Spotlight NYMBLE DIGITZ
This month’s Q/A is with one of my absolute favorite people (and DJ’s) in Austin, Nymble Digitz. Austin’s very own glitter yielding booty house selector. Catch him every first Sunday at Austin’s longest running underground bass cave, Plush.
1.Who is your biggest inspiration? / Who do you have a lot of respect for?
I would say in terms of my biggest inspiration I really started getting into dance music in the 90s. It was at that point that I started to understand a little bit more about the underground scene. As for other stuff that was really visible and accessible to most listeners, I would have to say that a lot of bands and musicians like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, New Order, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Ministry, Bauhaus, and even Metallica were an influence. For stuff that was more Underground I was really into Deee Lite, DJ Danny Tenaglia, DJ Dan, Jeno, and a lot of the people that we used to go hear at the Limelight, Twilo and Tunnel in New York. Nowadays I’m really into J Phlip, Hannah Wants , and really interesting artist out of the UK like PaleMan and Boddika. A lot of people don’t know this about me but for years I grew up as a classically trained pianist and still play piano every day up until now. For the longest period of time, all I would do was go to classical music concerts at Carnegie Hall and Davies Symphony Hall to hear people like Evgeny Kissin, Martha Argerich, Kristian Zimmermann, and Mitsuko Uchida.”
2.What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a DJ? As an attendee?
I’ve had way too many memorable nights out to pick just one. We used to go to these underground raves in San Francisco and every once in a while the locations would be like these intimate warehouses really close to the Bay Bridge and they’d have an outside smoking area where you could sit and see the bay and the bridge, so pretty! I also remember one time going clubbing in New York City at the Roxy with John Blair and all of my brother’s famous Broadway friends, and Madonna was there with her backup dancers and we were dancing with them. Another time in New York City I bought a bunch of drugs from one of my brother’s friends that he had introduced me to, Angel, that Michael Alig murdered. You know, the Party Monster movie? I met him, scored from ecstacy from him, and then a few weeks later he was murdered. Also remember hearing Deee Lite in San Francisco… that was ridiculous. One time when I was in Berlin these two drag queens got into a fight in front of the club and me and my friends saw the whole thing. I’m telling you.. there is nothing like German drag queens taking it down to the ground, holy shit! Some of my favorite and most memorable moments however clubbing at the underground parties in Oakland and Berkeley because the way it would work is you would pay $15 or $20 at the door but once you got in they would have an MDMA station where you would just go and they’d be giving out MDMA for free. Your entrance into the venue was your score.
3. Are you able to share any of your secret tricks with me?
As far as secret tricks are concerned when DJing, I actually think the craft as I know it is pretty basic. I know there’s so much more to learn and I’m still figuring that out but, that has more to do with advancements in software and using the tools that are in front of you, such as Ableton or the various cdjs and mixers. As far as being a musician, I could probably teach people a shit ton at the piano, about music history, but I have to physically show you if you get my drift 😉 In terms of raw “tricks”, come with me to 4th Street or we can walk down Airport Boulevard. LOL just kidding but for music, I’d rather actually see people with concrete skill sets and less trickery. For example it baffles me that so many people call themselves musicians and they don’t know basic things about music just off the top of their head. Perhaps for me as a classically trained pianist I just take it for granted but if someone can’t tell you what it means to be in a Neapolitan Sixth chord , or if someone doesn’t understand that the key of D sharp minor has 6 sharps or what the relative major key is when you’re in F minor and what the corresponding flats are, then for me that’s not a solid knowledge of musicianship; that’s someone who still has got a lot of learning to do and is trying to figure it the out. Oh, and by the way I’m a huge fucking snob. LOL
4.What is one mistake you see a lot of up and coming DJs making? / What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
I think mistake that I see a lot of people making is not putting in enough work to explore what’s out there. They need to expand their horizons, discover new record labels, new artists and get out of their comfort zone; that will make them more well-rounded. They stay with one genre, one type of music, and then they’re not ready to shift with the mood of the crowd or the hour of the set or the space and venue. Another mistake is that people don’t understand the importance of key signatures and will mix something that’s in the key of B-flat major into a track that’s written in E Major. I can always tell who among the DJs either don’t have an ear or don’t have a knowledge of theory because harmonically the tracks they choose to blend together sound like shit. The total circle of fifths klusterfuk and that’s one of the biggest problems that I find most frequently on the Dance Floor these days with less experienced DJs.
5. Where do you think the scene is headed? One year from now? Five years from now?
Oh my gosh where this thing is headed? I don’t know who can see the future. However I’m surrounded by so many phenomenally hardworking and talented people that I imagine it’ll just keep getting better and better.
6.If you could eternally be stuck in one year’s music scene, which year would it be?
1909, the same year Sergei Rachmaninoff published and debuted his Third Piano Concerto in D Minor. That era had inherited everything that mattered and still does actually matter, at the core of it all, in the Western music heritage. From Bach and Handel to Mozart to Brahms Debussy and Ravel. That’s was the time to be alive and studying music.
7.What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
Classical. The fucking sub-genres that get way too much attention are EDM (shit) Progressive House (shit) Dubstep (shit) and Glitch hop (shit).
8.What is it that you love about what you do?
Making people happy when they dance 😀 Free drinks don’t hurt either!
9.what is something that bugs you about the DJ scene?
Unprofessional promoters and flakes. People who don’t show up on time, people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do, people who don’t come prepared, people who don’t even know how to use cdjs. Also, greedy promoters. Not too long ago I convinced four of my friends to each buy $50 VIP tickets to a show where it was supposed to be open bar and it was a fucking FIASCO. The line was so RIDICULOUS. I think the promoters got really greedy and my friends only got one drink out of the four of them. I had been given an artist wristband because I had worked for that promoter in the past but can you imagine entrance to the show where they didn’t even like the music that much and they spent $200 on one fucking drink. Greedy, self-serving interest, have no place in a scene that’s supposed to make people coming together and being happy about it.
10. A DJ’s ability to have a “unique” style? Is having your own style separate from all the other DJs out there even important in modern crowd rocking?
Style can mean lots of things… In the end, I think it’s a reality but I don’t know how totally important it is. We all make individual choices to play tracks we like but you could put on tracks that I love and then I play them at my next show, does that mean you and I have the same style? Not necessarily. Everyone’s sound is an amalgamation of their aural values informed by past auditory experiences.
11.What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?