Nick Monaco on His Slap & Tickle Show: "Sexual Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik"
Back in 2012, we here at Crossfade had a chat with international boogie meisters Soul Clap about their newly launched eponymous label and some of the artists they handpicked to represent their "artsy, cool, and funky" vision for the catalog. Among them was San Francisco DJ-production wunderkind Nick Monaco.
With the smoky, languid slow-mo grooves on 2013's Naked is My Nature EP, shaking and stirring deep house, hip-hop, electro-boogie, and R&B flavors, it's pretty clear why the eclectically-minded Soul Clap boys would bring Monaco into the fold.
It's also the reason why Nick Monaco is gaining a healthy following here in Miami, where variety is the spice we most like in our dance music fare.
Crossfade: How did you first get drawn to dance music? Did the scene in San Francisco shape you as an artist in any way?
Nick Monaco: I started out as a hip-hop DJ, rocking house parties, playing for rappers, and being a general hip-hop head. I slowly started developing an ear for house, but never found my gateway into house until I stumbled upon the Dirtybird BBQs in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. They merged hip-hop and house in such a new and seamless way. In that way S.F., really did mold me as an artist.
Tell us about your latest EP, Naked is My Nature. Is there an actual concept or theme behind the provocative title? What was the creative process like on this record, and how do you think it marks where you find yourself as an artist at the present moment?
I wrote the whole EP naked. Well, that's not completely true, but Naked is My Nature felt like my first true artist EP. The music reflects me coming into my own at a very pivotal moment in my life when I was in my last semester in college, not knowing what was to come. NIMN was my release. It's the sound of me juggling school, girls, music, and early-twenties naiveté. It's the first time I started using my own voice and actual songwriting, which was very new for me. So in that sense, it was pretty experimental.
But my intention wasn't to make something that would go over people's heads -- I still wanted to keep peoples' attention so most of the songs on the EP work well on the dance floor, too. I think it's one of the most unique EPs that came out in dance music this year -- it hits so many different genres and emotions. It's raw as fuck (as I recorded a lot of it on a Radio Shack mic in my room) and it still bumps in the club.
How did you first hook up with Soul Clap? What do you think glues you creatively?
When I was 21, I spent a summer as a beach bum in Barcelona. There, I made the demo that I sent to Soul Clap. They heard my demo, and were really impressed and saw a lot of potential in me. They pushed me to try out different genres and BPMs (which is what you hear in Naked is My Nature).
We started hanging out, and eventually touring together, and built this really strong relationship. They're really like mentors to me. I learned so much about the industry and music this last year with them. What glues us is that we have very similar DJ philosophies and backgrounds. It's really crazy -- I see myself in them and they see themselves in me.
What can we expect from you next on the production front?
I just wrapped a couple of edits that are coming out on vinyl as a part of the Soul Clap Records edit series. My main focus right now is a new album for Soul Clap Records, called Boy Meets World. I'm collaborating with a lot of the guys from the crew, like Tanner Ross, Navid Izadi, and No Regular Play. It's a real step forward musically for me. I'm also working on a collaboration with Serato, which is far off, but still really exciting.
What do you have in store for us at the Slap & Tickle party at Bardot on Tuesday? Do you have any special tricks up your sleeve for this gig?
I'm really excited about music right now. I have a bunch of new ridiculous edits, and music that I can't wait to share. Expect some sexual southernplayalisticadillacmuzik that will make you sweat your weave out.
Nick Monaco. Presented by Slap & Tickle. With Resident DJs. 10 p.m., Tuesday, August 6. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave. Miami. Tickets cost $10 to $20 plus fees via showclix.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-576-7750, or visit bardotmiami.com.