Back in early October fellow Subrewinder Emmo was running a string of free entry club nights under the title Bass Hoppa in Crwadaddy. Joe Nice was one of these amazing acts that he had booked. We caught up with him the next day in The Twisted Pepper to talk about his bottomless record bag and his thoughts on Dj’s, producers and dubstep. Joe Nice has been repping the scene in the states for all the right reasons since Dubstep managed to get out of the pram. Known for his energy and flawless mixing his sets are widely regarded as some of the finest you will hear around!
What you think of last night?
Last night was unbelievable top night top class top shelf…. Top business. Everything working! technics, monitor, mixer, it was all working. Seriously though when I’m up there I don’t need much to get myself going.
It usually takes me like one or two or three tunes to get going not that I’m not unloaded or anything like that… It just takes a tune or two to get used to the sound system get used to your surroundings your environment all of that you know what I mean? Then 2 or 3 tunes in HOT you know it’s kinda like those big trucks on the road they don’t start off fast, they never do! But once they get going they’re going all night. That’s kinda like me on the decks. Once I get going I’m going and I just can’t stop, those trucks need time to stop and that’s like me. I remember I was approached last night and was told “Joe you got 10 minutes” and I was just there 10 minutes I could go all night!
There were so many more tracks I could have played but I don’t wanna be the guy who hogs all the time, security is pissed off they want to go home, they’ve got a wife and kids. You can push security but you can’t shove them, you can be like look give me one more song and they’ll be saying fine. Make it 30 more minutes though and they’ll punch you in the face.
So you’ve been pretty much straight gigging since you started?
I’ve been listening to dubstep since 2001, I’ve been doing radio for 8 years now, I’m older than radio stations. Older than Sub fm older than dubstep fm, ye I’ve been around a good while.
How did you get to the point where you are today where you have the likes of Mala and Coki sending songs so that you can get them pressed for yourself?
Honestly being first had a lot to do with it. When you’re first there’s a lot of things you can do. Being first you always wanna be a winner no one ever wants to be second. We all knew who won the Superbowl last year Greenbay Packers but can you say instantly think of who the losing team was? (Pittsburgh Steelers) So to me it’s really about who’s pushing it in other countries. I mean I don’t want to brag or anything and say I’m the US’ first ever dubstep dj but I probably am.
That is true, which leads on to another question how is the dubstep scene getting on in America?
It’s good.. well it’s a double-edged sword. It’s good that people are getting into dubstep and finding out what it is. There are a lot of people who are coming into the sound and they are making stuff which I don’t think is Dubstep. it doesn’t sound like it should be. Dubstep is not slowed down electro, it’s not slowed down DnB, it’s not what soul full house sounded like 20 years ago, it’s not chainsaw’s and power tools, it’s not. No optimus prime, No energon cubes, no megatron, no devastator none of that!
Honestly it’s cool that people are getting into the sound. People are getting involved. I just don’t want dubstep to become a catch-all for all the other stuff that can’t be classified into any other genre. I also want dubstep to become a word where you know the meaning of that word and the relationship of how the music was found. It’s not related at all to the ‘dubstep’ that people seem to be hyped about at the moment. I mean what you heard me play last night is what I think dubstep is and the intention of the artists who made it think the same. You heard me play Mala, Goth Trad, Skream, Pinch, Tunnidge.
They’re all names that a lot of the people are talking about a lot of people know but it nearly seems it’s hard to pull a crowd.
That’s shameful. *pause* There are a lot of people who think dubstep started in 2007 and I’ve a big problem with that. What about the other 7 years before that?
Have you heard about the dubstep started in the U.S. campaign?
Joke! I mean there’s no way dubstep could have started in America if you make that statement it shows you’re level of ignorance how can someone say that with a straight face? No I mean c’mon if dubstep started in America then why you buying your records over seas? Why did no one hear of any good dubstep artists in America till about 2006/7? And the genre started 2000/1. There’s certain shit you can say and certain shit you couldn’t say and Dubstep starting in America definitely is shit you can’t say.
You’ve been going for about ten years now. So what’s your most memorable experience and what would you most like to forget?
Most memorable gig had to be DMZ’s 1st birthday 2006 where the party moved from 3rd basement room downstairs to the main room upstairs. That’s definitely most memorable! A whole rave moving from one room to another and no one saw that coming. I was the Dj on the decks when that happened. Worst experience I think I must have just forgotten about!
So obviously all your gear is just pure dubplates. What do you think of all the new controllers etc. Coming into DJ’ing. How do you feel about them?
I don’t avoid it I just don’t use it. If I say I avoid something I’m trying to stay away from it. It’s just not my thing I’m all for anyone using any media or any apparatus that people want to use to push the sound. For me I’m just a dubplate guy. I like the sound of a , the feel of a dubplate and the smell of a fresh dubplate as it arrives to me. I mean I get sent these wavs every day and I go down and burn every track I like.
Have you ever tried producing.
I’ve played with it but really there’s a part of me that tells me my life purpose/destiny is to play it rather than make it. Not everyone can produce! You have to know what you’re doing. There is a difference between DJ’ing and producing. DJ’ing is what I’m good at I love it, it’s great.
Don’t forget there’s also a huge difference between making music and producing. There are plenty of people out here who are “making music”. I mean yes, you have got your tunes on YouTube “alright”. How do you get to that next level where you are producing music? Like you are 12 seconds in and Shit I love it already. I know there’s going be a big 1st drop, or even 30 seconds in I’m like fuck I’ve heard enough already I’m getting that cut.. That is the mark of a producer of quality music They are the people I wanna play.
Do you get a lot of stuff sent that you wouldn’t get cut?
I get a lot of tunes that I can’t cut. I get so many that I can’t cut. The good tracks, I can’t cut. The very good tracks i can’t cut neither. I have to cut the best and only the best. That’s what I’ve time for. I don’t have time for the ”ye it’s alright” tracks.. I’m not that guy my control standards are that high.
You have such a large collection how do you limit what you bring on tour?
Well every self-respecting DJ will bring more than they need for a gig. You never know when there will be a situation where a DJ doesn’t show up and you have a longer session that you gotta dig deeper. I don’t plan my sets a lot, it isn’t from the head its from the heart. When I get going I can’t stop. The really good gigs aren’t the ones where you’re like ye I had a really fun night, they’re the ones where you’re like WOW what the hell did I just do.. They’re the ones that defy any rationalisation or explanation. Those are just the one’s where you come out of the club and are blown away. Those are the ones you always remember and you build upon.
What advise could you give to any aspiring Djs?
I’ve never been an advice guy because anyone can give advice I’d much rather give guidance where necessary other than advice. I mean you could go to a Chinese restaurant and get a fortune cookie and I mean there’s advice in that fortune cookie! Everyone needs to find their own way of doing things. Everyone has to have their own experiences but not everyone has to share the same fate. I would much rather tell you what not to do than what to do. Everybody learns at their own pace but everyone makes mistakes at the same level. Stuff like ‘oh shit’ I didn’t turn the bass up here? Or ‘oh I didn’t have the crossfader in the middle’. You know everyone makes those kinds of mistakes so if you ultimately eliminate your mistakes and it’s not a matter of just analyzing. You can’t just look at what you did, you can’t just analyze your success and not expect failure because everything is important when you’re talking about exploring self-development and self growth. You have to look at everything you did on a particular evening or a particular set. You gotta think; ‘hmm what did I do correct what did I do wrong?’ So from there you eliminate what mistakes you made.
My Uncle told me years ago he said “Joe learning is best done when you are uncomfortable” It makes so much sense I didn’t get it as a young boy but now I know what it means to me. It’s when you are in a situation that is unfamiliar to you, that is when all of your senses become heightened that’s when everything picks up that’s when your brain is on. Really on. That’s when you really gotta learn what methods there are. whether it’s a promotion for a job, trying to graduate from college or even general survival. When you are uncomfortable you start to learn something so if you are comfortable you know you’ve accomplished a certain path. That’s exactly it it’s self preparation confidence all of this.
So do you put yourselves in awkward situations still?
I do because you have to. I’m not saying I purposely make things difficult just to say ye I overcame this. But experience is a hell of a teacher but there are always situations where you’re thinking what do i do? You know you will reach situations where it’s sink or swim, flight or fright, do or die. It’s just a matter of which is yours?
Well our time’s running up could we sum this up with your top tracks that are in your record bag at this moment?
Hmm, well they’re all my top tunes! But I’ll give you a few
Mala – Harvest
Goth Trad – Seeker
Distance – Mean Streak
Skream – Snarled
So to sum this up Joe Nice is a man of many thoughts we definitely could have expanded this interview he has so much interesting stories to tell. One thing we can confirm though is if you ever see Joe Nice playing near you, make sure not to miss it!