Q&A: Michael Weiss, Nervous Records
1. Hey Mike! You are very appreciated in the Stereo family and this link comes from time ago. How did your relationship with Stereo get started?
I actually first met Chus and Pablo 5 years ago at one of their appearances at Water Taxi Beach in New York. The next time I saw them was at Electric Zoo, the big DJ festival in NYC where i saw them play a great set and we had a chance to talk afterwards. They were aware of the history of Nervous, and I was well aware of them as they had emerged as probably the only European headlining DJ’s who were treated like New Yorkers. There are many European DJ’s who play in New York, but New Yorkers will always have a special connections with the Native New Yorkers like Victor Calderone, Danny Tenaglia, Eric Morillo and Boris. But somehow with their charisma and talent Chus and Pablo have managed to forge a relationship with New York nightlife community where we feel like they are one of us! And given that Nervous has represented New York for so long, I felt it would very productive and positive for Nervous and Stereo to work together and release C+C compilations through Nervous. Also at around the same time I met the guys I was doing emails with Carlos as I thought his ideas regarding creative a new download store were very good, and wanted to help him to make that work, although it is obviously a very difficult endeavor in the current industry.
2. Chus+Ceballos have a lot in common with Nervous. In fact, this year Nervous has released “Back On Tracks: Three”. Tell us about how you perceive Chus+Ceballos’ music especially and what would you highlight from them, and definitely, what they give to ‘Back On Tracks’?
The essence of great club music is all about energizing a crowd with great beats and positivity, and that’s what you get from a Chus + Ceballos DJ set. Also and very importantly, they are well versed in the history of house Music…going back to disco. So they understand the power of using sounds and vocal elements from these classic eras to help make a set even that much more special. It’s funny because all the Pacha NYC hired dancers always say how much they look forward to an appearance by C+C, as for them it won’t be like “work.” Dancing comes so easily to them on these nights - unlike with some other dj’s who shall not be mentioned here! I feel that Back On Tracks Three does a good job of simulating the experience of a Chus + Ceballos peak hour set. My favorites on the comp are “My Love Is Not Blind” (Chus Remix) and Lost In Music.
3. Nervous Records has been releasing music since 1991 and thereby, there are over 20 years of professional career behind your back, dedicating to it. How did you get started with Nervous? What’s the next step?
I grew up in the music industry, as my father was a distributor of 12″ records in New York CIty in the 60′s and 70′s, and also started one of the great disco labels Sam Records. So while I went to law school and initially started out being a lawyer by profession, it was very natural for me to start going out to clubs after I was finished with law school, and also very natural for me to introduce myself and form friendships with DJ’s. In the late 80′s and early 90′s there was a very creative movement in New York, with fresh tracks coming from Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, Roger S, Todd Terry, Armand Van Helden and many others. It was a great time to start an independent label in New York. I enjoy going out to clubs, and have been doing so since I started in 1991, so i have been able to see when certain trends are starting to become more popular. Being an independent, one of our strengths is that we can move quickly So for example when I saw the early techno movement becoming more popular in the early 90′s, I linked with Josh Wink and began releasing his tracks. And when I saw an underground hip hop movement starting in New York I started a hip hop label and had great success with Black Moon, Smif-n-Wessun and Funkmaster Flex. . Big room vocals were very popular in New York and Miami in the early 2000′s, and we were at the forefront with tracks from Kim English, Charlotte and Joi Cardwell. Basically I have always felt it was the job of Nervous to represent the most interesting and most fresh sounds of New York City nightlife.
4. Recently landed, Nervous’ brother label, Nurvous Records is having a big success with that characteristic deep house sound, especially in Europe and in the Isle of Ibiza; what would we expect from Nervous facing this year?
Thanks for this nice compliment. Yes I am really happy about the great success Nurvous has had. And I feel the deep house sound is going to become more and more popular in New York, Miami and the United States as well. We are going to continue to release quality deep house on Nurvous, and we also recently started a sub-label for Techno called Sorted Records and a sub-label for Trap Music called Strapped Records.
5. What’s your opinion of the current EDM situation? What’s Nervous and Nurvous’ role in this Industry? Does a “key” exist to be for so many years in the top-of-mind?
I think EDM has quickly become a “corporate industry,” and I think ultimately whenever an element of music industry gets adopted by the corporation world, it become diluted and watered down, and loses what made it interesting in the first place. It is nice that there is a great more money floating around now for the dj’s, and I have had some conversations with some of the bigger companies who were interested in getting involved in the Nervous brand. But I was able to perceive through those conversations that they would want to change the brand to make it appeal more to the national audience, as opposed to the New York, Miami, San Francisco etc audience that has been loyal to Nervous through the years. I think brands like Nervous and Stereo will probably benefit from the more generic sounds and events that in the short run will become bigger in the USA, because we represent the real essence of house music and clubs that makes nightlife interesting in the first place. If a company wants to make some quick money and sell out and change its brand to fit the corporate image of EDM, now is the time to do it and take the money. But they should know that they will lose their core audience. And when the audience they were chasing moves onto the net big thing, then they will most likely have trouble finding their place in the industry.