Story of a track: Nikolauss - Lifdagar [Subculture]

How many times you wondered how a producer came up with a melody? What is the inspiration behind a specific track? How much did he/ she worked on it? What were the challenges? 

Even if I live with the producer, even if know most of the challenges, a track is still a mystery for me at first listen. I usually replay it for a couple of times, to give it a proper listen. I usually replay it for a couple of times to give some proper feedback. And with Nikolauss's tracks this challenge is the strongest one. He is too close to my heart, so sometimes talking about his work with him can be quite harsh. Or too nice.

Lifdagar means "life" in old Icelandic. And this track means "life" to me too. It is all about what love, joy, energy, pure bliss. It was one of the fastest melodies that took life in my mind, but the most challenging one to put it in a track. - Nikolauss

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When I first listened to Lifdagar, I was in a teambuilding with my colleagues and Andrei was home alone for the whole weekend. He sent me the link, and instead of "I miss you', he said "Please, let me know what you think about this track. Before thinking bad of him, for not saying "I miss you", you have to listen to the track again. Also, sometimes, many times actually, this is his way of expressing with no words. Sending a track and amaze me with what he can do. With how brilliant his mind can be.

This is pretty much our conversation about it: 

Me: Mmmmmmm. New sounds. 
Andrei: Yes. Do you like it? 
Me: It sounds interesting. There is a "thing" in the track at the beginning. It feels like the track is going backwards for a moment. Is that intentional?
Andrei: Yes. I tried to to get out of the usual. 
Me: Sounds nice. I really like the melody. 
Andrei: Sure? 
Me: Yes. Thought of a name yet? 
Andrei: Lifdagar. Old Icelandic word. Do you like it? 
Me: Mmmmm.. It sounds a bit heavy. 
Andrei: I don't think so. 

(2 days later, still away) 
Me: I really like Lifdagar. It sounds amazing! 
Andrei: :D So you like the name then? 
Me: It grows on me. 
Andrei: I love it. It is nothing common about it. It's different. 
Me: I fell in love with it. Madly. Like I did with you 5 years ago. 
Andrei: Come home. 
Me: Coming to pick me up? 
Andrei: YES.

That was pretty much it. I hit play and magic happened. I hit play and instantly fell in love with the melody, the vibe, the everything of the track. I put it on repeat, again and again and enjoyed every second of it. Every note of it. Lifdagar means to me, to Andrei , to us a lot. It is something different from him. Something mystical. Something to challenge his career and make him pursue this dream even more. 

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When he signed it with Subculture, when we saw John liked it, Neal liked it and they want it to the label, that was another special day for us. I usually show my joy like crazy, and Andrei is more quiet. He is happy with the results, but lets me show it. Lets me exteriorize all those emotions and pop the bottle of wine to celebrate.

I always joke with him about this, that I should leave him alone more often, if he does such amazing tracks like Lifdagar. But he always shuts me up when he insists that me being away was not the reason at all. It was the heat of the creative process. The moments, the special ones, when he opens Ableton and everything goes smoothly. All planets are aligned and work seems easy. If only every time would be like that!

Lifdagar had an amazing path till now, reaching no.3 on Beatport the other days, and still going strong in Top 10! It is amazing how much support it has from the trance community. It is great to see it played on amazing stages like Mainstage at Luminosity Beach Festival by John O'Callaghan (I was crying like crazy while in the crowd trying to see how people receive it, and they enjoyed it a looot!), at Subculture Australia by the same music man, and everywhere else around the world!

Hope you grabbed your copy: subculture.choons.at/lifdagar  and checked its journey through Andrei's socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube

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Nikolauss: the #140 music man [Interviewing artists]

I did it! I finally did it! Interviewed Nikolauss for Trancers.ro. You already know he is very close to my heart and will forever be my life crush, but I had to do this too. Because he is also an artist, a very good trance producer, an amazing music man. His work in the past years sounds great and I am pretty sure his determination will lead him to a looot of good things. Without too much talking, here it is! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

PS. Press play first. ;)

Hello Andrei! Where in the world is this interview catching you and what were you doing right before starting reading this?

Hi Oana! To be honest I wasn’t doing too much. Some Facebook scrolling, and then the Rome vs Liverpool match in the UCL semifinals.

Who is Nikolauss -the artist? How did it all started? The love for music, the producing, the DJing?

All this started long time ago, during high school. I had a couple of DJ friends at a local club and seeing them doing what they were doing and people enjoying it, I said “how would it be if I will do that myself, be in front of the crowd and lead them to madness’’ and that was it. Even my father in his early days was a DJ for local parties. I inherited the gene, the music gene from him. Music has always been a part of my life and will forever be. It took me through a lot. About producing it all started like every story: I installed FL studio out of curiosity, and I started to play around. I changed to Ableton 6 years ago and playing with samples, later with plugins and so on became more fun. I had a lot of fun experimenting. I think this is the best way to learn something. 

Who is Nikolauss in the day by day life? Beside producer, DJ, artist?

I’m just simple human being like everyone else. I am a  building services engineer by profession, but a musician by heart. Maybe musician is too much, but this is how it feels. I breathe it, I dream it, I feel it. I am also a friend, a boyfriend. I like simple things in life: playing soccer, boardgames, videogames, cycling, home cooked meals, stuff like that. 

Why Trance? What does this genre mean to you? How does it make you feel? 

It’s the most complex electronic music genre in my opinion. I love the feeling that this music gives me. Trance because it brought me such many friends, so much happiness,  including my love.

What would you say it is your biggest musical accomplishment till now?

Being part of the Afterhills lineup in my hometown. Having the opportunity to play in front of my family and my closest friends.

Which single track that you’ve produced had the biggest impact on your career?

Speedforce for sure. Seeing it played at Luminosity while it was raining pretty hard and people still dancing on it it’s a memory I will not forget too soon. It also had pretty much support from the biggest names in the trance scene. Special mentions to Obscurus and my #140 remix of GoRiel for Giueseppe Ottaviani and Sied Van Riel, for being played on ASOT this year. 

How do you actually produce your music? Do your tracks tell a story? What is the inspiration behind your tracks?

Well it depends on the mood, depends on how you feel that day or how inspired I am when i’m starting to work on them. Usually all my tracks tell a story. If you listened to them you can see that every track it’s unique in it’s own way. As for inspiration, it comes from simple things in life: while having a beer with your friends, while listening to others people music, or simply while doing a shower (happened to me once and it turned pretty good haha)

Who influenced your work the most? Simple people, other artists, works, etc.

One of the biggest influence in my tracks is Sean Tyas. I’m a huge fan of him. Also I couldn’t be here without the continuous feedback and help from my good friends and Extrema partners: Astuni and Manuel Le Saux. Beside that, I would give a shoutout to Darren Porter. I always loved his tracks and his style.

What do you think makes a perfect track?

I would call a track perfect, the track that when you listen to it over and over again and it still gives you shivers. 

Have you ever experienced the creator’s block? And if yes, how did you snap out of it?

Yes, it happend so many times. The only thing you can do to step out of it is to keep trying and trying and trying until something comes to your mind. Or you can try sound design or layering leads, bassline pads. Or you can listen the tracks you like and try to rework them. These are some things that worked for me. Also, taking a break sometimes works too. I usually take a break by playing a videogame, or hanging more with my friends, or my girlfriend. Remembering to relax is very important. 

Let’s go a bit into some technicalities: what’s your studio setup?

My studio hmm, dunno if i would call it a studio, its my bedroom haha. There is a pretty good PC, a Scarlett 2i2 soundcard and a pair of DT880Pro 250 ohm version of Beyerdynamic headphones. Bonus a 5.1 Genius soundsystem (i can call it studio monitors - NOT).

What is the simplest advice you’d give to someone else that is starting this journey?

There are plenty of tutorials on the internet so you can continuously improve your sound. Make comparisons with the tracks you like and the tracks of which sound you aim to have. Try reworking the tracks you like, see how they do it, try to do it yourself and compare the results.

You favorite trance subgenre?

Uplfting. 140 is the way :D

Any favorite artists?

Sean Tyas. I love this man music he’s also a nice guy. Manuel Le Saux and Astuni - love the work with these guys at Extrema, Darren Porter, Giuseppe Ottaviani.

Any artist each trancer should definitely follow these days?

I’ll give a big shoutout out to my best friend Starpicker. He’s a pretty good producer and he can write some nice melodies easily. Also Exolight & Suncatcher, they work well together and always you can expect nice tracks coming from them. More to mention, Matt Thomas aka Asteroid, Amos & Riot Night and Unbeat ( all his tracks are insane, you can’t expect less than quality from him)

Any new projects coming up? What can we expect from you in the next months?

Yep, lots of unreleased stuff, first of them its a remix coming on State Control at the begining of June and many more. Can’t say much now, but just keep an eye on my page for more info.

How was the Romanian Trance Gathering party? What can you say about that night? You had a very special b2b with Starpicker.

Well, this one was a bit special. Not only because I got to see again a lot of my trance friends, but also because of my B2B set with Starpicker. It was the first time we did this officially at an event and it worked pretty well. It was nice to see that people received it so well. They said we combined the melody of trance music with its power very good. I am looking forward to see what is in store for the Romanian Trance Family and I just only good things will happen for the community from now on. 

What can you tell us about your work with Starpicker? When can we actually hear something from you 2?

Hmm we’re struggling to finish something together for some time (more exactly since we know each other, how much could it be, like  6 years? or so.. too much time for sure) but, we finally finished something which i can’t say too much about it atm. Maybe I’ll give it a play at Afterhills, who knows :)

Congrats of becoming part of the Afterhills line up. What can we expect from you?

Thank you! Very excited about this. You can’t expect less than only good music. Not different than what I’m doing in my radio show and other shows. Expect the same story and energy I’m giving every time I play.

What do you think about the trance community?

What can i say. It’s a big family. You see familiar faces everywhere you go. You can never go wrong with meeting a trance fan and get along with him/ her. 

If you could change your place for one day with another artist, not necessarily trance artist, with whom would you change places and why?

I would go with Giuseppe Ottaviani. I want to experience all the things his doing during his live sets. I want to experience the mastermind he is. 

Hardest question of all: Can you tell me the top 10 trance tracks of all times?

  1. Will Atkinson - Numb The Pain
  2. John O' Callaghan - Stresstest (John Askew Remix)
  3. Gouryella - Ligaya
  4. Mauro Picotto - Lizard
  5. Armin van Buuren Feat. Cathy Burton - Rain
  6. Luminary - Amsterdam (Super 8 & Tab Remix)
  7. Jorn Van Deynhoven & Manuel Le Saux - Nardo
  8. Paul Webster feat. Amanda - Time (Sean Tyas Remix)
  9. Sean Tyas - Turbo
  10. Darren Porter - Spellbound

Do you have a message for our readers?

Thank you for supporting me and believing in my music.

Everyone has a hidden talent. What’s yours?

I’m pretty good at cooking :) [Oana here] I would say you're pretty good (excellent actually) at sleeping. :)

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Follow Nikolauss on Social Media: FacebookTwitterInstagramSoundcloud.


Something to fuel the soul: Nikolauss - Overdrive [Extrema Global Music]

It is very difficult for me to talk about Andrei's work. I say this every time I want to write about his work. I fear I might be too subjective. Because, of course I am Nikolauss's biggest fan. Because, of course, I like each track he releases and I can't wait to see what else the industry has in store for him.

He released last Monday, Overdrive. A very strong track, perfect to celebrate 200 releases from Extrema Global Music. The label is doing great and Nikolauss is the right man for such a milestone. The track is so driving, so powerful and it got a lot if nice feedback from the fans. Grab your copy too here: extrema.lnk.to/overdrive.

Here we are. When we started thinking about who deserved this particular milestone, the answer was immediately clear. Andrei has been one of the most successful, consistent and ever evolving artist we ever had the pleasure to work with, he became a core team member of the Label and ultimately a true friend. We are very proud to introduce you Nikolauss - Overdrive, the 200th. Extrema Global Music release. There's nothing more to say. Just press play and be amazed. - Astuni

I called it "something to fuel your soul" for a reason. The track is one of those tracks to instantly pump you with energy and make your day better. It is a track to wake up to. To dance in the bus station. To run to. To run towards all your goals and dreams and smash everything that might come between you. I listen to this track after I read an email I might not agree with and immediately feel better. I listen to this track after I feel like there is no motivation, and I instantly get up and do better. I listen to this track for a while now to dream it and know each sound of it. To know each goosebump I'll get.

Just hit play and try it too.

Follow Nikolauss on Social Media: FacebookTwitterInstagramSoundcloud.


ON PROMO: Nikolauss vs. Asteroid - Earthbound [Extrema Global Music]

This is huge! Two of our favorite Extrema artists, Nikolauss and Asteroid got together and delivered this beauty! Both great artists, both produced great tracks, but the result exceeded our expectations. Earthbound is THE track. The track you need to It is all about true feelings and real passion. Passion for nature, passion for sound, passion for life itself. It has a special energy to it. So, just click that play button, feel that energy and enjoy it to the fullest! Trance on! 

I was writing the other days the description for this track and I had to tell you more about it on the blog. Not just because it is a great track, you should know about, but because of the two people that made it.

Nikolauss is not just my boyfriend. He is not just my best friend. He is a great trance producer and I am quite proud about the path he chose. Watching him getting better every day is a privilege. Watching him create and being the first one to listen to his tracks is something I am looking forward everyday after work.

Asteroid is not just one of  the regular artists of Extrema Global Music. He is not only someone with a studio. He is a great guy, and I really hope to meet him soon. He is also studying in the field and trying to reach its potential everyday. Also, so open minded, so down to earth and supportive of all artists, not only his music.

And the track they just made it is perfect. My personal opinion. It gave me an energy to a last for a whole week at the office the other days and it made me feel a bit like a superhero. The lead, the breakdown, the baseline all come together perfectly and I can't be any happier to experience it from its early stages. And to show my appreciation and love for the track, I made a video for it.

I really hope you guys will like it and that you'll grab your copy from Beatport today: https://goo.gl/LA8rA3 . Track was already supported by Manuel on his Extrema 489! Also, don't forget to support these guys on social media, because they do deserve all the support in the world!

Asteroid: Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, InstagramBeatport

Nikolauss: Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Instagram, Youtube, Beatport

PS. Follow Trancers.ro too, cause we do work to bring you special projects everytime we can: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube


New track: Nikolauss - Eureka (Extrema Global Music)

Ohhh well, the day has finally come. Me talking about Andrei's tracks is something that I should always do, but sometimes I am a bit afraid of being too sentimental. Buuuuuut, feelings are perfect in this trance industry, so no more of me ”hiding” and trying to be impartial.

Andrei aka Nikolauss is on the run right now and he's releasing amazing track after amazing track. After his last one, Extrema's 100 release - New beginning it was just right to continue his journey with Eureka. Out on Beatport: October 14th.

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Being a producer's girlfriend has it's perks, and one of them is listening to the tracks while in the making and somehow contribute to the creative process. Well, my contribution to this track was its name, because the already thought one had been taken. The possibilities may be huge, while thinking of a track's title, but the reality is completely different. If the artist is not happy, then you have to keep trying. After a loooooot research we came up with Eureka. I felt like it was the perfect match for the feelings this track gave me, aaaand also because I kinda felt like Archimede discovering the mistery in it.

Beside the name (the great name), the track has also a really nice ”je ne sais quoi” around it. Personally, I think it is one of Nikolauss's best tracks ever and I am happy to see him getting better every day. I always judge a track from an emotional perspective, and not necessarily from a technical one, so let's just talk about the goosebumps it gave me; the thoughts and feelings. The real deal.  This track sent me right to the trance journey I needed when I first listened to it. It gave me hope, energy and a shot of optimism. It drove me through some very happy moments and put the huge smile on my face. Also, it is a very nice track to listen at the gym. It really keep you running on that treadmill!

Andrei's tracks are always powerful, but in the same time have the exact dose of emotion in it. He is indeed one of the best upcomers I now in the trance scene and of course my favorite. I am happy to be part of his trance journey and I hope you'll join us too. Big names like Manuel Le Saux, Sean Tyas, Aly and Fila, Astuni, Darren Porter are already Nikolauss fans. :)

Check out Eureka, and don't forget to also follow him on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud. Lots of interesting things will happen' there. Trust me, I am managing that part too. Trance on!