Joe Nice, the man responsible for introducing much of this side of the world to dubstep is playing at Club V in St. John’s next Thursday, February 9th. If you’re in St. John’s you should go. This city has never seen a DJ like this, how many of you have ever seen anyone spin acetate? I caught up with Joe Nice to talk about the current state of dubstep, his adventures around the world and what he does aside from music. Check it out!
UB: Joe Nice, thanks for taking the time to hook us up with this interview. Your show on the 9th is, in my opinion, one of the biggest happenings in St. John’s dubstep history. Before we get started I should let you know that you’re journeying out to a sparsely populated island in the North Atlantic where it takes a little bit longer for things to catch on than in the rest of the world. Dubstep is fairly new to St. John’s; you are actually probably only the fourth dubstep DJ to play in St. John’s, aside from a few local DJs who basically started the scene here.
UB: Firstly, what can we expect to see on the 9th?
JOE NICE: – Wow — the 9th, be ready for anything. Expect the unexpected. Fresh beats. Power mixing. Fun for everyone! Late nights and early mornings. Real excited for this show. Never been to St John’s. Heard nothing but great things…
UB: Who or what gave you the initial push to become a DJ?
JOE NICE: – Hmm. It’s all the dj’s i grew up watching in Baltimore. DJ Boobie. Shawn Caesar. Scottie B. It’s watching them rock a crowd and wanting to do the same. 19 years later, here I am — still honing my craft and living my dream.
UB: What’s the first record that you ever bought?
JOE NICE: – Frank Ski – Sports Bar. It was sampled from a Stereo Mc’s records called “On 33”. MASSIVE TUNE!
UB: What was the first dub plate you ever had pressed?
JOE NICE: – The first one — well, it wasnt just one. I cut the Big Apple 4 release, Distance – Nomad and Plasticman – Pump Up The Jam all at the same time. I still have those dubs. They still have that acetate smell. Dubplate fresh!
UB: In your opinion how was the year 2011 for dubstep? What can we expect to see in 2012?
JOE NICE: – 2011 was a transition year for dubstep. I think there’s a shift from overly aggressive sounds to more music, melody and bass. 2012 is the year where dubstep returns to the forefront. Real bass. Sub. Melody. Variety. No midrange. No chainsaws.
UB: Aside from music, what does Joe Nice do on the day to day?
JOE NICE: – On the day to day, i’m a stay-at-home Dad to the most gorgeous girl. Her name is Parker, she’s 14 months old. I love being with her. We do so much together…reading books, watching “Martha Speaks” and “Super Why” in the morning. Going to Storyville. Lunch. Seeing her dance around when there’s music on. I never imagined that i’d be a Dad one day. Now, i can’t imagine being anything but being a Dad. Other than being a parent, I exercise, I cook, I clean, I mix (when i have the time) and I play soccer (when i have the time). I try to read a book every week to 10 days.
UB: You’ve been one of the most quotable authorities on the whole brostep vs. dubstep debate. Where and when did it all go wrong? If anything went wrong at all. Or, was this just the same sort of hyper-commercialization that we’ve seen happen in hip-hop, electro, punk etc.?
JOE NICE: – I cant put my finger on when specifically it went wrong. I guess the change was gradual. It’s not that much different than a lot of other genres. You hear a sound, people think it’s the best thing ever and everyone wants to jump on it. Then after everyone jumps on it, people realize that what everyone was jumping on is watered-down and people move onto something else and realize that being original is always the best. How else can you explain the autotune phenomenon from a couple of years ago? It was Roger Troutman/Zapp from nearly 30 years ago. T-Pain brings it back. Everyone jumped on….autotune jumped off….then everyone jumped off autotune.
UB: How has the internet helped or hindered dubstep’s success?
JOE NICE: – Helped. Years ago, the only way to hear uk dj’s radio shows was to download them from the internet. Also, you learned about other events from places and were able to connect with other like-minded individuals and collaborate. Youtube is big also. Not only for clipping tunes from radio shows and posting them for everyone to hear, but taking videos of events for promo and posterity. When used responsibly, the internet has been huge in the success of dubstep.
UB: I read in your bigup interview that you play with your shoes off, has any club or promoter ever gone out of the way to hook you up with a fresh piece of carpet or anything?
JOE NICE: – I havent had that happen! Never really thought about it either. I’m not expecting a red carpet or anything like that. As long as the sound is top notch, the equipment works and there’s no broken glass on the floor, i’m good!
UB: Where is the most bizarre/interesting place dubstep has taken you?
JOE NICE: – Tunisia. Hands down. Of all the places ive been to or imagined i’d play, Tunisia wasnt on the list. Im so happy i was able to play there in October. It was a life-changing experience. So rewarding….I will never forget that time.
UB: Which of the following has had the biggest influence on the music you play? That you were born in the UK?//That your parents are Trinidadian?//Or that you grew up in Baltimore?
JOE NICE: – I believe it’s a combination of all three. Each of us are products of our environments and influences. Baltimore — we like our beats hard. So do I. Having Trinidadian parents, i was used to listening to music that was very celebratory and melodic. I enjoy playing tunes that have that feel. Being born in the UK….well, the UK always seems to be ahead of the curve musically. I like playing music that people wouldnt expect at a gig or on radio. Yeah, i’m all three.
UB: If it wasn’t for dubstep where would you be today? Would you still be spinning Baltimore Club?
JOE NICE: – I dont know if i would be spinning Baltimore Club. I dont know if i would be dj-ing. That’s a provocative question because i’ve never given thought to “what i would be doing if i wasnt doing what i was doing now”. i do know that i love what i’m doing and i have no plans to stop doing what i’m doing.
UB: What’s your drink of choice?
JOE NICE: – It depends on the night. Sometimes it’s weasel juice (orange vodka & red bull). Sometimes it’s rum & coke. Sometimes it’s bottled water. It all depends on how I feel.
UB: Finally, I have to say I’m a huge fan of Gourmet Beats and your radio show. What can we anticipate from Gourmet Beats in the future? Will we hear more of your radio show in 2012?
JOE NICE:– Thanks for that. I’m always gonna do my radio show. In the future…more fresh beats, more tunes, more mixing. I love doing radio. It’s the best platform (outside of playing shows) for me to play music i love and to share that love with others that want to listen.
Thanks Joe Nice!
Here’s a few tracks to get you in the mood for next Thursday:
Here’s the event link (click attending):
Drop the Mental with Joe Nice (Baltimore//Dubstep)