Nic Fanciulli: Finding Balance through friends and family
Nic Fanciulli is proof, if ever it were needed, that hard work and dedication – along with some balance – can really help an individual to succeed. His love affair with music has been incessant since his early teens and, now in his early thirties, he has his own record label (Saved), tours the globe regularly and isn’t a bad DJ either. On top of that he has a reputation for being one of the nicest guys in the business, which is no doubt down to the fact that he has stayed connected to his friends and his family – plus he still lives in his native Maidstone. I recently grabbed a few minutes to chat with Nic about his past, present and future…
What was your starting point in terms of music?
I was in a band when I was 13 or 14, I was into bands like the Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses, Oasis – that was my generation growing up. Then I went out and bought a drum kit and started off in a band, as you do when you’re 15/16 at school. Then I think the crossover into electronic music was bands like the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Underworld – I think that was the bridging gap between indie music and DJs. From there it was DJs like Laurent Garnier, one of the DJs I really looked up to was Lee Burridge… I was working in a second-hand store when I was 16 and one of the guys in there was a DJ, there were a set of decks going, so I bought them and started getting stuck in from there.
One thing I’ve always had is that I was on the floor as well as the DJ booth, I used to work in a record store… the whole love affair I had with music is something kids don’t get anymore.
It’s a shame technology has eroded certain aspects of making music.
We’re going to sound like a pair of old men! But yeah, I use as much technology as I can in my music, but the one thing I wish younger kids on the label had was the ability to spend hours in a record shop and working on old equipment in the studio. It’s putting the hours in…
Even as a listener it’s so much easier to find music now.
I used to go record shopping all over the country, literally. If I knew a certain record had come into a shop called Massive Records in Oxford, I used to drive there. There was a store down in Bournemouth that always had acetates because the major labels would drop them off down there. It was really, really fun – I used to spend all my wages on records, at the end of every week.
So how did you go about getting your first gig?
The best underground night in the area was a night called ClubClass and it was run by the guys who are now my managers, called Serge and Greg. They were just two eager young guys who were booking Carl Cox, Shades Of Rhythm, Jim Masters, Sasha and Digweed, Paul Oakenfold – all the nineties era lot. It was at Atomix, it was amazing – it was were I used to go every week. I used to do mixtapes, I’d just finish them and give them straight to the promoter and never actually put my name on it on anything. A month later he saw me in the club and he was like “You gave me that tape, listen you got to come and play for us, we really love what you do”, for me it was like – I’m a Chelsea fan – it would be like playing for Chelsea. I became resident and learned my trade, warming up one week, playing the middle set another week and closing the week after and getting a lot of support from the big boys who were passing through. That’s why I’m so adamant about pushing young talent through the label – I think talent can take you to a certain extent, but you need help whatever industry you’re in.
How did you get the label started?
It was around 2004, me and my production partner at the time Andy Chatterly – we had an alias called Skylark. We had a stockpile of music and we were tired of giving it away to other labels so we thought about putting it out on our own label. This is the time of zip files and so on, so we called it Saved because everything we keep, we put out. We ended up getting so many good demos when we launched the label, I thought people are going to get bored of just hearing our music so let’s put some of it out. I’m glad we didn’t stick to the original idea because I don’t think we’d be here today – it’s the music that people give us that keeps the label alive.
You’ve got the Balance CD pack coming out soon haven’t you?
It’s out on 7 May and I cant wait, it’s taken so fucking long.
It sounds like you’ve put a lot of work into it?
That’s the old of mix CDs, coming from that background of Rennaisance and Underground Resistance – I spent six months on this CD. The idea of CD 1 was not to follow any fashion and just to have a CD that, in ten years time, you can go “Still sounds as good today”. My goal is that you can have it on at a barbeque, you can have it on at an after-hours, in your car… with CD 2, it’s a Saved showcase so it’s all about what we’ve done with the label, a variety of music, exclusives, I’ve tried to get a lot of stuff remixed over the last six months. It took a lot of time to edit it and get it mixed in key, I’m really fussy about stuff like that.
How do you juggle your ‘normal’ life, having a toddler and a family etc. with the label and DJing around the world?
I don’t know, I just do. I think because I’ve done it from such a young age, I’ve just got a really good routine. I try and do the studio from 9-5, because I want to see my friends. I live and breathe dance music but I want to have my friends that I went to school with and family, it’s always been important to me because they’re the people that keep you going anyway.
What’s the club scene like in Maidstone at the moment?
It’s fucking rocking. I try and explain this to people, but you really need to come and see it. I do a night on Bank Holiday Sundays, we block off an alleyway and have a stage and a big sound system at one end and it’s just 1,000 kids going crazy. I was just talking to Time Out in Hong Kong and they asked me my two favourite places to play and I said Tokyo and Maidstone.
So, speaking about encouraging the young generation, are there any producers we should be listening out for?
There’s a few, yeah. There’s Clio, a young guy from Paris but he lives in Berlin. He’s only done one live show, which was for us, but it was incredible. The music he’s making is fantastic. The other guy is called And.Me from Berlin and Philip Badar, also from Berlin. And Subb-an, he’s another one of the guys on the label that I have a lot of respect for.
And who really gave you a leg up?
Probably Lee Burridge, he was the musical influence in terms of the way he played, the way he treated things – I used to go to gigs with him and drive him to gigs, he’s one the guys I always say thanks to when I see him. He’s a DJ’s DJ.
Lastly, what’s coming up for you next?
I’ve got a few remixes on the way, but in the summertime I’m going try and stay low because I’m gonna try and write my first artist album. I don’t know how it’s gonna come out, but this is like my 60 millionth attempt so hopefully I’ll get it right.Balance, Maidstone, music, Nic Fanciulli, Saved
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