On her return to Thailand after a stunning Australian debut, we spoke to the talented Nakadia about her global success, work ethic and friendship with a certain Mr Sven Vath...
Nakadia: It was my first time in Australia and I was very surprised! I only knew Australian people with beer T-shirts listening to EDM on the beach in Thailand haha. I didn’t expect Australia to be so cool and friendly. I landed in Sydney on the Friday and after 30 hours of travel I played the same night at a sold out WeLove party that was so intense and overwhelming! I didn’t feel tired at all - it was an amazing experience!
RR: Sure was. How does playing in Australia compare to playing in your homeland of Thailand?
Nakadia: The biggest difference is that techno is very new for most Thai people. Every time I play there are “virgins” on the dance floor that come to check out techno for the first time. It’s my pleasure to make them addicted! Australian dance floors are more educated and people know what to expect. On the other hand, many people in Australia don’t know Nakadia yet, so it’s a challenge for me to prove myself.
RR: On the 20th of January, you’ll be doing a massive gig with the legendary Sven Vath in Thailand and have done so before – has he been an influence for you?
Nakadia: Yes, he has - in many ways. I always loved the way he builds his sets... crossing genres and telling a story. I hate flat sets that go nowhere and Sven is a legend in terms of storytelling. This is what I learned from him musically, hut he has also been a great teacher in terms of staying healthy with this job. When you have long nights, little sleep and hundreds of flights each year, what you put in your body and at which time is very important. Sven is a master in this field as well.
RR: You were also a member of the ANTS colony in Ibiza – tell us how that came about.
Nakadia: In 2013 I played my first gig at Sankeys Ibiza and I managed to make the room go crazy. The next day was ANTS at Ushuaia and a friend tried to get me in for free. We were waiting at the gate when the manager passed by and immediately recognised me as “the girl that rocked Sankeys”! Before I knew it, he’s taking me to meet Yann, the founder of Ushuaia and ANTS and I’m invited on the spot to join the ANTS family. Definitely one of the best moments of my career! The first gig they gave me was to check me out but the second night I played at peak time - for 8000 people, and live streamed on Ibiza Sonica. I still have goosebumps when I think of it! Unfortunately in 2016, ANTS changed and went for a full UK-booking concept. Since then I moved to the Zoo project where I am very happy. This year I will play 5 nights for the Zoo Project but I will also join Elrow, which has become the biggest event in Ibiza - sold out every week, so I am super excited about that.
RR: So does your name Nakadia have a particular meaning?
Nakadia: No, I just made it up. “Dia" was my nickname in Thailand when I started DJing and Thais like to put “Naka” at the end of lines, it means something like “okay!?” So I made a combination out of the two.
RR: And how would you describe your sound?
Nakadia: It’s groovy, melodic and energetic techno. My baselines are rolling and my melodies are trippy haha. I like to take people on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It goes up step by step until the peak, just to throw you down again when you don’t expect it.
RR: You’ve released some great tracks of your own on labels including Clarisse and Get Physical. Do you have one that particularly stands out for you?
Nakadia: I have to say that unfortunately, because of my endless touring, I still haven’t reached the level of production that I would like to. Especially the past 3 years - I’ve hardly had any time for the studio and had very few releases. I hope to change that and plan to release at least 3-4 EPs in 2018. But it’s not only the number of releases - the sound of my releases also didn’t match the sound of my sets, so I am trying to change that as well. I think my biggest release was Check & Run in 2013. It was the Technasia remix that made it a hit and it’s still played frequently.
RR: And do you have any others coming out that we can look forward to?
Nakadia: My next release coming out this January will be a co-production with Citizen Kain. We performed one year ago together in Mauritius and both of us were there for a week in the same hotel. That’s when Rumble in the jungle was made. The track will be released on one of my favourite labels, Filth on Acid and comes with a great remix by Reinier Zonneveld.
RR: We’ll look out for it. Now, you’ve played all over the world - if we asked you to choose one set that really stands out in your memory which would it be?
Nakadia: With over 1500 sets played in 66 countries, there are too many great memories! One that always will stand out would be the last Berlin Love Parade. Recently I had the most amazing gig in Bogota, Colombia. I was supposed to play 3 hours, but people would not go home, so we extended the set to 5 hours. At 8 in the morning they really had to close the club, but the dance floor was still totally packed.
RR: Amazing! You’ve forged an amazing career and come from humble beginnings, which is an inspiration to many. What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the electronic music industry – particularly talented young women?
Nakadia: These days its so difficult to give good advice because this industry is just terrible. I always tell people to find the sound you love and play from your heart... just be yourself and don’t be a copy of someone. But will you have success with it? That depends on the people you surround yourself with. It’s the powerful players of the industry that decide who gets to make it and who doesn’t. With the right connections today, a career can jump from fees of $100 to $10k within one year... and it sure has nothing to do with music! Others - like myself - build a career step by step over 15 years and fight for every little step, proving themselves over and over again. If you are happy to work around the clock for years and you do it because you love music… then go for it!
RR: Thanks for your insights Nakadia. Come back and visit us again soon!