For more than two decades, underground electronic music has been the rhythm that drives Nathan Clement’s life. From falling head over heels in the late-90’s warehouse rave scene of Las Vegas to co-running the record label Laika Sounds and playing alongside DJs like Atish, Brian Cid, Darin Epsilon, Dave Seaman, Mark Farina, Tara Brooks and Quivver, Nathan’s passion for the music has been unwavering and unstoppable. Even today, he says he spends “more time looking for new music than any other task in my life”. It’s this dedication that helps him bring fresh and exciting new music to the forefront, whether it’s released on his label or featured on his DJ mixes.
We can hear the results of this deep digging in his handful of guest mixes on shows like Sleek and Feelin’ FRISKY, and on his diverse Artist of the Week set. With the premiere of his new show Synectics, Nathan will be showcasing his gem-finding mastery with music that represents a unification of global sounds from new and unique artists.
What was one of the first moments where you fell in love with the music?
When I was little, I used to get in trouble a lot, and when I would get sent to my room and I would just lay on my bed and listen to music for hours. I discovered then that even though I was in trouble and grounded to my room, I could still go places, not a physical place, but transported to a metaphysical space that varied greatly depending on the song being played. From a young age, I have always loved music for its power to lift my spirits.
What about your relationship with electronic music has changed since that time? What has stayed the same?
I fell in love with electronic music in the late ’90s. I did not have much exposure to it previously except from the artists that made it big enough to be played on mainstream radio. I was exposed to dance music while attending warehouse raves in Las Vegas. I was intoxicated by the energy and the culture that surrounded the rave scene. My DJ career started because a friend I met at a rave had a pair of technic 1200s and a mixer at his house, so I started buying vinyl, and we would just hang out and play records all the time. So, that’s how it all started for me.
You’ve shared the stage with a wide range of top-level global touring DJs – can you tell us one of your favorite stories or experiences from those events?
Well, there was this one time that I played after Dave Seaman at a warehouse party in Los Angeles, May 14th, 2016. I have always been a fan of Dave Seaman, and I was honored to play after him. Most of the time, when taking over the decks after a big-name DJ, they usually just disappear from the party, never to be seen again, but on this occasion, Dave stayed at the party till the very end. I was surprised when he came up to me after I was done playing to tell me that he enjoyed my set. We talked for a bit, exchanged information, and from time to time, I still speak to him. That was exciting to me not only talking to a DJ that I respected, but I was also impressed with how cool and down to earth he was. Dave is a great guy. That party overall was a great experience.
As co-founder of Laika Sounds, you must be inundated with a constant stream of new music and a long to-do list. How do you make time and balance your work/play when it comes to running the label and your own creative career?
My favorite part about being a DJ is digging for new music. I am always on the hunt for those elusive gems. I think that it’s the DJ’s job to dig deep to find those tracks that evoke a strong emotional response. I probably spend more time looking for new music than any other task in my life other than sleeping. I have to say it’s hard to find the time to dig for new music, work on productions, and run a record label. I can only find the time because I stay focused, and I try not to waste time. It’s like a juggling act. Music is a labor of love. It’s not a fad or a phase to me, music is a significant part of my life, and I will not stop doing it.
Can you share with us more about what Laika Sounds means to you and what your label’s mission is?
Laika Sounds is a label that I co-founded with Riley Bee and Christopher James. I can’t speak for my label mates, but I see Laika Sounds like a modern version of Hooj Choons, an influential progressive house label from the late 90’s early 2000’s. Our mission is simple; we just want to put out quality music that makes people want to dance.
Is there a particular sound that you have resonated with throughout your career as a DJ & producer? How would you say your sound has evolved, and what remains constant?
I love dark, beautiful music. I have been into progressive house since 1999, but I do branch out into other genres like deep house, tech house, electronica, melodic techno, and even liquid drum & bass. My taste has remained constant, but my depth and scope have evolved over time.
What are some of the most important factors for you when it comes to the music you play/produce?
The major factors in the music I play and produce are originality and quality. There are so many tracks these days that come out all sounding so similar, or the track quality is not satisfactory. That’s probably why I spend hours and hours digging for tracks only to find a few that inspire me to play.
Do you have a favorite track of yours? Perhaps one with a special significance for you?
Oh wow, I have so many tracks that have significance to me. I have tracks that can fit all types of occasions and moods, but emotions change, so I don’t get too attached to one track or the other. It’s all about playing the right track at the right time, so I try not to play favorites. 😉
If there were only 3 DJ mixes / CDs / Albums that you could listen to for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I enjoyed these three mixes. All three of these DJs are great Storytellers.
I had to look up the definition of Synectics and found: “the joining together of different and apparently irrelevant elements.” That sounds intriguing, and I’d love to hear about your choice of this show name and what it means to you?
My show’s purpose is to join together music from diverse producers worldwide to create a unified musical journey that will create a favorable emotional response in my listeners. I thought the word synectics represented my intent, so that’s why I chose it.
Is there anything else you would like to share with FRISKY listeners?
I genuinely love the art of selecting and sharing music, and I hope you tune in and enjoy the show.