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Belgian DJ, producer and label manager, Nico Morano

Nico Morano, pushing boundaries and reaching like-minded people

Throughout the years the sound of Nico Morano has developed into one of the most sophisticated ones in Belgium. His blend of deep, melodic techno with a strong emotional touch has been picked up by many others. This resulting in Nico playing more than 100 gigs a year in highly respected clubs in Belgium as there are La Rocca, Café D’Anvers, Fuse, Ampere, Decadance, Kelly Palmer and praised festivals such as Paradise City Festival, Cirque Magique, Tomorrowland, Laundry Day, Ostend Beach and Thé Dansant. As a resident at Ketaloco, Deep House Belgium and La Rocca, he has been able to build up a strong connection with his very loyal crowd.

Nico is all about creating an intangible mood in every way he can.

Nico is all about creating an intangible mood in every way he can. He urges to push boundaries and reaching like-minded people in every way possible. Besides his DJ career Nico’s mission is to further focus on translating all his dancefloor experience into his own productions. After EP’s and remixes on labels like Atmosphere Records, Ein2, Karera, Love Matters and Shaker Plates, he will continue to release on major outlets.

Check out the nice chat below in which we talk about his party concepts, fresh releases and how he pushes the energy.

Nico Morano
Nico Morano is working hard to create the deep and melodic sound he’s so passionate about.

Connect with Nico Morano on Soundcloud | Facebook | Resident Advisor

You come from Mechelen in Belgium, a fairly small city compared to Antwerp and Brussels. How did the Belgian club and festival life evolve over the years?
I’ve been in the music industry, the house music world, for approximately 20 years. And over the years the Belgian club and festival life has evolved quite a lot. So, if you look back to about 10 years ago, Belgium had clubs all over the place, in every corner of the country. In Brussels and Antwerp, the 2 largest cities, there were more clubs. But this has drastically changed over the past 5 years. There where we had a club on every corner, this now is not the case any more because of the rise of music festivals. Belgium has now become a festival country.

If you want to find clubs then you have to go to Antwerp or Brussels. But also that has changed a lot. 2 Years ago we had 7 clubs in Antwerp and these days we only have 2 worth to mention. In Brussels, we had 2 clubs about 2 years ago and now it went up to 5. It changes constantly, the industry is changing and it’s truly a challenge. A lot of festivals also are the cause of clubs closing as we have so many festivals. On top, you also have a lot of pop-up clubs/pop-up parties everywhere. In Belgium, you can find a good place to party every weekend, don’t you worry.

In Belgium, you can find a good place to party every weekend, don’t you worry.

Was dance music always your main influence when you were younger? What were your early passions and influences that got you triggered to play and produce electronic music?
Like all youngsters, I think I got in touch with music around the age of 10, 11, 12 when you I to youth movements. While I was in the youth movements one of my influencers over there, (the guys who were responsible for our group) put on a CD from Mayday and The Prodigy. It was the time when “No Good ‘start the dance)” and all those tracks were getting famous. This was the time when I got really bitten by house music. But for me, the biggest trigger was the “Members of Mayday”. That CD was really a banger and that got me into listening to electronic music. Fater that I became addicted to the sounds of Bonzai Records, the progressive scene. Nowadays Bonzai is getting a revival for the hits from that time. That was the music when I was about 14, already 24 years ago.

We must admit that a few years ago we did not hear from you. But nowadays you seem to be all over the place. Where’s the magic?
Well, is there magic? Sometimes there is a momentum, sometimes there is a track which launches you. I’m not sure. I think it’s because of the consistency of my work. I’ve been playing and producing melodic house music for a long time – it’s not that I’ve had a big hit but it’s the constant performing, clubbing and festivals every weekend that made me grow a large number of fans here in Belgium. Also, I left my resident club when I was 22 and I chose to become independent and then I got a bigger reach. So I think it all happens for a reason.

You host your own stage at events all over: Nico Morano and friends, NEO nights, …. How did this come together and where do you get your energy from?
To be honest, I’m a marketer. I have a university degree in marketing. I’ve always been interested in the total concept – so it’s not only about the music but also about the visuals and conceptual thinking. So ‘Nico Morano and friends’ as a concept or ‘NEO nights’ or the new ‘Entourage nights’ are all brands and they are all marketing ideas. The energy comes from concepts like these because I love to create a total story, a total concept instead of just playing some records and leaving the place at the end of a gig. No, it’s about building a longer story so that people can understand and can relate to it and after the event can say “I want to come back to this, it’s a nice concept”. That’s what we’re trying to do. And, I believe that ‘Entourage’ is a nice example of this because it’s a party, it’s a fashion-merchandising brand, it’s a music label – it has it all and that gives me extra energy when it’s successful.

I love to create a total story, a total concept instead of just playing some records and leaving the place at the end of a gig

Tell us a bit more about your concept, Entourage. These seem like magical moments in great places. A bit like the guys from Cercle are doing. When can we enjoy the next Entourage?
As I explained in my previous answer, Entourage is one of my babies. I’m not sure how to compare it to Cercle. It takes place in magical places. We want to create something that makes audiences say: “Ok this location is something I have never experienced before”. We also choose places where there has never been a party before. This adds up to the uniqueness and why people are willing to watch it. You can experience a lot of music everywhere, but with Entourage, we combine a nice place with an event, specially created for the fans.

That is Entourage, we invite the fans of Nico Morana to these events. There are 100 or 200 lucky ones that can participate in each of the events. We create a need for fans as not everyone can be there. We want to make them think “Yeah we want to be there”. To be honest it feels like we are succeeding and being successful with this. Up until today we always found magical moments and now the next edition is going to be in Liège Guillemins train station which really is a masterpiece. We have chosen a view or point in the station which will make people say “oh my god”. So on the 9th of October, this will take place and it’s always during the week between 6 pm and 10 pm. After-work people can go for 4 hours of dancing and this is then broadcasted on Facebook Live. So yeah, in a few days we are back.

View on Liège Guillemins train station
By courtsey of 16 Miles of String

  RSVP for the next Entourage on Facebook »

 

On top, you mix and produce your own tracks. Any story to tell about that? New upcoming work, recent work?
Yes, I have my own studio at my house so I don’t have to go to an external studio. I sometimes do make use of external studios to record vocals or to do a mixdown for a collaboration. But most of the tracks are made here in my house. There is a recent release on Dirty Doering’s Katermukke. It’s a collaboration with Tom Zeta.

This month or in November, depending on the planning, there will be the first Entourage music release which will be a solo record called “Blackout”. Besides these tracks, a lot of work is in the pipeline. A lot of collaborations with famous singers and upcoming talents. Expect a lot of new stuff in 2020, to be honest, we are making the planning and we are about to sign a lot of contracts. So yeah, a lot is coming up.

Nico Morano and Tom Zeta’s Katermukke is out for grabs »

We love the sound you produce. It’s deep, it’s dark and it’s often melodic. Many do it but your sound is different. Explain a bit. How does that sound come together?
Deep, dark, and often melodic. I like this description, certainly the melodic part because that’s what I’m all about I think. Every track I play or produce all starts with the melody that catches me. So, I think that’s the most important part for me. And how I pull it off? Good question! I think it’s all about starting with a good melody and taking it all from there, that’s how I pull it off.

I think it’s all about starting with a good melody and taking it all from there.

A night with Nico Morano starts with a bang. And when you think you had it all, there are fireworks. How do you prepare for a set?
Preparation starts with listening to promos and demos during the week. As a label manager of Atmosphere Records, I get maybe 200 demos per week. I select the ones that seem ok for me to make sure I can play some unreleased and unsigned work. I also test some of the unreleased tracks to see if they might be right for the label.

I must admit, I have maybe 10 to 14 thousand tracks to choose from in my catalogue. I will play the most recent ones a bit more because I believe it’s important to give the audience new stuff. I am sure they are triggered to come back after hearing new music. I’m not saying that I don’t repeat tracks in my sets, of course I do, but it’s important to feed the interest of the people so they say “oh I’ve never heard that one, what is this?”. And next time they come back and say “Ah I recognise it or Nico played it before” and then next time “this is again a new one”. You have to create a certain need to make them come to the next event.

So that’s sort of the key to my preparation I guess. But it’s not that I’m doing a complete pre-selection for a gig and putting it together from A to Z. No, totally not, it depends really on the crowd and the vibe, if it’s a club night or festival or day-timer. It all depends on the moment, to be honest.

How does the rest of the year look like?
The summer season came to an end, the festivals are over and now the club life starts back again. So there are a lot of club bookings, also ADE in Amsterdam where everybody from the industry meets. Luckily I can also join Amsterdam Dance Event and play at a few parties. It’s also the perfect time to get even more into my cave and finish some more tracks. It’s a perfect time, when the sun sets and goes down way earlier than during summertime, to get into the studio even more. Yeah, I’m also looking forward to this period.

What is the one thing you look forward to and why?
To be honest, I’m going to eat pizza in November and it’s really to relax for a week. Ok, some of the clubs are closed but I really don’t need clubs anymore at that point as I see a lot of clubs elsewhere. But it’s just to relax, to have good food and to be with friends. So, in November I have scheduled a week of holiday. Finally, I think it’s my first holiday of the year.

If Morano would have been a beverage, what would you like it to be?
“Morano Coffee”. What do you think about that? It sounds nice and yeah I’m a coffee addict. So let’s go for that. It’s maybe not the sexiest one you would expect. It could have been Morano gin or whatever, but no, let’s go for a good strong coffee. Yes, the Morano blend, exclusive premium.

The Morano blend, exclusive premium.

Thank you!

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