Nick Sentience: Hard House's Number 1 College Drop-out
Sunday, July 8, 200122 year old Nukleuz in-house producer Nick Sentience is one of the key names to have emerged of the back of the hard house scene, having gone from being a total unknown to globally recognised DJ in less than 18 months. From borrowing his sisters' Prodigy records 7 years ago, via live techno gigs at London squat parties, he's apparently effortlessly understood how to make dance music.
"I dropped out of college before I took my A levels, or before I didn't take them. I was always bunking off (skipping class) smoking weed every day and writing tunes." Just 5 years after abandoning school for an uncertain future in electronic music, Nick Sentience has established himself as one of the biggest names of a new generation. Currently synonymous with hard house, his acid techno pedigree is impressive and suggests that his musical creativity is only just beginning to open up. Skrufff's Jonty Adderley caught up with him at the Nukleuz Studios in South London last week.
Skrufff: You're particularly closely associated with hard house, how do you feel about the term-
Nick Sentience: "To be able to write about something, people tend to describe it in a certain way and that's probably the easiest way to describe me because I'm with a label that's definitely become known for hard house. I wouldn't say that many people who were clubbing when hard house originally took off, maybe six or seven years ago at clubs like Trade, would describe my music as being like the original hard house, but I think of it as a different form of dance music."
Skrufff: What's your approach when planning a DJ set-
Nick Sentience: "My sets have elements from the more energetic forms of dance music, like techno, trance and hard house. Depending what I think people want on any particular night, I'll mix those three styles together. I definitely always start calmer than I finish and try to work the crowd up."
Skrufff: You recently remixed Storm again (Storm's Storm as well as last year's smash Time to Burn), how did you set about reconstructing it-
Nick Sentience: "I did Storm with BK who works here too, so we both had a lot of different ideas. Usually we just go through records and gather a load of sounds together, work on a groove, then set about putting as much as the original into what we do, as we can. We want our remixes to be immediately recognisable. We've had people come back sometimes and ask us to include more of the original because we approach each remix as a whole new track, so we try to make sure there's an easily recognisable part in there."
Skrufff: Your press release says 'Nick is rapidly finding out what being a contemporary dance music star is all about'; what is it all about-
Nick Sentience: "Enjoying yourself, seeing loads of great countries, and also being able to write music during the week. It's a blast, actually. What's surprised me is the speed with which people have taken notice. Literally 18 months ago I wasn't earning much and not really knowing what I was doing, then I decided to go for it, 24/7, concentrating on writing music as much as I could. I'd work at Nukleuz during the day, then go straight home and work on my home studio there. Within about three months I started to get recognition and reviews and thought, obviously the best approach is just to work 'your bollocks off' (work very hard). It all seemed to flow from that. I stopped worrying what people were thinking and concentrated on enjoying the music."
Skrufff: I was surprised to see you previously playing at London squat parties, including ones put on by Underground Sound (the crew most closely associated with the Liberators and D.A.V.E The Drummer), what kind of things were you doing-
Nick Sentience: "We were a three piece live outfit and I used to play synthesizers with them. We did four or five PAs, I remember doing a New Year's Eve party about 3 years ago off Bow Road, in Stratford. It was a 5 story emp Tags