Driving with devotion and skill united, Belgium’s lifelong producer, DJ and Deep House Belgium’s label manager Nico P brings an edge of gratitude and experience to electronic music.
Backed by two decades immersed in the scene, Nico’s smooth and ethereal sound combines precision and passion to connect with audiences across the board.
Inspired by the unparalleled embrace of dance music at Belgium’s top clubs as a youth, Nico P took to Deejaying back in 1998 and has since carved out a lasting pathway. From intimate local events to gracing stages at renowned clubs like Brussel’s legendary Fuse and Lier’s La Rocca, Nico soon found himself sharing stages and decks with indie heavyweights Gabriel Ananda, Eelke Kleijn, Undercatt, Lehar, Nico Morano and has a monthly set on Belgian national radio Tipik.
Committed to music in every regard, Nico’s time spent on the decks is matched by his work as A&R and label manager for Deep House Belgium (DHB). The label has grown exponentially since 2019 and has seen a variety of tracks played by the likes of Black Coffee, Magdalena, and Fideles, to name just a few.
Time for a chat about what’s going on in the life of the label manager. Check out the interview below.
Connect with Nico P on Soundcloud | Instagram | Facebook
Connect with Deep House Belgium on Soundcloud | Instagram | Facebook
Hey Nico, great to chat! You have long been a firm fixture in Belgium – how has the scene evolved and changed over the years?
The scene in Belgium has evolved a lot during the last 20 years. Some very popular genres nearly disappeared, some others emerged, and some appeared. A lot of legendary Belgium clubs closed their doors which is a pity. The club culture that was so big during the 90s/00s is now gone. Only a very few big clubs survived, and our country has now become festival-oriented, thanks to the huge visibility of festivals like Tomorrowland, Extrema Outdoor. During the summer there are so many festivals in Belgium that it is now difficult to choose where you want to go.
Regarding deejaying, tools are now so easy to use that the scene is a bit saturated with DJs. With the heavyweight DJs having huge visibility on social media, everyone wants be the next superstar.
Looking back 20 years, when I started, 100% of the DJs were playing vinyl. It was so hard to learn that not everyone was able to do it. It took me so much time to be able to beat-match 2 vinyl records while now people just have to push the sync button. But of course, it is not only about the tools but how you use them, and how your relationship with music is.
What makes Belgium such a hotbed for dance music do you think?
Electronic music is and has always been part of Belgian culture since the early days of the New Beat. We have it on radio, and TV, … and the club scene was so big in our country that electronic music was promoted everywhere.
This has also helped to put many amazing Belgian talents in the spotlight of international clubs and festivals. There is also what we could call a Belgian touch with some retro sounds that are part of many top productions. With some of the world’s biggest festivals hosted in our country, this is certainly not going to stop anytime soon!
When was the last time you were stunned, impressed, and surprised by music? Ad what was the context?
It was not a long time ago when I saw a video from Keinemusik playing a new banger called Aero Manyelo ft. Thee Suka – Kunitamale… and a bit later (2 days ago actually 🙂 ) I was attending Black Coffee playing at Hï Ibiza and he played that track.
This is such an emotional track, perfect singer, perfect drop, and amazing crowd reaction. A goosebump moment like you only have a few every year. I’m more into the Afro melodic genre currently. And this is the perfect representation of what I like in this kind of music. Percussions, emotions, great vocals…
And what defines your own music, what is your sonic signature?
My goal in every production is to bring emotions to the listener, I want to see people smiling on the dancefloor, hands in the air. I’m also a big fan of retro-sounding synths, most of the presets I’m using when producing have a retro feel, being for the bassline or the arps, the lead. I also like to add some kind of climax to the melody right before the drop.
How do you approach your productions? How do you get into your creative flow?
It depends on the mood I am into. Sometimes it will only take a few minutes to have an idea of what I want and then I start building my project around this. It could be because of some vocals or sounds I heard. I like to produce during the nighttime when I’m more efficient. I’m trying to produce every weekend when I’m not booked to play, as this is not my full-time job.
Remix duty is another thing because you have to review someone else’s work, which is not always an easy task. But I like this. I always try to rework the track completely by bringing forward some relatively unnoticed elements from the original track and adding my personal touch.
Tell us a bit about the new release on your label called Back To The Island EP by Phil Monday?
We signed this amazing track by Phil Monday more than one year ago. At that moment I knew it could become a summer hit. I wanted to remix it but we were too close to summer to have the remix ready. So, we postponed it a bit, and Phil Monday proposed to add Heckman as a remixer, which we directly accepted as he also is a great Belgian talent.
A few weeks later, remixes were ready… but we proposed to wait until next summer to get it released at the most appropriate moment. I played this release many times before the release date, and the reaction from the public always was amazing.
During the promo period, we quickly had amazing feedback from top artists like Black Coffee, Nic Fanciulli, Joris Voorn, and so many others! This was so great to promote that one!
Why did you choose Phil for this one? What makes him the right producer for your label?
I already worked with Phil in the past, he already had one release on DHB and I remixed him on another label. He is a talented producer, and I know that when I receive something from him, it will be top quality. When I heard Back to the Island for the first time I could directly hear the potential with this hypnotizing melody and perfectly designed arps… I can’t wait to work with him on his next Deep House Belgium release! Stay tuned! 🙂
What are the crucial parts of a successful release?
The most crucial part is to have your release heard and played by scene heavyweights. This adds so much exposure. Nothing can beat a video of a top artist playing your track in front of a big audience during a festival.
You also need to invest quite a lot of money to have a proper campaign with blogs, social media, and big channels. Competition is very hard in this scene, with so many labels around trying to reach the top level.
Unfortunately, small labels like us don’t have a big hardcore fanbase like major labels. This means that we have to “fight” for every release. But sometimes, you have that amazing moment when you have that DJ you’re a fan yourself of playing one of your releases. This is priceless!
What is next for Nico P? What else are you working on?
I recently started a 100% afro house label called “Deep In Your Soul” with my long-time partner in crime Bastiaan from Deep House Belgium (DHB). We both love the Afro House/Afro Tech genre and we wanted to give it more exposure.
We have also amazing Belgian talents in that area. I started producing new tracks under a new alias “Aytiwan”, where I worked with a talented singer from Kenya for my first release. And … with the amazing Enoo Napa as a remixer. Stay tuned, this will be our next one!