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Nicky Night Time

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Nick Routledge, Van She’s frontman reborn as house producer Nicky Night Time takes some downtime from his chill-out trip to Rome to talk about his solo project with ZOE KILBOURN.

“I’ve been getting videos from all my friends around the world, saying, ‘Oh, your song’s playing at a party’,” he says, of runaway success Everybody Together.

“I don’t know if it’s weird necessarily, but it’s nice. Van She’s very considered, very democratic. Being able to call all the shots myself is quite liberating.”

Van She have been kicking around for over a decade, making electropop grounded in ‘80s synths and tropicana (see their 2012 record, Idea Of Happiness). Bandmate Michael di Francesco (as Touch Sensitive) has had a lot of solo success, as has founding member Matt Van Schie (as it turns out, with a hard ch).

“Obviously, when you say Routledge, it doesn’t roll off the tongue so much,” he laughs, when asked about the band’s obvious surname reference. “We didn’t know what to call the band. Matt told us that his surname means ‘of the river Schie’ in Dutch, and we were like – if we took the Van and added She, it would be ‘of women’.

‘Music on the side’ doesn’t really do it justice – it’s something Nick’s been dedicated to since teenagehood. “I kinda went over to the UK and worked in a few studios after high school, and I got into Djing when I was over in the UK, ’98, ’99. Then I started writing dance music and came back when I was 25 – I was sick of working for the man, I guess. Started Van She and the rest is kind of history, really.”

Breaking into the London music industry as a high schooler is a pretty massive leap to make, but Nick shrugs it off. “I don’t know, I just kind of got into music and the logical transition was the UK. My dad was British, and he just told me to go overseas, get a job. I literally walked round every studio in Soho and knocked on their door. I think I got the job initially because someone mistook me for somebody else.”

It’s pretty clear that his music career is no back-up plan or fluke. Nick has already got a game plan sorted for the next decade.

“I’m aiming to be a DJ/producer, and I’ve always got ideas for the live show.  I guess I want to be that producer guy for the next ten years. I’ve also got another project I’m not going to tell you about yet – that’s going to be the other part of Nicky Night Time, which is gonna come in five years’ time. It’s a long-term plan, which is exciting.”

“I’ve always been into production as Nicky Van She, and Van She Technologic. In terms of production it’s not really new for me, but in terms of creating my solo identity it’s been great.  I had a bunch of tracks on my laptop that I go back to every now and then, and I had one track I made when I was stuck at Johannesburg Airport for eight hours during a layover. I got back and showed it to — from the One Love imprint, and said that this was music I did on the side.”

“I like being in those situations where everyone’s around and you don’t know anybody – you kind of go into an airport lounge with a glass of wine and just work. After I started, I was four hours down – I kind of get addicted to it. I don’t mind being in those pressured situations. I like being able to push myself.”

Technology (in all its free-associative buzzword glory) is the big Push. “For my new single, I went down the other route and wrote the vocals from scatch. For Everybody Together, I found all these samples of this guy talking, and pitched them up and down and spliced them together – all those words in Everybody Together aren’t actually from the same sentence. For this new single, I’ve been working with this girl called Nat over Skype from LA – I sent her the track, we went through the vocals together, going back and forth – she’d record something and send it through to my computer, and then we’d chat about it. I love technology like this – there’s such a weird techno. Tech. Like hackers, almost.”