Artist of the Week: Robert NicksonJune 12th, 2009
Mention trance music, and the name of this Dutch producer comes as a naturel conclusion to it. It’s Robert Nickson’s second nature to produce it. Down-to-earth as this multi-national producer/DJ is, he’d be the last person to brag about his talent, or number of releases. But with 9 releases on the A State of Trance label, and that doesn’t even include any alias-work, it’s pretty safe to say he’s got some well-constructed music molecules in his DNA. Same goes for the trance music running through his veins, cause despite a few trips to progressive, he stayed true to trance throughout his full career. This week, we’ve got Robert’s new trancer ‘Circles’ out on the ASOT label. Time to catch up and chat about his one true passion. Robert: “I had no plans to shape my sound into anything, whatever happened just happened. In the end though, trance is still my passion.”
It’s out there
More than 10 years ago, the teenager we now know as one of today’s most respected trance producers was wonder-struck by electronic dance music. Robert:”I remember listening to ‘Robert Miles – Children’ back in ’95 or ’96. I think it was the first time I heard an offbeat bassline like that, I really loved it. Then around 2000 I got hooked on the more modern trance though. Ferry, Armin, Airwave, Push’_ the usual sorta guys.” Not realizing his productions would one day have a safe spot inside their cd wallets, he continued to discover more on this intriguing genre and its techniques. Robert:” I started buying records around 2000. I used some tracker programs (Scream Tracker 3) in 96/97, but I got a little more serious in 2001 after getting a copy of Reason.” After obtaining the program, things went quickly. Robert started testing the first results of his experimential studio work:”Towards the end of 2002 things were starting to sound somewhat acceptable. At the time Jon O’Bir was the victim of my tracks,as he just started playing at Passion in the UK. So he could test them in clubs for me.” The great reactions to the test-sessions unofficially approved the tracks, but it was Armin van Buuren who gave Robert’s career a swift kick-start. After playing it in his A State of Trance radioshow, broadcasted via ID&T radio back in the days, he loved Robert’s collab with Dave Masters on ’5th Dimension’ so much that he instantly signed it as one of the first records to be released on the Armada Music label. Robert:”I still can’t believe it became so big. Dave and I were thrilled when we got our first copy on vinyl. It was at the ASOT100 event and everything just seemed perfect. When we signed it with Armada, they suggested adding vocals. I wasn’t too sure at first but changed my mind immediately when they mentioned Justine Suissa. She was at Armin’s studio recording for his first album. I didn’t hear the vocals until Maykel from Armada called me. He was shouting over the phone in excitement, trying to let me hear.” And so, ‘Out There’, the vocal version of ’5th Dimension’ became known as Robert’s first hit.
‘Spiral’, ‘Fallback’, ‘Ocean Drive’, ‘Close Your Eyes’, plus two collabs with Daniel Kandi on ‘Liberate’ and ‘Rewire’, all clean trance tracks to the very last beat. The only sidestep Robert ever took, was producing the proggy house release ‘Narc’. Robert: “I had no plans to shape my sound into anything, whatever happened just happened. I’ve done other stuff, proggy, chillout, even attempted some house and rock. ‘Narc’ was somewhat of a detour from my usual stuff. In the end though, trance is still my passion.”
No wonder Robert is one of the resident producers of the A State of Trance label. Robert: “I should be on the board of directors by now! I think Signum is the current CEO though.” On the gig side of things, Robert’s been playing his tunes out for crowds in San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Auckland, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and many more. But despite having conquered these cities, he’s not quite satisfied with the number of gigs yet. Robert:”I do ok, but my gigs seem to come in streaks. I’ll have several very close to each other in every corner of the world, followed by a period of nothing.” Who knows Robert, the request might just flood in once they read this.
A circling effect of success
Another thing we expect you to do after reading this, is making sure you grab Robert’s latest release. ‘Circles’, already featured on Armin’s ASOT 2009 compilation in the Andy Bluemann remix, is an uplifting trancer with a classic build-up, effective breakdown and repeated, circling effect.
Robert: “After several delays due it being featured on ASOT2009, it’s only just been released exclusively on Beatport. Reactions have been really cool so far. It was tune of the week on ASOT and record of the week on Trance Around The World!” What more do you need?
Well, some new tracks in the pipeline would be welcome. Luckily, Robert doesn’t let us down on that subject either. Exciting new stuff is on its way! Robert:”I’m working on a few remixes and new tracks. I’m really excited about a follow up track Thomas Datt and I are currently working on. It took a long time and it looks like it’s now finally coming together.” Hands down it’s going to be another stormer of a trance track, fit for the dancefloor and continuing the story of Robert’s success.
Download ‘Circles’ exclusively on Beatport.com now.