Born as a farmer’s daughter in Thailand’s poor Isaan province, nobody expected that this cute little girl would change the music scene of her country, as Nakadia most certainly has done. Nakadia was always open-minded and looking for new experiences, which took her through various jobs, until she came to Europe on a modeling assignment in 2002. During this trip she got listen to electronic music for the first time in her life. This experience changed her life, as she immediately knew: she was born to become a DJ!
Hello, Nakadia. Please introduce yourself to Still in Belgrade readers
Hello Serbia, I am Nakadia a Thai Dj touring around the world since 2003.
As we know your origin is from Thailand, can you tell us a bit more about Thailand’s club scene? How you enrolled into electronic music business? Which are most popular clubs, events and music genders in Thailand?
On my first trip Europe in 2002 I went clubbing and saw a girl (Marusha) rocking a techno club. That was the moment I knew: I will be a DJ! When I started DJing in Thailand it was very hard to find clubs where I could play my music. Only when Glow in Bangkok opened the owner let me play what I wanted. It took years to grow a following. Slowly people started to get to know “cool” music in Thailand and the past years the scene grew a lot. I would say the year 2014 was the year for Thailand’s club scene. Still, most clubs play commercial EDM music, but new clubs opened playing “cool” music and several festivals bring the world’s top Techno / Tech House and Deep House DJs – something that seemed impossible even 1 year ago. All this makes me really excited about my Asia tour in January and February – I will have my weekly night every Tuesday at Cha Cha moon Koh Samui. All together I will play about 20 gigs all over Thailand.
Currently, you live in Berlin. Can you tell us why did you choose particularly Berlin as the city you want to live and work and how did that affect your DJ career?
I came to Berlin many times between 2003 and 2010, played some great events there and got to know the club scene. I was so impressed with the city. It gives inspiration, it connects with artists from around the world, it hosts the greatest labels, studios and music companies – Berlin has it all. But the biggest boost for my career was the invitation to move to Berlin by the city in 2010. Berlin issued an artist resident permit for me, so I could stay in Europe permanently. The problems with the visa were getting so bad that it would have been impossible to keep touring Europe with the Schengen visa.
In your opinion as an expat living in Germany, why is Berlin so different than other cities in Europe and what makes Berlin’s club scene so special? Which are your favourite venues and events in Berlin?
Since the fall of the wall, Berlin developed to a paradise for clubbers. The fall of the wall came at the same time with the start of the techno movement. Berlin promoters had the chance to find hundreds of unused buildings in the heart of the city – take them and make parties in them – parties without closing times! This developed a unique clubbing situation. Later the love parade brought millions of party people from all over the world to Berlin and once they discovered this Berlin scene it developed the city into what it is today: The main destination for music lovers from around the world. Berlin was lucky that it had a political leadership that understood the unique situation and supported the party scene. This is the problem in most other cities – the struggle between promoters and authorities. My favourite Berlin club is still Panorama bar on Sunday evening.
What kind of music you usually play on your gigs? In your opinions which are the most popular electronic music genres right now? What do you think we can expect from electronic music, DJs and producers in the near future?
I love electronic music that is produced with love for the music and that I can feel. It doesn’t matter what genre it is. Sure, my music is always somewhere between Deep House, Tech House and Techno – but I don’t like to label my music by genres. Currently most genres also cross over and it’s hard to define the differences. The music always develops and new hypes come and go. Some years ago we had the minimal boom and the past year Deep House was the “hit” genre. I don’t follow these trends. The music must fit the situation, the dance floor and the feeling of the moment. I believe Techno and House are the two “mother”-genres and will keep morphing into sub-genres all the time. I am Techno and I believe Techno will stay around, sometimes softer, sometimes harder, sometimes more melodic and other times more minimal. As long as we keep an open mind, we will experience great musical moments over the next years.
Nowadays is common to do production not only DJing. Can you tell us more about your beginnings of making music? Do you have some background in music? Inspiration? Which are your favourite labels?
For many years I thought I can just live my life as DJ. I was very busy. So many gigs all over the world left me no time to get into production. Only when I moved to Berlin in 2010 I had the time and opportunity to start producing. That makes me still a baby producer. I learn by doing, step by step. I think it takes many years to be a great producer and I don’t like the situation that DJs are forced to produce. Most good DJs are not good producers. This situation gives us an overkill of labels and records that are of low quality or just the same over and over again. Often this also means that producers of great tracks are disappointing when you listen to them DJing. If a DJ is great behind the decks, this DJ should be able to make a career without being a producer. Unfortunately this is not how it works. To have success you need to get your name out there. Only if your name pops up in charts or in the media – only then will you be able to get more known. And that only works through productions.
In your opinion best events and festivals around the world are? Why?
I know you guys have one of the best Festivals right there: EXIT. It is really seen around the world as one of the best. My personal favourites are Time Warp and Awakenings. The line Up’s and productions are just perfect. I always play a lot of Festivals in Holland and I think there is no other place in the world with so many amazing events – Holland is crazy! But exciting new festivals pop up all over the world. In North- and South America but also in Asia. It’s an exciting time for DJs.
You have performed at big events as Love Parade and Amsterdam Dance Event? Can you tell us more about those experiences? Maybe make some differences.
I played 3 times at Love Parade – lucky enough I had the chance to play the last Berlin parade in 2006 – before it got moved. To play on a truck while driving through a million people… that is really something unforgettable. It’s very different to all the other events I played. Often at Festivals the stage is far away from the people and it is very hard to feel the atmosphere. As a DJ you sometimes feel lonely on the big stage. That made the Loveparade so different – playing right in the middle of the people. ANTS at Ushuaia Ibiza uses the same concept. Even the party has 8000 people every Saturday – before 22:00 the stage is in the heart of the dance floor, very close to the people. I love to play on this stage and ANTS has become my favourite Ibiza party.
Being a female in electronic music business makes your career easier or heavier? Why?
As a girl it is really easy to make a career if you play commercial music. The commercial clubs love to book sexy girls – as long as they play hits, all is good. For a girl in the “cool” scene it’s much harder. First of all you always will be doubted. You have to prove yourself over and over again. I think in my case it was even harder because I am from Thailand. Nobody believed a Thai girl could play better music than a guy from the UK – for example. Some industry people today still believe the quality of your music has something to do with your origin or your gender. Both origin and gender have nothing to do with the feeling and understanding of music. A great DJ today can come form any corner of the world. And I come from Khonburi.
Since, we are Belgrade based online magazine can you tell us have you visited Serbia? Did you hear anything about Belgrade club scene?
Serbia is one of the very few countries in Europe that I have not been to yet. I heard a lot as I have a good Serbian friend in Bangkok. So I can’t wait for my first performance in your country – it will happen sooner or later.
Which are your favourite artists and tracks right now? Name a top five.
It is really hard to name a top 5 of tracks because my favourites change every week and I have a lot more than 5 – always depending on the mood and situation. But since we are nearly at the end of the year, I will give you my top 5 of 2014:
– “Voodoo Knight” (Catz’n Dogz Dub Mix) by Spirit Catcher
– “Flashback” by Denis A
– “Orbis” by Shall Ocin
– “Explorer” (Quo Modo Deum Mix) by 7th Star
– “Bergsjön Eternal” (Feat John H ] M.E.E.O) by Petter B, John H & M.E.E.O
Naming a top 5 of my favourite artists is also quite hard. I will give you the 5 artists that have changed my life the most and are my favourite of all times:
- Timo Maas
- Sven Väth
- Matthias Tanzmann
- Martin Buttrich
Any plans for the future?
Lots of plans! First of all I am spending most of my time in the studio at the moment. In January I will have my first release on Get Physical and some other EPs on great labels will follow nearly every month of 2015. Next year I also will start to bring some of my favourite artists to Thailand and I will have my debut as promoter bringing Sven Väth to my home-island Koh Samui. During the summer I will spend most of the time on Ibiza, playing for ANTS and other great events around the island. Lot’s of exciting things are happening…
For the end thank you for finding time and answering all the questions. It would be nice if you can give a few tips to young enthusiasts who are into electronic music and desire to build a career as yours.
It’s very “IN” to be a DJ and many young DJs are into it for the wrong reason. I suggest you should only become a DJ if you are really doing this out of love for music. Music must be your Girlfriend or Boyfriend – if this is the case, then be yourself, be special and work hard. To make an international career you will need to produce and release. But even if you come up with some great tracks, don’t forget that you try to enter a very tricky industry where connections will bring you more far than anything. Unfortunately we don’t live in a fair world. It’s not about how good you are, it’s about how much support you will get on your way. It may sound frustrating, but hey… you are into this for the music and the music will give you happiness every day!
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.