It is with great pleasure that we welcome Slovakia’s very own rising star Nikoleta, widely known to the world under her artist name “Nifra” back to Trancefix.nl for yet another exclusive interview. It was fun catching up with her once more and hearing about all the new developments in her career plus shedding a bit of extra light on her early beginnings and much more. There is nothing this talented DJ/Producer can not do. If you have been so fortunate as to have witnessed some of her exquisite performances as I have then you totally know this lady is destined for even more grand things ahead in the dance music cosmos!
Question 1: How did you find yourself falling head first in love with dance music?
I was still a child basically when I started to prefer dance music instead of any other kind of music. I was heavily influenced by German music channels back in the day like “Viva” or “MTV”. That was my introduction to dance music in like 2001. It made me feel like no other music out there to be honest and when I saw “ATB’s” music videos I was so blown away. He was SUCH an inspiration to me and I wanted to become a producer and DJ myself thanks to him. I’m so glad that I could include on my compilation his collab with another very important person in my career, “Markus Schulz”, who has become a mentor to me. Life is honestly a very strange thing 🙂
Question 2: You have graced some of the biggest festivals and clubs around the world, driving the public wild with your enthusiastic and turbulent performances. Which two out of all these gigs have stood out in your memory after all these years?
I will probably never forget “ASOT 550”, it was my first performance at a festival of this magnitude. Another one I would like to mention was my debut at “Avalon Hollywood” in 2014. I was going on right after Markus made his surprise appearance and introduced me to the LA crowd and also as a new addition to the “Schulz Music Group”. It was the start of many amazing things for me. Truly unforgettable moments that I will cherish forever…
Question 3: Known for your characteristic sound as an artist, you have given us loads of anthems while deciding to educate future producers as well as you did at the “Trance Retreat” concept created by fellow DJ/Producer “Dennis Sheperd” which took place in the mountains of Bulgaria. How did you get involved in this venture and what did it feel like to educate young musical minds?
I met Dennis for the first time when we played together in “Vietnam” in 2017 and he told me about this concept. I think he had been teaching music already privately and “Trance Retreat” was something unique where a couple of producers spend a week teaching students about dance music production. It definitely caught my attention and a couple months later I met him again and he told me about the planned Bulgarian edition and that he would love to have me on that edition. I have to give my boyfriend credit as he literally pushed me into it, so I was like “Ok, lets do it!”. I never had done anything like this, besides giving one on one help a couple of times plus I’m also not really good at talking in front of a lot of people so I had to go way out of my comfort zone for that. But it was such a fun week and met some really nice people over there! 🙂 AND I’m doing another “Trance Retreat” this September in “Bali” with “Dennis“, “Rodg” and “Sunny Lax”. There might be still couple of spots left for anybody interested. Really looking forward to that one 🙂
Question 4: “Cabin Fever” was created by fellow music friends “Orjan Nilsen”, “Dennis Sheperd”, “Estiva” and yourself at the “Trance Retreat” I mentioned earlier on. It took on epic proportions and was heavily supported by some of the industry’s giants such as “Armin Van Buuren” and “Markus Schulz”. How did you come up with the idea for this collaboration and did any of you ever think it will go on to become this big?
The very last day of the retreat we all sat down and did a group session. The students were there and all the teachers as well. All of us were just throwing ideas at each other. The initial idea was a techy beat if I remember correctly and that evolved into the groove of “Cabin Fever”. “Orjan” jumped in and made the melody and then “Steven” and I gave more tips and ideas to “Dennis” for the arrangement as all of us use different daws. This whole process took around 5 hours if not less. The very same day “Estiva” dropped it at the event in “Sofia” that all of us played at and omg it sounded insanely good on the dance floor. We knew right then that it was an interesting track but we still had no idea if it would ever get released. Once I sent it to Markus he started to play it in every single live set of his and it quickly became the secret ID. Orjan did an additional remix that became an absolute favorite of “Armin van Buuren”, which he’s been dropping for many months live as well. After the release more DJ’s picked it up, the support was quite insane! To be honest with you I think none of us expected this outcome. I guess sometimes the best things come when you least expect them 🙂
Question 5: One of the biggest landmarks in your career is your first ever DJ mix compilation “Follow Me”, which will even see a physical release as well (CD). Can you share with us the story behind it all?
You know I have been djing for many years now, I love doing studio mixes as well. Some of you probably have seen my short live video mixes that I put out from time to time. I have played at lots of clubs and festivals around the world and that experience has definitely been an inspiration to me in the studio. I wanted to give back something to my fans, and it was also a time I guess. It just felt right so I started to play with that idea early on last year and talked to my label, “Coldharbour Recordings”. Fortunately they were 100% behind me so you can imagine my excitement 🙂 I love them for giving me the freedom and letting me work on this project as I was fully involved in all aspects of it.
When my first track was released back in 2008 on “Coldharbour” it was literally at a time that vinyls stopped being pressed. I don’t have a single physical copy of my own music and that’s why I really wanted the compilation to be on CD as well, especially for my fans that asked me a million times and wanted to finally own something. The packaging looks amazing and the photo shoot for it was so much fun. We shot it with gel lights and I love the darkness and mysteriousness of it, that definitely goes hand in hand with the music on the CD 🙂
Question 6: I understand “Follow Me” contains loads of exclusive, never before heard material by yourself and other artists. What was your vision when creating this mix compilation and will this become a yearly tradition perhaps?
I began to notify my friends – producers at the end of 2018 and started to collect tracks. The process was definitely challenging but I loved it. I a&red the remix for “Powerball” and “Dark Harbour” as well as a couple of tracks that were submitted and I began to have a better idea of what it was going to be like once I had a good collection of tracks. You can find some unreleased remixes from myself such as the remix of “Markus Schulz’s’-“Upon My Shoulders” or “Super8 & Tab’s” -“Venture”. Both of them will be released in the near future. There are quite a number of exclusive original tracks on there also from the “Arkham Knights”, “Mike Efex”, “Arjans”, “Dave Neven” & “Sean & Xander”, plus I also produced a track called “Tomboy” especially for the compilation, as well as the intro mix of my forthcoming collab with “Fisherman” called “Nyx”, which sets the mood for the rest of the album. Had I not missed the deadline it would have been probably 90% of unreleased material 😉
Honestly I didn’t expect such an interest from everybody. I’m really really thankful for all the support from my fans and all I’m gonna say is that the future looks quite bright 😉
Question 7: I was told your recent performance at “Luminosity” was seriously amazing. Do you enjoy digging deep into your archives and bringing the fans back in time through some of the finest classics curated by none other than yourself?
Really? Thank you! I think because I started to listen to music at quite an early age, my overview is quite vast. I definitely love going back to those tracks that shaped me, the ones that I used to spin in my sets back in the day. They are a different kind of classics than what people usually imagine as I’m a progressive trance DJ at heart but I think that sub-genre deserves attention as well so I’m glad that I got the opportunity to go down memory lane and let that sound be heard once more.
Question 8: What future performances can we come to expect and are there any you may want to share with us here?
I will be going back to “Prague” for my residency at the massive “Epic” club. During “Trance Retreat” in Bali, I will be doing some shows in Asia and it looks like I’m going to be visiting my fans in California as well 🙂 I should definitely not forget to mention the “Airwalk – Indoor Trance Festival” in Holland so see everybody somewhere around the world.
Question 9: It is known that you played a sublime back to back set with “Fisherman” last year at the first edition of the uncanny “Airwalk Indoor Trance Event”. Rumor has it that you will be back at it this year. Any special surprises you may wish to share thus luring the fans back to the festival or perhaps draw in new ones to come discover it for themselves?
I’m really excited to be part of it again to be honest. The location – “De Maaspoort” here in “Venlo” is perfect for a trance event, as it’s a theater with a couple of rooms. I will be performing on the main stage but there will also be a stage dedicated to uplifting trance this year and the lineup is exactly how a proper trance festival should be like. All sub-genres covered so I really suggest to check it out as last year’s edition was such a huge success.
Question 10: You certainly have had quite the year. Any new tracks or collaborations in the works you might like to share with us here at Trancefix,nl?
Yeah its been an incredibly busy year so far which I definitely love. That keeps me motivated to work even harder so there will be lots of new music coming up. Besides the tracks and remixes that are on the compilation and will be released at some point in the next couple of months, I have my collab with the vocalist “Mia Koo” coming up called “Forever Forever”. You could hear the more chilled version of it in “Markus’ “In Bloom” episode of the “GDJB” and I’m working on a clubbier mix of it for my sets. I believe there will be more collabs too so just keep an eye out for it all 🙂
Many thanks for your time! You can all purchase the aforementioned “Follow Me” right here: https://coldharbour.complete.me/followme