Music

David Guetta bootlegs, famous collaborations and a monster UK tour with Cream; we meet Dutch DJ Nicky Romero

Nicky Romero, real name Nick Rotteveel, is a Dutch DJ with an international sound whose bootleg of David Guetta’s When Love Takes Over sent ripples through clubs and festival stages around the world after it was reposted endlessly on YouTube.

It was this pivotal track that has seen Romero take centre stage, whether it’s performing at a residency at David Guetta’s infamous FMIF club night in Ibiza, establishing the Protocol brand as a go-to outlet for forward-thinking dance music or championing up and coming artists with his record label, club night and radio show.

We caught up with this multi-talented music maker ahead of his UK Reboot Tour to talk wishlist collaborations, the UK charts and festivals versus club nights

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Your first UK Dance Chart number one was with I Could be the One, do you think that there’s a difference in musical taste between UK listeners and your native Dutch ones?

I think there’s always going to be some difference between countries and their general music taste but I like to think that the music I produce and play at shows appeals not only to the people where I’m from but also to those from other countries like the UK. For instance, playing Tomorrowland earlier this year was an amazing experience because people from all around the world were going crazy to my music, which just shows that love of dance music isn’t limited to any one particular country.

It’s rumoured that you played your first drum kit when you were really young, have you always wanted to be DJ?

That’s right I used to play drums in a little fanfare which is where it all begun! I then had the chance to DJ at this bar I used to work at called Scoop and got pretty much addicted to it from then on. I was DJing on Thursdays then producing on Fridays and it all went pretty fast from there with my first release a few years later in 2009.

What would you say was your big musical break?

When I started seeing videos of big DJs playing my bootleg of David Guetta’s When Love Takes Over I felt like I had properly made it! However it wasn’t until my Toulouse track got released and really well received that I was able to gain a proper entry into the dance scene.

What was it like seeing the videos on YouTube of DJs playing your bootleg of David Guetta’s When Love Takes Over?

Well like I say it was incredible to see DJs like Tiesto and Axwell dropping my bootleg and watching the crowds go nuts. It’s always a risk remixing a classic like When Love Takes over but the reaction it got showed that it was a risk worth taking!

You’ve had a residency in Ibiza and play a lot of big music festivals, which do you prefer spinning at, the big festival crowds or in packed clubs?

It’s a totally different vibe when playing at a festival and at a club, both have their own merits. If I had to choose though, I’d probably go for festivals just because of the amazing energy that is created amongst so many people. There is also something so great about DJing to a sun-kissed crowd all going crazy. Saying that, I am so pumped for my Reboot tour, which is coming to venues in the UK starting with Northern Ireland; see you this week Banbridge!

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What was it like to collaborate with Avicii?

Working with Avicii was such an amazing experience. He is so talented, especially when it comes to making incredibly catchy melodies. I’m really hoping we can do another collaboration soon!

Which DJ would you most like to work with and why?

I’d really like to work with Timberland. He is such a talented producer.

If you could remix any track with no restrictions, which would it be?

One of my favourite tracks of all time is Daft Punk’s One More Time from their 2001 Discovery album, so if I had the robot’s permission I would definitely attempt a remix.

You have worked a lot with Dutch singer Anouk, are there any UK artists you’d like to work with?

Working with Anouk was such a cool experience because her Dutch rock background just gave the tune a whole different dimension. In terms of UK artists though I’d love to work with someone like Adele because the power in her voice would just make the track so epic.

Tell me about Protocol Recordings – did you feel you needed more support when you started out?

I created Protocol with the intention of finding new unsigned artists that had a lot of potential but that just needed a platform from which to build. I didn’t feel like I didn’t need much more support when I started out because the talent of the artists I was signing combined with the growing popularity of EDM meant that the label just took off.

Nicky Romero will be performing at Cream Birthday Part 2 on Friday 29 November as part of his UK Reboot Tour, which kicks off in Northern Ireland on 27 November, for more info and to buy tickets please visit his Cream webpage.

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