Article by: Jessica Duncan
A lot of ravers believe the golden era of EDM was from 2011-2013, when the scene was blowing up, but not quite as mainstream as it is today. American hard dance producer NickyP will certainly agree with you. The DJs and music of this period inspired him to become a DJ and learn how to produce.
Growing up in New Jersey, he wasn’t too far from New York City where electronic music has always had a home. In 2010, he made the trip across the Hudson to attend Electric Zoo, the festival that changed everything for a young NickyP. He was a big trance fan at the time and mainly went to see Armin Van Buuren, but he caught Fedde Le Grand’s set on the mainstage before Armin. He remembers, “I was just blown away by how cool of a DJ he was. The way his set flowed and how he used his hands.” NickyP decided at that moment he wanted to learn how to DJ too.
The next year in 2011 he purchased some CDJs and learned how to DJ from watching tutorials on YouTube. Friends recommended that he learn his craft on something more basic like a controller, but he knew he was going to have to know how to do it on CDJs eventually and just went for it.
A couple of years later in 2013, he started to learn how to produce. Like a lot of producers these days, he learned the basics of using digital audio workstations and production techniques from YouTube. When he first started out, he was making tech house and electro house.
After doing that for a few years, he wanted to push himself as a producer and make music that was uniquely him. So he switched things up and started learning how to make hardstyle in 2017. In terms of his production, NickyP’s strength is creating a vision by arranging and layering different samples. He mainly uses FL Studio to produce because that is what the person he works with for mixing and mastering uses, but he knows how to use Logic and Ableton as well.
One of his big influences is Avicii, because he always made what he wanted to make, even if people didn’t like or understand it at first. Zedd, Brennan Heart, and Atmozfears are some other artists that have influenced his sound. The first hardstyle song that got him interested in the genre was Coone and Code Black’s remix of Gareth Emery’s “Concrete Angels.”
In the fall of 2017, he decided to move to Los Angeles to chase his dreams, but the scene there wasn’t for him. He left LA and moved a few hours away to the epicenter of EDM, Las Vegas, in 2018. Some memorable moments in his music career so far include having his track “Feel Like” featured on Spotify’s Hardstyle Bangers playlist, opening for American hardstyle legend Lady Faith in September 2019 when she came through Las Vegas, and throwing his own hard dance shows with Dynamic Events in 2021 to great success.
One of his goals is to have a residency at one of the big nightclubs in Las Vegas and still be able to play hardstyle. “That’s when we know we have accomplished our goal, when you walk into Encore Beach Club at night and it feels like a hardstyle festival. Or if you went to Drai’s and saw someone like Pauly D playing hardstyle.”
A festival he would love to play is Ultra Japan “because their crowds are really energetic and EDM is still a little bit new to them.” If he were to play a hard dance festival, he would like to play Defqon.1 Australia. If he could collaborate with a vocalist, he would like to have Ava Max sing on a track. His dream collaboration would be to make a hardstyle track with Swedish House Mafia.
When asked about the American hard dance scene, NickyP feels like it’s still a bit underground, but it’s getting a rush of new fans. He says, “when you have that rush of new people coming in, it’s what creates energy and enthusiasm.” He’s excited to be a part of the scene right now because “everything feels so fresh and so new.”
He believes more promoters across the country need to take the risk of booking hardstyle artists because “the people are there, they want to go to these shows. It would be cool to go out any weekend in any city and be able to experience hard dance.” He would also love to see Q-Dance bring a Defqon.1 event to the states that caters to new fans by featuring mainstream DJs that are hard dance enthusiasts, as well as traditional hardstyle and hardcore/rawstyle DJs.
For the scene to continue to grow, he thinks big artists can’t be afraid to experiment and push boundaries. He likes seeing big names like Steve Aoki, Armin Van Buuren, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike dropping hardstyle on the main stage of the world’s biggest festivals. These headliners expose people to something they might not have heard before and create new fans. Even bass artists like Must Die! and of course Kayzo are using hardstyle elements in their songs and collaborating with hardstyle artists.
A lot of hard dance artists have been blending hard dance with other genres and he thinks “it’s great for the scene because the more people explore the spectrum of sound the bigger the genre will get.” Some American hard dance artists he has been paying attention to are veteran Pulsatorz, newcomer WSHNGTN, and Las Vegas local MDNTHR.
Outside of music, his hobbies include motorsports and target shooting. If he were to do something besides music, his other dream career would be a Formula 1 driver. He’s a huge Formula 1 fan because “it’s fast and intense like the music I make, it always keeps you on the edge of your seat.” Like his musical influences, his favorite driver Max Verstappen is Dutch. He is also working on turning his Toyota Supra into a track car.
Coming up, NickyP will be playing a set before WSHNGTN on July 9 at the Sahara Events Center. You can grab tickets to see him here. He’s planning on releasing seven more tracks throughout the year and has some collaborations in the works as well. His main goal right now is to keep the hardstyle scene in Las Vegas growing because “there is the potential here to create a big local hardstyle scene. LA already has a big scene, so now you’ll have not just one city, but a second city, and it will slowly start making its way East.”
Stay up to date with what NickyP has going on and listen to his music using the links below.
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