Nasser Baker is one of the freshest and most promising talents of 2018. Growing up in New Jersey he was introduced to house legend Dennis Ferrer by The Martinez Brothers. Catching the attention of Ferrer, he went on to mentor Nasser; helping him grow into the artist he is today. His latest single ‘Say Something’ is out now on Circus Recordings, one of the biggest dance music labels in the world. The single has received huge support, picking up Pete Tong’s ‘Essential New Tune’ and Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record In The World’ as well as being played by the likes of Fatboy Slim, Richy Hawtin and Groove Armada. Nasser Baker proves to be one of the most exciting producers of the moment, who will only continue to rise.
WWD : Hi Nasser, thanks for chatting to us today. You’re relatively new on the electronic music scene, what have been some of your career highlights so far? What was your big break?
Hi! You are very welcome! Thanks for having me! Some of my career highlights are breaking the top ten on Beatport’s Top 100 chart overall. It’s been a goal of mine to make the top ten, so when it happened with “Say Something” I was pretty happy about it. Another highlight would have to be the two shows I played in Ukraine over one weekend, in Kharkov and Odessa. Ukrainians definitely know how to party! Everyone danced instead of standing there with their phones out the whole night and I was able to play what I wanted. The energy was just right and I can’t wait to go back. I’m going back there in early spring 2019, I think.
WWD: What drew you to house music instead of hip hop as that seems to be the predominant sound in the US ?
What drew me to house music is the positive vibe of it. House is INCLUSIVE. At its core it’s about uniting people. Everyone can enjoy it and everyone is accepted. I love the feeling I get from listening to house music and even more so from seeing people dance to it. DJing house music makes me happy. I can never get enough of it. I have DJed hip hop before but house music to me is more fun to play. Don’t get me wrong, I like hip hop but with house, it’s just more of a calling. I knew I wanted to be a part of it when I saw 4 year olds having fun and dancing to some classics with their parents, who were dancing to the same music. It was at a daytime event where I saw this and I was hooked. I wanted to be the one DJing to the 4 year olds, their parents and grandparents, making them all dance.
WWD: Do you think that growing up in New Jersey has had an influence on the music that you make?
Growing up In New Jersey did have an influence on the music that I make. All the music that I was exposed to by my parents, friends and family all jelled together to create the style I have now from Hip hop to R&B to Pop to Rock etc. I found what I like in each of these genres and incorporated it into the music I make. I believe if I grew up in, let’s say Florida, I would have been exposed to a different style of hip hop, R&B etc, based on that environment and I would probably make different music today.
WWD: You have been mentored by House legend Dennis Ferrer, how did the two of you meet and what is the relationship between the two of you like?
I was introduced to Dennis about 9 years ago by The Martinez Brothers’ father. I sent their father some music, he liked it and thought I should meet Dennis. Dennis is like my uncle. I see him as family and vice versa. He gave me the keys to his house and studio and now I basically live there. It’s like my second home.
WWD: What is the best piece of advice that Dennis has given to you?
The best advice that Dennis has given me was not to cheat people out of their money. He told me to make the best quality music I can make and give the party-goers the best show you can because they are spending their hard earned money on your music and coming to see you perform. He was right and that inspired me to do my best and to work hard to give listeners good quality music and to “show them a good time”.
WWD: Your latest track ‘Say Something’ was released on Island Records, can you tell us more about the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration for ‘Say Something’ came from when I went to ADE last year. I went to a friend’s party to see them play and I was just about to leave, to go to another party and this girl caught my attention. She was dancing by herself, killing it. I really liked her style and vibe. At that moment I froze because I wanted to go say hi, but I was also about to leave if I was to make it to those other parties. If I wasn’t going to the other parties I would have said something. When I got back home from ADE, I thought I should write about that experience.
WWD: What was the production process like for the track? Did you run into any obstacles whilst producing it?
The creation of this song was smooth. It was done in a week. I created this baseline groove, which is not the same groove as the current version. I was listening back to that groove and I felt this needed a vocal on it. I thought about what happened at the party and started playing around with ideas for the vocals. When the line “I saw you from across the room” popped into my head, the melody clicked and I finished writing it in 15 minutes. Then I thought it would be cool to have a girl’s point of view, instead of just a boy’s point of view, so I switched the words around from “girl you are my type” to “boy you are my type” to make the female vocal. I showed the idea to my father and he suggested my friend Natalia sing on it. After I recorded the vocals I decided to change the groove, to fit the vision I had for it. So after a bit of tweaking, the final version was done, tested and ready.
WWD: The single was made Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune and Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World as well as being played by the likes of Fatboy Slim and Richy Hawtin. Did you expect to receive such support?
After I finished the song I really liked it but I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received. It’s amazing that it has got the support from the BBC Radio 1 crew, Richy Hawtin, Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, and other huge DJs. Big thanks to all of them. I appreciate it. To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in yet.
WWD: The track has now been remixed by Dennis Ferrer as well as Paul Woolford, how does that feel and what are your thoughts on their versions?
It feels really cool having uncle D and Paul Woolford remix my track. Uncle D’s remix is very deep and gritty. I like how he chopped the vocals to create a different melody. On Paul Woolford’s mix, I liked all the synths that he added to his version. The break was really cool with how he created this dark vibe with the synth and then comes back to the drop. I like how both versions are two different vibes to the original.
WWD: Finally, what do you have coming up for the rest of the year?
I’m playing for Yousef’s Circus party in Liverpool and Tel Aviv at the end of December for the first time. I’m looking forward to it!