A mighty girl from Thailand who provoked a techno revolution in her country and then allured to Berlin, Ibiza and all corners of the global scene. A top artist who electrifies the dance floors with her infectious energy, impeccable mixing and uncompromised selection of percussive grooves. Endlessly talented, purely self-made, contagiously passionate, internationally praised – this is Nakadia, one of the most wanted female DJs today. Nakadia carries her unstoppable energy since childhood, while growing up in Isaan -the poor Thai countryside. Various jobs led her to a first trip to Europe in 2002 where she encountered Techno. A turbulent journey began. She devoted herself to find the perfect sonic fuse. Gigs on the island of Koh Samui launched her internationally within the shortest amount of time. Crafting her techy sound without any guidance, in the country marked by mainstream only, she pioneered the rise of the underground, conquering the rest of the world simultaneously.
Tell us about how you first got into dance music and where – what labels and parties excited you?
For me it was one night that changed my life. At the time I was living in Thailand and I got invited to Europe by a friend (who is now still my manager). On my first night he took me to a club to see DJ Marusha play; she was a very famous German techno DJ at the time. That night really changed my life, I knew immediately that this was what I was looking for. I wanted to be a DJ! The next day I went to a record shop totally clueless about genres or artists, I just went by ear. I bought two records (Mauro Picotto and Svenson & Gielen), bought turntables and took it all back with me to Thailand. For the following months I had no exposure to electronic music. I only had a few records that I took from Europe which I practiced beat matching with. It took a long time to find my way to the music that I really loved as I had no influence around me.
How long until you started DJing and making music? What gear did you use? How long did it take to find your own sound?
The DJing started right after my first contact with the music. I even started touring within one year. I think in my first year as a DJ (2003) I toured 9 countries. In that year I moved to Koh Samui and started playing some parties for the tourists there. Every night I played I got offers from other DJs or bookers who were at the party and loved my sound, but it took until 2008 to really find my own sound and style. All this time I only played vinyl. Producing also started around 2008 and I spent half of the year in Berlin to being learning how to use Ableton Live with my friends there.
Have you always been interested in underground music from the get-go? Are there any other genres you also enjoy on the regular?
When I was in Thailand, I listened to mainstream music. After my first visit to Europe, I focused on trance since my manager is a big fan of trance. He asked me if I liked this genre and took me to trance clubs. I loved it; it was new and exciting. But later, I discovered DJ Timo Mass while he was performing in a city in Germany. I felt more connected to his music because of the slower BPM (beats per minute). I was curious about the genre, so I started to research and learn more about it. From that point on, my life had changed entirely. This was my world now.
How did you decide on your stage name ‘Nakadia’? Could you tell us about that?
There is no actual meaning behind it. I just kept playing with words. See, my first name is Seephrai. When I started out, Sebastian wanted to create a website and tried to name it Ladyseephrai.com. I told him he couldn’t use that; I don’t like my name since it’s so very Thai. I want it in my passport, but I don’t really want people to know me by that. [Laughing] While I was at an internet cafe, I kept typing random words until I arrived at Nakadia. It sounds like “Dear naka”, which has a bit of a Thai ring to it. “I’m dear to everyone naka.” – something like that.
You just made your debut with Reinier Zonneveld’s excellent Filth On Acid label, tell us about that?
This EP was my solo debut, as I had a track with Citizen Kain on Filth on Acid before. I met Reinier last summer at Mystic Garden Festival in Amsterdam and I gave him the tracks. I am very happy about this EP and it is doing quite well, so I hope it won’t be the last one.
And of the three tracks on the EP, do you have a favourite? One that’s been doing well in your sets maybe?
The three track are all quite different and I still can’t pick a favourite. Moonwalk is a real peaktime track that makes the dancefloors go crazy. It works all the time and everywhere. Synaptic Wave also works similar, but it’s a much more special track. This one is a track that probably can still be played 10 years from now. And finally Shiver -the only one that didnt make the Techno top100 on Beatport. But still, this one is the favourite of many of the biggest names in the industry. It’s more underground and still makes dancefloors go wild. I cant really pick my favourite, but if I would have to I think it would be Synaptic Wave.
On the subject of DJing, you’ve played many of the worlds most important clubs and festivals now, tell us about an experience that blew your mind?
I played over 1600 gigs around the world so far and it is always very hard to choose the special ones. Of course – many years ago it was the performance at Berlin Loveparade, last year it was probably Tomorrowland, but one of my all-time best experiences was just now! Two weeks ago at Rainbow Serpent Festival in Australia. This Festival in the desert is quite unique and the people are really making it stand out. The dancefloor has such a great vibe, even at times, it has over 40 degrees Celsius in the shadow. The music on the massive Funktion One systems never stops for over 100 hours! Playing to a dancefloor of over 10,000 people that are truly into the music – that really blew my mind.
And are there any events coming up this year that you can’t wait to get to?
As always I am looking forward to the Ibiza season. I will probably play more than 10 gigs there and most of all I am looking forward to my nights at the Zoo Project. The location and the vibe are very special and are the best Ibiza experience one can have. Besides that I am very much looking forward to Mystic Garden Festival in Amsterdam – once again, a festival with an amazing crowd and atmosphere and it’s always a highlight in the annual calendar!
We read that you’ll be releasing with Carl Cox and Jon Rundell’s Intec Digital label this year, how did that come about?
It was quite funny. I was in Carl’s DJ booth last summer in Ibiza, but I didn’t want to disturb him, so I gave a stick with my music to my friend that works for Resistance. In the morning after the party, I bumped into Carl outside the club and he shouted: “Naka, I got your stick” while holding it up in the air. It took 2 months, but then I received the mail that he wanted to sign two tracks. These tracks where actually in high demand, I had more labels that all wanted these two, but finally, they will be released on June 14th with Intec.
Anything else you want to mention before we go?
Thank you for the opportunity! And I would like to ask the readers to stay open minded and listening to music with an open ear. Today’s clubbing and DJ industry are getting ruled by massive cooperations that try to tell you what you have to like. Now we are seeing the system of the EDM world taking over the techno world and that’s not healthy for the scene at all. The music should do the talking and not the money.