Catching Up With Nickodemus

Nickodemus is a DJ, producer, and world traveler. He also started Turntables On The Hudson, a weekly party in Manhattan, that has moved from parking garages to lofts, boats, and many other venues around the city over the past two decades, and have popped up in Cairo, Barcelona, and Playa del Carmen.

A native New Yorker, Nickodemus is rooted in club music, creating music and remixes from all parts of the world, from international dub and downtempo to house and electronic. He’s collaborated on remixes for Bob Marley, Nina Simone, and Mr. Scruff, to name a few. He regularly releases music through Wonderwheel Recordings, and has a new album, A Long Engagement, releasing on May 4th.

We caught up with Nickodemus ahead of his March 31st set at Public Works and asked him a few questions, so check it out.

What got you into DJing?
At an early age I fell in love with Hip Hop music I was hearing on the radio. It all happened very fast from the music and the graffiti all over the city, to figuring out how to move a record back and forth to make the wiggy wiggy sound.

How did you get started, and where was the first place you ever played?

My pops lent me a bunch of his old records including Earth Wind and Fire, Santana, Fania All-stars, Manu Dibango, Creative Source, Chic. We had the family stereo until I was 12 and my brother got a deal to buy a car with a pair of belt driven Gemini turntables and a mixer in the trunk. He gave them to me and it was the best feeling in the World to finally be able to explore the mixing and scratching I’ve been so closely studying from recording Red Alert and Marly Marl mixes off the radio.

You have a new album, A Long Engagement, coming out on May 4th. Tell us a little bit about it! What inspired the album?

A Long Engagement represents this long engagement in music and club culture as well as the long engagement with many people I’ve collaborated with along the way.

As a producer, I’ve been making music since 1996, but still feel like I’m in the engagement phase, not fully married. One day when I stop the insane tour schedule, you’ll see a lot more musical ideas come out from the studio.

What are some new tunes that you’re really excited about?

I always like the summary tunes, the ones that really carry the concept or theme. “Will You Still Be Here” features The Real Live Show and The Pimps of Joytime. I’ve been working with both of them for many years and feel like we all get each other so well when making music. If I ever produced a film, I already know they’d have a big part in it. “Inmortales (Body Move)” is a very exciting one because it happened so quick and instinctively with the vocal group Fémina who I had just met in Quantic’s studio. The song’s about humankind and respecting and reflecting each other. You can hear our Hip Hop influences over this funky Turkish inspired groove recorded with The Spy from Cairo (Oud) and Gitkin (guitar, bass).

You’re on the road a lot, so what do you to relax while on tour? Conversely, what do you do when you’re home and not playing shows?

I like to get out in nature a lot, especially by water. This helps ground me almost as much as eating a good pizza or listening to old-school Hip Hop. That’s all I need, those 3 things and I’m over any jetlag and feeling right at home.

Where’s your favorite place to go in San Francisco? Any place you absolutely have to visit when you’re in town?

Yes, I go straight to Revolution Cafe in the Mission to meet the friends. Revolution has an old-school East Village NYC feeling I love and we usually plot our moves from there over a drink and some good live music and conversation. And if there’s an Afrolicious or house night at Public Works going on, I highly recommend swinging by these SF institutions.

Nickodemus plays with Groovewell DJs in the Loft at Public Works on Saturday, March 31. Get your tickets here.