Trance News

An Interview with Nick Callaghan – Outburst Records

Where are you now and what are you doing?

Apart from chatting to you guys, I am currently sitting in my studio working on some stem engineering for clients & finishing a new remix from myself.

You have been producing for a number of years now Nick, what is your proudest moment as a DJ and producer?

I don’t feel there has been one defining moment in my career so far that I would pin-point as a major highlight, hopefully that is still to come from me. I feel it’s important to stay motivated, always set new goals, remain humble & work your socks off in this industry. Just being able to make music every day & throughout the years for a living is my proudest achievement so far I guess. The music industry moves at lighting pace & I have been involved in the scene long enough now to learn to appreciate every moment I can be a part of it.

How do you think the scene in Scotland compares to the scene elsewhere at the moment?

I think the Scottish Trance Events┬áin terms of club nights are really starting to heat up again in Scotland after a bit of a dry spell through the EDM hype we’ve had to grin & bare through over recent years. Despite the Arches closing we do have some strong, alternative venues holding some big Trance & Techno events which have been selling out in recent months. The younger generation who have fallen into the scene on the EDM bandwagon are starting to jump off now, exploring & refining their musical tastes in terms of underground dance music. Perhaps not as open-minded & passionate as the South Americans or certain places in Europe just yet but we are steadily making progress & coming back round to that place I grew up being a part of in the late 90’s / Early 00’s. In terms of artists & talent in Scotland, we are very strong in both the Trance & Techno scenes, it’s great to see a lot of my Scottish friends in the scene making great progress & having a real impact. Too many names to mention but we all share a positive mindset, healthy working relationships, support one another & want to see each other do well in what is a tough industry. We also have the more experienced guys in the scene like label boss Mark Sherry setting examples, inspiring, supporting & embracing the wealth of talent we have right now which is proven to be so important.

You are a fully qualified sound engineer, how long did it take you to get your production up to a professional enough level that you were happy with after qualifying? Did you obtain any musical qualifications?

I don’t actually have any qualifications for sound engineering or music, I am completely self taught through trial & error of being in the studio near every day for over the past decade. I am 32 now & I started learning production when I was 15 so I’ve been doing it for quite a long time I guess. I just gained the knowledge as I went along throughout the years like a sponge, having countless ups & downs but the passion & the love for making music has always stayed with me & has kept me going. I would say over the past 4 – 5 years my music has been able to holds its weight in the scene to an extent, but I feel I have made major progress since then & I am in a really good place with both my production & engineering at the moment. However, I am always trying to get my head round new techniques, evolving my engineering, experimenting with new Plug-ins & sounds….the learning never should stop!

You love to play longer ‘extended’ (and open to close) sets. Why do you like doing these so much and what has been your most enjoyable one to date?

I do feel there is a time & a place for an extended set & it is all subjective to the DJ, crowd & venue but I love playing them. I feel extended sets reflect me as a DJ better due to my musical tastes not just been pigeon holed to 1 or 2 genres. I grew up listening to DJ’s like; Judge Jules, Luke Slater, Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Sven Vath etc. & back in the late 90’s / Early 00’s these guys were playing a variation of genres all in the space of a 2 hour set. Their eclectic tune selection seemed normal to me, so I had an open-mind right from the beginning. So for that reason, I love all sorts of underground Dance music. Good music is good music & if it possesses soul, groove, energy & it’s to a good standard of engineering I will play it regardless of genre or tempo. So extended sets allow you the time & freedom to incorporate a variation of genres into the one set to create a more progressive journey for the clubber on the dance floor. I think my favourite one to date has to the b2b 8hr set myself & Will Atkinson done in Argentina, it was a special night where 2 like minded friends got to showcase their musical past & present tastes to the most passionate & open-minded crowds I’ve had the pleasure of playing to.

Who would you most like to collaborate with in music?

I’m in a good place musically at the moment, so right now I want to focus on my own projects & really hit 2017 hard with solo material. However, I always love working with my close friend in the scene Will Atkinson, we bring the best out of each other in the studio & we will always have plans to work on more projects moving forward in our careers. We have just finished a new collaboration which has been doing the damage on the dance floors in recent weeks & should see the light of day over the coming months, expect the unexpected. I also have an on-going collaboration with another good friend who I have a lot of time for in the scene – Sneijder which is taking real shape & should be ready to go very soon. Andy is a very gifted producer with some great ideas & along with Will I can see us working together on more projects moving forward. Aside who I have already collaborated with so far, I’d say the only other I can think of would be Lostly. He has a real soulful & energetic sound where in his recent tracks, possess that extra unique edge & gear that I love….’Nothing left’ is a real example of that. It’s these unique elements I always try to incorporate in my own music so I would say our approach to projects is very similar in ways.

What is your favorite piece of software for music production?

I’m loving the Slate digital suites for buss compression & you can’t go wrong with the I-Zotope software, always my “Go to” plug-ins for engineering & mixing down projects. I love Serum as a soft synth, the sounds possess real body & I feel it offers a different dynamic in terms of sound design compared to other popular soft synths out there.

Interview conducted by Outburst Records, full credit here: