Devout house heads claiming to be wise to the renowned “Mannheim sound” are sure to have lapped up the versatile talents of Nick Curly somewhere along the way. A multi-angle evangelist who traffics in the soulful and energetic ends of modern house music, Curly has carefully balanced his unique studio offerings with dual label duties for Cecille and 8Bit.
His debut album, Between the Lines, was recently re-released by Defected Records, and brings with it a considerable arsenal of remixes from the likes of Dennis Ferrer and Yoruba Soul, among others. Beatport News sat down with Curly to talk instrumental aptitude and the legwork that led his Cecille imprint towards its fifth anniversary.
Talk us through your experience of cutting your teeth in Germany and what the media coinage of the “Mannheim sound” has meant to you and your peers?
The whole Mannheim sound was very much a press fabrication of the stuff that was happening around the time that my labels 8Bit and Cecille came into existence. It was kind of just a name they gave it, but it really helped us find our feet and presence in the industry at that time. Germany has always been, and still to this day remains, such a crucial market to the industry, maybe less so in the south, where I am from, but Berlin certainly holds its corner in terms of club and label presence. It might not be my home turf, but I am still happy to have been a part of it and to see its continuous influence upon the wider industry.
Your debut album, Between the Lines, hit big first time round and just bounced back as a deluxe edition for Defected Records. What was the concept behind your first full-length, and what does the new edition entail?
I always wanted to do an album to show another side of Nick Curly. The album is very much “Nick from Monday to Friday.” I didn’t want to just solely do a dance album, but instead show people the music I am personally enjoying. It is all a lot more chilled. It was a great thrill to work with different singers and live instrumentation, and for me it certainly felt like this element made all the difference. For the new edition, as well as the original album, Defected and myself seem to have got some of house music’s outright heroes involved for the remixes, but it isn’t all the remixes by any means; we couldn’t give it all away.
You have balanced yourself between your own two distinct imprints, 8Bit and Cecille, the latter of which turns five this year. Has there been any additional pressure in engaging with yet another professional element of the industry?
I don’t want to do anything with pressure. I listen to tracks and just release the good ones. There is enough good music out there to never force the efforts. I’m happy I have a platform to release it upon, and thrilled to have seen it last so long with so many great releases. The industry is tough and there are a lot of variables to compete against, but when you are doing it for the right reasons, then those challenges don’t feel all that much like hard work. Five years is not to be frowned at, and I am positive there will be so many more.
With house music now proving a global passport to DJs across the globe, have there been any new territories that have pleasantly surprised you over the years? And likewise, are there any you have a particular appetite to take on?
A lot of the areas in Asia have pleasantly surprised me. Peru was absolutely incredible because it is such a poor country yet there was so much love and energy out there. I have a personal sense of love towards Turkey that is like one of the countries closest to Europe that definitely lacks a good electronic scene. I have two flats out there and spend a lot of time in the country, so I would love to create a music culture out there and bring some parties to their beautifully scenic areas.
Given the positivity you have entered 2013 with, what can we expect from you for the remainder of the year?
I am really happy to be in this industry. There is very little violence and there is a lot of positive people to work with and enjoy the journey alongside. Obviously the main focus will be on the album, but there is some more to come from the studio from me. I am working on some more club-oriented tracks to be released on 8Bit. We also have the Five Years of Cecille compilation and a lot more exciting stuff that will remain a secret for now. I couldn’t ruin the surprise like that for everyone!