With the release of his upcoming Renaissance Masters Series compilation, Nick Warren once again displays an equal dexterity for soothing ambient as well as deep pure progressive styles. His first release for Renaissance in twelve years is similar to his Sound Garden radio show in its dynamic approach, and it rivals the finest moments of his Global Underground catalogue with its haunting, introspective textures. Data Transmission checked in with Nick to discuss what’s in the pipeline for his Hope Recordings label, tour plans with kindred spirit Hernan Cattaneo and what inspired him to deliver his twelfth- and possibly finest mix of his career.
You launched your new Masters Series album on the beach at ME Cancun on New Year’s Eve. How was the party?
It was great! ME Cancun is a very cool hotel. I am not overly keen on most of Cancun, but this is a gorgeous oasis on the beach there. We had a very cool crowd and I played through sunset which is always great to do by the ocean.
Which gigs are you looking forward to in 2013 as you begin to tour in support of the compilation?
There are going to be so many great shows this year. I am going back to Japan and India in February and then WMC in March. Some cracking shows throughout Europe and Brazil then back to Argentina in the summer.
It’s been twelve years since your last Renaissance offering, Revelation with Danny Howells. What made this the right time to reconnect with the label?
Yeah, it has been a long, long time. Geoff Oakes [Renaissance founder] and I are old pals so it was a pleasure to do a project together again.
As you began to go through the roughly 2500 pieces of music that were submitted to you for this compilation, what was the overall flavor or tone you were seeking?
CD1 as you know is a chilled affair- and it is always harder to source that material, but let’s talk about that later. CD2 is focused on the dance floor and I wanted to find tracks with a very current sound but still embraced my love for melody.
As you were selecting music, you road-tested some of the club tracks on your recent tour of Australia and New Zealand. Any memorable reactions?
They all went down really well. There is one particular track by Simplicity [‘Singing or Speaking’] which just destroyed the floors everywhere I played it.
Downtempo & ambient music have been key components of your identity. Given that you’re constantly preparing for club gigs, was it a challenge for you to get into the right ‘headspace’ to compile and mix the downtempo disc or was it perhaps a welcomed change of pace?
Yeah it is actually although with my bi-monthly Sound Garden show I always keep my finger on the pulse of the weird, wonderful and downtempo. But it does take a lot longer and is more difficult to find tracks of that genre which will fit what I am looking for. Thankfully we found some beauties.
One of the standout moments of CD1 is your own lush, percussive ‘Devil’s Elbow.’ Do you have any plans to release it as a single via your Hope Recordings label?
Ah thanks. Yes indeed, it will be coming out as a single. I’m doing a club mix alongside remixes by Max Cooper and Jozif. I am very proud of the whole package, and it is an honor to get these two talents to remix it.
Hope closed out 2012 by releasing Dubspeeka’s ‘Back to Basics’ mixes. What’s in the forecast for the label in 2013?
We have a whole load of new bits ready to go, including two new singles from me- ‘Devil's Elbow’ & ‘La Fabrica’ both out in the next couple of months.
Aside from Renaissance, you’ve produced mix albums for Balance, Back to Mine and of course Global Underground. This is actually your twelfth compilation album. What keeps the process fresh for you?
Honestly I always think I could do better so that inspires me to do another one when I am asked.
You mentioned recently that the process that goes into compiling a mix is one that “took you a while to get right.” How has your way of working evolved over the years?
I give it a lot of time and thought these days. Making sure it’s the right track for the right moment in the mix is vital. On the Balance album I placed one of the tracks in what I feel now is the wrong spot and it bugs me to hell.
When I spoke to Hernan Cattaneo back in November of last year, I asked him if you two ever discussed working together on new music and he told me “That is something that can happen anytime.” What are your thoughts on collaborating with Hernan? You two seem to be into very similar sounds these days.
Yeah, we are great friends and I respect Hernan so much. He is a true gentleman, and he has impeccable taste in music. Our back-to-back shows have been a huge success, and I am sure we will do something together in the studio soon.
Hernan mentioned that you’ll be playing together more in 2013 given the success of your B2B gigs last year at ADE as well as at Ministry of Sound, London and in Ibiza. Have you locked in any dates yet?
Looks like WMC will be on and a USA tour in May hopefully. Then we have some spectacular shows penciled in for the summer. More info soon...
With so much of your attention focused on this Masters Series compilation at the moment, have you had any time to connect with Jody and work on any new Way Out West material?
We are slowly working on it back and forth, and we’ll get in the studio together very soon. It is all sounding very good I am pleased to say!
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