SPIN Sets Presents: Nicky Night Time
exclusive DJ sets + Q&As with the best behind the decks.
An open-hearted and explosively colorful artist, Nicky Night Time has garnered attention for his knack in creating worldwide acclaimed electronic anthems. His path led him on major tours with musical legends such as, Daft Punk and Phoenix, which has equipped him with some great stories and greater musical prowess. He has now set sail into the next chapter of his career, establishing Music To Dance To record label. Nicky took a moment with SPIN and let us in on his artist roots, the inception of his record label, upcoming projects, new releases and much more.
Who is Nicky Night Time and what do you stand for?
Nicky Night Time is a name I came up with after my band Van She stopped making music together. I made a bunch of records for for house music labels and they all went number one in different countires around the world. I got offered a record deal where I was tasked with producing four house records, but I was in South Africa making a psychedelic rock record, so decided to fly back to Australia and meet the label to present them with the tracks they requested. I was able to churn out all four records on the plane ride back, and the label ended up loving them! I was with my friend Dangerous Dan, who’s now partner in our label Music To Dance To Records, and the label asked ‘what do you want to be called?’ Dan replied that it has to be Nicky Night Time, because I was out at night all the time! I believe art, music, and culture should always be respected and prioritized. It has always given me so much insight and pleasure, and I will fight for it no matter what.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
I guess my sound varies depending on the song I am creating. For instance, my new record with my mate Ali Love and Thibaut (Breakbot) called “Ubiquity” was very much a love thing. ‘Ubiquity’ started its life with me in Australia as a drum and guitar track, then made its way to London where Ali added electric bass and vocals very early in the morning. I recall there were about 8 girls hanging in Ali’s flat for some reason, which really added to the song’s groovy vibe, because you can feel that there’s a party happening. Then, I went back to LA and hung out with Thibaut, who wrote the amazing string and keys parts which sent the song into the stratosphere. The stars aligned and it felt ubiquitous. It was a love project really, and I think we felt it was a cool thing to put out into the world between the three of us amigos. This is very much a track influenced by vibe and boogie.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
When I toured with my old band Van She, I felt like making and playing music is what I should be doing with my life forever. Having met and toured with so many great artists like Daft Punk, Phoenix, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs really inspired me to do more, be greater, and love the art of it all.
You’ve been at the forefront of Australia’s club scene, topping the charts multiple times with your hit singles, “Gonna Get Better” & “Flowers.” What’s your formula for creating these larger than life anthems?
I guess it’s a combination of a bit of luck, and truly loving the music I make. I have never EVER specifically tried to make a hit song, it all just flows naturally and organically. I guess if I had a formula, it would be to work with great people who you connect with and never to force anything. Be the river, don’t be the boat.
You’re no rookie to collaborating with incredible artists such as, Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Hayden James, and Elderbrooks. What kind of impact do these sessions have on your artistry and what kind of shifts does it create within your creative perspective?
Working with Hayden James was awesome. My partner Nat Dunn in NAATIONS and I had a vocal that we wrote in Sydney that we knew would be a great fit for Hayden. We all got into the studio together in Santa Monica, slung our vocal across Haydens track, and honestly it fit so perfectly that we were all stunned. That never happens so seamlessly!
For “Real Life” with Duke Dumont, Nat and I laid down the foundation, then Gorgon City added their special bits and Duke took over with producing the vocals. It was such a fun collaboration and we all got to bring our own flavor to the record.
Alex (Elderbrook) and I cranked out our tracks super fast, I think both “Numb” and “Capricorn” only took us hours each.
It’s always nice to be recognized within the industry for your work on big records, and that spurs more opportunities for big collaborations. It’s also a nice feeling when fans come up to me and tell me they love my music, it reminds me that I play such a big role in making someone’s day.
Can you tell us about Music To Dance To Records? How did this idea come to fruition?
When Dan and I were living in LA two years ago, we used to DJ at The Friend Bar with the legendary Thee Mike B. Guests would jump in and play back-to-back, it was super wild and super fun, always ripping disco and the more fun side of music. We came home one evening after playing a big night, and Dan suggested we make a record with Loren from A Club Called Rhonda and Julian Mitchell which we called “A History.”
The track came together because Dan had just read a book about the history of disco and house in New York City, and he said we should sample all those famous DJs’ favorite records, and talk about it on a record.
We made the record but no labels would touch it, so we decided just to put it out ourselves and create our own label Music To Dance To Records. We pressed a bunch of vinyl, and later learned that the vinyl ended up selling out in most record stores around the world! After getting great feedback from The Black Madonna, James Murphy, and a slew of other favorites, we decided to just sign other artists to our label and keep releasing records each month. And now here we are!
Despite the curses 2020 brought to the collective masses, what was the biggest lesson you gained and how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?
I learned that no matter what happens, you have to just keep going. Keep creating always, and if you can’t do things that aid in the back end of that creation, take some time for yourself. During quarantine I spent a lot of time hiking, surfing, and making great food for mates, that’s what’s important to me.
I have some exciting things planned out for 2021, for myself as well as my two brothers who are both visual artists (Funskull and Roachi). We want to delve into combining all of our talents into one project we can release, and after all these years I think we might have found a very exciting way to bring it all together!
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
I have load of new NAATIONS records coming out, and more releases on Music To Dance To, like The Magician’s remix of “Ubiquity” which is out now!! Also, I’m starting to work on a film or two, and I’lll be putting out more releases on Chris Lake’s label Black Book!
What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
I hope that music evolves in an exciting way where artists get PAID properly again! The DSPs don’t give us much, so I’m excited for us to take back this landscape for the artists themselves! Viva La Revolution!
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
I can’t wait to see you all, high five, and hug it out on the dance floor once again soon!
Dance your ass off to Nicky’s set and watch below. Be sure to check out his most recent release – The Magician’s remix of “Ubiquity” here. Want more SETS? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest DJs breaking the electronic charts.