Artist Spotlight – Carl Nicholson
Being a pioneer is never easy as it takes on new risks with a lot of learning along the way
Carl Nicholson is a pioneer with a fascinating history. He is very candid about his life and I believe that is what draws fans in. Being that frank in the entertainment industry has its ups-n-downs, but being true to yourself, Carl has put himself in a class of his own. With a huge discography, Carl has made some amazing tracks and remixed some of the biggest songs in history and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
As the world is on pins and needles during this crazy time, I had the opportunity to interview Carl Nicholson in hopes for some unreserved honesty, and as usual, he delivered.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to chat with me, you are a legend! You have been doing this since the early 90’s, prior to the Covid-19, could you imagine the scene coming to a grinding halt? How are you passing the time? Can the scene recover from this?
I don’t think anyone could have really imagined this, it’s an anomaly. But in retrospect I feel it’s for the greater good, not only for the health aspects but more closer to home subjects such as family. It brings it home how fragile life can be and how precious it is. I’m working hard on music as a distraction, it’s always a winner.
I think the scene will be fine, actually I think it will be better than ever as after stormy times there are normally some brilliant parties
Hard house, hard trance, the list goes on. Does it matter to you about what genre you are categorized as? What are your feelings with genres and subgenres?
I think it’s all a bit too elitist these days, it pigeonholes people and makes the scene look smaller, at the end of the day, it’s all just disco darling, and a great tune is a great tune whatever label you want to give it.
You recently had a remix of Simon Patterson Spike, and it is absolute fire. What is your approach when you take on a remix? Do you ever hear a track and know instantly you want to remix it? Do you prefer remixing or making original track?
Ahhhh it’s not an official remix, it’s a competition entry that VII are doing, and I just thought it would be fun to give it a go. When I do a remix I’m always trying to give the original the respect it deserves and use the elements that I think makes it a great tune in today’s production. All I’m doing is making it accessible to today’s market, the original writers are the real magicians.
I like all types of production across the board, but I’ve been focusing on original stuff of late as I’ve smashed the remixes past two years, so it’s nice to get a bit more creative for a change.
When it comes to labels, you have released on all of them and continue to do so. The trend in the scene lately seems to be pushed toward a brand identity and sticking with ‘a sound’. What are your thoughts on this?
I think it’s silly to pigeonhole yourself under a certain sound, as people tend to get used to it and when you do try something a bit different they run for the hills. If you have your fingers in many different styles to start with, people never know what they are getting next and I find that tends to keep them interested and on their toes.
Your discography is insane and broad. Of all the tracks you have made or remix, what are some that really stand out to you and why?
I’d say the ones that stand out most are of course Blueprint’s Tara’s Theme which was one of my first hits in early 2000’s and is a track that many people associate with me, and also my remix of Quench’s Dreams as that was my breakthrough track within the trance genre, it got played pretty much on every main stage by Armin. Pretty proud when I saw the response, was completely overwhelming.
You are in the process of building EQ Recording Studios. Please tell us more about this and when do you expect to have it finished?
EQ has been in the planning for a few years, after getting my degree from the Academy of Contemporary Music, I felt I needed a dedicated space as I now have a daughter and it’s not fair for me to be belting out loud music at all times of day. Also I realized that there aren’t many spaces around my area with high quality equipment. It just felt a natural progression from my studies, I’m looking to open in September but we will have to see what happens with lockdown first.
You have accomplished many goals in your life and have experienced many milestones and life events others would love to achieve. Looking back at everything, was it all worth it? Would you do anything differently? Why or why not?
I have to say it was worth every minute of the last two decades I’ve been doing this, yes I would change some of the more self-destructive things I’ve done. But it all adds up to the overall story, and that as a whole has been an adventure and a half that I wouldn’t change for the world.
If you could only live by one motto, what would it be?
One I do tend to live my life by is a piece of advice I got from my sorely missed friend Tony de Vit, and that is simply “If you are gonna do something in this world, do it with heart, or not at all”.