We recently had the pleasure of sitting down to talk to Nick Fiorucci, the JUNO award winning DJ/producer and veteran from Toronto about his many years in the industry, his love of Canada and Canadian music and his latest win at the Juno awards! Here’s what he had to say:
First of all, Congratulations on your Juno Award win! You mentioned you were surprised to win, even after having so many nominations. How do you feel about it?
Nick Fiorucci (N): You never really expect it, you know, in my head I had written off winning because I was in really great company with the other nominees this year. I was just happy to be going to lovely Vancouver and enjoy the events and being nominated is an honour in itself. And then when my name was called... I was like, oh wow, really? I was totally caught off guard to be honest. But it feels good and it’s an honour to be recognized by your peers.
What do you think it was about the track “Closer” that makes people want to listen and dance and that made it stand out and earn you the nomination?
N: I think it’s a damn good song (lol)! I think it has a great lyric and a great melody and Laurell’s vocals on the track are fantastic. And I think it just clicked with the right sound and it obviously resonated with the judges and the voters.
You said how it was extra special to win in Vancouver because the co-writers of Closer are from Vancouver, did you work on it there or here in Toronto? How did the track come together?
N: So the way it went down is that I had an instrumental and sent it to Mike James who is one of the co-writers along with Laurell who did a top-line and when they sent it back I was like...yeah…this works! And then the Luca Debonaire mix was born and it all came together.
You’ve been nominated for a Juno 13 times?
N: Yeah, I’ve sorta lost count (chuckles). The nominations were not always under my own name as I’ve had many aliases and side projects throughout my career and my record label.
What do you like most about being around Canadian artists at an event like the JUNOS?
N: I love it! I am proud to be Canadian! Like I said, I was just happy to be going to BC and I love to meet other artists and I always support our own. I have always pushed Canadian, even when I am DJ'ing internationally.
Were there any special moments or performances throughout the week that left you feeling inspired?
N: Yes, many in fact. The Warner Music party for one, they have always been about featuring live talent and I loved that night and the performances were awesome. It was amazing to see artists just jamming and improvising on stage. Then of course the Juno night…Jessie Reyez was a highlight for me. I think her performance was spot on. Seeing live shows are always inspiring for me.
You seem to have done it all over the last 25+ years, From DJ'ing, to Producing, to Hi-Bias, to zipDJ, to radio shows and podcasts, signing new acts, doing promotion and marketing and more.
Which of the things have brought you the most joy?
N: In this industry, I think wearing all those hats is what has helped me thrive and remain in the game for as long as I have. I think in any industry, you have to be able to shift with the times and whenever possible stay ahead of the curve. The music industry has changed so fundamentally in the last 15 years, it’s been both terrifying and exhilarating. But, for me what has brought me the most joy is definitely making music, I find an inner peace when I sit in the studio and my creative juices start flowing.
Would you say that this scenario is common for most artists?
N: I think in today’s music industry the expectations are impossible to meet. Over my career, I’ve been able to write music, while playing gigs, while running my label. But in today’s digital era, artists need to be releasing a lot of music to stay relevant. Most of the time it’s humanly impossible, so fortunately or unfortunately – depending on how you look at it - ghost writers and producers have become common. The ones that are successful are the ones that keep at it, and surround themselves with a good team. Work hard, surround yourself with good people.
Is there something that you haven’t done that you want to do in the music business? As far as a role you haven’t yet taken on or as far as backing a certain type or artist?
N: I have always been done A&R for my own label. But that is one role that I have always thought of doing for a major label. I think I have the ability to not just discover talent, but also work with the artists, develop them, so that they find their own sound and let who they are come out in their music. But wow, there are so many other things I’d like to conquer. I mean my podcast that has done really well, its hit #1 on iTunes in the UK and US, I would love to see that become an internationally syndicated radio show.
With regards to electronic music specifically, is there a sound right now that you are really into that you put into your sets?
N: For me, I have always been a house music guy, through and through. I have seen a million break out sub-genres but at the end of the day, house is house and dance is dance and that what I love to play most. You can call it what you want, whether it is tech-house, future house, or deep house. But at the end of the day for me, it is all about the song, the melody, the groove. I like to play a lot of vocals and even though hip-hop is what is mostly top 40 these days house music never really goes away. You know, they say House originated in Chicago in the early 80’s but it has actually evolved from Disco and the 70s. Nowadays many producers just sample records from the 70’s and 80’s. Sadly not many people in dance music are writing real songs.
For an up an upcoming artist, what advice would you give them on how to stand out?
N: Do what is naturally your thing. Don’t try to jump on someone else’s sound. Artists need to have their your own signature sound. Of course, we all get influenced by other music and artists that came before us but the artists that shine are usually the most original.
What was your biggest challenge when you started out in Canada?
N: Sad to say, Canada was always one of the hardest markets for me. I discovered that really early in my career. The way I started the label was really by fluke. At the time I was making some music and it was my early days of not knowing what I was doing like any artist. And I was trying to put songs together and get a record done. I shopped it to labels, and at the time you would mail a cassette demo and you would hope to hear back. If you were lucky you would get a letter back saying they are interested. But it was at that time, I decided, I am going to find out what it takes to put out a record myself. So I ended up starting a Label purely as an avenue to put out my own music. By some kind of luck and hard work, it kind of took off. I started by selling at local shops then getting international distributors. The UK, for example, was a huge market for Dance music at the time. I started by getting a thousand vinyl records made, and they would come in and then I would say now what?
So I would hang out at record shops and look at the sides of the boxes and it would say “Distributed by so and so” and I would call up that Distributor and they would say sure send us the record and I would mail the copy and then you hoped to hear back. And luckily orders started rolling in. The next thing you know I am getting demos from artist and producers from all over the world. That’s virtually how Hi-Bias Records was born.
Would you recommend that artists start their own labels too instead of finding someone to discover them?
N: Times have changed. Today you go to a digital aggregator and they upload your record and it is available on every platform just like that. For me I had to very work to get physical product distributed so it was very different. There are a fraction of the labels today compared to 15 years ago. The challenge for artists today is to get their music to stand out, and that’s why I was saying they need to find their own signature sound. But I do believe good Labels play an important role and it ain’t easy to do it on your own.
Having the podcast and radio show, how do you feel those avenues make or break artists these days?
N: Every avenue counts. In the case of my podcast, I started zipCAST out of the love of spinning and introducing new music which comes primarily from my online music pool zipDJ.com. Having a
Podcast has helped me build my brand and followers.
Looking back, do you have a moment where you can say: “That was the best set I have ever played!”?
N: I think the year was 1995, Ministry of Sound in the UK. Early 90’s Dance music in the UK was on another level in general, and spinning a club like Ministry of Sound was certainly a highlight for me. It was such a great room with a fantastic sound system. There were also some raves back in those days that were astonishing. One was called Raindance, which was held in an outdoor field with thousands of people and an amazing sound system and even an amusement park…people going crazy. This was the start of what we now call EDM “Festivals”. And of course, I have done so many gigs throughout the world that I can’t remember all the club names but Switzerland was a big market for me as well and I remember doing some great gigs there.
Where can people find you and come dance?
N: In Toronto I am currently doing a residency at a cool place called Goldie on King West right at the heart of the entertainment district. I am there on Saturday nights. It’s wonderful intimate room! Of course I do other gigs which you can always find more out about on my social media channels :)
I think we all want to know what is next for you. Where is your focus right now? Any new releases coming up or the newest things you have been working on that we can share with your fans?
N: I always have new music coming. There is a lot in the pipeline! I will be launching a new brand shortly called “All House” and I encourage everyone to follow me on Spotify and even check out my new Spotify playlist called Nick Fiorucci zipCAST which is a spinoff of my radio show. But again, you can always find out what I’m up to me on any of my channels
Thank you to Nick Fiorucci for taking the time to chat with us here at EDM Canada. You can find what’s new with Nick on all his socials below and can see him live during an intimate Purple Disco Machine show in Toronto next week Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at Goldie nightclub!
Get your tickets here
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nick.fiorucci