To say that Nic Faniciulli’s résumé is impressive would be an understatement. The Grammy-nominated DJ hailing from England has held esteemed residences at clubs all around the world including Club Class in England, Miami’s Space as well as Space Ibiza’s terrace. He’s collaborated with heavy hitters such as James Zabiela, Andy Chatterley and Funk D’ Void. And, of course, he also has his own record label, Saved Records, you know, just for kicks. Fanciulli’s been at the decks since his teens and, as we’ve seen, done a lot for the tech-house world since then.
Obviously, it’s impossible to build such a career without being somewhat talented – and Fanciulli is calculatingly clever in the ways in which he approaches his music. He releases small pockets of melodic tension whenever the opportunity presents itself without allowing the listener to become conscious of it. Have a listen to his tune Feed the Freezer for small-yet-effective doses of euphoria. Nowadays, Fanciulli is helping newer DJs in the scene to hone their sound, using his Saved label as a platform for exposing fresh talent.
Fanciulli is featured in the 21st installment of the popular electronic mixtape series Balance on May 7, following releases from respected DJs like Nick Warren. His upcoming Kee Club gig will be the perfect opportunity to get a pre-release preview.
And our exclusive Q&A with Nic...
Growing up, were you always into house music? Or were there other genres you had a passion for prior to it?
Well I started off when I was around 13 or 14, being into indie bands like Oasis, the Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses. It was a very UK sound. I had a band at school like most kids did. I then heard electronic acts like Daft Punk, Underworld and the Chemical Brothers, which was the middle ground between the DJs and bands. Then, when I left school, I worked at a secondhand store in my hometown of Maidstone. One of the guys in there was a DJ and said: “Look we got some turntables in here – they’re really cheap, why don’t you buy them?” and the rest was history.
Which process do you enjoy more – sitting alone in a studio and creating new tracks or performing live in front of an audience?
Oh man, it has still gotta be performing live in front of an audience. Because you know the hard process is sitting in the studio and working and working. While going out performing is the gratifying part of it – getting a real response from something you’ve spent a long time on. There’s no better feeling than making someone feel what you’re feeling.
What led you to create Saved Records?
Originally, it was a label for my partner Andy Chatterley and I. We were making so many records back in 2004 to 2005, so we came up with the name Saved because, back then, we were using floppy discs and anything we kept, we saved – so it was good enough to put out. That’s the whole story behind the label. And if you have a label with just your music, people are going to get bored. They want to hear variety. So the theory behind the label is if you play it, we’ll put it out. We’re not trying to be a deep-house label, or a tech-house label – we’re trying to be what we feel is good and that’s it.
With all the emphasis on world rankings and all, do you see DJing as an especially competitive genre for musicians?
I think the whole ranking thing left the DJ world disillusioned about itself, really. I think it’s the best thing and the worst thing that was created for us at the same time. It created hype around the world to show that these are the top 100 DJs but, at the same time, it simply does not reflect the reality of DJs. I think the rankings pressure promoters into feeling that they have to put one of these DJs in their shows, which perpetuates the whole problem.
Do you try to incorporate any other genres into your music?
Well I do in Tokyo – that’s one of the places I can get away with doing most things. The club I play in Tokyo is called Womb and I would do an open to close. I played some ambient, then I went upstairs and played drum ‘n’ bass, I played disco, funk and soul. I get a lot of influence from guys like Laurent Garnier. When I saw him, he looked like he wanted to control the whole evening. I loved that – I love the fact that you can do that.
Rock and jazz musicians are very particular in the way they construct their albums. Do you approach the construction of your albums in a similar way?
Yes, in terms of constructing an album, for CD 1, it’s usually tracks I have collected over the last three or four years since my last compilation that I think will sound as good now as it will in 10 years’ time. Not following any trends, fashions or anything like that – just good, honest music that you could put on in four or five years’ time and go ‘that withstood the test of time’! With CD 2, I try to bring a bit more of what I do in the club. With this particular one [Balance Series], I actually showcased my label [Saved] on CD 2 with a lot of exclusive records that people will be hearing for the first time.
Which cities do you enjoy performing in the most?
I would say Tokyo is definitely one of my favourites. Another one would be Maidstone. We do these parties on bank holiday Sundays. We had like a thousand people and they are the most loyal crowd I’ve been in front of. We start at four in the afternoon and go until 6am – the vibe is just incredible. To have that in my hometown is great.
Preview and interview by James Kim
Catch Nic Fanciulli's DJ set at Kee Club on Saturday April 21.