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Nilu (DK)

Finding the right Mode: an interview with NILU (DK)

Copenhagen’s own NILU (DK), a producer and DJ, has made significant waves both in Denmark and internationally with his dynamic sets and top-notch productions, and his latest two-track EP on Zatar Music is set to enhance his growing reputation further.

The first track, ‘Bazaar,’ stands out with its unique Arabic/Middle-Eastern synth melody and percussion. The second track, ‘Atram,’ continues in this vein, establishing a groove that paves the way for processed guitar elements and a distinctly digital lead synth, creating a cohesive and impactful sound.

Connect with Nilu (DK) on Soundcloud

With the EP out now, we caught up with him to discuss…

Thanks for talking to us today – how has 2023 been for you?

Thanks a lot for having me. Well, 2023 has been a wild ride until now. As a DJ, the summer always brings an incredible variety of gigs inside and outside which gives a lot of joy and fantastic experiences. I have had the pleasure to continue to travel the world with my music which is a big privilege, and I have had some great releases on labels like: Einmusika, Balance, Bunny Tiger, and more.

Looking ahead, I’m excited about my upcoming Brazil Tour. Returning to Brazil I have 6 amazing gigs planned that I can’t wait for.

First of all, we want to get to know you “from the beginning”. How did your history with music begin?

My love for music started at the age of 2 when I discovered the joy of dancing. Dancing in other words is movement to music, from there I have learned musical construction, beats and counting, mood and melody, percussive rhythms. When I retired from my 30 year dancing career a few years ago my connection to music only deepened.

Music, to me, has always been more than just sound; it’s an emotional journey, a soundtrack to life’s moments. Whether I was looking for the perfect rhythm to match my mood or create a certain atmosphere, music has always been a constant companion.

At a certain point my coach suggested that I would find another hobby, not only to focus on dancing. My very close friend at that time was DJ’ing and I started learning the craft from him. Around 2014 I had my first club gig, and from the moment there was no turning back. What started as a suggestion to pick up a new hobby has transformed into a love affair with the art of DJing and producing.

If I’m ever uninspired, Depeche Mode’s music is a good place to start to get in the right mood.”

We read in a previous interview that Depeche Mode made a big impression on you. What was it about their music that particularly struck a chord?

Depeche Mode holds a special place in my heart, and that has to do with my father. Depeche Mode isn’t just a musical preference for my dad; it’s his favorite band, and it has been a soundtrack to countless moments in our lives.

My attraction to Depeche Mode’s music lies very much in the melancholic universe they create. Their ability to evoke deep emotions through sound resonated with me on a personal level. I’ve always considered myself an emotional soul, and their music somehow matched that for me.
Until today, their music continues to be a source of inspiration, and on a bad day, if I’m ever uninspired, their music is a good place to start to get in the right mood.

For people new to your music, would you say your new single Bazaar is representative of your sound? Or is that oversimplifying things a little?

While it captures certain elements of my sound, to label it as a simple representation would be an understatement. Normally my tracks are filled with deep and heavy emotions, where with this release I tried infusing elements of funk and ethnic vibes, all while maintaining the NILU (DK) signature deep bass.

Is it fair to say that evoking emotions in your listener is something you like to focus on with your music?

Yeah, absolutely. I’m all about creating a real connection through my music. It’s not just about playing tunes; it’s about sharing a vibe, a feeling. I want people to listen to my stuff and feel something real.

When I’m putting together tracks or curating a set, I’m thinking about taking people on a ride. It’s like, let’s go on this journey together, you know? I want them to feel the highs and lows. Music, to me, is about emotion, and if I can make someone feel a little something, then I’ve done my job.
I’m not trying to be all high and mighty about it; it’s just about being real. I make music because I love it, and I want others to love it too. So yeah, emotions are at the core of what I do, and I hope it resonates with people on a down-to-earth level.

In my DJ sets I try to tune in to the pulse of the crowd”

How do you balance personal expression with the expectations of your audience in your music?

For me, it’s all about finding that sweet spot where my authentic self meets the vibe and energy of the audience. I draw inspiration from my own emotions, experiences, and the stories I want to tell through my music. In my DJ sets I try to tune in to the pulse of the crowd. Their energy helps guiding me, and I feed off that connection. Ultimately, it’s about staying true to my artistic vision while keeping the dance floor alive and buzzing. It’s a beautiful challenge, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It keeps me on my toes.

Can you describe a particularly memorable moment during a Nilu (DK) DJ set where you felt a strong connection with your audience?

There is one moment that stands out more clear than the rest. A few years ago I had an unforgettable morning(and then afternoon) at Golden Gate in Berlin. A set that was supposed to be 4 hours, but ended up being 9 hours. It was 9 hours of sharing with me and the crowd, it was like we all became close during this time together. It was a very powerful experience that taught me a lot. I owe a lot of gratitude to this place.

What is the best advice you ever received as an artist?

The best advice I ever received as an artist was the simple notion to ‘remember to forget’.
When I first heard it, I did not quite understand, but it’s a powerful concept that has transformed the way I approach my craft.

In essence, ‘remember to forget’ encourages me to let go of the weight of self-consciousness and doubt, allowing myself to be fully present in the moment of creating something special. It’s about removing these layers of overthinking and self-criticism that can be an obstacle when wanting to be creative.

Anything else you’d like to tell us…?

On December 1st, along with the release of “Bazaar,” I’ll be dropping a small music video. The video is a unique blend, incorporating my background as a dancer and featuring my amazing wife. I wanted, with this video to show a true and authentic NILU. Incorporating the things I hold most dear in life.

Thank you.

Nilu (DK) – Bazar is out now on Zatar Music

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