This week we welcome hot production duo NiCe7 as our Guest Reviewers. These guys are the latest Italian stars to emerge from the fertile world of Tech House with releases on Gruuv, Great Stuff, Toolroom, Noir and Suara Music.
Their infectious dancefloor rhythms and high-energy DJ sets have been catching the attention of international crowds all over Europe and as far afield as USA and Brazil.
We managed to catch a few moments with Nicola Daniele and Cesare Marocco to hear about their backgrounds, their views on the current state of house music and what have been some of the biggest tunes from their much-loved DJ sets.
Where are you right now and what have you been up to over the last 7 days?
We're in the studio right now. We've been here most of the week finishing off some new tunes that should be coming out in the next few months. We've also been in Milano the last 3 days for some meetings with our Italian booking manager and we did an interview for an Italian TV programme called Match Music which we did with fellow artist Pirupa.
How and when did you first come together as NiCe7 and what were you both doing beforehand?
We've actually been friends forever. We were both born in the same small coastal town in the center of Italy.
Until 2005 we were both working in different areas of the music industry.
We'd been DJing in the local clubs since around 1994. Then in 2000, Cesare moved to Milan where he worked as a sound engineer and arranger for different studios producing club music. Nicola had continued to do clubs and events all over Italy meeting lots of international DJs and producers. It was in 2005 that we decided to join forces and try to make some beats together, first doing a remix for an Italian label run by a good friend of ours. It was pretty succesful and soon after we were doing a remix for Mark Knight.
What advice would you give to any up and coming DJs and producers reading this that you think might have helped when you were first starting out?
We just followed our passion. When we first started it was just a laugh. Everytime we try to have fun doing music either in the studio or during our live sets. If you're doing something you really love you will be happy within yourself and you will get results!
Can you please give us a snapshot of the current state of house music through the eyes of NiCe7?
Nice question. With music in general you have times which are pretty vibrant, exciting, innovative, and forward thinking and then you have times which are kind of flat and maybe a little more dull and predictable. Nevertheless, it is always changing and there is always a cycle.
We think the state of house music from a creative standpoint is very healthy at the moment. Technology gives everyone the possibility to develope an idea without having to spend too much money going to a big studio. And it can also really help with creativity. From another point of view the quality went inevitably down and now there are just too many below-standard artists, releases and record labels
As a duo how do you guys work together on your productions? Do you each have defined roles? Do you always like to work together in the same studio or do you get more inspiration working on your own and sending files to each over the internet?
We usually prefer to work together but in the last few months we have started to work separately too as we just have so much work to do!
Cesare does more of the technical work and the studio arrangements while Nicola is always looking for new music and different ideas to work on.
What is your preferred setup in the studio? Are there any pieces of software or hardware that you’re finding essential right now for making music?
We love to get hands on in the studio! The Roland SH-101 is the first synth we turn on to program a cool bass line with. Another fantastic synth we use a lot is the Moog Voyager, this is also great for bass but good for lead and FX too. And last but not least the Access Virus!
Additionally we use a selection of software synths from Native Instruments: Battery Kontakt, Absynth and we like the Spectrasonics Stylus RMX too. We use Cubase for our sequencing with the Universal Audio plug-ins' arsenal.
Do you make your own personal edits of tracks to play in your sets? Would you recommend that a DJ has something special to play like this?
Yes, we play lots of edits and bootlegs that we make in the studio plus some live edits and remixng, this is good when you have 4 hands to work with! This can help you stand out and be fun and a good DJ needs to do this for sure.
Which up and coming artists have really made an impression on you recently that you think will make an impact in 2012?
Our big friend Pirupa has some monster tracks coming out in the next few months. 2012 will be a super year for him!
Finaly, what else do NiCe7 have in store for the rest of the year?
With regards to releases we have a remix out soon for our good friend Leon. this will be on Victor Calderone's Waveform label. We also have some bits coming out on Noir Music and Great Stuff plus a few things that are still top secret at the moment.
Gigs wise we have some bookings in Italy and UK during March and then we'll be embarking on a tour of South America in April and then again in October. We're just fixing dates for our Canada tour too so watch this space.
Great work from our big friend Pirupa and a very good signing by Cecille. It's a bomb for housey dancefloors, real groovy quality stuff! Played this track so many times ... it was one our favourites last summer ... every club it went down!
This is a track from our last EP on Great Stuff Recordings. Released in the last days of the summer, supported by many international DJs. We played it for over a year and it always got a big reaction from the crowds!
We've been really into the Be As One stuff for some years now. Absolutely quality label featuring some very cool artists! This unbelievable track from Andrea Oliva and Gel Abril is one of our favourites at the moment ... amazing male vocal and a killer groove ... perfect to destroy every dancefloor!
Defected released a real bomb for the dancefloor with this one! Great names involved in this project ... Kevin Saunderson, Inner City with the monster remix from Kenny Larkin ... we really couldn't ask for more! It worked well from the first time we played it.
Absolutely one of the bests tracks of the last 3 months! Be AS One again! We usually drop some vocal acapellas on it and it's really unbelievable!
A classic track from some years ago. We might start playing this one at some our forthcoming gigs. Layo & Bushwaka on their own label ... very nice tune from the past!
We really like Uner and his productions. This is his masterpiece ... 100% Cadenza style. It was big in Ibiza and finally released in the last month! You must buy it! And you must play it!
Butch delivered this bomb remix for Inmotion! This is one of the labels to watch for in 2012 ... talented young artists and solid names too, always doing quality releases.
We're playing this track a lot. Very nice job from Danny Serrano and Hector Couto on Coyu's Suara Label! Very nice groove and a male speaking vocal ... absolutely amazing! it's just what the people like to dance to in the middle of the night!
Tensnake does it again! After the huge success of "Coma Cat" they deliver this gem that we really loved! We played this track so many times during the last summer ... it's one of our favourite tracks of 2011 without any doubt. The right music for the right people! :-)
Massive thanks to NiCe7 from everyone at Trackitdown
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