If you've set foot inside an Australian nightclub in the last five years, chances are you probably got down to a Nick Galea remix. His resume covers the entire spectrum of dance - from the commercial (RAEN's "Honey" comes to mind) to the edgier stuff like Bertie Blackman's "Thump". More recently, he jazzed up - to use technical DJ lingo - Chris Sorbello's "So Lonely" and scored another top 10 club hit for his efforts. I guess it was only a matter of time before Nick started to gain recognition as an artist in his own right. His instrumentals are hugely popular with dance aficionados but "I Believe" could be the crossover hit he's been patiently working towards. A collaboration with the lovely Amba Shepherd (easily one of the country's most underrated vocalists), the track has already rocketed to #3 on the Club Chart and is currently being trimmed down for radio. Nick kindly took the time to talk to me about "I Believe" as well as his favourite DJs and the state of dance music in Australia.
Nick, you’ve built a reputation as one of Australia’s hottest DJs over the past five years. What prompted you to record a more commercial crossover single like “I Believe”?
Thanks for the kind words man. To answer your question, I want a Ferrari. No, I’m kidding (laughs)! There comes a time in every artist's life where increasing the quality of your productions pretty much forces you to move in that direction. As an artist’s fanbase builds and their name is exposed to people far and wide, from places in the world that they had previously never heard of, all it really takes is some decent production for a crossover track to emerge. I don’t believe that any artist sits in the studio with the intention of creating a crossover single at all, it just comes together naturally.
How did you hook up with the amazing Amba Shepherd? She’s so underrated!
Amba had heard some of the productions that I’d done previously and she said she really liked the sounds that I was using. One day over MySpace she got in contact with me, I had a listen to her voice and I quickly found out how amazingly talented she is. From there I emailed her a few instrumentals and consequently we’ve now got a few collaborations in the works. After “I Believe”, expect to hear some piano house music with a track we have together called “In My Life”. It’s sounding really good and hopefully - touch wood - it will do big things.
Tell us more about the song. Does “I Believe” have a story/message or is it just meant to get your arse on the dance floor?
It’s pretty funny because there is a little bit of a story behind the track. Originally “I Believe” was titled “Jasmine” and was going to be released on a flower-themed EP alongside my last release “Rose” (featured on the Global Communications EP). As I listened more and more to “I Believe”, the instrumental version, I realised that the tune would sound great with a vocal. One thing led to another, Amba got in touch with me and she had free reign in regards to whatever direction she wanted to take the lyrics. She’s a real talent and in the chorus incorporated the words “I Believe”. So with that, the title was changed.
Who is remixing "I Believe"? Will there be a video?
Initial remixes come from well-respected Dutch artists Bassjackers & Ralvero and Jono Fernandez, who’s originally from Melbourne but is now based in Sydney. In the week beginning April 12th, an updated package came out with a huge remix from one of Sweden’s biggest artists at the moment, Avicii. That will be accompanied by a club remix of “I Believe” by yours truly. At this stage there’s no video, but if we’ve hit the nail on the head with the track and it becomes popular anything is possible.
Do you listen to a lot of commercial dance music? If so, who are your favourite acts?
I do listen to a lot of dance music, but most of the time it’s not really commercial stuff. At the moment I’m really into European artists Axwell, Avicii and Australians Hook N Sling. They’re all absolutely killing it in my opinion. If I’m listening to music which leans towards a more mainstream kind of sound, it is normally artists such as Goldfrapp, Miike Snow, The Presets and The Temper Trap. In my eyes, these bands are the benchmark at the moment when it comes to making consistently good mainstream music.
The genre is experiencing something of a revival in Australia with the ongoing chart domination of David Guetta as well as surprise hits like Luciana’s “I Like That”. Do you think the trend is likely to continue? Will we ever return to the glory days of the 90s when club tracks would crossover regularly to radio?
I think the line has become blurred. Dance music is the new pop music. You’ll never hear a ten minute long underground tech-house instrumental bomb ever making it onto radio. Today’s generation is a fast-food nation and they want everything to be upfront, fast-paced and all over in three minutes. If you listen to a lot of older dance tracks they would go for between eight and fifteen minutes. These days you rarely see a club track longer than eight minutes and only the big guys can pull it off like Deadmau5 with “Strobe” and Eric Prydz with “RYMD 2010”. So yeah, I think the trend is set to continue.
What is the best remix you’ve ever done?
It’s a hard one to say because every new remix that I do automatically becomes my new favourite. From a commercial perspective, the remix that I did for Kaz James’ “Breathe” a few years ago now did really well with it going all the way to number one on the ARIA Club Charts. My personal favourite remix at the moment would have to be my remix of emerging Dutch guys East & Young’s “Reveal”, which is scheduled for release on Hussle Australia (Ministry of Sound). It’s my favourite because, in my opinion, melody is finding its way back into dance music. This particular remix replicates my thoughts and I hope when it comes out other DJ’s agree with me.
I’ve saved my hardest hitting question for last. Are the ARIA Club Charts rigged?
No, the ARIA Club Charts are not rigged and it’s normally a good indication of the tracks that are doing the rounds within clubs across Australia. The chart is controlled by something like 300 individual ARIA DJ’s a week, all of whom have their own preferences on dance music’s sub-genres. You can’t control things like DJ’s supporting their favourite producers more than others, but no matter what, if a production is a good tune it will inevitably climb the charts.
You can download the remixes of "I Believe" from iTunes and Beatport. A single version/radio edit is on the way. In the meantime, check out the full club mix below.