Here’s a house music producer who’s injecting the genre with plenty of hip-hop vibes, and creating some body-popping, rump-shaking tunage while he’s at it.
Nhan Solo is his name and he’s been rolling out his own distinct brand of party-rocking house music for a while now. Releases on 2Diy4, Dikso Records, Nervous and more have all been very impressive, featuring great hooks and some very well-known samples. i-D online caught up with Nhan for a chat about his past, present and future and he recorded an exclusive mix for us too… word!
When did house become more than a ‘feeling’ for you? i.e. When did you decide to try and make house music a lifestyle/a vocation? I come from a skateboarding and hip-hop background and first fell in love with house in the early 2000s. For me, house is a progression of hip-hop pitched to 100+ bpm with the same samples twitched into loops. So the feeling for house music was always there: this sense of being part of a collective with moral values that transcend a mere look or taste. It’s all about family, and looking out for each other, that I learned in my younger days as a skater and that I rediscovered in the house movement again. The step towards making it my livelihood came gradually but I took the big leap only three years ago when I started releasing.
Can you remember the first time electronic music touched your life? Who were some of the first DJs/producers you can remember listening to? There is no actual key moment because for me it was a gradual shift of electronic elements becoming more dominant in hip-hop and funk for me. I listened to a lot of George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic and his music was heavily based on synths and drumbeat sounds. And Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” of course as well as Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” or Malcolm McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals”.
Club-wise, where were you going when you first got into the music? What was the club scene like back when you first started to go out? I come from a small town in lower Bavaria with an amazing landscape, fresh air but no club scene whatsoever. The next big city was Munich, so that’s where I went on the weekends. Mostly to warehouse parties in a defunct airport (Flughafen Riem) or the notorious Ultraschall club. It was the late nineties/early 2000s with the rave movement still in full swing but you could feel that that scene had peaked a long time ago. So for me house was the new, fresh thing and also the dress code and the attitude that came with it was similar to my skater background – no furry pants, no plateau boots and no pink hairdos. I felt at home right away.
How would you describe the music you’re making at the moment? I aim to reflect my hip-hop background into the productions with a healthy dose of samples and grooves. All in all I aim for a black-music influenced sound. I’m quite the positive thinking guy, my sound never really becomes too dark or introverted.
At what point did you start to feel like making/playing music was a credible way to earn a living? That came through DJ’ing when people started offering me money instead of chasing me around the club with a baseball bat because of the tunes I’d play.
What do you love most about what you do? Being around interesting people and being able to create something within a collective context. Also the aspect to travelling around the globe and not setting into a routine (yet). I hope I can keep up a healthy work-life balance.
What does the future hold for you? I have a couple of releases coming up this year on Stranjjur Imprint and Nervous Records NYC. I’m also preparing my first album, hopefully due next spring on Mother Recordings. But this year’s next highlight for me as a skater and surf dude will be to play at the closing party of the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Tour stop in Peniche, Portugal in October. I cannot wait to shake hands with Kelly Slater, yeeah!
Text: Marcus Barnes