When Singaporean Eddie Niguel opened for Bulgarian DJ, KiNK, earlier in May, revelers embraced him like how they would an international headliner. Don’t take my word for it; listen to the recording of his set during Midnight Shift’s party at Velvet Underground (embedded in the interview).
The humble DJ-producer isn’t one who just stepped out from bedroom DJing. After 15 years of tearing up dancefloors, he just doesn’t throw his weight around.
Having released a remix under German stalwarts M.A.N.D.Y., Booka Shade and DJ T’s label, Get Physical, 3 years ago, the techno and house DJ went on to drop more remixes for Japan’s Nohashi Records and English label, 20 Klicks Records. But that’s just a little something-something. With 2012 coming to a close, it has been a stellar year for the man.
I caught up with the good chap and discussed about his signing to homegrown label Midnight Shift and iconic English producer, Danny Howell’s label, Dig Deeper, his well-received body of work, and his upcoming debut at ZoukOut.
You’ve released some acclaimed works this year: ‘Absolute’ and ‘Paths’ on Midnight Shift’s ‘First Shift EP’ and your very own ‘Sequential EP’ out soon. Did you make a conscientious effort to push yourself a level forward in 2012?
“Acclaimed” is not often a word used to describe my work, and no, it wasn’t a conscientious effort on my part. While the public has only just picked up on my releases, it does take awhile for labels to physically put these out. Sometimes, it takes more than a year or so as vinyl releases is a whole other process altogether. So it's purely a coincidence that both releases were scheduled to be out this year.
For your tracks on ‘First Shift EP’, Resident Advisor mentioned that "its directness draws listeners in". XLR8R calls it "raw". Germany’s De:Bug magazine said that "the entire EP was perfect". Ibiza-Voice compared you to Omid 16B and that while ‘Paths’ "will get listeners hooked, ‘Absolute’ would appeal to DJs and dancefloors".
I'm really happy that the reviews were very positive. You know, as a producer you can only hope what you do will be well received and that it resonates with your audiences.
To be compared to Omid 16B -- I’m not sure if your readers are familiar with him -- but he is one of the top producers in the UK and one hell of a DJ too. I’m flattered. ‘Paths’ and ‘Absolute’ are actually two very different tracks in my opinion, the only thing that they have in common is the approach. They were both captured in moments, unplanned, honest and from the heart. This is my approach to all the music that has my name on it. It's personal.
Eddie Niguel ‘Paths’, ‘Absolute’ and ‘This Isst It’ (Snippets)
How does it feel to have ‘Absolute’ played on Heidi’s BBC Radio 1 show?
Chuffed! It's Radio 1, the lovely Heidi plus a Steve Bug installment. It made my day.
You also put out a bonus track, ‘This Isst It’, prior to the release of the EP. XLR8R said that "it balances intensity with dreamy gloss". Does that best reflect your general style of music?
Not at all, it reflects just a small part of my music style.
You once said that “It's tough when they (labels) tell you it's not good enough especially when you have just spent the entire week or month working on something… ” It’s been 15 years since you first DJed and six since you started remixing, do you think any of these rejections and setbacks reflect in your productions?
I can handle rejections and setbacks. You get that a lot early on in your career. I think it's a phase every producer goes through. Music has always primarily been an outlet for me to express my thoughts so naturally it does creep into the process somehow. I hope when you buy my music, you get the feeling that you're not only just buying a record but there's more to it. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
Eddie Niguel Live at Midnight Shift’s Party, Velvet Underground, Zouk
How have Midnight Shift impacted your musical career?
I can't say enough good things about the Midnight Shift label. They have worked really hard to promote my music and for that I am thankful. But I think it's a little early to tell how much of an impact it will have on my music career if any. One thing is for sure, you will be hearing more of me on the label in the near future.
You were also recently signed to Danny Howell's Dig Deeper label. That’s quite a step forward isn’t it?
Yes indeed! I mean, it's Danny Howells; the guy is legendary. The story is the same with most I’d think: sending out demos to countless record labels and hoping that someone will sign it up. There's nothing planned at the moment but I do have a single ('LIFE') which will be featured on the next Dig Deeper compilation and a remix for Andreas Saag (a Scandinavian producer) due out later next year.
Eddie Niguel ‘Sequential EP’
On Dig Deeper, you’ll be putting out a digital release of your ‘Sequential EP’ come 7 December . Oddly enough, you’ll be making your debut at ZoukOut the day after. Have Christmas come early for you?
Yes, Christmas did come early for me and not just because of music but other personal developments as well. I think this year have been one of the best years of my life. I hope this is not the peak of my music career as that would be a shame. My best has yet to come.
You will be one of the few non-Zouk resident DJs playing at ZoukOut. What will you be throwing down at the Localized Tent?
As I am playing under the Midnight Shift banner, you can expect something similar to my last outing for them (at Velvet Underground) if you attended the party. Considering this is a festival and not a club gig, I will be making a few tweaks to my DJ set, but rest assure I will be firing on all cylinders.
Eddie Niguel will be playing on Day 2 of ZoukOut at the Localized Tent on Dec 8 from 1am onwards.The 12th installment of the dance music festival will kick start on Dec 6 at Zouk featuring Avicii with the next two days taking place at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. Tickets are priced from $88 to $158 from Sistic.
Entertainment writer Zul Andra (@zulandra) has his finger on Singapore’s nightlife and drinking pulse. He has also interviewed hundreds of local and international artists in the last five years from the likes of Carl Cox and Lamb of God to BBC TV presenter Simon Reeve. Previously a staff writer and web editor at I-S magazine, he currently writes for major hyper-local publications, The New Paper and inSing.com. Having expanded his reach regionally with articles in Travel + Leisure and Scoot in-flight magazine, he is also considered a respected opinion-maker with columns in JUICE and Esquire. His work has appeared in TODAY, Time Out Singapore, Nylon and ZIGGY, and maintains an award-nominated blog, Kiss My Culture.