Credit: Douglas Brennan
At Republic Artists we’re big fans of one of Greece’s most established producers and so, ahead of his appearance at Egg on the 25th, we decided to catch up with and quiz Nikola Gala on life as a producer, gear / format preferences & striking the right balance between touring and time in the studio.
It seems like you’ve been prolific since you started, with usually at least three records out each year. Is this a conscious decision? Do you feel under pressure to put out music?
>>>I am lucky enough to be a full time producer for more than 10 years now, so I have plenty of time to spend in the studio. I really have fun in the studio so most of the time there is no pressure unless there is a tight dead line to catch.
You used to run a digital only label and have released numerous EPs as digital only, vinyl only and digital / vinyl. Which do you prefer? Does it matter to you which format your music is released on?
>>> For me its all about the music, I don’t care about the format, if a track is good then it’s good, but at the same time I know that there are people who love to have a complete final product with artwork, sleeve etc. which is again fine with me.
You’re clearly not restricted to a particular sound when it comes to making music, as over the years you’ve touched on many of House & Techno’s shades. How do you feel the production tools you have at your disposal affect the music in which you make? Does your production setup vary often, or do the tools you use depend on the type of track you wish to create?
>>>>It’s a mixture of this, I make changes to my work flow every now and then, I try different techniques: new machines, FX, synths… there are periods of time where I use 100% samples and times where I use no samples at all. When I work on techno oriented tracks I make an extensive use of my modular system for sound design and strange harmonies/FX and if it’s a more of a house-y track that I work then I will probably start digging for samples.
You tour extensively as a DJ as well as maintain a heavy release schedule. How do you manage to keep the balance between the two sides of your career? Do you find yourself saying: “I’ve been touring too much lately, I’m going to clear my schedule so I can sink my teeth into studio work!”?
>>> I don’t do many gigs at the moment, I go out 1-2 times a months which gives me enough time to work in the studio, it’s the perfect balance for me.
How did your first release come about?
>>> Clearly out of passion for music, I sent the demo and it got signed.
How did you get into production? Do you prefer to DJ or produce?
>>> My PC at that moment around 1995 was an OK electronic musical instrument and started programming some beats, quickly I realized I need PRO gear to start building better ideas and so I started collecting machines. I prefer producing for sure.
Which track of yours are you most proud of? Is there a particular release you can pinpoint as a turning point in your career?
>>> I have so many that I don’t feel its fair to choose one, but one of my favourites is the “Dope Beat” track on Rekids. I remember my good friend Jerome Sydenham sent me an email saying “…this is your official welcome to Techno…” about my release Rock Steady on Octopus, so I can count this is as my techno entry track.
Given the experience you’ve gained through your career, what piece of advice would you give to the Nikola Gala of 2003?
>>> Grab quickly some old classics like 303,909,808,SH101 while they are cheap.
Now you’ve played some of the most respected clubs in Europe and released on some highly respected labels, what are your career aspirations for the future? Is there a particular place you would like to play you haven’t had the opportunity to yet? A particular label you want to release on? To progress beyond producing/djing into another aspect of the music business? Open a club? Start a festival?
>>> I still enjoy making music in the studio even more at the moment, no rush, no thoughts, no people around waiting for something, just an empty canvas which I can do whatever I feel I like with and this is priority No1, for sure going out traveling around the world, meeting new people is nice and I enjoy it every single time but the creative process is what gives me the push so I think I will just take it easy and enjoy my time in the studio.
Nikola Gala headlines the Republic Artists Egg Basement Takeover on the 25th July.
Please note: This will also be the official after party for Republic Artists boat party. Tickets available on Ticket Tannoy and Resident Advisor.
Ticket Tannoy http://www.tickettannoy.com/event/TzpuZVW3oU-V3EBFb0HlCg
Resident Advisor http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?708857