Dave Nada

IT’S A RAVE, DAVE.

Over the past year, moombahton has exploded all over parties, nightclubs and blogs. The story of its creation has become like a well known DJ superhero origin story. Dave Nada, while DJing a highschool “skipping party” for his little cousin, didn’t want to disrupt the vibe established by the other DJs playing reggaeton with the kind of high tempo electronic dance music he was known for as one half of producing duo Nadastrom. His solution was use the pitch control on the CDJs to slow down Afrojack’s Dutch house track, “Moombah”. The result was a unique sound that tore the roof off the skipping party. Nada quickly realised he was onto something and “moombahton” caught the attention of his peers.

 

This Spring/Summer Nada teamed up with label Mad Decent, probably best known for Major Lazer, to release Blow Your Head Vol. 2, a collection of his favorite moombahton tracks from various artists. We got a chance to talk to Dave on the phone while he was (we think) driving around L.A. We were excited to speak with him because he has a reputation as being a really fun, nice, and easy going guy, a rarity among DJ/producers. On top of that, he’s also making some of the most interesting music out there right now.

I know the story of the skipping party has been told to death now by everyone that’s written about moombahton, but I have a few things I’m really curious about. Like, how old were your cousins?
Ha ha. Yeah that’s cool. Basically they were seniors, they were doing these cut parties or skipping parties in their junior and senior year, so that was kind of their last one they wanted to do. To get in some trouble before they graduated.

Were you the only adult there?
Yeah…

Does your family know about it?
Yeah, which is why I try not to go into details because they got kind of, uhh, mad about it. I mean everyone in my family is really supportive of my career and my music. They just don’t want me getting in trouble with my younger cousins. They got over it.

Do they understand the significance of the event? That in that moment you were inspired to create this new sound, that’s taken your career in a new direction?
Yeah, they really do, they’re really supportive.

Cool, so what can you tell us about the compilation?
Mad Decent and Diplo approached me about wanting to collaborate. I’ve always been pretty much affiliated with Mad Decent and I haven’t done a lot of remixes and shows with them or what not, so this is finally the big project that they approached me about doing. They were basically like, “You’re the quote unquote ‘inventor’ of moombahton and we want to see if you can put together, or curate, the ultimate moombahton compilation, and just basically introduce the world to it in a sense. You’re Dave Nada, you made this. We’d love to have you do volume 2 of Blow Your Head and pick out some of the best tracks that you’ve come across and that you’ve been into since the beginning…. Oh shit, I’m about to die.

What?
Sorry, I just almost got run over by a parking garage door.

Are you okay?
I’m alright, I’m alive. I made it. But yeah, I was a huge fan of Blow Your Head Volume 1 and what they did with dubstep, and they’re huge supporters of moombahton and they really believe in the sound.

Is this aimed at casual listeners, or are these tracks for DJs to play out?
Its definitely for casual listeners, not just your average clubgoer. If you’re a DJ or someone involved in the nightlife you’ll probably be familiar with some of the songs but this is trying to reach a broader audience outside of the night club. That’s what we’re aiming for with the compilation; something that’s well rounded for everybody. We want to get it out to as many people as possible!

Who’s responded to moombahton the best so far? Is it fans coming to it from the reggaton side, or is it more fans of electronic dance music?
It’s interesting because it kind of varies on the region. Like in DC the crowd that comes out for “Massive” is a pretty mixed crowd. That party usually sells out and a lot of Latinos come out but its really a big mix. You’d think it would be more kids from the electronic scene or the indie scene or fans of Nadastrom who are familiar with the more electronic stuff, but it varies. For instance when I go to Canada, like Edmonton or Calgary, it’s kids that are coming out to hear electronic music. If they’re coming out to see a Nadastrom show it’s definitely more of a rave crowd but whether we take people by surprise, or they’re expecting it, we usually hit em with it (moombahton) and it goes over really well.

You’re a self proclaimed “DJ first” and moombahton was born out of a kind of spontinaeity that was informed by a DJ first mentality – in that your primary concern was not disrupting the vibe of the party and keeping everything going, as opposed to say, showcasing your production work. Now that you’re becoming known for a specific sound are you missing the rush that comes with being a “DJ first?”
Well. I am a DJ first and foremost. Even as a producer I think I have a DJ first attitude, but moombahton has actually pushed it even further. With Nadastrom we were playing sets that were all 126 beats per minute, all the time. But I started as a club DJ playing hip hop, electro, indie, everything. I was moving around tempos and genres a lot, and with the moombahton thing that’s kind of coming back. We can do so much with it and bring in so many elements and so many different tempos, and it’s great for me because I’m a DJ fanatic. That’s the whole point of me saying I’m a DJ first. I’m definitely more at home behind a pair of turntables than I am in the studio.

What’s the plan from this point?
I wanna push the Blow Your Head compilation as much as possible! I wanna go on tour to help promote, I want to colaborate with other artists, Dillon Francis, Munchi, Sabo. I do a big event called “Moombatohn Madness” in Washingotn DC, I’m gonna start a weekly night out here in LA., and yeah, eventually hit the road and try to spread the whole moombahton sound with my affiliates from Mad Decent and some people that are featured on the comp as well. I just wanna push this sound. A lot of people are wanting to hear it in the clubs and now that it’s starting to get a little bit bigger, I think the compilation is really going to be big.

What’s next for moombahton, how far are is this going to go?
As far as releases go me and my buddy Matt who I do Nadastrom with, we’re working on a bunch of original materials with some colaborations I can’t really talk about yet, but definitely a bunch of new music with original production and a lot of talented artists is going to be coming out in the next months.

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