Chicane to mix beats at Zero Gravity
Chicane helped to bring electronic music into the mainstream – first with the seminal mid-90s Ibiza anthems Offshore and Saltwater, later with surprisingly credible celebrity tie-ups alongside Bryan Adams (2000’s Don’t Give Up), Tom Jones (2006’s Stoned in Love) and Natasha Bedingfield (2008’s Bruised Water).
The enigmatic and outspoken producer/musician (just don’t call him a DJ) Nick Bracegirdle is also known for his impressive remixes – for example Poppiholla, Chicane’s 2009’s reworking of Sigur Rós’s Hoppípolla.
Following a storming set at Sandance in October 2011, the 43-year-old Brit is back in the country, bringing a three-piece band to Zero Gravity tomorrow.
It’s almost two decades since your breakout hit Offshore. Do you think producers now enjoy the same opportunities for sonic experimentation that you did back then?
I think there are some fantastic people out there, and there’s a lot of noise and static. There’s so much product now, things have got a bit crowded and not all of it’s good.
Everyone’s a DJ today and there’s a huge amount of sheep out there. The whole EDM thing – nonsense, nonsense. They’re all playing the same rubbish. You’ve got to be an individual to stand out, and there’s a shocking amount of stuff that isn’t, I find.
So where did things go wrong?
There are a lot of people out there chasing the money rather than the music, which is a bit sad. You’ve got people – like David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Tiësto – who are making hundreds of thousands of pounds in a week or so by playing Vegas. And I think if you’re aspiring to be that DJ, if you want to be that thing, it’s kind of an anomaly – and that’s a bit of a worry.
You were very outspoken about the effect of internet piracy about a decade ago and pulled your third album, Easy to Assemble, after it was leaked. What do you make of the situation today?
We’re so much more relaxed about piracy now because the bottom’s dropped out of selling music. It’s astonishing, it kind of nullifies making a living out of it unless you happen to have a massive record. It’s a very strange place to be, and you can blame Steve Jobs or whoever. I’m not selling cars, cars aren’t free – music kind of got degraded. It’s weird.
You’re signed to Armada Music. We had co-founder Armin van Buuren in town for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend – I imagine you’re good mates?
Yeah I know Armin very well. Me, Armin and Ferry Corsten have all been going similar paths – very much so.
Another DJ we hosted recently whom I understand you once shared a bill with – Paris Hilton...
That is the tail wagging the dog – what is that? It’s a bit like the Kim Kardashian effect – famous for not really doing anything, or being that great at it. I’ve actually had a first-hand experience of watching Paris Hilton DJing and it’s quite alarming. It’s funny – very funny, it makes me laugh.
So who was harder to work with, Bryan Adams or Tom Jones?
Er... both in their individual ways – in very different ways. Probably Bryan.
Is it true you turned down remix work for Dannii and Kylie Minogue?
Completely true – I was just too busy. I totally turned them down, yep. I’m sometimes a bit difficult. If I don’t think the record’s great, I’ll pass on it, that’s how I am.
So, 20 years in music – can we expect 20 more?
Yeah, yeah, yeah – I feel I’m still reaching my peak, my maturity. I look back at 10 years ago and what I was doing then is nothing compared to where I am now.
• Chicane is live at Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai, November 28. Free entry for women before midnight and men before 10pm, Dh100 after that
Updated: November 26, 2014 04:00 AM