Drum & bass DJ and producer Nemy chalks his name with bold letters on the list of people to watch. Fresh material is coming on labels like Vandal Records, Delta9 Records, Context Audio, Forbidden Frequencies, inHabit Recordings and Counterpoint Recordings. And that’s just the tip of the musical iceberg for this Serbian artist.
Aspiring as a producer while also making ends meet in one of the toughest post-Soviet countries? Not the usual script. And definitely not an environment to romanticize, as one of his visiting fans found out firsthand.
This hasn’t deterred Nemy, though. If anything, challenging circumstances push him onwards. Security guard by day, artist by night, competing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practioner and old school D&B afficionado, he’s filled his life with things that inspire him… And it’s begining to pay off. Read on to learn more about Nemy, the first Serbian drum & bass artist we have ever interviewed on this site.
How are you been doing lately? You’ve been working a lot on music.
Many labels want my music, I am quite happy with that! Because of the lockdown, I have had the time to work a lot on my music.
How do you keep the focus?
I listen to a lot of music and find inspiration from other artists. Mostly drum & bass, and by listening every day. I also watch a lot of tutorials, but from guys who really know how to make music, like DLR and Xtrah. Red Bull Academy definitely is good too. I also finished a study at the SAE and this helps obviously.
How did you come in touch with drum & bass?
When I was younger, I listened to The Prodigy a lot. I tried to find more material with fast BPM and then I discovered Noisia and Black Sun Empire.
What tracks really drove you then?
Meditation by Noisia, Vanishing Point also.
Tell us about your next releases.
Another EP is confirmed for Counterpoint Recordings, the biggest drum & bass label in Portugal. Really happy about this one, it’s scheduled for July.
There’s also a release coming on Vandal Recordings. I was sending them a lot of music and Julian Despiau, the boss, said they don’t like it when I put atmosphere on the drop. I then sent him one tune without it and he said I should send him two more tunes like that. Soon enough he confirmed them as a release. He’s quite a clever guy.
I also love to listen to older guys in drum & bass. I am a bit of a fan of that earlier era of nineties D&B. Artists like Ulterior Motive and Goldie. I like the minimalistic approach in that sense. Lately I’ve been focused a lot on sound design, but making something minimal asks more for getting the bigger picture right.
How long have you been making music?
I have been writing drum & bass for about eight years. I was writing techno and working as a ghost producer for a techno artist before that. But that’s the past. My friends sometimes tell me that I should make more techno, but I prefer to do drum & bass.
What is it about D&B for you?
It’s hard to put into words. I really like the sounds, which can be creepy or strange. It is really futuristic music. When compared to techno there’s way more diversity in arrangements as well.
How did your experience as a techno producer help with writing drum & bass?
Synths, I use a lot of those and draw inspiration from that for drum & bass. The experience also helps with writing the drops, I use much noise like the guys in techno do. Deadmau5 really inspired me too by how he pays attention to details in the intros.
How about inspiration from the D&B side?
Xtrah and Nymfo. Posij is also one of my biggest sources of inspiration. When I heard Empty Lungs for the first time, like ‘Oh my god!’ He’s an insane producer.
What are you looking forward to in the months ahead? Will the Serbian scene live up again this summer?
Exit Festival is confirmed. I will play there for a third time this year hopefully, after previously sharing the stage there with Skeptical and Rockwell.
How about your local scene?
There’s this group of older guys in the city called Delikt. They have been throwing drum & bass parties for about ten years. Through their parties I got introduced to drum & bass, they sent me a lot of music and showed me guys like Noisia and BSE. Drop Sensei is also doing a lot of professional parties in my town (Novi Sad). They will invite BSE again later this year. As for other promotors in Serbia: Vazda Garant and Roll The Drums are throwing cool parties too.
What producers from Serbia deserve a mention in this interview as well?
Definitely be sure to check out guys like Missin, Baboon, Arxiva, Hermetik, Rahmanee, Codex, Indukt, C:critz, Bohemian, Bons, and Drumsik.
What do you miss the most about parties?
I am not that much of a rave guy to be honest. I love to play, but I don’t like to drink. So yeah, I don’t miss the raves that much. What I do miss is connecting with the people at parties and traveling to new places. I have a gig confirmed in Austria, but it’s still unclear if it will happen due to corona.
You told me you currently work as a security guard at a bank. Do you aspire to become a fulltime musician at some point in the future?
Possibly, it’s a goal. I finished my Mastering Course at Point Black earlier this year and do some mastering work for Monk Audio UK.
How do you approach the start of writing a tune?
First I focus on sound design, making unique bassline-synths. When I have that, I listen to old school D&B like Noisia from 2008, Ed Rush and Optical etc. Then I try to make the drop sound like old D&B, but with futuristic basslines and atmosphere. If I like what I made, I will start working on a full tune.
When preparing music for a label, do you start by listening to what they usually release?
Yes, before I work on music, this is on my mind. Context Audio for example, I really love this label. They typically have this minimal sound, something DLR or Enei would write. Really am looking forward to release the EP on this label. The EP on Vandal is something I am really excited about as well. There’s a certain old school vibe to the track on there with futuristic sounds.
I see on your socials that you like to work out a lot. Fill us in on your routine.
I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, about three times a week. I am preparing for a tournament in July, so drinking a lot of water to reach the weight of 70 kilos.
Give me some good reasons to come to Serbia, besides your music…
Only the food and women. The people usually are so strange here. Don’t come here bro! (laughs). One guy from the UK who loves my music came. Some people attacked him, because he was wearing a golden necklace.
I was at my home and he wanted to walk alone. I told him not to, but he wouldn’t listen. He taught me a lot about the UK scene though. Perhaps I will visit him there… My big wish is to leave Serbia someday (laughs).
What made you decide?
A long time ago, some alcoholic guy bit me outside of a drugstore. He was so drunk, I don’t know why. That’s when I decided to start Jiu Jitsu. I love drum & bass, it really helps me to stay a lot in my house and off the streets (laughs).
Would you consider releasing an album?
One day I plan to have my own label. Perhaps then, in maybe five years.
It’s common to underestimate what you can get done in five years, all a matter of patience.
When I work on a tune, I dedicate a whole month to it. A label might propose to do an EP with five tunes, which I have to finish in one month… It’s not that easy.