Nicole Moudaber: “Happiness Inspires Me!”

Posted on July 25, 2019

Words: Olivia Ebeling

When you hear Nicole Moudaber’s fascinating story for the first time, it sounds a little like the kind of quest we are normally told in legends of mythical heroes and ancient kings. Born in Nigeria but of Lebanese descent, the DJ and producer moved to London to escape Lebanon’s ultra-conservative politics. After beginning to build the foundations of her musical career in the British capital, the grief over losing her father in 2012 sparked a creative force in her that propelled her rising star to the next level.

Now considered one of the most exciting contemporary techno artists, we got the chance to interview Nicole about her nomination in the DJ Awards 2019 TECHNO category. With more female nominees than ever before across the 14 categories, as an outstanding example of a woman’s strength, grace and divine creativity the MOOD label boss is the perfect person to chat to as the tide of gender imbalance slowly seems to be shifting. Warm, open and honest, the extraordinary artist shared some insight into her creative process, amazing achievements so far and plans for the future…

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Thanks for taking the time to chat to us and congratulations on your nomination! What does the DJ Award nod mean to you?
It means a lot to me! I have been nominated for a DJ Award a few times before and it’s very humbling. It’s great that this year there are a lot more female nominees. I mean, it’s funny how the industry is all of a sudden discovering women, but I guess it’s never too late!

Gender imbalance and sexism are two big topics in the music and entertainment industries. Can you see things changing?
It’s evolving in the right direction, for sure, but there’s a lot more to do. What really baffles me is why it has become such a hype all of a sudden. It’s a little annoying because women, we have been here since forever. In the past I have always tried to talk about this subject as if it wasn’t a ‘thing’, like, ‘Yes, we are here, get over it’. But now I think differently and I want to be more involved and steer it in the right direction so we can stand our ground a bit more. It’s time to show people the divine power we hold as women.

What has your personal experience with discrimination been throughout your career?
In our scene, amongst our peers, there isn’t any discrimination. Us artists don’t differentiate between each other; it’s kind of classless and we feel as one. But this is within our subcultural world and it should be communicated to the outside. So we all need to use our platforms to communicate this better to the rest of the world.

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We guess your hugely popular b3b sets with Paco Osuna and Dubfire are proof of that!
Absolutely, it’s so much fun playing with my boys! It’s been two years now, and it started in Ibiza when we played together at RESISTANCE in 2017. People love it, it’s incredible – and we love it too! We understand the kind of direction that each other play in and we kind of bounce off each other. Creatively, it makes you think a bit more about how to ride the wave and with our set up, which is quite complicated technically, we further enhance it with vocals and samples so it creates a very unique sound. We are trying to do a few shows together this year, too, and we have one lined up in California in October.

We also have to talk about your remix of Carl Cox track Chemistry. Were you nervous at all to tackle a record by one of the most iconic and best loved DJs in the world?
The original was a drum and bass vocal track, so it was a bit challenging! But I actually won an award for that remix in the States for Best Minimal Techno Track and it was No. 1 on Beatport for three consecutive months. Carl and I received the award together – it was his first, actually, which is pretty amazing! I have to tap myself on the shoulder and say, not bad, Nicole, right?

You are playing several more dates in Ibiza over the course of the summer. What do you like to do on the island when you have some time off?
I love to take a boat out and go around the island or to Formentera. I love to roam around, slowly, connect with nature and regroup. Ibiza has always been like a spiritual guide for me, and the energy helps me to centre myself. You need to have time to reflect to be able to create something.

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Do you have quite a spiritual approach to music and life?
I have an amazing astrologer, Aliza Einhorn, who I have been with for seven or eight years now. She does my chart and she has become a close confidante and spiritual healer to me. She is like the mother I never had and we are always in touch. I prefer to work with her than, say, a therapist, because that feels so clinical. She knows me very well so I suggested we dig deeper into myself to gain a different perspective. It’s very interesting and it grounds me.

You have been very open about the fact that you channel your emotions and feelings into your music. What inspires you right now?
Currently I’m going through a personal healing phase. And since I’m not travelling too much this year, because I wanted to give myself a break, I’m in the studio a lot. I just follow my ears and my heart. Sometimes, I find myself humming something or I wake up with a melody in my head and I have to immediately lay it down in the studio. For a couple of years, I felt kind of ‘dead’, but things are changing. I find it very cathartic to come up with new music and locking myself in the studio is one of my favourite pastimes. Now, happiness is my vehicle.

Can you give us a sneak preview of what new music we can look forward to this year?
I have a new remix for Monolink coming out on August 2nd and I’m also preparing my Essential Mix for the end of September. And I have remixed an incredible classical composer called Nico Cartosio and that will be coming out on my own label. It’s so different and outside of the box and I’m really excited about it. So I have some really interesting projects coming up. Oh my God, Underworld got in touch with me recently and it’s amazing to be talking to legends like that. So there are exciting times ahead musically!

You can vote for the 2019 edition of The DJ Awards until July 28th. Register and cast your vote here! For more on Nicole Moudaber, check out her music on Beatport.

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