Nils Noa’s musical endeavors have seen him go from strength to strength, his thirst for electronic music driving him to put on his own nights which then saw him DJing and producing. At 22 years old he became the youngest artist to produce a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, and now at 35 he is currently signed to Universal Music through which he delivered his platinum selling record ‘Fade Away’ as well as running his own Troll Records with fellow DJ Christian Sol.
The main idea with the label was to release our own music, but we have also released original music from Of Norway, Alexander Skancke and others...Troll Records has provided an outlet for the pair’s own productions, however other releases also boast a variety of international artists such as Stacey Pullen, Yousef and Simon Baker. We spoke to Nils to find out a bit more on his latest 2 track output for the imprint.
Firstly how did you and label partner Christian become acquainted? How did the idea of Troll Records evolve?
I first met Christian back in ‘99 I think when he gave me a promo of his EP on a label he had with a friend. We then both got signed to a label in Oslo called Planet Noise, and when that label shut down we wanted to start something together, and Troll Records was born. The main idea with the label was to release our own music, but we have also released original music from Of Norway, Alexander Skancke and others, and have been lucky to have people you mentioned like Stacey Pullen, Yousef, Kruse&Nurnberg among others on remix duties.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest release on the imprint?
It’s a clubby two track Ep. “Sometimes Slow Is Good” is a deeper cut with a driving moog bass line and a chopped up vocal sample that drops into a chord based breakdown, with a 909 programmed beat. “Less Is More” is a stripped back affair with quite a heavy beat and deep bass line. I have sampled the piano and a vocal snippet from a Norwegian artist called Unge Ferrari.
You’re now signed to Universal; can you tell us how this came about? What plans do you have with them for the future?
I wrote a song called Fade Away with a brilliant singer from Oslo called Vinni. I had sampled a choir, but my manager got in contact with Norway’s best boys choir, The Silver Boys, and we were lucky enough to have them in the studio to re-sing the sample.
For me it’s about the whole package, not just promoting, DJing or music production, but it is the whole culture that I love, and has been a big part of my life for the last 20 years almost.... Then Universal signed me for a two single deal, and the song did pretty well. I don’t actually fit the profile for a major label artist, so after the 2nd single they did not want to continue the deal. It was nice to see other sides of the industry, not just the small dark clubs I was used to playing at.
You are a promoter as well as a DJ, was this the side of the industry you were attracted to at first or did you start your own nights so that you could showcase your skills as a DJ?
I grew up in a small town on the west coast of Norway. The club owners there did not allow me and my friends to play the more underground stuff we loved, so we built our own club and invited our favourite DJs to play with us, with a clear ambition to showcase our DJ skills to them.
After this I was lucky enough to be booked to play other clubs and festivals around the country. Then in 2001 I moved to Oslo to focus more on my music and DJing. For me it’s about the whole package, not just promoting, DJing or music production, but it is the whole culture that I love, and has been a big part of my life for the last 20 years almost. Shit now I feel old. LOL
Was electronic music big in Norway when you started listening to it or was it quite niche? Is this why you started your own night?
Well in the end of the 90s it was pretty big here, but when I moved to Oslo in 2001 the scene almost died out shortly after. So I was actually a bit gutted. But I am no quitter, so me and a friend set up our own night called Monkey Business to bring the Djs we loved to Oslo. It was a tiny place. It was a 150 capacity venue, but we booked some really good acts just before they became the household names they are today; the likes of Nic Fanciulli, Paul Woolford, James Zabiela and Yousef amongst others. House music was anti trendy at the time in Oslo. People were like “Do you still play that music?” But I was lucky to do some international tours back then, so that kept me motivated to change things around back home.
There are a lot of skilled DJs and producers these days helping keep the scene fresh and on a high level every week...Is the scene in Norway growing? Are there any small Norwegian artists you would like to bring on board Troll?
The scene is really good now and has grown steadily the last years. The Villa where I do the bookings with my friend Charlotte and another club called Jaeger have regular high profile bookings with a state of the art sound system. And there are a lot of skilled DJs and producers these days helping keep the scene fresh and on a high level every week. At the moment our focus with Troll is to just release our own music, but we are always keen on new talent. There are loads of new producers now, so it will be exciting to see what they will come up with musically.
And lastly, you have accomplished so much musically, is there anything else you feel you want to venture into?
I have never released a solo artist album, so I am in the middle of this now writing it with a brilliant producer, Jonas Raabe. Hopefully it will be out next year. Also I started to work for Sony Music this year; first as a product manager for electronic music, but now just going to start as A&R for Sony’s Columbia label; that I am really looking forward to. A dream comes true for me and a natural step forward.