2018 Roundup with Nej!las

Detroit Techno queen Nej!las has had quite the year this year as she bravely re-branded herself, and released a phenomenal EP titled <program.restart>. She has had two Beatport top 50 charting tracks and has gained support from some of the biggest names in the industry. In our interview with Nej!las we talk about what lessons have been learnt and a general recap of 2018, read on to see what she says.

1. What’s been your best memory this year?

Launching ‘<program.restart>’ – it meant so much more to me than just an EP release, it was the start of a completely new chapter of nej!las. ‘<program.restart>’ was a “reboot” of what nej!las was and used to be. A start of something new, nej!las now stands for embracing an innovative type of original techno: combining some traditional techno elements with a different, original song design, which itself requires unique sound design and elements.

2. What lessons have you learnt?

Sound quality and design is something a producer should always, always, be improving and learning more about throughout their career. I’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks when it comes to mastering – how to get the crisp and bright sound, which a lot of techno producers struggle with because of the dark kicks, subs, and bass that are a staple of the genre, without compromising loudness.

3. Have you got a favourite release either from yourself or another artist?

Narrowing it down to the top three for 2018. I would have to say Noir’s “Disruptions” 2 track EP, a brilliant melodic techno showcase, with Thomas Schumacher’s “Embody Paradox” 2 track EP, a more traditional acid techno EP, and ‘<program.restart>’ which combines both melodic techno (or even progressive house) with more traditional techno.

4. Who has really impressed you this year?

I’m going to give a shout out to Rinzen. I’ve been following his career for years – he brilliantly knows how to manipulate Hans Zimmer–esq soundscapes and melodic compositions into techno. I believe his latest release even featured a violin. It’s a skill, and it’s different. Everyone should go check him out!

5. Do you have a funny gig memory from the summer?

I ran into someone who was convinced I was Amelie Lens – even though we don’t like anything alike… I guess they just heard “female” and “techno” and assumed otherwise. No worries, I did my due diligence and informed them of all the other females (Anna, Charlotte de Witte, Nina Kraviz, etc.) that are also dominating the techno field that they should also be aware of! But yes, Amelie is queen…

6. Have you had to overcome any struggles regarding your career this year?

I think any producer that has once been tied to a certain sound (like the fan base I grew last year with tracks like Sunken and Risen), yet wants to switch gears and pursue a more original and unique sound, has to overcome transitioning their fan base. It was a tough decision– do I still try and appeal to the old fan base, or pave a new path. Ultimately, with <program.restart> I paved a brand new path, and I’ve never been happier as a producer. I may not have as large of a “commercial” fan base than before, but I’m getting more support from industry insiders, fellow producers, DJs, and labels – which is more valuable to me. I also have nothing but love for the fans that have been there with me from the beginning and embraced the new innovative sound!

7. Do you have any advice for people just starting out in music?

Patience is key. Things take time. Even if you’re at the top of the field and you finished a new release, it could be 6-months until it’s actually distributed. Even booking happens about 6 months (to even a year!) in advance. Don’t lose hope and keep at it, just know it’s the name of the game to just keep trying your best. Also – focus on producing quality work and productions over quantity. You don’t know what scouts will be listening to, or how they come across your tracks, and you need to ensure all your releases are up to their quality standards.

8. What goals have you set for yourself next year?

Many. I just want to continue to innovate and to try and bring something original and different to the techno field.

9. Do you have any exciting stuff planned for the end of 2018?

I’ve got a crazy amount of holiday gigs lined up – which is exciting. I welcome the challenge to always be on my feet and find a way to craft original mixes for each. I’m also going to be finishing up a new EP for 2019. As of now, it looks like 2019 will see 3 EPs from nej!las.

10. Can you let us in on an exclusive of what you have planned for next year?

I really wish I could – it’s something big – but I’m under a non-disclosure to not mention anything for a while. I hope this speaks to how important this is! …. so….stay tuned!!