Aug 15, 2016

NGHTMRE Talks Moonrise Festival & His Productions

Building off the success of his original track "Street," NGHTMRE's stock over the last year has continued to rise. His collab with Dillon Francis, "Need You," stands as one of 2016's biggest songs. We caught up with NGHTMRE at Moonrise Festival in Baltimore, MD to talk about his productions and his recent performance.
Do you use 1001tracklists much?
Yeah I definitely do! I use it a lot when I play shows in Vegas or elsewhere and I want to try and find some new hip hop that is being played. Or I’ll check out what Jack Ü, Flosstradamus, DJ Snake, and guys that have similar types of sets to me have been playing. I like to see what they are mixing or playing together and get a sense of how they are using tracks.
How was your set today?
Dude, amazing. I tried to keep it super bass heavy. I’ve been playing a lot of 90 minute sets recently so thinking about what I normally play and taking it down to 60 minutes meant cutting a bunch of stuff out. I really tried to keep the mainstream stuff out and I just played really heavy stuff and it was fun. I feel like Moonrise is a lot of bass artists, so the crowd loved it!
What do you think makes your set stand out from everyone else?
I try to play as much unreleased stuff as I can. In my set today, I probably played like 62 or 63 songs in an hour, so I mix really fast. I do a lot of quick mixing where I’m going to play the breakdown of this song, and then I’m going to play the drop of that song. Everything I do is like 8 or 16 bars, which helps for mixing into breakdowns. If I know that I want to play the drop of a song, I’ll know the cue point for 8 bars for the drop, so when it goes up I just launch it and mix it at the last minute. I have like 200 songs that are 8 bars so it lets me freestyle a bit. Today the guy before me played this Zomboy song I was going to play, so instead of playing that, the next song I had down I mixed into that drop instead. Just mixing quick I think sets me apart.
What was it like working with Dillon Francis on “Need You”?
He’s the man, I love him. He lives in LA too. I ended up being on the same flight as him last year right around the time when he started playing “Street” in his sets. He was like, “Yeah dude let’s work on a song!” I was like, “Alright, I’ve never made anything at 110 or 112, are you down to do something like that?” And he was like, “Yeah! That’s like my thing!” So I wrote an idea and sent it over to him. He thought it was cool, worked on it, and turned it into more of what it is now. We met up together at his house in LA and we worked together there. Pretty much the whole track was done and then I found the vocal and the sample and went in and did that. And then he ended up getting a vocalist to record an original version of the sample and we put it in there and mixed it. It was great! I feel like it was very 50-50 and it was cool.
When you guys were making the song, did you have any idea it was going to be so successful?
I definitely didn’t know it was going to do as well as it did. Looking back on it, it makes a little bit more sense. It’s got that nice, clean vocal, and it works for radio. We’ve had way more radio play on that song than any other songs I’ve done. It’s not just gnarly, crazy, tear your face off bass; it’s cool and vibey. I played it for my parents and they thought it was cool. As opposed to being like, “What is happening?!” It’s just a little more accessible.
What about “Street”? When you were making that, did you have any idea how successful that would become?
Absolutely not. That was the one that I was like, “Wow, this is so weird. I don’t think anyone will like this song.” And then I played it for some people and they thought it was pretty cool. And then I played it for Snails and he was like, “This is insane, I need this for my Snailed It mix.” Then Skrillex hit Snails up asking for all the songs in his Snailed It mix. And then Skrillex played “Street” at Ultra. He’s such a tastemaker that anything he plays, even if it’s weird as fuck, people will like it.
Whose support of your music means the most to you?
Skrillex, probably. I got to hang out with him and spend time with him for the first time maybe like three weeks ago when we played a show in Canada together. He’s just the nicest dude ever. He’s the busiest motherfucker, so it’s so hard to get a hold of him, but we played a show together and flew back to Vancouver together. It’s just insane. He’s just like, “Oh yeah, we’ve got a jet, do you want to come with me?” And I was like, “Well yeah, that sounds sick.” I had a flight at 6am so we just chilled in his room, he played me a bunch of his new music and I played him a bunch of mine. He’s just so nice, so genuine. It was amazing.
What’s it like making some of your different sounding productions like your original track “Holdin’ On To Me” and your “Limelight” and “It’s Alright” remixes?
I just like everything. I kind of tried to set the precedent when I started making and releasing music to just put out melodic stuff, hard stuff, everything, no matter what it is. I try and keep a standard of freshness, coolness, or whatever you want to call it. There are probably like 28 remixes I’ve made that will never come out because I just don’t love them. They are all different, but I feel like if I can sit down and listen to a song and vibe to it, no matter if it’s hard or more chilled, I feel like my fans will appreciate it as long as it’s something that I love.
Was there a show you once attended as fan, where afterwards, you knew you wanted to produce/DJ for a living?
Absolutely, yeah. It was a Bassnectar show in Wilmington, NC. It was my freshman year of college when I was getting super into electronic music. Flux Pavilion had just dropped his “Gold Dust” remix and Zeds Dead had just dropped their “Eyes On Fire” remix, and I was in love with both of those songs. Bassnectar played both in the first ten minutes of his set and I was just like, “What the fuck!? This is amazing!” The first shows you go to and you feel the sub bass shaking your body, it’s just special.

I also studied abroad in Italy and went to an Afrojack show in Rome. I ended up getting to go backstage and standing behind him and watching and thinking that I could do it too.
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