This is Dave Nada and Jen Lasher who are perhaps the most awesome couple around. This picture was taken at a Peligrosa party at SXSW where we had the pleasure of meeting Dave Villegas (his real last name incase you actually thought he was named Nada) and hearing him spin several times and he struck us as the most humble, chill ass dude you could ever fucking meet. We had first run into him at the Moombahton Massive and, as soon as we told him who we were, the dude’s face lit up and he seemed really genuinely happy to see us (a rare occurence in our lives) and gave us t-shirts right away. When you see him djing, he’s just smiling the whole time and looks like he’s enjoying every minute of it. We saw him and his other life partner Matt Nordstrom play at this awesome jam on the rooftop of Roial in Austin. There, they played not only to a raging crowd in the afternoon, but then went back on after such champions as Munchi and Tittsworth and Evol Intent had played and went on to spin for like 6 fucking hours after and shut the place down. Epic. In telling you about this we mean to impress upon you that this man, who is credited for creating a musical genre, is a down to earth guy who hustles as hard as he can and doesn’t seem to take anything he has for granted. He seems genuinely pleased to meet every fan. He will go into the crowd and dance his ass off if he likes what the dj is spinning. He gives full support to those that deserve it. Essentially, no there is no one better who could have played the role he has. After our meeting at SXSW we had the pleasure of sitting down with Dave via email and discussing moombahton, his life and other shit we were fucking curious about. He was kind enough as well to prepare an exclusive edit that is not only going to be closing many people’s set in the coming months but is also enjoyable at home with a snifter of brandy and a book of poetry because in the early 21st century that’s a thing that people like. No, that’s false. They don’t like those things.
Walmer: So why did you choose to copy Skrillex’s hairstyle? Was it to gain popular appeal?
Dave Nada: For the record, I was rocking that hairdo since June 21st 2009 dawg…
Ok so I tried switching to contact lenses and growing my side out, but you know what? It didn’t feel right. Also, when Sonny got word of that, it really bummed him out. I don’t ever like seeing Sonny bummed, so i’m riding it out man. For the both of us and the world. Plus, I act as a good stunt double for Sonny these days too, especially at the festivals.
W: Everyone hears about your fucking moombahton invention legend. You were partying with underage schoolkids during the afternoon who only wanted to hear reggaeton so you slowed down some dutch house to play something that they would like. The rest is fucking history. At the moment that you were doing this shit, what was going through your mind? Did you think you were on to something? Was nothing special going on in your mind?
DN: I only had one thought in my head before I started playing and that was “these kids will probably beat my ass or throw shit at me if I start playing tech house.” And nothing sucks more than clearing a floor and getting your ass whipped by a bunch of kids. Speaking of kids, ever watched that movie KIDS? Anyway, those records sounded so crazy pitched down, so I kept it going cuz the kids were eating it up. Their reaction is what got me thinking “holy shit, this is poppin off so hard” and that led to me to wanting to make the first few moombahton edits and DJ tools. I thought it would be cool to make these weird house-inspired reggaeton tracks and give them to some of my latin DJ friends so they can test them out. I always kinda thought a lot of those Dutch House records sounded like fast reggaeton to me.
W: You are credited with inventing a fucking genre of music? How the fuck does that feel?
DN: Haha, well it feels great to be a part of something, man. Moombahton has been an inspiring journey so far and I hope to steer it in a creative and positive direction. Over the past 2 years, I’ve learned that moombahton is special to a lot of people and moves them in many ways, not just in the hips. On the personal tip, it helped reconnect me with my roots. I even got the chance to go to Ecuador to film the first Nadastrom video “i!!” with Matt and my mom, that’s bugged out! Anyway, I’m excited to make records and keep things moving.
W: Do you feel that as the “inventor” of moombahton you have a different role you have to play than everyone else? Do you feel you have to play a leadership role? Do you find people put that on you? Do you ever feel pressure?
DN: I do feel like a have a responsibility to show people how awesome moombahton music is and how awesome it can be. Which is why me and Matt from Nadastrom started a new record label called Diabluma Sound. I love this music, so I’m not really feeling any kind of pressure really.
W: Do you feel like you gotta stick with moombahton because you invented it?
DN: I feel like I gotta stick with moombahton because it fucking rules.
W: What the fuck were you doing before doing moombahton?
DN: Story time…I’ve been doing Nadastrom with my partner Matt Nordstrom since 2007, producing all kinds electronic dance music. Pretty much the same thing we’re doing now. If you go through our catalog of music over the past 5 years from beginning to current, you’ll see what I mean. Before Nadastrom, I was producing baltimore club records on T&A and trying to be the best DJ in DC and Baltimore. And before that, I was playing guitar and singing in hardcore punk bands, playing basements and kitchens all over the U.S. and Japan. I was also a full time lab manager and lab technician for the Center for Prostate Disease Research at NIH in Maryland.
W: How did you get into music in the first place? How long you been in this fucking game?
DN: Growing up, I owe a lot to my brothers and cousin Jason who put me onto music that I became super passionate about (hip-hop and hardcore punk). I started releasing music and touring around 1998 with my punk band De Nada (hence the nickname Dave Nada). I played in multiple hardcore punk bands up until 2006. Around that time I started to gravitate towards hip-hop, funk, and electronic dance music. I ended up quitting my bands and the day job, then up and moved to Baltimore and started DJing and producing full time. I met Matt Nordstrom in 2007 and we immediately hit it off. We then formed Nadastrom and never looked back.
Nada’s punk days
W: When Dave Nada is chilling at home, what the fuck does he listen to?
DN: I listen to DJ Ayres’ ipod Nano that I found at a gig we did together in Calgary. He’s got the best shit on there, Amon Tobin, chill dubstep stuff, and a dope Rocktakon mix. I also like to listen to classic Christmas songs 365 days out of the year, ask Jen Lasher.
W: Have you ever worked at other jobs before being an awesome motherfucker? How were you able to make the transition to being a full time artist/dj?
DN: Oops I already kinda answered this. But yeah, I used to work full time at a cancer research center as a lab manager and lab technician. Lots of cell culture work and pipetting. I was on a good roll, seeing as I graduated with a bachelors in science and immediately jumped into the science game. But I just hit a wall and wanted to move on in life. My heart and head was in the music, so I said fuck it, let me try this out and see what happens. I struggled at first because I was an idiot and didn’t save any money so I was broke, living in a new city (Baltimore). But because of that, I grinded my ass off. I was DJing everywhere and anywhere in both Baltimore and DC. I even bought a PA system so I could DJ weddings, events, and throw parties. I spun anything that could get me paid too, like “oh you want Salsa, Polka, Bangra, 80′s hits? I gotchu.” I said yes to everything, total DJ whore haha. But whatever I got into, I learned it and tried to master it. Some of those gigs were kinda soul crushing, but I was finally making money so I was happy. On the flip side, I was djing the biggest weekly dance party in Baltimore called Taxlo and that’s where I got to flex the music I was passionate about…Baltimore Club and bass music. And then that led to me learning how to produce. I can thank Tittsworth for that. I helped him kick start T&A Records with DJ Ayres and he was absolutely crushing the baltimore club game at the time. Titts was like “you better start learning how to produce if you want to grow! It’s your turn to make some records.” He was right. Tittsworth was a huge influence, as a producer and friend. He still is! He was also the one who introduced me to Matt Nordstrom, so game the fuck over. Also around that time I was doing an electro R&B project with Chris Richards from the indie band Q And Not U. We shared a love for Aaliyah, Prince, Rod Lee and The System so we took a stab at making music. This was a huge influence in my production because we went from not knowing how to do shit (except play instruments) to making sick beats with a 303 and Acid Pro. We had quite a chemistry, but the stars never aligned right, so we moved on. Although, it’s never too late for a future collab! #winkwinkchrisifyou’rereadingthis
W: What is your favourite brand of premium bottled water?
DN: Zico coconut water.
W: Who the fuck is killing it in the game right now? Moombah or otherwise?
DN: Ugh, so many to name but my drug of choice lately is JWLS, Steve Starks, Billy The Gent, Longjawns, Jay Fay…these young dudes are slayin the game. They open minded as fuck and it shows in their production. All the new stuff on Sinden’s label Grizzly is kinda murdering the world right now. And of course Dre Skull’s Mixpak imprint. Me and Matt are taking notes! Also, how retarded is Flosstradamus these days? DAYUM SON….out the fucking gates man, shit. Also there’s some dope new shit called Afro Beats (not Fela) that’s killin the game. We heard this music poppin off so hard in London just a few weeks ago. Tempo’s around 115 so you know we gotta get familiar. The new Bass Ill Euro shit on Sol Selectas is murda too, my fave moombahton shit, next to Astronomar. Murda Mark from Baltimore is making club music fun again, shit is fire! And goddamn that new Justin Martin album is soooooooooooo sick. New Shadow Child and Addison Groove shit is poppin off hella hard on the bass tip. Eats Everything is eating everything. And one of my favorite dj sets this year was Luca Audiofly at a private party in Barcelona. Dude is a funky beast! Craze‘s “Selekta” tune is still my fave from 2012 though.
W: Who sucks? Either at moombah or at life?
DN: Negative people that bring that wack shit to the table. P.M.A. all day.
W: What is your favourite town to visit? Why?
DN: Right now it’s Annapolis, Maryland. I’m from Maryland so I can’t deny it. It’s spring/summer time, so crab season is in session and me and my fiancé Jen Lasher been fiending all year so it’s game time now. Also the weather is perfect, fam is down the street, and the beach aint far off. Thrasher’s fries and funnel cake time! Second to that, it’s Barcelona, Spain. Amazing vibe, laid-back city, amazing food and great music. Never mad.
W: If you were not making music, what else would you be doing?
DN: I’d probably be in med school right now working on a thesis, owing tons of money to banks. Never too late? Haha. Who am I kidding, music is irresistible…I’d be making music no matter what. Unless physically impossible, then I’d be drawing or bird watching.
W: What is your favourite guilty pleasure song? Is it the song “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” by Paula Cole or “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray?
DN: I don’t understand guilty pleasures. I mean, I don’t ever feel guilty about loving Kid Rock ft Sherryl Crow “Picture” and knowing every word. And I don’t give a fuck what anyone says, Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” is one of the best songs (and best MIXED) in the universe. You can hate me now.
W: What is the drug that you would most recommend for young people to experiment with?
DN: Doritos Cool Ranch and Dr Pepper, and skateboarding. Chappelle DVDs.
W: What is the worst interview question you have ever been asked outside of all the questions that you have been asked for this interview?
Hahhahahahha! Ok this one, true story…
interviewer: “So…Dave NADA, Matt NORDSTROM…tell us….how did you come up with the name NADASTROM?”
W: Any crazy shit you got planned coming up like doing a gig at the top of Mount Everest or doing a collab with Tiesto?
DN: Haha. Well, I’m taking the Moombahton Massive party on the road with my brothers Matt Nordstrom and Sabo and traveling all over North America this month to hit people over the head with moombahton. We try to DJ the entire night so we can play all of the variations of moombahton music. That’s how it’s usually done at the DC Moombahton Massives. Also, me and Matt started our Diabluma Sound label and the first release is by Steve Starks called “The Burma” EP and it drops May 22nd and it’s amazing. GET FAMILIAR!
AND THAT’S IT!
Like Dave said, Moombahton Massive is on the road during May 2012 so there are still a lot of dates you can catch those bros. Check it out:
What makes that last June 2nd Toronto date even more special is that Walmer Convenience’s own The Dirty Frenchman will be opening or closing or something for Nadastrom. Come check it the fuck out!
Finally, Dave was kind enough to provide us with an exclusive edit he made to give away because you guys would never just be satisfied with him telling his life story. It’s a moombahfied version of a cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop by a certain Jose Gonzalez and it is just a beautiful piece of music. Have a listen:
DOWNLOAD IT HERE! (SAVE AS)