Celebrated electronic dance project Chicane will rock the Diesel XXX show in Dubai this week; we spoke to the brains of the operation, Nick Bracegirdle, about his journey to the top.
Let’s get this one out of the way: you’re not a DJ, are you?
No. It’s a common misconception that everyone involved in dance music is a DJ. I am a songwriter first and foremost, regardless of genre.
What can we expect from your Dubai performance?
We will perform most of the classic tracks, but with a new twist or edge to them. There will also be a few new and previously unheard mixes. It’s going to be a dynamic show blending a live-band feel with electronic underpinnings.
These days you’re hugely sought after by musicians like Bono and Cher – at what point did you realise that you were in the big time?
You don’t ever feel this way. What may look glamorous from the outside is, I can assure you, mostly extremely hard graft. It’s rare to get a moment to sit back and say, ‘I’m the b******s!’ To be honest, I’m always working on something to follow the last record, whether it’s a hit or not. It’s a bit like being on a ride that you can’t get off, but you have to operate this way to achieve your goals. I guess the only time it hits home is when we do a great gig, and everyone loves it. That’s when you might feel good about yourself.
Was your rise from bedroom amateur to major pro a quick one or a short one?
It’s taken all my life to get where I am now, so I guess it’s not a quick process. People probably don’t appreciate the thousands of tracks and demos that never saw the light of day. Those tracks are the learning curve that get you to where you strive to be.
Your album Easy To Assemble was cancelled after it was leaked on the net. What are your thoughts now on the internet as a form of distribution, both legal and illegal?
I employ the services of this company called ‘Web Sheriff’; they look after my back and take down any illegal stuff floating about these days. As for my thoughts on it… it’s odd, but a little piracy at the beginning of a track can help spread the word. However, it really is no different to shoplifting. If you get caught doing that, you normally get a life ban from those stores. The same should apply online.
How do you think the internet has affected the dance music industry, and how will it continue to affect it in the future?
I feel every genre of music is in the same boat, and it will continue to damage artists until it is policed properly by internet providers.
What is the craziest or strangest gig you’ve ever played, and why?
Manila is the craziest: 10,000 people, monsoon weather, a chaotic gig that had power cuts during the show, all round madness and a sign on the gig’s entrance door that read, ‘Please leave your handguns in your car!’
Tell us about the biggest disaster in your career.
This has to be while filming the video for ‘Saltwater’. We were on a beach in England and we got the car stuck in the sand at low tide. It had all the film equipment in it, so we had to form a human chain moving the gear further up the beach. Then the tide came in and claimed the car! The funny part was we then had to be careful when framing the rest of the sea shots that day, as the car was bobbing about in the background!
Chicane play Diesel XXX at Madinat Jumeirah on Sat 11.