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n1ghtmar3cat - n1ghtmar3cat Newsletter Interview

07 Aug 2022 // An interview by Shade

It's one thing to produce music from within two different genres, but it's a completely different thing to master each genre to perfection. One person who has mastered two genres to perfection is Dave Johnston - the hard hitting drummer from one of NZ's most well-known Rock acts, Villainy, also creates  immersive indie-electronica / EDM music as n1ghtmar3cat.

We caught up with Dave about his newest release as n1ghtmar3cat, Rat Race. Here's what went down:

What is the one thing you want NZ to know about n1ghtmar3cat?

That I have a brand new album out called Rat Race and it's really good! Have a listen and judge for yourself.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

Immersive indie-electronica with introspective, hook laden vocals. My vocals sit in the centre of the n1ghtmar3cat world - I'm a producer and there are always elements of sound design and spaciousness in my music, but ultimately I'm all about the 'song', so I'll always be thinking first and foremost about how each track sits as a song and build the production around that. I like to try experiment so have a broad range of influences across my discography - I'm a sucker for a good EDM drop so some of my tracks lean in the direction of festival style future bass & midtempo EDM (Rat Race and Don't Lie), others lean towards the singer-songwriter or alt-pop direction (Curtain Call, OK?, High Hopes).

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

All over the place! Pop, rock, dance music, weird stuff. The great thing about having my own artist-producer project is that I get to make all the decisions myself, experiment with new ideas, and draw influence and inspiration from wherever I like. It's a great creative outlet.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

The new single Rat Race Feat. MISSY is the first n1ghtmar3cat track with a feature artist. Abi and I have known each other for a while, and this was a classic 'lockdown collaboration' where she recorded her vocals at her place and sent them through to me to mix into the track. Abi's a really quick worker and a solid artist-producer so it was an easy process. My goal is to have a lot more collabs on future n1ghtmar3cat tracks, so I'm stoked the first one is out the gate.

What can we expect to see from you in the next year?

A lot! I'm already writing new music for n1ghtmar3cat and planning collaborations there, but my band Villainy has a small tour coming up and we've been busy in the writing room, plus I have a two-piece collaboration Delivery Boyz with by good friend Swap Gomez is gearing up for some new releases. I'm also mentoring & collaborating with a young artist-producer called Phoenix Simpson on some songs for his new project which will be launching soon. Lots of projects on the burn, that's how I like it.

What can you never leave home without?

My phone - not so much for the socials, but so I can keep on top of my schedule, and also because if I've got that I can record voice notes for song ideas wherever I am, and I have access to all my music synced through Google Drive whenever I need it.

What local albums have you been listening to recently?

I've only just started diving into it but the new Pacific Heights album The Waters Between has some great things going on. Devin is a really talented producer.

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

Spend a good hour slowly warming up and getting your head in the right space, a few star jumps and vocal warmups, get off your phone, drink some water and don't drink any alcohol within an hour before playing. That's what I try to do, at least!

What is your favourite NZ venue, and why?

Spark Arena - I've been to so many great events there, and have played there a few times in Villainy. Some great memories.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Write lots of songs. Get really good at writing lots of songs, then you can just pick the best ones and dump the rest. The best way to get good at writing songs is to... write lots of songs.

Check out n1ghtmar3cat on Muzic.net.nz


About n1ghtmar3cat

As n1ghtmar3cat, Dave Johnston’s characteristic flavour of immersive indie-electronica | EDM | alt-pop fuses cinematic sound design with hook-laden pop sensibilities, demonstrating the many facets of his production, composition and songwriting arsenal, built up over a decade as a multi-genre producer and performer (Villainy, Delivery Boyz, MISSY, Yoko-Zuna, The Zoup).

Following a self-titled debut album in 2019, sophomore record Rat Race dropped in August 2022, with singles including Rat Race; Don’t Lie; High Hopes; and Hurting Myself (and I Think I Like It). High Hopes grabbed the attention of the Spotify curators, bagging features on New Music Friday AU/NZ, Top Shelf Electronic and other coveted editorial playlists.

Written, recorded and produced by Johnston in isolation, the current wave of n1ghtmar3cat releases channel artists such as The Weeknd, Jon Hopkins, Banks and Flume, combining textural, atmospheric passages with moments of intense energy to draw the listener into the headspace that the emotive lyrics evoke.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for n1ghtmar3cat


Rat Race
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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