Nicolay - please introduce yourself to our readers, especially as a personality since we already provided a list of your most important releases above.
Nicolay: What’s going on ARR fans, my name is Nicolay and I am a producer/musician from The Netherlands, currently living and working in North Carolina (USA).
Besides Producing, you're also spinning records for the clubs. What type(s) of music do you usually play?
Nicolay: It depends on the type of night. Usually I spin strickly from of my own catalogue, because I have come to learn that’s something that most people come for. Sometimes it will be more along the lines of a theme.
What did you start with, DJing or producing? What's more fun to you and what do you earn your money from?
Nicolay: I started with producing, around 2000. Before that I had been playing in bands, mostly? I even remember playing in Cologne (Kantine) and Nurnberg in those days. I started producing because I kind of get fed up having to listen to 5 different opinions in a group. I make my money with a number of different things, I do shows? do productions and remixes.. we have a webstore with all of my products, and I own my own record label, Nicolay Music Recordings. Plus there’s money coming in from the “backcatalogue”, such as the "Connected" record and my own “solo” albums.
I read you got into contact with Phonte on the Okayplayer.com board - when have you guys actually met face-to-face for the first time and what were your impressions?
Nicolay: We first met face to face in april of 2004 in Amsterdam, and it was really no different than us going back and forth working on the album. It was almost like we had seen each other the day before, or the week before, etc. etc.
A lot of German producers are trying to sell their beats overseas, whereas others have already made their experience and return disappointed, reporting that US MCs weren't reliable and didn't take them serious. You however seem to be highly respected all around the globe, do you have any explanation for that?
Nicolay: Part of the reason for that I think is that I didn’t start out selling beats. I started out simply giving beats out and working with people for the love and seeing some of those tracks released by independent labels. We were all in the same boat, trying to come up and make a name for ourselves, without a lot of money to speak of. It wasn’t until the "Foreign Exchange" record started doing really good, that I actually began to see some money. People respect us a lot because they know that we make music from the heart. Some European producers seem to think or hope that they can just send CDr-s to the States and get fat checks back, but it really doesn’t work like that at all, not anymore, especially on a major level. You’re lucky if you even get credited! If you want to make money, first you have to establish yourself, your name and your skills and catalogue.
Your 2006 album "Here" was also released as a Japanese Edition. When did you decide on that step and what's so special about Japan?
Nicolay: Japan pretty much is the number one country when it comes to music appreciation, and so artists usually make sure they go out of their way to give back to Japan. Japanese record labels like to create Japan-only limited editions to compete with imports that are usually cheaper. So, they’ll release a version of the album with bonus tracks, instrumentals, etc. to make sure that people pick it up. That’s what we did for "HERE", as well.
How and when did you get into contact with Curse and ARR?
Nicolay: I met him through our mutual good friend GG. Curse was looking to do some exclusives for the Japanese "Sinnflut EP", and so they approached me to do something. And we kept it going after that. Ironically, we met in Japan, of all places. Curse was doing a promotional show over there and he asked me to DJ for him. Obviously, I didn’t need to think long about that one, and we had a really good time in Japan, leading to us doing some work together for his new album "Freiheit".
Could you imagine working with other German rappers, are there any that you like musically?
Nicolay: When I spent a couple of weeks in Cologne working with Curse last february, I got to see a lot of German music videos. I didn’t like a whole lot of what I saw, but I did like Jan Delay and the guy with the mask?. Sido. He had a good song and video out. Outside of “rappers” specifically, I really like Patrice, the reggae artist.
That's been my questions so far, of course, the last words are up to you!
Nicolay: Big up to Curse, GG, Busy, Hagi and the whole ARR crew. Big up to Claud, Sashliq and everyone that I forget right now. Big up to everyone worldwide supporting good music!
Thanks a lot for taking your time, we appreciate it a lot and I'm sure our fans do so, too.
Nicolay: You are very welcome, thanks for the opportunity!
Die JUICE hat die 20 einflussreichsten Deutschrap-Alben aller Zeiten wählen lassen und das erste Curse-Album ist in diesem Ranking auf Platz 13 gelandet - Grund genug, euch ein paar Einblicke und Anekdoten aus der Entstehung des Albums zu liefern. Klickt hier, um zum Special zu gelangen.