Dave Nada Speaks on Life, Love, and the Moombahton Scene

Image via Dave Nada on Facebook
Image via Dave Nada on Facebook

Many words, thoughts and emotions (both positive and negative) regarding the Dave Nada-created moombahton sound have been brought to the table in 2013. As the sound enters its fourth year in existence, moombahton has evolved from being Washington, DC’s pride and joy to a global phenomenon. Futhermore, creator Nada has arguably grown as well. The past twelve months have seen the producer touring more frequently than ever before, and as well, get married to fellow DJ and producer Jen Lasher. Somehow, in the midst of a wild and oftentimes tumultuous year, Nada (and by extension, moombahton) has persevered, remained positive and is arguably emerged better from the experience. I had the chance to catch up with Dave and ask a few questions regarding developments in his personal life, in moombahton, and in music overall. As always, Dave is candid, aware and keeping an eye on pushing not just moombahton, but all music, ahead.

Congratulations on your recent marriage! I’m sure you and Jen are super excited about your futures together.  How have you guys maintained such a healthy relationship with both of you being traveling artists, essentially since the very beginning of your time together?  
Thanks for the congrats man, married life is the best! We always try to plan and organize our trips so we can be together as much as possible. Jen’s been in the DJ game longer than I have, so we’re both no stranger to the road. The best thing about being married is sharing your life and experiences together. We’re happy to be in a position where we can do that in our careers.

Nadastrom has played shows and festivals all over in 2013, but we haven’t been privileged enough to get much in the way of new material.  What’s on deck?  Is the reported album you guys have been working on finished and what can we expect from it?
Matt and I are usually in the studio whenever we’re not touring. We’re always working on new sounds and ideas, soaking up our experiences on the road and applying it to our music. 2014 should see some new Nadastrom releases.

Are there any sounds, tracks and artists that are outside of the realm of big-room and festival EDM that have influenced you this year? I feel like for as much as EDM has been ubiquitous, it was a similarly strong year in so many other genres and styles that certainly influence production, but get overlooked by the mainstream.
Oh yeah fa sure. New albums and releases this year by Moderat, Beautiful Swimmers, Machinedrum, Kelela, Axel Boman, Thundercat, James Blake, Four Tet, Bonobo, Danny Brown, Stimming, Jesse Lanza, Rashad, Special Request, and Jesse Boykins III are in constant rotation and have all been very inspirational. It’s all R&B, soul, and blues to me. I’ve been digging deeper inside my head these days, so a lot of this music hits home.

Nadastrom has played enough times now in Mexico, Central and South America where I feel like you would be able to have a true sense of that market’s response to the sound. How have those sets been from a response level, and what have been some of the more inspiring moments from that journey?
It’s great that Moombahton Massive has started to tap into Latin America. It a sign that the music is starting to make an impact and that there’s a genuine growing interest in moombahton music in these parts of the world. This year was the first time Matt, Sabo, and I brought Moombahton Massive to Venezuela, Colombia and Nicaragua. The response has been amazing so far, with Venezuela having the biggest response of them all. San Cristobal was like 2,000 kids knowing every important moombahton record by heart, it was crazy [laughs]. Mexico is another beast of its own, having ventured there with Skrillex and Dillon Francis. The response for moombahton in Mexico has been huge for us. A lot of it is still curiosity and experimentation though…on both sides. With the Massives, most kids come out because they’re curious to hear what moombahton is, and we’re out there because we’re curious to see how they respond to moombahton. But overall, it’s been well received and well attended. We’ve collaborated with great companies and crews that believe in the music and in what we do. To us, that’s probably most important and makes all the difference. El Freaky Colectivo in Bogota, Paz Tons in San Cristobal, and Meka/The Well in Nicaragua…they all get us, and they all strongly believe in the music. It’s been very organic thus far. I still feel like this only the beginning as well, it’s exciting.

SAV’s 15 minute Moombahton documentary hit the Interwebs recently.  You posted on social media that it was not all inclusive and a little dated but something that was very cool that documented the music and gave a nod to the future.  Can you elaborate a little bit more on that?
I think the “Are You Ready For The Moombah?” is a great documentary about moombahton and features a lot of the key players involved in the music. You can tell that SAV put a lot of heart into it. I’m happy that there’s finally something that people can reference and get a glimpse into how moombahton started and it’s development over the past few years. By “a little dated” I meant more of the fact that I wish the the documentary came out sooner during moombahton’s initial hype. But it’s ok, I don’t think the content is dated. He did a good job of featuring a lot of the OG moombah heads and labels, telling their stories involving moombahton and it’s relation to dance music culture as a whole. Also, seeing as it’s a short 15-minute documentary, it’s really tough to cover everyone that has had a helping hand in shaping moombahton … just to name a few, there’s Sol Selectas, Le Doom, Toy Selecta, Bersa Discos, Generation Bass, Mama Nada, DJ Melo, El Cuco, DJ Craze & Slow Roast, Javier Estrada, Neil Queen Jones, Jon Kwest, Moombah Original, Jay Fay, Muevelo LA, Moomba+, Velvet Lounge, Toddla T, Brodinski, AZ Gunslingaz, Kid Cedek & Rot 10 Musik, U Hall, Vamos Promo, Think 2wice, ETC!ETC!, DJ Madd OD, Billy The Gent & Cam Jus (Tropixxx), Sazon Booya, Laidback Luke, DJ Orion and Peligrosa, Que Bajo, Slowed (Torro Torro & Lucie Tic), Lightning Eyez, Bro Safari, Vicious Viv, Moombahton Maxxin Crew, Moombah Mafia, HARD, the list goes on and on and on. So many people have been inspired by moombahton one way or another and it’s pretty awesome to see that develop as time goes on. They all have their own stories as well, and I think documentaries like this can only help in exposing that even more.

What are your thoughts regarding unity in the bass music community as a whole? I feel like there are so many sounds (trap, club, juke, footwork, moombahton, zouk bass, baile funk, dubstep, etc.) that are getting some shine these days that people may be missing the notion that these sounds are potentially more revolutionary when played together than when pulled apart and examined alone. Your thoughts? 
There’s a common love for low-end bass frequencies, I guess (laughs). Drums are universal, and it’s great that we can tap into different worlds even more these days via the Internet and technology. I’m a “the more the merrier” type of cat, so I welcome all sounds and music into my playlists and DJ sets. I feel like you owe it to yourself to be open-minded when it comes to music. Otherwise you’ll be missing out on so much amazing shit. Mixing and fusing sounds and genres is not only fun, but you can also bridge worlds that way. And in my experience, that’s been nothing but positive. With that said, I still think it’s important for a sound to have a foundation. Sort of an “act locally, think globally” kind of way. If you’re truly making noise, the rest of the world will eventually catch on. And that’s when things really start to get interesting.

The constant accolades/elephant in the room that gets associated with you always is that skipping day party now over four years ago. How do you feel today about being the dude that created moombahton compared to say two years ago, before there was a shift in styles of music that hit the internet and the producers that were inspired by it?  How do you feel about your role with the genre moving forward in 2014? 
I still feel humbled. Humbled that something I helped create has had any kind of positive impact in the music world. If I still have a hand in steering the sound in any kind of direction, then it’ll be through platforms like Moombahton Massive and with my partners & peers that share the same love for the music. I’m always trying to push the sound forward and build with others inside and outside the realm of moombahton. To me, that’s what moombahton has always been about. Like Uncle George used to say, one nation under a groove.