Those who’ve been lucky to glide through a Nico Stojan set know the delights of his no-filler builds and melodic bursts. Through close relationships with jazz, hiphop, and electronic music, the Berlin native has crafted himself a unique spot in the music landscape since the early 90s. We got a chance to catch up with him ahead of his latest release, Cardano. The 5 piece EP, including two remixes, is a window onto his latest deep house wanderings, brimming with eclectic grooves and steady horizons.
Husa Sounds: Hey Nico – thanks for taking the time. Where are you right now and what’s your favourite thing about the space you’re in?
Nico Stojan: Hey thanks for having me 🙂 I’m in my hometown Berlin right now, spending a lot of time in the studio since the first lockdown which was not so bad here fortunately. I love this city cause it’s very green and I can jump on my bike and go to lakes or just cruise into the nature if I need a break from the studio.
HS: Let’s start off with the upcoming release, can you tell us what were your inspirations for the Cardano EP?
NS: I started the main track in New Zealand last year where I find a lot of silence, grounding space and inspiration. I finished the EP in the studio then because I have all my gear here and can make it sound how I want it to.
HS: You recently went through a Vipassana retreat – how has this experience stimulated you as an artist? Anything to do with the Inhale track off your EP?
NS: Doing a ten days silent retreat was always on my mind but this year it really called me, so I signed up for it and luckily I got from the waiting list right into it. It felt hard on day four and five, but before and after I was able to go into it. I mean meditating a lot everyday was quite new for me but it felt really good. All the creativity I felt I wasn’t able to put out during the Vipassana, I kept for my time back in Berlin 🙂
HS: Tell us a bit about your venture with Acid Pauli founding Ouie?
NS: I always wanted to have my own platform and not be dependent on other people to put out my music so when Martin and me came back from our second Burning Man, sitting on a balcony in Ibiza, we decided to do it together.
HS: Where does the name come from? What do you guys hope to express differently from other labels?
NS: It’s the french word for hearing. And we just do our thing, inviting our friends and artists to create music people can listen to, dance to and be happy. It’s all about the frequencies I believe 🙂
HS: What elements carry over to your sound today from your time playing hiphop, or your classic / jazz instrument days?
NS: I guess it’s the playfulness and openness I would say.
HS: Your sets and sounds tend to break patterns, through subtle and surprising turns that touch on varied styles. How do you balance all of your influences with the linearity of a set?
NS: I guess when I play those sets like producing music, it is always best not to think too much. Better to be in the moment, let things come through you and appear in the way they like to come up, which is of course not always happening.
HS: The current happenings have greatly exposed some of some of the music industry's defects, in both sustainability and inclusion of minorities. From your standpoint, how do you see things evolving?
NS: I believe that this is something that was suppressed for many years and it needs to come out, out of our heads and systems we carry with us. Most music comes from Africa where the rhythm and the groove found its extraction. I believe in love and the power of the heart…let’s listen more to our heart than to our mind. Hate doesn’t come from the heart. It is a creation of the ego which is firmly rooted in our mind.
HS: Berlin’s seen its fair share of shake-ups in 2020, from clubsterben threats to COVID closures and pioneering United We Stream. What do you think makes the scene so resilient, and how do you think it’ll evolve in coming months?
NS: I would say that everything is always changing and we can have an influence on that. Truly being united can be the answer to that Clubsterben. We are all in this together, so let’s make the best out of it!
HS: What festival or event will you miss the most this summer?
NS: Honestly I am happy to have a summer off, but this is only from the point of me being happy about the fact that I don’t need to travel as much as I normally do 🙂 Of course I miss meeting people and friends but it will happen again very soon I hope.
HS: We heard that Stereobar Montreal is one of your favourite places to play, can you explain to our readers the feeling of playing in such a well treated room?
NS: It is indeed one of my favourite clubs and I would say it’s the intimacy and the beautiful soundsystem, the people and the vibe that makes it so special.