2, 4, 6, 8… we appreciate nicholas larsen!
Get to know the half-Danish, half-German prince of dreamy electro.
Foto: Toby Knott
Two's company, three's a crowd, anything more and it's a party, which is exactly how 24-year-old, West London based music producer Nicholas Larsen likes to roll. Collaborating with numerous industry insiders from Milo B (together they make up Watuzi, and have an EP out later this year) to Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender, when it comes to making sweet sweet sounds, for the half-Danish, half-German prince of dreamy electro, more is certainly merrier. He's also one half of serenely cool music duo, Quietman, whose first EP will be out this summer. With parents working in the music industry and a Grammy-award winning producer for a brother, soft sounds and musical beats have always been in Nicholas' blood. But now it's his time to shine. With lots of exciting projects in the pipeline we catch up with the sound of your summer, Mr Nicholas Larsen.
2 reasons why I'm in music
1. "Sadly, not much of an X Factor sob story here. My parents worked in the music industry, and my brother is a Grammy-award winning music producer; so as much as my family tells me to avoid it, they haven't really left me with much choice."
2. "I started learning piano at four, guitar at six, and producing at thirteen. First classically trained, then in jazz, and then just started doing my own thing. I'm trying to create a "sound" now! I also play in a Funk band called The Haggard."
4 songs I wish I'd written
1. "Chiquitita by Abba, but that's really because I can't decide which Abba song I'd most like to have written. My dad thinks Abba are great, but that's because he worked with them in the 70s (and had an evening of saucy slow dancing with Agnetha) so I can't really tell if he thinks he's great, or Abba are great, but whatever, they've always been these pop super-humans in the Larsen household. The thing about Abba and pop music back then, is that there seems to have been so much less pretence. It was like, "so what we want a kitsch Germanic Christmas vibe?" - that was just their thing."
2. "My next one is Window Seat by Erykah Badu, but that's really because I can't decide which Erykah Badu song I'd most like to have written (sorry, won't do that again). On that album, New Amerykah Part Two she co-produced every song on there. She's dope, has put out great music, went out with Andre 3000, and is just a general vibe queen (check the video for Other Side Of the Game!)."
3. "Inner City Blues by Gil Scott-Heron is in there - I know Marvin Gaye wrote it, but I prefer this version - it's gangsta AF. A friend of mine put me onto it, and was telling me, "Gil Scott-Heron started rap, he started that street thing, he was that guy," - and he's kinda right. The guy was a visionary and just generally badass - like this song."
4. "The Girl From Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim is my final choice. It's really difficult to give absolute answers, but I mean that Getz/Gilberto album was seismic. It won the Grammy for best record of the year in 1965, and everyone knows the song - even if they think they don't! I love Brazilian and Latin American music; Bossa Nova is so rad - it literally means 'new style'. It's such an interesting reflection of a culture. British culture would never have generated Bossa Nova, right?"
6 of the greatest music legends of all time
1. Dave Brubeck
"The small scrawny white kid who became the godfather of West Coast Jazz. This chirpy dude wrote so many jazz bangers (jangers?) it's unbelievable, not to mention the album Time Out, which really hit the nail on the head."
2. Bobby McFerrin
"Such a great artist, who's achieved so much with primarily his voice. Also, he's bright and reflective, and still out there changing lives, lol. He's involved in TED talks on music (Notes and Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus), and now seems like this wise, noble lion with a mane of dreadlocks. His song, 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' was the first acapella song to ever top the Billboard 100 - but he's so much more than just that song; he uses his voice in such an interesting way, and is generally mad creative."
3. Herbie Hancock
"Herbie Hancock is absolutely dope. Miles Davis, who could easily feature on this list, picked him to play keys for him whilst he was still a teenager; steez levels quite high there. I wouldn't mind living in the song, Cantaloupe Island. Also the super synthy 'Head Hunters' album is great - the intro and outro of 'Watermelon Man' is the sound of blowing into a beer bottle!"
4. J Dilla
"Too obvious? Maybe, but Dilla did so much for contemporary music; it would be a shame to leave him out! From Slum Village to the Ummah, the Pharcyde to A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu to The Roots - he sculpted so much sound!"
"A real personal favourite! He has done things with dance music that others haven't - which must have to do with that classical music training; he's just so damn fancy."
6. Harry Love
"A producer from West London (like me J), who was in Scratch Perverts in the 90s - he's a banging DJ as well. He's worked with some really gifted rappers, especially during the height of UK hip-hop around 10 years ago."
8 words that sum me up
"Otherwise you might as well sit down and die."
"Does that hope shit really count for anything?"
"Kind is the new cool."
"Love is god baby!"
"Don't take yourself too seriously dude."
"Shit's scary sometimes."
"In some weird sort of way."
"Damnnn I probably sound like a dick in all the above…"