Ben Nicky is one of the brightest new stars emerging from the talented UK Trance scene. He was recently acknowledged by the worlds’ number 1 DJ Armin Van Buuren as “one of the hardest working artists in the trance scene”, as well as being one of Armin’s most played/requested artists on his radio show. Ben is also a firm favourite of other world-wide established headliners, such as Paul Van Dyk, Tiesto, Andy Moor and BBC Radio One’s Judge Jules.
Ben, many people from a very young age know exactly what career they foresee for themselves, was it like this for you, Did you always see yourself in the music industry as a DJ/ producer specifically in the trance scene?
I have always been really outgoing and cheeky/confident (supposedly!) from a young age. I was always the one getting in trouble at school and skipped lessons and college. I dabbled in djing occasionally and I was a big drum and bass and trance fan (back in the Mauro Picotto – Komodo days). When I left school, I totally messed up my college course in computer programming so got myself into Car Sales which then led on to Electronics Good Sales which I was really good at, In fact I was that good that out of 6000 employees I was the number 10 salesperson in the whole company. Then around 5/6 years ago I really got into clubbing again and thought I would get some decks and it all led from there really. I quit my well paid job and risked everything to make a career in music and thankfully after a few years of being basically bankrupt , I can now look back and say I made the right decision as music is my full time job and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What has been the biggest challenge that you have faced in the industry and how did you overcome it to get to where you are today? Any lessons learnt you can share with upcoming DJ’s/Producers?
It is a lot easier nowadays to become a DJ or Producer, with dj equipment being a lot easier to use and music production become a lot more user friendly, this ultimately means that you are going to have much more competition if you are trying to make it in this industry. There are so many good upcoming artists that I always knew it was going to be hard to get noticed but I always do things my own way and try not to blend into the crowd too much otherwise you just become generic and un-noticed. With this concept I definitely started to see better feedback/ more gigs/ more exposure etc so I haven’t looked back since.
The dance scene can be quite a tough one to crack, tell me about your first big break both as a producer and a DJ and do you think that it was instrumental in paving the way for you to succeed?
I have released a lot of tracks in quite a short space of time, which helped with exposure and branding etc. My tracks “Special Moment” + “Driven” were the first big uplifting tracks that started to get played by the bigger jocks like Armin, PVD, Emery etc and was fortunately the start of a string of singles/remixes that followed in the same fashion.
What does ASOT mean to you?
A State of trance is a building block for me as an artist, for my productions, I mean, a lot of people know me for my online character, my persona, my branding, but.. but for my productions, Armin has been very very helpful , you know, for the exposure of my singles on Armada, and even my tracks on Vandit and other labels
All the big djs are supporting you!
Yeah but, I think that Armin and Paul van Dyk are the two that really helped me get to the point I needed and now, I kinda do my own thing, but I love playing here because I mean Armin always brings everyone together; it’s a great festival and I love it!
Which aspect of your profession do you prefer; creating new sounds in the studio or getting behind the decks in clubs?
I love being able to sit on an airplane and create a crazy mashup or work on new music and then be able to play it to 1000s of people… So I guess I love both. I am a lot more confident at DJing than producing and I don’t doubt myself at all when it comes to spinning decks but production is something that has a lot more skill to it. I don’t think you can ever learn enough as a producer and I still have a lot I want to learn.
This is a bit boring of question but I’m sure that the aspiring young producers want to know the details on your DJ kit and studio, what do you use to produce?
I use Logic Pro & Ableton Live 8 across 2 studios including my own. Every crazy sound you hear is a repitched/edited sample or from a plugin/vst. Never needed to use any hardware in any of my productions…yet!
What’s your relationship with social media?
Apparently I am the most viral dj on Snapchat and Facebook, well, my videos … the amount of likes against the amount of followers I have is the biggest interaction, someone told me! So I do my own social media and if you see something rad it’s normally me , tho,it’s very hard because I tour so much… but I like to have a really good interaction with my fans to make them feel what they read it’s truthful, without that I would not have stood where i am now.
What about your Headfuck brand?
Obviously it’s a bit controversial, very rock n’ roll, I‘ve been doing the Headfuck tour around the world but I am concentrating right now on my Ben Nicky Solo show. Especially in the UK we are selling out all my shows, I really appreciate the support, I want to start doing it like a concert bringing vocalists on stage you know… I wanna just do it more in the UK and spread the concept worlwide…It takes time but I am working on it.
What do you love to do in your spare time ?
I go to the gym as you can see ..haha no, joking, tattooes, as you can see, …it sounds crazy cause I have a very rock star image but when i am at home I just walk the dog ,relax, sleep, just chill, eat good things, go to the cinema…just relaxing things.