Meeting up with music producer and DJ Nicole Moudaber at IMS 2017
While walking around IMS 2017, we had a chat with music producer and DJ Nicole Moudaber to discuss gender equality in the dance industry and her experience as a female artist in a male-driven and male-dominated scene. She also told us about her upcoming projects for this summer as she’ll be embarking on a massive US tour and shared her tips for coping with lack of sleep while touring and more generally for staying sane in a hectic working environment. She ended up with a message of hope towards aspiring DJs and producers as she stressed the importance to follow your dreams, no matter what.
1. Hey Nicole, can you introduce yourself?
I’m Nicole Moudaber, I come from the UK. I’m a music producer and a DJ performer.
2. You play techno right?
I play house and techno and everything in between. I’m a music lover so I play everything.
3. So this year IMS is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. How many times have you been here?
They invited me last year and this year. It is a big honour to be invited to IMS twice in a row, and especially to be part of the 10th Anniversary. This year, I was also invited to be an Ambassador of the AFEM [Association for Electronic Music].
4. Can you tell after two years that IMS has actually done something for you?
It has actually. Especially through being involved in the panels; they are interesting to me because we tackle many issues and subjects and we all work together to move forward - tackling all the problems in the industry, whether it is between the agents, the promoters, the clubbers or the artists. Last year, I took part in two panels - the Diversity panel and the Richie Hawtin panel for Art & Technology. This year, I’m invited to the Clubland in Crisis panel, discussing the current problems clubland faces - I’m joining many promoters from around the world, and I’m the only artist in there so I will be giving my point of view on things as well.
5. The IMS is trying to tackle issues and solve problems among the dance industry. One of the issues they tackle dealt with gender equality. Actually, they aim at doubling the number of female headliners by 2020. As a female artist in the industry, have you ever experienced any gender inequality throughout your career?
Not at all to be honest. I don’t see a difference in our business between men and women and to me it’s just whether the man or the woman wants to do this job or not. It seems that more and more women want to do this job and at the end of the day, it is a matter of choice. I have worked hard to headline many festivals around the world. I host my own stage at EDC [Electric Daisy Carnival] New York and Las Vegas, so no I don’t see the problem honestly. As I said, we have to figure out whether women want to do this job because it is not an easy one: it’s very lonely and tough. It requires a lot of travelling as well as being away from home, friends and family so it is definitely a choice at the end of the day
6. Taking IMS as an example, we feel like the ratio is about 5 guys to 1 girl, so we believe it is not just about the artists but also the whole industry that is male-driven and male-dominated. Where do you think it comes from and what’s your opinion about it?
This is exactly what I’m saying. It lacks women on the scene but we are seeing more and more women doing this job and the proof is me. There are more and more women willing to do this job but it’s tough as an artist. I don’t have a private life, I’m always on the road and not every woman wants it. It is true for men as well: not every man wants this life so it is what it is. Moreover I don’t think there is any kind of inequality in this section at all because at the end of the day it is all about the music, whether the music is good and whether the person is dedicated and passionate. It is all about the will and motivation, the person has to make it part of their life.
7. So you don’t really see that there’s an inequality?
I don’t personally speaking.
8. Taking your tour in Asia as an example, it is a completely different subject there. For instance in China or in Thailand, there are so many female DJs, why do you think it is very popular over there and not over here?
Maybe it’s linked to culture - the Asian culture is all about harmony, equality, balance and I guess they are way ahead compared to us on these issues. I’ve been going to Asia for three solid years to have my holidays there and I’ve seen so much serenity, calm and equilibrium. I believe we should learn from them for sure.
9. Tell us about your upcoming summer and the season that is about to start, what do you have in store for the next 3-4 months?
I’ll be in and out of Ibiza the whole summer. I’m embarking on a big US tour, I’ve got my own stage at EDC Las Vegas, which is my second Mood branded festival stage. I hosted the first one last year in New York at EDC, it is called MoodZONE and I’m also doing another one in California in the end of October. I’ll also be doing MoodZONE in Munich this summer at Utopia Island festival so things are looking great for me this year. I’m hoping to have some time to work on my own album by end of the year.
10. So you’re planning on a new album?
Yes I have to but it takes time. It’s a personal journey so I’m hoping to get that done eventually.
11. Can you tell us more about the album you have planned. What kind of style will it be and what direction will it take?
I will go for something a little bit different this time. I will do a bit of chill out and lounge, the kind of thing I would play at home. It will be non-clubbing kind of vibes. When I went to Asia, I always listened to this kind of music during my time off. I like to chill and zone out in the sun and I really fancy soothing and trippy things so I’m just in that mood right now.
12. So it’s really to be an album to be listened to at home?
Yes, to play over and over without getting bored. It is challenging but this is the kind of thing that I want to do.
13. What gives you the inspiration for this?
The zen feeling and the equilibrium that I witnessed when I went to Bali and Thailand. I took time off for 2 months, I came back to myself and I think it is important because we tend to lose ourselves when working so hard, running around all the time and being busy with all the travels and the shows. It’s good to take some time off.
14. There was a panel here yesterday dealing with the issue of staying sane in the music industry. According to you, how does traveling can affect your mind and your body?
It does heavily affect your body and your mind. When I took that time off I had been on the road for two solid years without a break - I thought I was a machine but I’m not. I just needed to stop and cool down without living on three hours of sleep every day. It affects your body and your mind and in the end you end up not performing well.
15. How do you cope with stress and the lack of sleep?
It’s a good job that when I’m on the road, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t do drugs and I don’t do any of that. So I try to stay healthy as much as possible. Other than that, it’s a struggle to stay awake.
16. Do you have any last words?
I just would like to encourage women to follow their dreams, and if DJing or producing is what they want to do they should get out and do it. Same for men as well who are a bit scared to jump in. It’s not scary out there, just get out and follow your passion.
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