With a DJ career spanning 19 Years, and a 12 Year Resident/Artist for San Francisco based Listed Productions and Bookings, NIKITA is a DJ’s DJ, a rare soul who truly understands his role in the DJ booth.
Performing anywhere from two to eighteen-hour sets, NIKITA weaves music into fantastic journeys of rhythm and sound. NIKITA’s ability to contrast the harder elements of techno with the soulful sensuality of deep house has garnered him accolades from some of the world’s best DJs, playing alongside a who’s who of international talent, including Danny Tenaglia, Lee Burridge, Craig Richards, Doc Martin, Philipp Jung, Joel Mull, Steve Bug, and many, many more.
With additional inspiration coming from friends such as Danny Howells, and Cassy, it comes as no wonder why NIKITA’s story is one of a dream come true.
Balance Selections Q+A
My recent releases:
Atnarko feat. Nikita – Mister Positivity
Greg Paulus & Pillow Talk (feat. Nikita on horn arragement) – All People
+ Unreleased projects with m.O.N.R.O.E, Ray Zuniga, Patrick Gil, and Mikey Tello, soon to be looking for a label home…
What music did you listen to as a child?
My parents listened to ALL types of really wonderful music. My mom had a major influence on me in regards to Black music, R&B, and Soul. I have very fond memories of listening to Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Dinah Washington, and the like… My grandmother and her sisters taught me the old stuff, like Jazz and Swing, and of course the greats, Tony Bennet, Sinatra, Dean Martin! My father got me into everything from Led Zeppelin, to The Mamas and the Papas, to Classical music, Classic Rock and lots of show tunes, and Broadway classics. My dad played the piano most mornings, while my mom cooked breakfast… I don’t like being woken up any other way!
When was the first time that you realised that you liked electronic music?
When I discovered rave culture (circa ‘94), it was a journey to become the truest expression of myself. During those days, it was all about being the most open and freakiest you wanted to be. Rave and Club culture had a foundation we called PLUR. Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. I went from being bullied and a total outcast, to someone who was proud to be different, and celebrated because of it!
When was the first time you saw a DJ in a club?
While in Denver, I was enriched by the musical experiences listening to everyone like local heroes H-Foundation,Ty Tek, Little Mike, and Wyatt Earp, and of course rave icons like, DJ DRC, Terry Mullan, Sasha & Digweed, Rabbit in the Moon etc..
However, the DJ experience that inspired me the most, and made me the DJ I am today, is DANNY TENAGLIA! He completely changed my life when I saw him for the first time at RELEASE party at 1015 Folsom in 2001. It was New Years, and he played an 18 hour set, which opened my eyes and imagination to what is truly possible as a performer behind the decks! He’s the ultimate “DJ’s, DJ”.
Which producers/artists/acts inspire you?
Too many to name!! Most importantly, my influences and artists I look up to are Danny Howells, Cassy, Doc Martin, Danny Tenaglia, Sven Vath, Honey Dijon, David Harness, Lee Burridge, and countless others, who are constantly evolving and setting the tone of the movement in Dance Music today!
The same goes for artists like Björk, Roisin Murphy, and the other women who’ve been ahead of our time since the beginning, like Madonna, and Grace Jones! I aspire to be like them; never being afraid to think, and be different!
What was the last album that you downloaded/bought?
The most poignant artist that first comes to mind, is a Spotify playlist that I’ve been obsessed with is ‘The Genius of Andrew Weatherall’. He was one of the most prolific, iconic artists of our time, a total and utter genius indeed!
What is your current production and DJ set up like?
I learned on vinyl, and still actually enjoy that format the most. I’ve been collecting records since the 90’s, before I was a DJ, and was just a raver. Of course, I enjoy the endless possibilities of digital releases as well. I can play piano however Turntables, CDJs, and mixers are my skilled instruments. My favorite mixers are Urie/Rane, or a rotary enhanced Pioneer.
My studio resides in Brooklyn with my longtime brothers, Mikey Tello and Ray Zuniga. These guys are my FAMILY. I could never see my life without them, really. We’ve created a home that has been a sanctuary for us and all our friends who come through New York. It has everything you could dream of in a production studio.
What releases do you have on the horizon?
Currently, I’ve been working on music with my music partner, Ray Zuniga, or Touch of Class recordings. We’ve been working on an E.P. for Cassy’s label KWENCH. I’ve also got an E.P. in the works with Miami based prodigy, m.O.N.R.O.E., as well as a few projects with the omni-talented Greg Paulus of No Regular Play.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
Before the whole pandemic transpired, I was thoroughly passionate about my co-production role in the Altus Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe, that we had to unfortunately postpone because of COVID-19. Once the planet has healed, we will continue this endeavor…STAY TUNED!
Where can we hear you perform?
I’ve been carrying out my aurally pleasing talents through my livestream performances via my Twitch.TV platform channel, Twitch.tv/NIKITAneverstops
Before the pandemic, I was a CityFox regular at The Brooklyn Mirage/Avant Gardner, and Output Club (before it closed its doors last year). I’ve also held residencies at Members Only in Brooklyn, the legendary Endup in San Francisco and listed production events around the US. I am also a regular at these San Francisco staples, Monarch, Great Northern, Audio, Public Works and The Midway. In addition, I love playing for the Dialogue Events in LA and Soul State in Vegas.
I simply can not wait to return to “the good ol’ days”, touring my favourite spots and cities, and seeing you all on the dance floor!
Tell us more about the podcast you made for Balance?
I’ve been obsessed with BALANCE since Lee Burridge did his 3-disc compilation. That release was a masterpiece. I wanted to create a podcast with emotion that embodies the BALANCE aesthetic and vibe.
With all that is going on in the world today, I embraced the challenge of compiling a mix that delivered a message of LOVE and positivity, through the Universal language of MUSIC!
The top track in my DJ wallet currently is:
Even though it’s not a new release, I recently discovered this beautiful acid-house record that has become an instant classic for me, written by DJ Pierre – ‘What is House Muzik’, with a remix by Jazzuelle! – CHECK IT OUT!!!
If I could recommend only one of my tracks for you to listen to it would be:
My first record release, ‘Mister Positivity’, was released on Better on Foot Recordings, which was titled by my mother, because I’m “always so positive”! ;-)
If I could recommend only one track for you to listen to it would be:
Danny Tenaglia feat. Celeda – Music is the Answer
The last movie I watched that I really liked:
It’s not new, but I recently watched it with my parents: What Happened, Miss Simone – It’s a superb documentary, telling of personal, political, and artistic struggle. It was painful to watch, but in the end, Nina got what she wanted, and her memory will live on forever through her sacrifice, poetry and music. An EXCELLENT film!
My favourite TV show:
I’m all about POSE on Netflix!! The stories are an accurate depiction of what happened in the 80’s and 90’s, during New York’s revolutionary years. The gay and prodominantely black communities held “a ball” where vogueing originated, and were part of a movement, when House Music was born.
Balance Selections 138: NIKITA
1. Dominik Eulberg -SiebenschlÃ¤fer (Robag Wruhme Remix)
2. Ursula Rucker, Qess – Spaces in Between feat. Ursula Rucker (Extended Version)
3. Danny Howells – Shortwave (Original Mix)
4. Tigerskin – Shortwave (Original Mix)
5. DJ Jes – Genuine Flo (Garrett David Remix)
6. Giorgio Moroder – E=MC2 (SIS Remix)
7. J Gabriel – It Comes And Goes (Mike Shannons What Goes Around Comes Around Mix)
8. Andre Galluzi – Bambo (riginal miz)
9. Basti Grub – Psalm (Original mix)
10. Denny & James Dexter – Lucid Dreams
11. Jay Tripwire – Atonal Ascension
12. Dance Spirit – Roses
13. Foreign Guest, Cook Strummer – Run (Ian Pooley Remix Dub Version)
14. Livio & Roby – Simbio (Original Mix)
15. Tikiman, Rhauder, Paul St. Hilaire – Control (Steve O’Sullivan Reconstruction)
16. Mandingo (313) – Universe II (Larry Heard Remix)
17. Archie Hamilton – Xica (Original Mix)