We've got a very special guest today - his name is Nick but you know him better as Moods.
The Rotterdam-based producer effortlessly balances between groovy & soulful electronica and chillhop and if you're following our platform, you know we've been fans of his solid production since 2015.
We chatted about what music means to him, the collaborations he's had, about future and past projects and he shared some of the most amazing stories we've heard in an interview. And to top that, Nick put together a lovely mix with some of his (and ours) favourite artists. Hit the play button while reading:
1. Moods & Two Another - Control
2. Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes - Last 100
3. Shibo - Things Are Good ft. Nick Dorian
4. Mac Ayres - Caught Up
5. Free Nationals - Apartement (Instrumental)
6. Melodiesinfonie - Fun
7. Free Nationals - The Rivington (Instrumental)
8. Tane - Take 2
9. I.N.T. - Working On It
10. Mk.gee - You
11. No Spirit & SAINT WKND - Changed My Mind
12. Kaelin Ellis - Justice
13. MXXWLL - Smoke W U ft. Aloe Blacc
14. Mndsgn - Browneez
15. Khruangbin - First Class
Hey Nick! What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Hey guys, thanks for having me. I always start my day with 0,5 liters of water with citrus to get the hydration going. After that, I made a shake with blueberries, banana, oats, oatmilk & coconut yogurt. Can recommend that one. Really good and healthy start of the day.
Thanks for crafting this amazing mix for us - any particular reason for the song selection?
My pleasure. Yes, this selection is a combination of fav’s, friends & stuff I have been listening to recently. I listen to a lot of music on a daily basis so there's always a lot to choose from, I kinda go with the ones I'm listening to atm & sit well together vibe-wise.
Kicking off with your newest piece that came out last week - "Control" with Two Another. Was this the natural next step after your remix of "Aiming Up”?
We got in touch on Instagram if I remember correctly, and started chatting about a remix. And that’s where the “Aiming Up” remix idea kinda started. Our sound really clicked well together and we both felt that so we decided we could do another tune as well & see how that goes. Not long after Eliot (Two Another) moved to Amsterdam so we started to hang out and did a few sessions, and that's how “Control” came together. So you could say it was a natural next step from the "Aiming Up" remix.
How did you decide to use the moniker "Moods"? Are you aiming to evoke various emotions?
I’ve had some funny music names in the past just because I was a clueless young kid. So before “Moods” there was "Nicks Beats” and I had my first radio featuring with that name. This was on a hip hop show in the US that mainly played out beats. Really dope show! Was a pretty big show as well in that time and some established beatmakers were being played there so this was a big deal for me. My track was played after an Oddisee beat. That was when he was coming up with the beat tapes, I think this was around 2005/2006. The host would introduce new artists on the show so he introduced me and he said: "This new guy we’re about the play is called Nicks Beats... Don't pay attention to the name because the beat is actually dope!" Funny how I remember this so clearly, lol! So that's when I knew it was bad and had to switch it up. And my music has always been about vibe/mood. So that was the name that connected best and I just went with that and got away with it. That's the story.
Please elaborate on your Twitter description "Music ruined my life.", haha.
Oh god, how can I explain this, haha. Well, first of all, it’s a joke, to me this was a pretty funny thing to say. Story is that one day I kinda realized how much I have offered for music. I’ve spent cooountless hours working my craft in music production not knowing what it will bring me. So at times, I would ask myself: Why am I spending so much time on this, why am I doing this? I would think and say to myself... yeah, music really ruined my life man... But in the end, I think it is just so important to have something like this. That obsession. And I'm sure if you spend enough time on something things will fall into place and start to make sense. Life lesson there! But I still stand behind my statement. Music ruined my life.
Do you play any instruments? And how would you explain to someone the magic of digital music production?
I play a bit of keys, good enough to write songs and figure it out. Learned that myself by just messing around on the keyboard. But you can really manipulate things in your music program. If you have a good ear you can really do a lot without knowing anything about music & theory. Another thing, AI is also in music production these days. You have plugins that can decide for you which chords work with the ones you made. Plugins that can mix & master your songs based on an algorithm. I think that’s the “magic" of digital music production. The process has been made so much easier over the years that it has become very accessible. For me, the magic of digital music production is to sound unique. And that is something you can figure out only by spending a lot of time doing that thing.
How did your debut album Zoom Out become what it became?
It was a project that I’d been working on for quite some time. I started late 2015 and I slowly gathered all tracks over the years & get the vocals in and mix them. I had around 60 demos that had watered down to the 14 tracks that are on the record. It was a process. Not always fun but worth the work. I learned a lot about mixing vocals and music in general. I’m still really proud of the record!
I have several absolutely favourite tracks from it - "Slow Down", "Get To Know You", "Awake in the Dark", etc. How did you get together with Damon Trueitt, Pip Millet & James Chatburn?
That's dope, thanks, man. We got in touch through social media / SoundCloud & management with most and just see what happens. I try to send demos asap to hopefully convince them. It’s always tricky but it worked out most times for Zoom Out.
With Pip we had the demo with vocals pretty much done. She flew over from the UK for a couple of days. We got in Kraak & Smaak’s studio to record the last bits and wrap things up. Really fun session & so talented.
Damon I got to know through the track he did with FKJ. After that, we started talking through SoundCloud and I sent him the "Slow Down" beat demo and went from there.
I met James at an event in Amsterdam where we both did a set. After that, we stayed in touch and worked on "Awake In The Dark".
So hyped to have worked with so many talented people on my debut. It’s a blessing for sure.
"Love Is Real" is your most famous track (at least according to the Spotify stats). What's your take on the chillhop music phenomenon?
"Love Is Real" is where it all started for me. Remember Majestic Casual reaching out to post it on their YouTube channel and it went off from there. Later on, I released it officially with Boogie Angst and Spotify caught up as well. My first track that really caught some attention. I think the power of beats like that and also Chillhop Music is that you don’t have to listen actively to it. It’s something you can put on and vibe to. It’s suitable for so many occasions. People really seem to connect with that these days.
I’ve got some crazy stories from people over the years about "Love Is Real". How it saved their life. Once a guy mailed to thank me because he met his wife because of "Love Is Real" through some forum because they both loved that song and they got married later on and played it on the wedding as the anthem. It was a long mail and it really hit me. You don’t know how important your song can be for someone. It’s a beautiful thing.
You're often teaming up with Yasper & Philanthrope - how's the chemistry there? I'm also curious, what's the exact process of putting those tracks together - who does what?
They are good friends of mine. So I'm hanging with them anyways and sometimes we just hop on a jam. For “Sofa Stories” Yasper & I wrote the songs together, Yasper played the guitar parts and we both mixed it. Very fun project to work and came together quickly. With Philanthrope it’s slightly different chemistry because we’re both producers and have our ways. So we both add out flavors to the mix with sounds & tricks and combine that and decide who will mix it in the end. Also really fun and interesting results.
What's the story of Boogie Angst and how's working with Kraak & Smaak?
Boogie Angst was the first label the signed me. Did my first release with them in 2015. The first steps of my career were made with them and it’s has been a great journey so far. More to come!
Did we miss out on something you wanted to talk about?
Just wanted to say there is a lot in the making so keep an eye out!