Techno is in a peculiar place at the moment. A genre that was once side-barred for smaller stages at music festivals or 3 am after parties has slowly crept into the mainstream EDM space. It’s presence in classic headliners of the dance music space sharing their own main-stage adaptations of the genre to having trendsetters in the techno landscape actually headline main stages.
But none of this would be possible without the artists that strived and thrived in techno and keeping these after parties and music festival stocked. One such artist in this space is Nicole Moudaber. Born in Nigeria, raised between Beirut and London, Moudaber is one of the most successful artists in the space. Her entry way into her career was promoting and hosting dance parties in Lebanon in the 1990s. With each successful year, she became drawn to the music and began to DJ some of the events herself. Eventually, she added record producer into her resume and laid the foundation of her artistry.
Today, Moudaber hosts In The Mood Radio which has been on the air since 2014. She regularly tours around the world headlining stages with a fiercely devoted fanbase. She also continues to drop new music with her latest track “Intentionally” dropping last month with a remix from none other than Carl Cox. At Ultra Music Festival in Miami, we had a chance to sit down and talk with Nicole Moudaber about her recent successes, a look into her past, and a surprise new project that she’s working on currently.
On my way here, I was listening to your latest episode of In The Mood Radio where you talked about your takeover at Ultra Music Festival where you’re headlining one of the stages and you’ve curated each of the artists here. What’s it like to have that kind of spotlight?
Moudaber: It feels amazing and really flattered that Ultra asked me to curate my own stage this year. I handpicked all of my guests which was an incredible process creatively, artistically, and musically. I opened the stage today because our warm-up DJ couldn’t make it. So I thought [to myself], “Let me open up the stage and open for all my guests and get everybody early.” And that’s exactly what happened. I was really pleased with that.
Considering your history of throwing parties at the start of your career in Beirut, curating lineups and eventually taking the stage as an artist yourself, is that like a full-circle moment for you?
Moudaber: I can’t believe you said “full-circle”! That’s the name of my book that I’m writing at the moment.
Really? Tell us a little bit more about your book. What can fans expect to read?
Moudaber: So there’s a part of me that people don’t know and I thought I would share it. It’s been a cathartic moment writing this book, going back in time and discovering who I am and what made me what I am today. I hope that it’s going to inspire people out there.
As a record producer and stage curator, have you found writing to be difficult or have you found the writing process to be a new kind of ease?
Moudaber: Very difficult because I’m not the “outgoing” kind of person. I’m more of an introvert. Writing about myself is very difficult. For some reason there are some events in the past that I have blocked out of my thoughts. So I need to ask my friends and family, “Hey, what happened then? Just jog my memory.” Some people probably block the hard times maybe? Let’s put it this way… It’s an interesting process. As for the stage, curating it and programming this night, it’s what I do best because I’ve been doing it for many years. I actually really enjoy putting a lineup together. So that for me was a beautiful experience.
I think it’s fair to say that it’s a reflection of the monument that is your work. In keeping with this “full-circle” theme, you recently released a new single called “Intentionally” that was also released with a remix from a mentor of yours Carl Cox. I read and listened to some of your interviews that he was a big part of how you not only became a DJ and producer but do so at that level. You also recently collaborated together on a track. What’s it like to transition from that mentor-mentee dynamic to one of peers?
Moudaber: It feels amazing. I feel acknowledged by all my peers. It feels like a stamp of approval of my work and my achievements in my career. Carl and I are great friends and we’re actually going to close out Kappa FuturFestival in Torino, Italy on July 2nd with a back-to-back again. We have a lot in common. We love cars. We love bikes. And we love music.
Speaking of peers, your co-headliner tonight is Chris Liebing. You two have done several back-to-back sets together and even on your radio show, you mentioned how he is on another level and it feels like sometimes you can’t tell which one is playing one track and who is transitioning into the other because of how on-the-same-page the two of you are. For you, what is it about Liebing that separates him from the rest of the scene?
Moudaber: It’s the genre of music that happens to be what I play and what I feel the most. This is why I enjoy playing with him a lot because it’s really seamless what we do. Like I said on the show, we really wonder who’s playing what. It is that confusing because we really are that similar. And that’s why I invited him to play today.
To put a bow on this delightful conversation, I want to mention how you really have seen all sides of the music industry. What is some advice that you would give for the future DJs and anyone interested in getting involved in the this industry?
Moudaber: I would tell them to perfect their skill, to have the knowledge of the music, and not to be taken by social media and all the shallowness of it all. If you want to be an artist, you have to really live and breathe music everyday while finding your sound. Be inspired, but don’t copy anybody because you can’t really copy everything. Everyone is unique. What you need to do is to find your own unique sound and perfect it. That’s how you will shine.
Check out her latest track “Intentionally” as well as the Carl Cox remix. Also make sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for Moudaber’s upcoming book.
Photo by: RUDGRCOM