NICOLAAS, formerly known as Muneshine, has worked alongside acts such as Tom Waits, Pete Rock, DJ Spinna, Sean Price, Fucked Up and The Herbaliser. His latest release is the Disco Despair remix of ‘Real Escape’. We caught up with NICOLAAS to find out more.
I’d say my style’s a mix of nu-disco/funk and retrowave - with a dash of alt-pop and a sprinkle of indie dance.
First up, tell us a bit about yourself - what first got you into music?
My name’s Rob, and I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember! My earliest memories are of my parents playing records around the house - a lot of classic 70s stuff. At a young age I was introduced to hip hop (back in the ‘golden era’ - late 80s/early 90s) and that really struck a chord. I’d say that’s when I fell in love with music.
Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from?
In those days it was all about Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, Ice Cube and EPMD. Around the same time I was also loving what was happening with electronically driven pop - even if it was more of a guilty pleasure. I loved early Madonna, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Gloria Estefan, anything Shep Pettibone was producing (before I knew what producing was). I was just soaking up as much music as I could.
How would you describe your musical style?
I’d say it’s a mix of nu-disco/funk and retrowave - with a dash of alt-pop and a sprinkle of indie dance.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
I think I’d have to say Daft Punk, although I’ve got a laundry list of legendary and contemporary artists I’d LOVE to collaborate with.
Tell us about your new single, ‘Real Escape’ (Disco Despair Remix). What’s it about, what are its themes?
Well, it’s Disco Despair’s remix of my latest single. It really is a song about escaping what’s weighing you down. I reached out to Disco Despair about remixing it as I’m a huge fan of his work. I particularly love the remix he did of Parcels’ ‘Hideout’. His approach was to maintain the energy of the original, but take it in more of a musical direction - with some 80’s disco influence.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
It started out sounding like a completely differently song - it wasn’t until I got the vocal back from the topliner that I envisioned how it now sounds. I almost treated it like a remix myself. I handled the production here in Canada, and the topliner was based in France (where he recorded his vocals).
How does ‘Real Escape’ represent your style?
The original represents my style by showcasing my different influences, old and new. The remix represents my style because it’s silky smooth!
What are your hopes for ‘Real Escape’?
I’m still establishing this NICOLAAS project, so I’m hoping to get these tracks in front of as many people as possible! I’m working in a bit of a niche market, so that comes with it’s own set of challenges, but for me it’s all about the music. I’m trying to create something that people can connect with.
What can you tell us about your plans for the rest of 2019?
I’ve got a handful of releases scheduled to drop this year. Beyond that, I’m working on more new demos and tracks with different artists, working on a few remixes, as well as DJ mixes. I’m staying focused on pushing myself to learn new production and engineering methods as well.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Trust your instincts and follow your heart. Don’t let anyone influence or dissuade you from doing what makes you happy. Don’t waste time on things that don’t truly fulfill you. That’s more than one piece of advice, but there you have it!
Listen to ‘Real Escape’ (Disco Despair Remix) on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates go to the NICOLAAS Facebook page.