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Interview with Nickodemus: Nick at Night

Author: Andrew James
Sunday, April 16, 2006
From small grassroots beginnings, DJ Nickodemus has managed to create one of the more respected funk-filled parties in New York. But he's not looking forward to 20 hour flights...

To survive as a DJ in the notoriously cutthroat New York club scene, you have to have that killer instinct for what works and what doesn't. So full credit should go to Nickodemus - his Turntables On The Hudson parties are world-renowned as monster jams for anyone even vaguely into the funk. He's heading down on his first Australian tour this month, so we caught up with him.

So what's happening- What are you up to-
Um, right now, I'm packing records for a gig. I have Quantic in town and we're doing two nights here in New York. The first one, we're doing a CD release for a new compilation called 'Panama!' on Soundway Records, it's like all music from Panama in the '70s and we're gonna play strictly latin tonight, it's gonna be pretty crazy. This is sort of similar lines to that Soul Jazz compilation 'Tropicalia', where they really get into it and find rare stuff that nobody has, it's amazing.

It must be good that you can get guests of that calibre down to your night - was that always your intention-
We basically just started playing, doing our thing. And we've continued to be the draw ourselves, we never really had guests for the first three years. Yeah and then finally people were passing through town, they'd contact us at first and it was kinda nice. So we'd say, ok, come on down and from that it just grew and grew to where it is now. Now, every time our favourite acts are in town they come and hang out with us, which is great. So it started pretty much organically.

How is the New York club scene doing these days-
I think it's still doing really well. The great thing about New York is that there's always somebody, a group of people, who are interested in whatever you're doing. You can have, like tonight, we're doing a very Latin music party with a lot of funk and '70s and we know we're gonna have a crowd for that. You can have a drum'n'bass party and there'll always be a crowd for that as well.

Things have got a little smaller and more intimate which is pretty cool, actually. But other than that, I feel like it's still going pretty strong, besides the whole industry sales side, that's taken a bit of a dive. But as far as people going out and being able to play parties, it's generally pretty good in my opinion.

A lot of people talk about the effect of Mayor Giuliani in closing a lot of the scene down and the effect he had.
Well that was very true and the whole underground scene has been wiped out because of that. We used to do tons of warehouse events and parking lots, we would always come up with something creative and fun and that just got wiped out, like the police department is so on top of it these days. I don't know, it's a bit much. There's just too many police and they don't know what to do with themselves, they're everywhere, you don't need 'em.

Don't you miss those days-
Yeah, absolutely. It can be like the most peaceful thing, even with families and kids and they still bust it. Then again I've had some pretty good things happen as well, so hey [laughs].

You've had a lot of remix work in your time. What do you look for when choosing a remix-
I've had offers that unfortunately I've had to turn down, I really have to enjoy the song, or think I can do something with it. There's been times where I've had the remix and the song is already so nice, so perfect that it's quite intimidating, like 'oh, what can I do to this song-', but in general you gotta like the song, gotta feel pretty confident that the people behind it are gonna do the right thing with it so you're not just making a remix for yourself.

It must be amazing to work with such a great calibre of artists like Thievery Corporation.
Yeah definitely. There's been a couple of artists where I'm like,<