So Nik tell us a bit about Toolbox, and what you do for the few of us who dont know.
Toolbox is my own company that I started back in 2001. It started off as a Hard House record label and over time has spread out into other areas in the dance world. We do distribution, have an online store, we publish artists, put on events and are now looking after a few artist diaries too. I basically over see the whole thing with a little help from some hard working dedicated people.
So a bit about your djing and producing, who, or what got you into making and playing hard house?
I got into production by being good friends with Paul King and by joining him in the studio for me first few efforts. I loved his sound and the Trade sound and just wanted to be apart of it all. When I met Paul I had already started to play on decks at home but when I started to produce I knew I wanted to take it more seriously and possibly make a career out of DJing and writing the records.
Do you think djs and producers have a harder challenge getting recognised these days? – There are so many around and so many labels, is the market a bit flooded?
I think it’s much harder to break through. You really have to have something different to stand out. I think there is certainly the talent out there to break through but it’s just penetrating what is already going on and I think you also have to have the whole package to pull it off.
I think as the industry moves to a more and more digital lifestyle its going to get even harder. Labels are popping up everywhere that a few years ago wouldn’t have lasted a minute because they would not have had the return on the product they pressed. But all this makes everything that little bit more exciting and also more rewarding for those that do break through and get recognised as being a credible artist or record label.
Do you think the scene has changed much since it started? Has anything got better or worse in your opinion?
Everything changes so of course the scene has changed. It’s inevitable. If nothing changed we would all be bored.
If we are talking about the scene as in the clubbing side of things then I think its noticeable that less people are going out; But this isn’t localised to just our scene.
The hard dance scene in some cases have really pulled together to make things work. Club promoters try not to put nights on when other promoters have a night on and things like that. And that’s cool. But then on the other hand we still have to deal with some very selfish people! I wish that would change!
Has the digital revolution helped or hindered underground music do you think? How much of an effect has it had on yourself and the label?
Toolbox seemed to be dealing with the movement to digital very well with our hard products selling well too. But we have had a few big hits this year with other companies going into administration and owing us a lot of money. So I think we will move more to the digital side of things as I can’t afford to take risks in product that we don’t get paid for. It’s a shame as I love Toolbox being on CD.
My only concern with the digital revolution is that there is far more rubbish to shift through when you go onto download sites. Its hard work trying to find stuff you like so it sometimes puts you off going on the sites if you don’t have much time. But I think some download sites are dealing with this now and stepping up their quality control.
Is there any artists you think are particularly talented we should watch these days? Or in fact as Toolbox is a distributor also – any labels you think we should watch?
It wouldn’t be fair for me to single out labels that are doing well but there are so many out there that are putting out some seriously wicked releases. As a distributor we get to handle quite a few releases and it’s easy to see what is going to sell well before we get the product. Of course we sometimes have a few surprises.
Wil H, Ross Homson, Ben Townsend, Dave Curtis, Dave Owens, Tim Stokes are just a few names that I think are worth watching when it comes to production. But the list could go on and on…
So what’s upcoming on Toolbox? -
The Toolkit series continues with Toolkit 5 later this month which has this time been presented by yours truly and includes my new singles “Sweat” and “The Force”. After that is the Dave Owens presented Hammerheads Toolkit which I know a lot of people have been waiting for all year.
Then we have another new album from me called DE:MIXED.
On the main catalogue which we will be going digital for now we will have new singles from Lucy Fur and friends on the forthcoming Girls @ Work EP, as well as new tracks and remixes from Rich Resonate, Ross Homson, Tim Stokes, myself, Wil H and much more…
Where can we see you playing out next?
I’m playing at TWIST UP NORTH on Friday 07th August, TRADE on 30th August and STORMS 200th EVENT on 04TH September. Then we have some special Toolbox events going on throughout October/November where myself and the gang will be going out and about across the UK. The final TOOLBOX TRILOGY is also something I’m looking for which is later in the year on 04th December.
A few random questions -
What was you dream as a kid? (thats if you dont mind telling us)
I wanted to teach Drama! (NO jokes about Drama Queens please – LOL)
Whats the best clubbing experience you ever had?
Trade every Saturday morning @ Turnmills throughout the early – mid 90’s. Every week was immense.
Your favourite nightclub?
It was Turnmills. But Id probably have to say Emporium or maybe even Fire in London.
Worst clubbing experience?
Probably the nights when I’ve not got in!
Item you cant live without?
My Car! I love it. I cant deal with walking!
Ever had a dream where you were fighting off zombies?
I fight Zombies every day! I don’t need to dream about them.
NIK NEW TOOLKIT 5 AND ALL OTHER TOOLBOX/DENTON RELEASES
ARE AVAILABLE FROM http://www.toolboxmusicshop.com
HARD AS NAILS DJ CD ALBUMS AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER – ‘NAILGUN CD#01 ‘SISTA X E.P’ FIRST UP!available from http://www.toolboxmusicshop.com
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