Hailing from Montpellier, Nightdrugs has been part of numerous collaborations throughout his career, all of which have enhanced and expanded his production style: combining elements of early ‘00s UK house and mid ’80s funk. His ‘GFunk’ EP is a brilliant example of this concoction that makes Nightdrugs' style so distinguishable.
It was his long time friend DJ Mago, label boss of Radio Los Santos based in Montpellier, who introduced him to Realitycheck. This young producer has a wide range of influences – all the way from Steve Reich to rave culture – resulting in music that oscillates between raw, introspective house and Detroit-esque “dance floor killers”.
2015 was a decisive year for both two artists, as they decided to collaborate with one common goal in mind: maintaining their own musical style while creating new sounds, a sort of symbiosis rather than a compromise. The result, ’Nightcheck’, is an EP that breathes the best of what house music has to offer. RCNG have been able to put their creations to the test at several events, and will continue to do so “as long as the energy and coherence are there”.
In anticipation of their 'Debut EP', which is streaming below, we caught up with the Montpellier based duo for a chat about Hed Kandi, working together as opposed to collaborating via file sharing, and how the south of France plays a part in their shared project.
Hi guys, tell us more about RCNG – how did this project arise?
NG: “In real life. More precisely, we met at DJ Mago's place, when Radio Los Santos used to stream DJ sets. After mixing together and getting to know each other, we realised that our musical tastes were similar, as were our production styles. We started jamming at Pierre's place, and it worked out well!”
What were your inspirations for the project?
NG: “Musically, whatever we've always been into. For me it's soulful UK house from the ‘00s, the sort of stuff you'd hear on Hed Kandi or Ministry of Sound releases. This was a big part of my musical education, and made me want to explore other areas of electronic music.”
RC: “I’d say that we didn't have any particular inspiration in mind while we were producing these tracks, as Paul just said, we each have a wide range of tastes from techno to ambient to jazz. For this EP we mainly started with a certain synth, percussion, or vocal we liked. This often led us to create full tracks by starting with one small element. We try not to overthink things, to avoid slipping into a routine and overproducing everything.”
What have you got in store for the future ?
NG: “More music! We've got demos that just need to be finished and released. I'm working on a project with an R&B vocalist from Montpellier. We're also going to continue developing the label, Radio Los Santos, through new releases and a monthly radio show, all of which you can find on our Soundcloud.”
RC: “RCNG is about going beyond what we're used to doing, so nothing is off the cards, we might even go beyond the frame of club music. In any case, we haven't ruled out the idea.”
In what way have your personal experiences influenced your collaboration?
RC: “We're lucky enough to have different tastes that bring a lot to the table, and that also overlap enough to make the project possible. On some points our different preferences and past experience give us two different visions of something, and we make sure not to make 50/50 compromises, which give boring and indecisive results. The goal wasn't to make a sort of mix between Nightdrugs and Realitycheck, but rather to create a new common identity, different to our personal projects. That was key to explore new horizons and to step out of our comfort zones.”
NG: “In the end it's a question of measure. You need to know how to step back from time to time, which isn't always easy when you're used to producing alone. So your experience and temperament have to take a back seat. You need to trust the person you're collaborating with, even if you don't always see what they're trying to create straight away. On the other hand, it's important to express if you're not happy with something, and hope the person you're working with will do the same with you.”
How do two people create an EP together? You must have spent a lot of time working as a pair, isn't that quite demanding?
RC: “Not really, the most difficult thing is to find time to work together. We started this project working together in the same room, and not sending each other files from a distance. So our workflow revolves around “sessions”, and that takes more time than if we each worked on our own side and then put everything together. Our tracks came about very naturally and surprisingly quickly, we want to keep that spontaneity going, that's what makes them feel fresh. We only went over them for a second time for the arrangement. In the end, we appreciate the music we create in the same way. We produce rather quickly and let some time pass until we release it. In the case of this EP, we produced everything last spring! The wait is long but necessary for us to step back and listen objectively, and decide whether a track is worth releasing or not. The time spent deciding what to do with a track is in itself much longer than the production process.”
How do you find living in the south of France, do you enjoy it?
NG: “Ah, tough question. The south of France is not a homogenous place, Toulouse and Marseille are worlds apart. Here in Montpellier, we're in the middle of a lot of different influences as it's not a very big city. The south is great when you live close to a TGV (high-speed train) line. If not, you're bound to be more or less isolated. The weather here definitely puts you in a good mood, even Monday morning on your way to work. Also, we're from here so we've got a soft spot for the area.”
RC: “It's true that it's more difficult to organise events, and to find good spots to go out here in Montpellier than it is in Paris for example. Even if it can be a burden, being in a smaller city has has its advantages, and you're not in the middle of the Parisian struggle. I've lived in the very north of France, and the south certainly has its benefits. Also, being close to Toulouse is great, we have quite a few friends over there such as the Folklore crew and Grand Boulevard. I played there a few weeks ago, it's a bustling dynamic city with really friendly crews!”
RC's five all-time favourite tracks
Wax 20002 (B-side)
Call Super Migrant
Delroy Edwards 4 Club Use Only
Drexciya Andreaen Sand Dunes
Oneohtrix Point Never 'Rifts'
NG's five all-time favourite tracks
The Jones Girls Nights Over Egypt
ESP It’s You
Doc Daneeka feat. Seven Davis Jr I Promise
Machinedrum Now U Know Tha Deal 4 Real
Romain & Danny Krivit feat. Linda Clifford Philly Groove (Joey Negro's Philly Jump Mix)
RCNG's 'Debut' EP is out now (buy).