The connection between Nicole and New York is deep rooted, after all. It was the first place where she discovered dance music, on the floor of Twilo years ago. “New York taught me everything about music and now I’m giving something back. I get this city as much as it gets me and that, for me, is potent,” Nicole explains. She took the lessons that poured from the Phazon sound system back to the Middle East, throwing some of the first dance parties in Beirut-- a city notoriously torn by war for so long that someone needed to bring the fun back. Nicole continued on to London as a promoter, throwing parties at Turnmills nightclub. From there, the progression to DJ/Producer was natural. "A promoter has to be a music lover first," she expounds, "Promoters shine when a party is kicking and the DJs playing at the party take it another level. It's a great marriage; I think the only marriage that lasts!" she laughs. Even with all her recent DJ bookings, Nicole still has a hand in party production, recently hosting Danny Tenaglia's Classics party at Ushuaia Beach Club in Ibizia.
Nicole's first launch of electronic music into Beirut was successful; now, Beirut is known as a 24-hour party city, as speculated by CNN in 2009. Interestingly enough, the progression of Beirut into a party city occurred not with nightclub parties, but rather festivals thrown in historically significant locations. In America today, dance music has surged to popularity with the rise of big festivals, which give people more choice of when they want to party-- day, afternoon, or night-- and invites a more diversified audience. Nicole doesn’t prefer the club or the festival, large audience or small. “I like both,” she says. “I get to play various styles depending on the room I’m in and that gives me the freedom to express myself in many ways musically. I love to play deep and chunky with vocals as much as I love to play the harder sounds in the main room clubs or festivals. As long as people enjoy what they hear, forever about everything for a few hours and remember the moments-- for me that means I’ve reached someone.”
For an artist, playing a festival comes with challenges similar to the playing any other venue (sound system, audience, promotions, etc.) and perhaps invite one more-- slim slot times. Whereas some artists take a good four hours to get into the groove of their sound, the positive aspect of the festival-- boasting six different artists in seven hours on a single stage-- has an inherent drawback. You only hear a snippet of what he/she can actually do musically. Nicole doesn’t mind this short showcasing of style. “I don’t plan as such,” she explains. “I select the style depending on where I’m playing and what hour. There’s no point in banging out techno if you’re warming up and vice-versa... And I think it’s rude to bang out if you’re warming for someone else,” she winks.
Nicole will be warming up for many “someones” as she was given the 11 am opening slot at Electric Zoo’s Sunday School Tent, much to the dismay of many New Yorkers. It could, arguably, be sexist, given that Nicole and Ida Engberg are the only two female DJs on Made Event’s lineup. When questioned about her role as a woman in genre headed by males, Nicole rightly expresses her frustration, “I always get asked that question, female in a male dominated world. I never thought about it until heard so many questions around it, so it raises my concern, as I think the music should speak for itself. Music has no gender and no color; it’s just a feeling. I wouldn’t want to be treated differently, on the contrary I’d feel insulted if I was.”
But even in a musical genre dominated by male artists, who yes, create genderless music, Nicole puts a little feminine signature on her most recent track, “Toe Cleavage.” “Well if you’re a woman and into fashion then you’d know that Manolo Blahnik conceptualized his shoes to give women “toe cleavage” when they wore his designs. I thought that needed a tribute, the way he cuts those shoes are second to none and not one female on the planet wouldn’t kill to wear Blahnik,” she explains.
(And you thought that was just a term your boy with the foot-fetish invented...)
So, this is how it is: she wants to see you and you need to see her. Get up early and check out Nicole Moudaber on Friday, September 2nd, opening Electric Zoo Festival on Randall’s Island.