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Nightmares On Wax: ‘Firstly, I’m a Music Fan’

British DJ/producer George Evelyn talks about making his India debut later this week and working with charities

Anurag Tagat Dec 04, 2018

British hip-hop/electronic music producer George Evelyn aka Nightmares on Wax. Photo: Sequoia Ziff

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Turns out Leeds, U.K.-bred, Ibiza-based DJ/producer Nightmares on Wax aka George Evelyn has had ties to India even before he got offered his debut India tour. For more than three decades, Nightmares on Wax has been lauded as the leading producer in hip-hop and soul, but he’s only been a visitor to India on previous trips.

His other, more recent connection comes through England charity Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, which connects the dance music circuit to communities in need throughout the world. In Evelyn’s case, he’s helped fund wells and water supply in villages in Andhra Pradesh as an ambassador for the charity. He explains his association, “I would love to go and visit the site! But I got involved originally through a good friend of mine, called Johnny Lee, who’s the founder of the foundation, and I saw the incredible work they were doing raising money on the island for the last five or six years.”

On the back of releasing yet another smooth and sublime new album Shape The Future early this year on the celebrated Warp records, Nightmares on Wax will perform three shows in the country this week, on December 7th in Bengaluru, December 8th in New Delhi and December 9th at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune. Ahead of the tour, Nightmares on Wax spoke to Rolling Stone India about DJing and India. Excerpts:

In your world, when you’re asked to do a DJ set in a new country, what’s one of the most failsafe methods to get a crowd moving (apart from say, playing your most famous song)?

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For me DJing is about bringing your groove, regardless of which country you’re going to play in. People want to hear you! I don’t think people want to hear an impression of what you think you should be bringing to that country. It’s really important to just be yourself, and play who you are. What gets me going, and then what gets the crowd going, is me being in my groove and being comfortable with myself when I’m DJing. Obviously I’ll play some of my music, but most of what I play is the music that inspires me and things that I’m into in that moment.

You mentioned in interviews that DJing is still your main weapon of choice, if you really had to pick between doing DJing and other forms of performance. How do you keep it interesting for yourself?

For me, DJing is the foundation of how I got into music in the first place, and I would say that for me, firstly, I’m a music fan, secondly I’m a DJ and thirdly I’m a producer. Without DJing there’s not really a route to what I do. What keeps DJing fresh for me is new music and more gigs! The more DJ shows I play, the more I’m in love with DJing, because I’m buzzing off the crowd, I’m buzzing off what I’m playing and I’m always finding new inspiration when I’m DJing and that always gives me new ideas. DJing is the epicenter of what I do really.

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You had (multi-instrumentalist/producer) Jordan Rakei on Shape the Future – he’s performed in India before – are you taking any advice from him before you head out? Or from any other friends (musicians or otherwise) about visiting India for the first time?

I’ve actually travelled India twice before, so I won’t be asking any new advice but I’m sure if I did ask people, they would tell me to just be myself and bring my energy. It’s always a wonderful experience to go to India.

What are your plans outside of the shows? Are you going to look for some records?

I might do some record digging in Delhi, because there are some good spots there. Actually as soon as I arrive I’m going to a Ayurvedic retreat for four days. So I’m going to do some spiritual investment before I start playing shows! Then I think I’ve got two days off in Pune and I’ve never been there before so I’d like to go and soak in the sights.

Mixtape presents Nightmares on Wax India tour

December 7th – Fandom at Gilly’s Redefined, Bengaluru. Buy tickets here.

December 8th – Auro Kitchen & Bar, New Delhi. Buy tickets here.

December 9th – Mahalaxmi Lawns at Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Pune

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