Jan – Yeah, pretty much. I have a few ideas and other things I like to do, so it’ll all probably be put out through there for the time being.
Miff – What have been the best, most memorable events you have been part of?
Jan – Playing Rave to around a thousand people every week was nice, even though I can’t call myself Jan-R to this day. Hardcore 4 life n’ aw that. When I first started playing in clubs, at 17, I got a residency playing on a Thursday night. It was mostly empty but that meant I got to play for a few hours on a big system every week until it got busy enough for the main residents to want to play. Sometimes I’d play all night to only a few people, but it taught me a lot about set structure and programming music over windows of time.
Miff – I understand that you are thinking about setting up your own music event in Glasgow very soon. Can you announce the date, venue, and name of the nights you are working on hosting?
Jan – You just reminded me I need to make some phone calls, cheers Miff! I’d say people will probably know before me though, so let me know. Always so happy to spin, and I think people know by now I’m proficient in many disciplines. So, trust Nada.
I am playing at a new Turntablist-oriented night organized by the Frogbeats crew at the Flying Duck, 17th May. I’m working on a few new sets/routines so I may try them out there. http://www.frogbeatscollective.co.uk/
Miff – How long have you been tour DJ for the incandescently talented emcee, Ciaran Mac? How would you best describe your creative relationship with Ciaran? And do you have any forthcoming tour events lined up with the Mighty Mac?
Jan – A few years now, we met at college years ago and caught up a few years later. Our first gig was a sold out, Machine Gun Kelly show, and we’ve had a couple decent ones in the years since; Bishop Nehru, Dabbla, Fliptrix and, of course, The Girobabies. As for forthcoming things, you’d need to ask Ciaran, I just turn up if there are turntables to make it awkward for other “DJs”. Always ready to throw down though – I think we’ve rehearsed once or twice.
Miff – Every music aficionado has their own intense relationship with their record collection, how would you best describe yours?
Jan – I love them all dearly, but I probably have too many already. Each one is somebody’s dream and I cherish them like that… Except when I’m cutting them up. For a while, I was completely digital, but vinyl just feels better. It’s alive! If I’m doing more Turntablism-oriented stuff, I will usually rip stuff from vinyl and play on Serato. Trying to get into that habit to reduce my vinyl footprint.
Miff – What is your current favorite piece of music making equipment? and who are your current favorite artists/sounds/labels? (Specific recommendations)
Jan – ‘Pale Horse’ was completely “in the box” as I had fuck-all else except an Akai MPD for pads and a Novation Midi keyboard. I try to create the sonic elements myself though unless there’s a specific sound I’m looking for to give a certain tone or mood. I always go by Pensado’s Law – “It’s the ear, not the gear!” So, cotton buds to keep your ears clean!
Music-wise, I kind of mostly buy old stuff but recent stuff I enjoy is on my most recent mix. Tracklists should be on my Mixcloud; I’m currently putting up my other mixes so check em here – https://www.mixcloud.com/thedjnada/
Other labels I like are… Favourite, PPU, Razor N’ Tape, Clone, Stones Throw, Mood Hut, Pacific Rhythm, Expansions, Athens Of The North.
Usually, I just pick by what I like, if it speaks to me or has that kind of quality to it that I know when I hear or feel.
Miff – Describe your overall relationship with music, how does music affect your mind and body? can you define the healing aspects of creating music and the effect that has had on your life?
Jan – It’s a life-saver and has got me through times I really wouldn’t have otherwise. The process of DJing and creating music itself is something sacred to me and I always play and create from the heart and soul. It’s a powerful medium, medicine, and therapy.
Miff – Thank’s so much for taking the time to answer these mind probing questions, you have provided great insight. Revel is super stoked to highlight your awesome talents. 🙂
Jan – You’re so welcome and thanks so much for asking me and I really appreciate all the support, from you and those out there who do keep me keepin’ on… Be good!