For years audiences faced a dilemma when it came to choosing to spend a Saturday night dancing to a DJ or headbanging to a rock band.
It seems now that those years are over for good as more and more ’10s bands embrace breaking the barriers between music genres or even band formations. One of these pioneering bands is Deejay Nic The Band. And they’re from a country better known for Zorbas, Bouzouki and cries of “Opa!” than electronic music and fusions of EDM, electronic and rock that they have named Rockstep.
I sat down for a chat with Deejay Nic, the band’s frontman and inspiration. He gave some great insights into what it means to run a band when your instrument is not a guitar, a piano, drums or the mic but a turntable and samples [P.S. It is well known that bass players can’t run a band on their own – thus the omission in the previous sentence :p]
Why Rockstep? What does it mean & how did it start?
Rockstep is an EDM subgenre that combines dubstep and/or other elements of electronic music with a rock flavour. Dj is the only frontman on stage as the main instrument along with a live band. It all started in 2012 when Deejay Nic worked with the rock band Schooldrivers to present a few live bootlegs in their gigs.
So is it more of a genre of music or a description of the band’s structure?
Actually, it’s what we do! The sound along with the structure of the band gives this unique result.
How has the Greek music scene taken to it?
Greeks who listen to electronic music or/and modern rock really enjoy it. That’s something we are very proud of. But the truth is that the vast majority of Greeks, 80% and more, favour turns to Greek folk, pop and traditional rock music. As a market, it does not hold much promise for a band or artist doing something different; we are a country with a small population, after all.
What’s the biggest obstacle someone like you faces in a country like Greece trying to introduce “a new thing” to the scene?”
Simply being unable to focus your effort on a specific target group as it is too small for a band which doesn’t use Greek language and sound. So all the other obstacles come as a result; fewer paid gig opportunities = fewer media supporting = less or non-existing labels etc.
Are you signed to a label, working with a promoter or manager?
Nope, we are still unsigned artists looking for our way to the big market outside of Greece – which means I am also involved in managing and promoting our band. From our experience, success in our local market is heavily related to the amount of money you can spend on befriending the right people. Talent or differentiation doesn’t always feel as the qualifying factor for progression.
What are the influences? Are there any UK bands among them?”
Each one of us likes listening to different genres and bands; so in our Rockstep, you’ll find stuff inspired from works of Prodigy, Pendulum, Korn, Skrillex, Linkin Park, Rob Zombie, Rammstein and more.
We also love and we’d like to perform – if it ever comes down to that – with Modestep, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fall Out Boy and Issues.
What is the band’s biggest achievement to date?
Our biggest achievement will always be our next one (Haha)! So far, it has been performing in front of 100.000+ people at Zeytinli Rock Festival in Turkey. Worth mentioning: we didn’t buy our way in… we passed an audition!
Should we expect you to bring Rockstep in Manchester anytime soon?
If Manchester wants us to bring Rockstep there…we will be honoured to. We truly want to show to the Mancs what we can do on stage and maybe have a few beers with all our new friends.
If you had just one thing to share with any indie artist in Manchester’s or Athens’ scene what would that be?
Music is good as long as there is inspiration hidden inside but if they want something more catchy that would be our first yet unreleased song called Under The Sky.
Conclusion; For all I know, a DJ being a band’s frontman could be considered the ’20s “new sexy” as the videogame generation grows up and gaming turns from a hobby into lifestyle and career path. Guess that could come a bit as a surprise to any old farts in the industry accustomed to the traditional selling model of boy-bands, girl-bands and overnight TV-made popstars.
ps. Thanks to Mandi Millen, editorial manager at GAC for correcting my grammar and syntax mistakes above.
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