For Nico P it all started in the late 90s… after listening for years to live sets and CDs from various clubs, he started going out to some of the biggest Belgian clubs which pushed him to start sharing his passion for sharing music with people.
After organizing some local parties such as the Sit’s Night’s he started a weekly residency at the Twins Bar where he honed his craft. Since then he has taken his signature sound all over and also started his own label Deep House Belgium.
We caught up with Nico to discuss running a label and the new release on the imprint from Phil Monday.
T.H.E – Hey Nico! How are things going with you?
Nico P – Hey! Things are going well… currently on holiday in Ibiza, my second home…
I’m enjoying the sun, family time, and good music! This is the place where I like to recharge myself every year, take benefit of all the positive energy of this magical island, and see some local friends.
T.H.E – Can you give us a bit of an intro about yourself and when / why you started your label Deep House Belgium?
Nico P – I’m a passionate DJ for more than 20 years already and started producing almost 8 years ago. My favorite genres evolved a lot since I started, and I’m now more into everything melodic, from afro house to melodic techno, it always has to bring emotions to the listener, which I’m trying to do.
DHB label started in 2017 when Bastiaan (DHB owner) wanted to start a new project after organizing events for several years. He started it to help to bring Belgian talents under the spotlight and share his passion for music. In 2019 I proposed to help to run the label and try to go next level by improving our tools, our contact lists, and trying to get noticed by some big artists.
T.H.E – How much does where you’re from influence your music and label?
Nico P – We focus mainly on Belgian artists for our releases as we have our network over here, and our country is full of talents. Belgium always was and still is one of the temples of electronic music, from New Beat age to Techno, it has been part of our culture for so long… with so many amazing Belgian artists. In some of our releases, you can hear a few typical Belgian retro sounds from the late 90s/early 2000s.
T.H.E – What are your main goals for running a label?
Nico P – Our main goal is to share our passion for music and have new Belgian talents discovered all around the world, and eventually to have our tracks played by international top-level artists at big festivals. Last year I was watching Magdalena at Exit festival in Serbia. It was one of the first big festivals post-covid and there was an amazing livestream… And after a few minutes, she played Geuzz – Matu (&Lez Interpretation) from our label… It was such a feeling, seeing the crowd reaction, having our track played in front of soooo many people… and Magdalena enjoying it… after putting so much energy into the label… it was an achievement because, unfortunately, many releases from the covid period were almost unnoticed as all the clubbing scene was stopped…
T.H.E – How do you feel the label has evolved since you first started it?
Nico P – We evolved by increasing our network internally, with so many talented artists… NICKO/////, FATÏA, Soundlimit, Divestorm, Geuzz, Klaudius, Mad Gregor… and also increasing our external network, first with our DJ contact list which includes a lot of artists headlining events all over the world, secondly with our PR contacts with a lot of blogs, soundcloud channels, YT channels that we collaborate with.
We also now often work with well-known names as remixers like Enoo Napa, Rafael Cerato, &Lez, Da Fresh, Simone Vitullo, Marc Depulse. This helps to give additional exposure to our releases and gives a little boost.
T.H.E – How do you balance time between your own DJing and productions and running the label?
Nico P – It is not always easy to balance time between all activities, because I also have a day job on weekdays… I mostly produce when I’m not deejaying on a Friday or Saturday night, or if I have some free time during a day off. Running the label is time-consuming, I’m working on this daily, tasks like doing follow-ups of promo feedback to artists, spending time preparing visuals using Photoshop & After Effects, listening to demos, checking artists’ videos on IG to see if some of our tracks were played, contacting premiere channels,…
If you want to make it right, this also costs a lot of money which is very difficult for a small label like us, compared to major labels… They have an established fan base of hardcore followers who will buy every single release, while, for DHB, we have to fight against all competition to get heard. And the competition is very hard at our level.
T.H.E – Tell us about your new release coming on July 22nd. Did you know Phil Monday before signing him or were you grabbed by the music?
Nico P – I already worked in the past with Phil Monday, he released an EP last year on DHB, and I also remixed one of his tracks on another label. When he sent that demo we directly could see the potential of this release, hypnotizing melody with a nice summer feeling… It took almost one year to release it because we wanted to plan it for this summer.
Heckman also did a great job remixing it, putting a different touch on it.
Feedback has been awesome during the promo, with big players like Black Coffee, Nic Fanciulli, Joris Voorn quickly downloading it. We will continue to collaborate with Phil Monday as all his tracks are top quality!
T.H.E – And tell us about your remix, how did you approach it? What are some key plugins / hardware for your productions?
Nico P – I wanted to add an afro touch to the track, as afro house/afro tech is a genre that I really wanted to explore. I added a lot of tribal percussions and reviewed the instruments used by Phil. I wanted the break to have a lot of energy and end it with a sort of climax to have some “hands in the air” moment out of it… which seems to be working seeing the crowd reaction at some festivals. My key plugins are Pigments & Mini V3 from Arturia, Diva and Serum… all 4 are my long-time favorites, used in all my recent productions. I also used the Soundtoys suite which I also likes a lot. And last but not least, a few FabFilter vsts…
T.H.E – What have been the best releases so far on the label or the ones you’re most proud of?
Nico P – The undisputed best release was Geuzz – Matu which we released last year. The original track was already big, but both Enoo Napa and &Lez made it a truly amazing release.
&Lez remix was a perfect peak time moment track and got support by Black Coffee, Magdalena, Fideles, and many others… Enoo’s remix became our best-selling track very quickly and was also supported by many Afro House artists. For that one, we also collaborated with dancers from Uganda to help their community to buy food and other things needed in their small village… Something that we can be very proud of. And due to this, I just worked with them to prepare a video for my remix on this release…
T.H.E – What is in the pipeline for DHB?
Nico P – We recently launched our sister label “Deep In Your Soul” which will be 100% focused on Afro House. We will work on both labels and continue to collaborate with top remixers.
We already have a lot of releases in the queue, be sure that you will continue to hear from us, as there are a lot of quality tracks ready ;-)