Nicky Romero dishes on new music, Protocol Recording’s five year anniversary and his love for soccer [Interview]

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As dance music continues to move through cycles of divergence and subsequent convergence, progressive house is one of the many genres to fall down most producers’ pecking order, with many up-and-coming artists leaning heavily towards Future Bass and Deep House. But according to Nick Rotteveel – one of the spearheading producers behind the Dutch House invasion circa 2010-11- this shift in the production meta is part and parcel of an industry that is “constantly evolving.”


The veteran producer, who remains at the top of his game after a decade, had a humble beginning – as did many of his peers alongside him today. Music had a profound influence on Nicky Romero from a young age. He started off as a drummer in his band as a teenager, before making the decision to forge a career as an electronic music producer.

“I swapped my drums for a computer when I was about 17. My parents were not happy about it, but for me the future was with producing music digitally.”

Ever since dropping his first commercially successful track “My Friend,” back in 2010, Nicky Romero has continued to grow in stature, creating some instantly recognizable electro and progressive house tunes such as “Toulouse,” “Symphonica,” and “I Could Be The One” with Avicii.

His uncanny ability to produce easily marketable chart-toppers has allowed him to consistently headline the most prestigious dance music festivals like Tommorrowland, Ultra Music Festival and Sunburn Festival in India, while simultaneously creating one of the most loyal fan bases known to the dance music world.

His most recent single, “Crossroads,” is a far cry from his immensely popular festival anthems. It is a refreshing digression from the rapidly stagnating big room genre, and is a testament to Nicky’s ability to adapt and stay relevant.

“My latest single called ‘Crossroads’ was a collaboration between Navarra and me. I think it’s a great merge of sounds & styles, vocal chops and a progressive drop, kind of a hybrid.”

Rather than resting on his laurels, Romero dedicates a majority of his time to his cherished label Protocol Recordings, which “has helped [him] create a platform for [himself] and for other young artists that [he] like[s] to support.”

While most labels “shotgun songs into the world with 5 songs at the same time and see if there is a hit in there,” Romero’s vision and motivation is totally different: to create a brand that serves to expose his fan base to quality rather than quantity.

“We carefully release. It’s not always the best strategy financially but it works best for us as the finance side of things was never our motivation to start in first place!”

Initially created by Nicky Romero in May 2012, the label has evolved into one of the world’s leading artist launch pads, featuring prestigious names such as Blasterjaxx, Hardwell, Krewella and NERVO over its five year history, while also striving to discover fresh talent like Arno Cost and Volt & State. To celebrate the label’s fifth anniversary, Romero has lined up a mammoth party that will last until ADE in October.



To kick off the celebration, Nicky will live stream the 250th episode of Protocol Radio featuring the label’s best tracks and unreleased singles saved for the special occasion. This will be followed by a huge five-hour mix, containing the label’s defining sonic imprints. To cap it all, Protocol will release re-worked versions of the label’s greatest hits while “announcing the exciting release of a new single” by the Protocol head honcho himself.

A large part of Nicky Romero’s monumental success is due to his shrewd understanding of the trends prevailing in the dance music industry, where “music comes and goes so fast right now.” The scenario has changed considerably since Romero began, with listeners cycling through music at a much more rapid pace than a few years ago.

“When I started you could have a number one at Beatport and it could be there for a month. Now a song is old 5 days after its release! It creates a lot of space for everyone to drop singles.”

That being said, a large majority of popular DJs credit their success to the very industry Romero talks about, due to its constant state of dynamism, with opportunities being presented to new artists to try and differentiate themselves from an ocean of other producers – a factor which is generally missed by most fans. Romero once fell in this category as well, and believes that “we should appreciate the music that’s being released,” while also understanding the increasing difficulty in making a mark as “people are bored after three days” of songs that may take “a month or longer to finish.”

Another rather overlooked facet of being an electronic music superstar is the emotional difficulty that can plague the very symbols for spreading happiness and “good vibes” through their music. They have to constantly ignore their personal concerns in order to keep the act going. Nicky himself faced his fair share of problems including a chronic anxiety issue that almost ended his career back in the early days.

He has since managed to get his anxiety under control, but highlights the importance of taking regular breaks from his hectic schedule to unwind and relax.

“I still play drums, and really enjoy it!”

Nicky Romero Drums

Also an avid fan of legendary Dutch soccer team Ajax Amsterdam, he had a few words regarding the Europa League final between Ajax and European giants Manchester United, with the match holding special importance for the English club in light of the recent terror attack in the city.

“I’m kind of tense about it all to be honest, especially after the awful Ariana Grande attack in Manchester. A good match is what I hope for, and of course I hope Ajax wins, but one of my good friends plays at Manchester United, Daley Blind, and I support him also! I think it’s gonna be a very exciting match.”

While Nicky could easily have taken time out of his busy schedule to watch his favorite team in action, he remains laser focused on his duties and obligations towards the entire community, drawing inspiration from Martin Garrix’s tireless endeavors.

“I think there is still a lot to achieve. I’m motivated by what Martijn does right now. He is, at his age, an inspiration to the whole DJ scene. I love to see that he’s opened so many doors for everyone, it’s inspiring!”

His parting statement captures what the person behind Nicky Romero truly stands for – a determined and humble operator, whose undying work ethic and desire to keep improving has helped him climb to the very heights of musical stardom. Adored by fans and respected by peers, Nicky Romero is a fitting role model for any aspiring producer.

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Alesso – Falling (Original Mix)

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Swedish dance music icon Alesso is kicking off February in style. The producer has made a world-renowned career in harnessing the premier aspects of his signature style and other tropes from chart-dominating singles, and his newest release is no exception.

Alesso’s “Falling” is a showcase of his versatility and proficiency. The song blends some of the best components of commercially appealing dance music, typified by lush chord progressions, sultry vocals and grooving bass lines. All of these elements combine to give listeners an ultimately danceable track. Expect “Falling” to blow up in the coming months.

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Listen to six official remixes of NGHTMRE and Flux Pavilion’s ‘Feel Your Love’

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It was just six months ago that bass music heavyweights NGHTMRE and Flux Pavilion released, “Feel The Love” featuring Jamie Lewis, which racked up over 1.4 million plays and was named as one of the heaviest collaborations of 2016. Now Circus Records has released the remix package that features six well-crafted songs from both established artists and promising up-and-comers. With genres ranging from dubstep to house to future and trapstyle, make sure to be on the look out for these hard-hitting tracks as festival season draws near.

Touring artist, ANGELZ, who has played with Tchami and Dr. Fresch, dishes out the first remix with a heavy-hitting bass house track loaded with energy and a driving synth. It’s no wonder this artist has racked over 50,000 followers on Soundcloud, as this artist clearly brings something new to the table in the bass house genre.

Making her breakthrough from Mexico City, Jessica Audiffred curates a bass heavy hybrid. Audiffred makes some serious creative moves here, pitching down the vocals and finding the perfect blend between heavy dubstep growls and energetic trap drums before spinning the second drop into a powerful hardstyle beat.

Up and comer CYRAN delivers a high-energy track with a moombahton beat that will easily become a fan-favorite. The second drop nods to the song’s bass-heavy roots while also maintaining a spacious, pliable rhythm.

AXEN delivers another heavy remix with a rising trap lead that parallels NGHTMRE and Slander. The track is jam-packed with explosive switches between festival trap and house, before the second drop takes a more bass-heavy turn. AXEN has skillfully pulled off an all-inclusive experience in this innovative three minute and thirty second hit.

LATE brings something new to the table with a bouncy hard house remix that is sure to draw attention from around the world. Though it starts off with a four on the floor beat, the fast paced rendition drops into eight bars of festival trap in a daring switch of energy. The second drop then takes a bold risk and follows the genre-bending graces of Kayzo in a stimulating beat that mixes trapstyle, hard house, and drum-step.

Lastly, Dommix does something different from the rest, giving his own future-spin on the bass-heavy track with massive saw waves and a melodic, chill-out vibe. If you like Flume, Wheathin, and San Holo, then Dommix’s remix will feel right at home.

Listen to all six remixes below.

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Mija releases new heavy track featuring Tegan & Sara

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Since Mija’s break out in 2014, the pioneering DJ and producer has toured the world, headlined some of the biggest festivals, and proved herself an equal to her fellow male counterparts with collaborations and remixes that have established her as a force in the industry. Driven by the mantra of ‘fk genres,’ Mija has finally released her third single, ‘Secrets’ featuring the smooth angelic voices of the Grammy-nominated indie pop duo, Tegan and Sara. The genre-bending track draws influence from Netsky and Subfocus, and takes the listener on a hard-hitting drum and bass adventure. The quick drums are balanced with deep industrial sounds and heavy LFOs to keep the listener eager and ready for what comes next. Lucky for the old-school bassheads out there, the second drop switches into half-time and brings us all back to the reigning days of heavy dubstep. ‘Secrets’ is surely a turn away from Mija’s future bass song ‘Better’ with Vindata, or ‘Crank It,’ her deep house single with Lil Jon and Ghastly. But after taking a listen, it’s a definite turn for the best as Mija flexes her versatility as a producer and gives us a glimpse of her bass-heavy side.

Mija is happy to save her fans a few bucks, and the song is available for free download below:


H/T: Billboard


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Listen to Jauz drop his all new music live in San Francisco [VIDEO]

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This past weekend Jauz returned to his old stomping grounds of San Fransisco, CA for the second date in his highly-anticipated Off the Deep End tour, his first headlining tour since he broke out into the electronic dance music spotlight in 2014. This past weekend’s sold-out event was hosted at the legendary Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and was arguably the 23 year old producer’s biggest show to date. But before Jauz could reveal himself from behind a giant curtain, the night was kicked off with riveting sets by Goshfather, Ghastly, and Slushii and was topped off with live performances from popular Bay-area rappers, Too $hort and E40.

The Bay Area native spun an assortment of genres, seemingly catering to the different tastes and preferences of his hometown crowd. From gritty Dubstep, to old school hip-hop, to signature bass house and never-before-heard mash-ups, the massive crowd shook the venue’s walls in their excitement. Fan-favorite mashups included Blink 182’s ‘Down’ into Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Save the World,’ and Linkin Park’s ‘Numb’ into Jauz’s signature bass-house selections.

He even revealed some new unreleased tracks to the crowd including this ID  — a high-energy bass house banger with a marimba lead and some ethnic tribal flare.

The tour will be making eleven more stops all across the country from now until March, including major cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, NYC, and Atlanta .

The Chainsmokers confirm the release of their debut album and a new tour in 2017

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Pop EDM duo The Chainsmokers have been on quite a roll lately. They have successfully managed to become one of the most dominant and well-liked commercial house duos around, with their last three singles, “All We Know,” “Setting Fires,” and “Paris” racking up more than 100 million hits on YouTube alone. And their impossible to escape hit “Closer” hitting quadruple platinum (with a fifth platinum nod on the way).

With their latest tweet, it seems that Alex and Drew are ready to embark on the next chapter of their rise to EDM superstardom — the full length album, In a recent tweet, they have finally confirmed their debut album as well as a new tour for 2017.

To add to the hype, Coldplay’s Chris Martin publicly praised their unreleased work. As a result of this, the tweet went absolutely nuclear with fans all over the world adding to the hype surrounding their much awaited debut LP.

Screenshot 2017-01-30 11.38.10


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W&W – Whatcha Need (Original Mix)

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Dutch DJ duo W&W have always been good at experimenting with their sound design and style. Starting off as Trance producers in 2011, they quickly moved towards big room where they developed a penchant for dropping some of the most popular big room house tracks to date.

With their recent endeavor, “Whatcha Need,” W&W have experimented with bits of the track, inculcating sounds from a variety of genres – even including percussive elements of Jersey club and trap. As a result of this, the song has the heart and soul of a big room track, and yet manages to avoid the tediousness surrounding conventional EDM rhythmic structures with clever ease.

Listen to the song below:

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EDC Japan announces lineup for 2017 edition

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Insomniac’s multinational EDC festival franchise has announced a star studded lineup for its first ever Japanese edition. Taking place in Tokyo, Japan will be EDC’s sixth international destination, adding to the likes of Mexico, Puerto Rico, the UK, Brazil, and India.

The lineup itself fields a great number of extremely influential crowd pullers like Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, Zedd and two thirds of Swedish House Mafia in Axwell^Ingrosso. EDC Japan has also recruited musically adept producers like Nicole Moudaber, Knife Party, Kaskade, Galantis and dutch trap producers Yellow Claw, adding support and structure to the festival. Additionally, Insomniac has announced a Japanese version of the Boombox Art Car, aimed at promoting talented Japanese producers.

The festival will  be held on April 29-30 in Tokyo Bay.

View the full lineup below.



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Stream Martin Garrix’s new future bass single ‘Scared to be Lonely’

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Teasing fans since New Years, Martin Garrix has finally released his highly anticipated single, “Scared to be Lonely” with English singer/songwriter, Dua Lipa. The Dutch producer first revealed the unreleased track at the AVA NYE festival where videos were then leaked on multiple social media platforms. Since then, music enthusiasts across the world have been eagerly waiting for the full-length release of “Scared to be Lonely.”

Now Garrix’s newest hit is here, and it was well worth the wait and trail of bread-crumbs. We already assumed the track would individually captivate us just by the sensitive title, but Dua Lipa’s velvet-smooth vocals drive the ‘feels’ straight home. Garrix’s future bass production embellishes the heart-rending lyrics, and the catchy beat carries the emotional tone throughout. With “Scared to be lonely,” Garrix has again proven to the world why he has been how he’s achieved his vanguard status in the dance music industry.

Stream “Scared to be Lonely” below:

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