Nickon Faith

Nickon Faith

Manchester based DJ/producer Nickon Faith has been sculpting an eclectic collection of productions and mixes over the last few years whilst retaining his distinct style. We sat down with Nickon as he provides the first release of 2024 for n_o’s 303-heavy Manual Smiles imprint.

Nickon Faith - Interview

Hey Nickon! Thanks for chatting to Minimal Mag, how has the last year been, any standout moments?

Hi Minimal, first off, many thanks for the interview!

Last year was great actually, I was very lucky with the festival season as I had been booked for a few really cool ones. Me and my friend/artist Acid James run a night called Acid Faith, which we brought to El Dorado Festival. I also had the opportunity to play a forest rave at One in the Woods in Liverpool, a sold-out event in the loft in EGG (London) and a few other nice gigs. It was generally a very prolific year, too, having made loads of music and also getting some nice support for my release on Troubleshoot records from artists like HAAi and John Digweed. It was a very positive year overall for gigs, my Acid Faith events brand and my productions/improving my craft.

As a Mancunian producer/DJ, tell us about Manchester’s dance music scene and what it means to you.

Manchester’s music scene is just awesome! There are always really cool artists playing and lots of different styles of music going on. The crowds are often very open-minded and friendly, especially at places like the White Hotel and Islington Mill, and you often get those intimate club experiences and connections with the crowd and the music on many nights.

It’s not even just about the club, there’s a great sense of community there with loads of stuff like artist talks and spaces where producers can learn and bounce off each other. Over the years, I have made a lot of friends in the Manchester music community, and it’s really nice to be involved and to be supporting and collaborating on events with your friends who all just want to share that same love for dance music/music as a whole.

Your upcoming EP, Digital Moss, drops this month on n_o’s 303-heavy Manual Smiles imprint. We’d love to know more about the release, and how you were first introduced to the label.

I enjoy experimenting with different genres and inspirations for my releases and never usually stick to one style for too long, so this EP was sort of a result of that. The first tune, “Digital Moss”, came quite naturally as I was just tinkering around with experimenting with modulation and making these more psychedelic soundscapes, and like this deep textured, organic kind of Four Tet-inspired percussion.

I wanted to make it feel like everything in the tune was moving all the time, and every couple of bars kept things interesting (Which is a thought train I’ve been adopting into my productions as a whole now). The tune just created a life of its own. It was also heavily inspired by ideas from video game music that I loved as a kid and anime. Like I had the eerie vibes of the Legend of Zelda Forest Temple soundtrack from Ocarina of Time in my head, as it has these sort of ambient mystical pads. Which is a little bit how I wanted the pads and mood of my track to feel.

In terms of the label, I think I got in contact with Enno, the Manual Smiles label boss as he was friends with the label head of Troubleshoot Recordings, who I had just released under. I had gotten around to listening to some of the Manual Smiles tracks eventually and was like, yeah this is it! like these moody, acidy, proggy soundscapes. Really digged it, thought it could be a great idea to send Digital Moss and try my luck aha. 

He really dug it but wanted another track, so I got to work on a sequel trying to tap into the same frame of mind I had with Digital Moss, going a bit harder with the anime/games and mystical themes and created the second track, ‘Blue Spider Lily’. So, in that sense, Blue Spider Lily feels like a very natural progression from Digital Moss. It’s an EP I’m incredibly proud of, to be honest. I’m excited to explore more sounds like this in the future.

Slick, swirling acid melodies on ‘Digital Moss’ here; what do you think sets the acid sound apart?

I think the acid sounds themselves have a lot of modulation on them, like moving the filters, slightly automating the waveshapes, playing with flangers, and just making it feel like it’s living and breathing a little bit. I think it gives them a really organic, wavey, psychedelic feel. They sound pretty psytrance-y.

How do you go about discovering new music?

A lot of my music discoveries actually come through sharing music with friends/ like-minds and just generally talking about music. Also, just listening to DJ sets, premiere channels, all sorts, really. I think it’s never something I think about too hard, like I have to go and find tracks, it’s just a natural occurrence being involved and interested in what’s going on around you in the music world.

Is there a main artist or artists that you take inspiration from?

I’ve mentioned this a lot in the past, but I really have taken a lot of inspiration from Four Tet, especially during the start of my electronic journey many years ago. Generally though, I take inspiration from a lot of places/try to absorb as much cool music as I can, and just fill my head with ideas. Right now, I love On Rotation records: Adam Pits/Lisene, I have taken a lot of inspiration and perspective from those artists and the sounds the label releases. Although right now, I don’t feel as though I have a single artist I religiously listen to and take inspiration from, as there is just too much music to discover aha! I gain lots of inspiration from my more immediate community of artists/friends also, and would like to shout out artists & good friends Kalani and Incupa97, who are pushing boundaries in the Manchester music scene right now and making some wild tracks!

Anything planned for the rest of 2024 that you can tell us about?

Well, I have a few projects underway this year. Generally, I’ve wanted to keep this under wraps as I don’t feel ready to announce it to the world yet, but I’m well underway on working on starting my own label… so I’ll just leave it at that. I’ve made an overwhelming amount of new music recently, and I’m figuring out what to do with/how to go about releasing all these EPs and tracks aha. I am also working on a 2nd album in addition to those, and I’m kind of like a quarter way through its completion right now. So 2024 will be busy for me, I feel it’ll be more about setting up dominoes for me this year than making big moves. Although, this Digital Moss release feels like a big and special one for me.

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