We caught up with Nicolas Schmidt (Narciss) ahead of their next EP release ‘Return of the Golden Funk’ on Florida based label Eurodance Inc that is due to release on Friday the 16th of September. We spoke about their experience playing to an Irish crowd, their Eurodance influences, top techno tracks, future collaborations with DJ Heartstring and more.
Narciss possesses a daring approach, an incredible understanding of music and the confidence to experiment with their sound. Pulling inspiration from anywhere that suits them to create an energetic, uplifting but thumping sound that has exploded in popularity over the past two years.
Much like Narciss’ productions, they have bridged the gap between worlds that rarely ever seem to collide. Fusing ethereal sounding music with deep, dark undertones is a strong comparison to Narciss’ colourful image that is rarely seen within the music industry where people often encounter artists who are usually kitted in black clothing all year round.
This acts as a real breath of fresh air, seeing such a stark difference not only in sound but also in the style of Narciss which helps express their bubbly, fun personality. It acts as a real positive example that underground dance music does not always have to be so serious, that there is space for all sorts of personalities once dedication, drive and skill are in abundance.
Narciss boasts impressive releases on Lobster Theremin, 1Ø Pills Mate, Space Trax and Seelen Records. With another fiery release in the pipeline that’s scheduled to release this Friday on Eurodance Inc titled ‘Return of the Golden Funk’ that encompasses the true sporadic nature of Nicolas’ productions.
You can expect a multitude of ever changing sounds and inspiration taken from all walks of music and beyond in this release. Deriving inspiration from house to trance, anime, hip-hop, soul and much more in creating something that results in a fresh, modern take on the increasingly popular, colourful, Eurodance techno sound.
How are you feeling ahead of your release ‘Return of the Golden Funk’ on Eurodance Inc?
‘Supergood! Some of these tunes have been around for quite a while, “Power 2 Tha People” has been lining the insides of my hard drive for almost one and a half years now, so I’m really excited to release em finally. <3’
Can you explain the meaning behind ‘Return of the Golden Funk’?
‘HA. I can try but it’s kinda nonsense. On the one hand it’s a call-back to the golden era of funky techno, when sampling house records was standard and the records were chock full of going-up-the-walls-drink-drenched fun. On the other I was playing so much Jet Set Radio Future recently, and that whole vibe was also smth that inspired the vision for the record and that title felt weirdly fitting in that direction.’
Would you mind sharing your studio setup that you used to create this EP? Are there any new pieces of equipment that were introduced when making Return of the Golden Funk opposed to your other releases?
‘Sure, funnily enough, there was a reduction mainly since the record is so sample based. I think proper studio gear wise I just used my 909 and my controllers (APC and Midi keyboard). The rest was laptop.’
If you had to choose one main inspiration from the Eurodance era, who or what would it be?
‘I have to do a bit of a copout on this, but my biggest inspiration is actually a project, that somewhat paved the way for Eurodance, while not actually being part of that wave: Inner City! They had the soul vocals, they had the basslines, but most importantly they still had those HOUSEY CHORDS. Such tasty tracks man, I may or may not have sampled chords from one of their tunes once too but of course I would never do that and I definitely won’t say on which track I didn’t do that. :P’
Myself and many others that I know are such big fans of your unique sound that infuses many genres together. Is there any particular reason why you tend to dip into many different genres with each of your productions as opposed to sticking with a singular, stringent sound?
‘Honestly this is as much of a question mark to me as it is to you. I think it may just be the ADHD?? xD I don’t know, I just get bored extremely quick, and every time I try to replicate the sound of a track I made before, it turns out worse than that original track in my opinion. So that results in me always trying to do new things and always kind of scrounging the desert of creativity for new inspirations and new styles to incorporate in my next projects. But I do wish sometimes that I could just do a thing that was cool again. xDD’
I understand that before you became involved with music production and DJing that you also played the drums. I feel that this can be heard quite clearly through your productions. What would be the biggest piece of advice you could give to someone to help with maximising the groove in their tracks, even if they aren’t musically trained?
‘That’s a fact! Well researched haha. Happy that you say so, the percussion in my tunes is probably the one thing I’m always the most comfortable with. As for the advice: I think especially in groove it’s important to try out everything and see what funks. Especially in Techno, you tend to be reliant on very stiff rhythms, like just a 16th hihat and a clap on the 2 and the 4. Try to break the rhythmic patterns that you have in your head and then break the stylistic patterns. Look for some Rhumba percussion samples, try to incorporate a bolero rhythm in a track of yours. Broaden your horizon as far as possible, then layer multiple styles and rhythms together, and watch the magic happen. :)’
What’s your favourite plug-in and why?
‘I reckon right now it’s the “Arturia Emulator”. MRD recommended that one to me funnily enough, it’s the bees knees, for real. Best sampler I’ve ever used and the sounds it comes with are AMAZING as well already. Then when you use your own samples it just goes wild.’
If you could recommend one piece of hardware to someone for their studio setup, what would you recommend?
‘Always, ALWAYS a good drum machine. “Good” is of course super subjective, but basically one you feel comfortable with. It has to sound FAT and feel like an extension of your body when you use it. That’s why I never got into Elektron pieces, because I have to think too much when I use them, so I keep it simple as fuck, but if you’re cool with the way an Elektron works, with menus and sub menus, get one of those for example! Try out some of them, and then decide which fits best. But nothing beats being able to jam and program grooves on the fly without looking at a laptop screen.’
I first discovered you through your Seductive Edits release with DJ Heartstring a few months ago. Do you have plans to produce more music together in the future?
‘We may not only be executing those plans already, but we may already be finished with large chunks of the next project. :P’
I’ve seen that you have recently done a guest mix for SPFDJ’s NTS Radio show. Would you mind telling us how that came about?
‘It was super cute! I played after her at Intercell and I honestly kinda thought she wouldn’t really like the sorta style I play but then she was just vibing in the booth for like half of my set. Fast forward a few months later and she wrote me on Insta if I wanted to record a guest mix for her and of course since she’s a wonderful person too, I immediately jumped on the mixer. :)’
What are your top 3 techno tracks?
Pfff, like proper Techno, no Trance or House? Lemme open my Rekordbox. I’d say at the moment;
Who is your favourite artist at the moment?
‘I could easily just say “still DJ Heartstring” here, but I love pushing peoples names out who don’t get enough recognition. SO rn the artist who’s tracks I play more than anyone else is Arman John! The dude has an insane hit rate for real, he sends me so many tunes and almost every time I wanna play all of them. Super super high power level, definitely someone to watch out for.’
Can you name someone who you would like to go b2b with who you haven’t played with already?
‘Gosh so many. I’m really looking forward to my b2b with my bebe Agyena this month, that will be super interesting. Inside of my close friend group, I’d really like to play b2b with my dear neighbour Estella Boersma, that’d be a great time. And if we’re talking dreams, my biggest dream would be to some day go b2b with Ki/Ki. I think that would be an insane set, but I legitimately think that would work so well.’
I’ve seen that you have been booked to play in Ireland over the last few months by Lost and Rathaus respectively, what was your experience like playing to an Irish crowd and how would it differ to playing in Germany?
‘SO. MUCH. FUN. Like for real, I’ve often talked about how German crowds don’t go out to have a good time, but kinda just to have an excuse to do drugs. In Ireland it’s the OPPOSITE. And since clubs close so early, everyone is just super euphoric and online from second one. For real Ireland is one of my absolute favourite places to play, I can’t wait to come back hopefully soon.’
What’s the best venue you have ever played in?
‘So recently this has gotten a little harder to answer immediately, but I still have to go with “Kalt Club” in Strasbourg. Difficult to explain why, so I won’t, it’s just something you have to witness. The vibe in there is just unparalleled.’
If you could only listen to 1 album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Do you have plans to start a label of your own in the future? Why or why not?
‘I do! I’ve had this plan for years, but never had the cash (and still don’t lol), but I’m working on it! I’m starting with a party series in September and then probably going to build the label on that once I have the money and the brand is a bit more established.’
What club show are you most excited to play before the year is out?
‘Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, honestly there are still so many fun ones. Really looking forward to play “Le Bikini” in Toulouse, as I love the city and have some lovely friends in the Techno scene there. Also “Blitz” in Munich! Wanted to play there for YEARS and super happy that’s actually happening this year, since it’s an incredible club imo. Yeah okay, honestly it’s kinda too many to name here, there’s so many incredible shows happening still this year I can’t really believe it rn, every week I’m like “holy shit I’m playing WHERE this weekend?!” xD <3’
People say that art reinvents itself after a certain amount of time. Cycles change and certain trends that have since come and gone naturally end up to the fore again. Though it can be said that elements of some things never really go away at all.
You can pre-order Narciss’ ‘Return of the Golden Funk EP’ on Bandcamp here.