Local Rockstars: Mikey Nice, the man that always smiles

Local Rockstars: Mikey Nice, the man that always smiles

Jun 18, 2013 |  by  |  Event, Music
About the author
Laura is a 25 year old nonpracticing psychologist. As a hopeless romantic she loves to write, dream and wander around the city looking for new adventures and inspirations. Stay tuned for an inside peek into the daily life of one of Amsterdam's inhabitants!

Last weekend, the sun-drenched Gaasperpark hosted Open Air, one of the biggest electronic music festivals our capital has to offer. Somewhere between the creative acts, musical highlights and culinary treats, Mikey Nice’s colourful Disco Bingo was getting it on through the grape vine. With his small posture and his eternal smile, Mikey is probably the cutest DJ you’ll ever meet. Playing timeless ’90s hits we all forgot about after prom night, he’s one of the most successful local acts at the moment. Facing a promising summer filled with gigs, I decided to have a little chat to find out what it is that makes him smile all the time.

I read on Resident Advisor that you got your first gigs thanks to Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. Please explain…
“I got to know them through some girls of my high school class in Purmerend. They organised parties and got me interested in DJing. It started with them playing two-step and me doing old school hip-hop songs. Back then they were actually pretty normal teenage guys. They encouraged me to play and I started to really enjoy it. They also taught me how to mix, I knew nothing about it back then. We played a lot at parties in Purmerend and later in Amsterdam, in the horrible Escape.”

And after that?
“I moved to Eindhoven and kind of lost track of them. I did some gigs there by myself, and when I moved to Amsterdam I was a bit fed up with the whole music scene. I discovered it was really hard to get gigs when you don’t really have the time to go out. Here in Amsterdam, you really need to work hard as a DJ. Hanging out in clubs, talking to the right people. I took some time to concentrate on my study. After a while, I started to go out again. Now I have gigs almost every weekend!”

You did play on the weekly fraternity night of Mercurius, but that was electronic music, if I remember correctly.
“Yes, that’s right. Back then, I was very into the fidget sound and some dub step even. I love trying out new things and discover new music. I have the feeling that my taste is always evolving. New sounds always capture me for a while but I always tend to head back to my roots. I never get tired of playing hip-hop and ’90s hits, because it feels like a sort of home base for me. But I do have these temporal shifts in my musical taste, and most of the times what I play is a representation of what I like at that time.”

What surprises me is that even though everyone seems to be into the deep house and techno, you play ’90s hits and soulful hip-hop. How did you come up with the idea to play this music?
“Last year, in December, I went to a cabin with a couple of friends. And just for fun, I started playing ’90s hits, songs that were actual personal favourites. My friends went crazy, they all loved it! I think at that point I realized that this was the kind of music I wanted to play. Later, at a gig at Kimchi festival I met the girls of Paardenkracht. They were so excited that they asked me for Horse Meets Disco. And the rest is history.”

I remember at Next Monday’s Hangover- Noah’s Ark, where I thought people would go see electronic heroes like Pantha du Prince, your Disco Bingo stage was completely packed! How do you explain that success?
“I think that house music developed to a certain point where the audience is getting a bit tired, the sound is getting too familiar. They’re longing for something happier and more refreshing. And that’s exactly where I come in; my performance is a combination of colourful, easygoing, vintage house. And it just works, people love it!”

Maybe we are at a point where we want to leave the club, and head back to the local pub.
“Maybe. Honestly, I’m not really the pub-visiting type. But this kind of music does seem to hit it off, and I enjoy that so much. People often tell me my enthusiasm really adds to my performance. But when I’m playing, I always pick records that I love the most. So you can’t blame me for dancing along and enjoying every minute of the set!”

What about producing?
“I’d love to produce. I often have musical masterpieces in my head which I’d love to work on in the studio. I even have all the equipment! I’m just a very impatient person and producing takes a lot of time. I’ve tried out some things, but after I while I get tired of it and I just forget about it.”

So what about your future plans?
“I really want to go on performing as a DJ and start to make music of my own. Right now, I’m studying for business economist. I’m doing my work placement at PayPal and I love it, but music is my true passion. So if my career as a DJ fails, I can always go back to being a business man. We’ll see what happens, so far so good!”

What’s your final message?
“People often wonder where I’m from, and most of the time they think I’m an Indo. But in fact I’m half Moroccan! What a surprise huh?!”

Photography by Kim Buijs.

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