EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Nicolas Haelg

Swiss DJ and producer Nicolas Haelg is a musical force to be reckoned with. After growing up as a multi-instrumentalist, he ventured into music production as a teen and hasn’t looked back since.

In recent years Nicolas has released tracks on numerous major and independent labels, sharing his energetic, melodic and dreamy productions with the world. In the process, he has garnered support from established artists such as Robin Schulz, Pete Tong and Sam Feldt. In addition to releasing his own material, Nicolas has also been approached to create remixes for the likes of Izzy Bizu, Blossoms and Gareth Emery.

2018 sees Nicolas step up his game even further with the release of the incredible ‘Fight For Your Love’. Teaming up with Sam Halabi and EZEE, the track reminds us all that the summer months are fast approaching and we cannot wait.

We recently had the opportunity to ask Nicolas about ‘Fight For Your Love’, his musical journey so far and his plans for 2018.

nicolas haelg

Hi Nicolas – thank you for speaking to us today! First off, congratulations on the release of your latest track ‘Fight For Your Love’, we really love it. What has the reaction to the song been like so far?

Thanks a lot for having me first of all. ‘Fight For Your Love’ is pretty much a very uplifting good mood song. The overall reaction has been very positive, and I am very happy with the final result. It’s a perfect song for the season coming

Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind ‘Fight For Your Love’?

I grew up learning the Piano as well as the Guitar. Therefore, most of my tracks involve somehow these two elements. The track is a collaboration between Sam Halabi, EZEE and me. When Sam Halabi and I came up with the instrumental idea we came across German singer EZEE. We connected and I Skyped a few times with her. During the Skype Call it just made a “click”. EZEE and I realised that we were on the same level. She has a fantastic voice and we got well along instantly. I sent her the instrumental and she sang a first version of Fight For Your Love. The workflow was pretty amazing. I gave her feedback a couple of times, she changed it accordingly and we had the final vocals for the instrumental ready. The rest is history.

https://open.spotify.com/track/3IGu2nltn3cprDceU7pz0P?si=kzwEKbnaQq2I1MUmjjnrtA

How was the production process? How long did it take for the song to come together?

I’d say the overall process took around 6 months. Due to the distance we mostly communicated through Skype. All three of us got along instantly. So while Sam Halabi and I worked simultaneously on the instrumental version, EZEE was writing the lyrics. We had to send it back and forth a few times, giving feedback for the lyrics and the harmony she sang.

After the Vocals were properly recorded we made some minor changes to the Instrumental so everything went hand in hand. Overall, the process was very quick though and we all had the same Idea on what to expect from the track.

What were Sam Halabi and EZEE like to work with?

I have already worked with Sam Halabi prior to Fight For Your Love, therefore we could immediately connect. In the last few years we became good friends. He is a talented young producer and an even better musician; therefore the workflow is pretty good with him. It is always fun to work with other musician’s face to face.

As mentioned above, all three of us got along instantly. I like to collaborate with people that I know that the chemistry is going to be right. Cause if it is not, working together can be very tiring. Doing collaborations is like relationship building in my eyes. This means that it’s not necessarily about the skills someone brings in, but the personality and the goal to achieve the right quality in the end.

Going back to your roots – you grew up with a passion for music and were a multi-instrumentalist by the age of 15. What inspired you to go down the route of music production?

Well that is pretty hard to say I guess. In my childhood I played the piano for many years. However, while I liked the sound and liked to play around with it, I never really enjoyed being stuck in playing classical music. When music production became more accessible through more affordable software, creating musical compositions caught my attention again. This time however, not only on the piano but on the computer and in genres that I personally loved and was influenced by.

As a Swiss native, how has Switzerland influenced your sound over the years?

Hmm that’s a tricky one. Most certainly Switzerland did not have a big influence on my music. Melodic House was always more prevalent in the surrounding countries. So Switzerland has not been a key player in that genre.

https://open.spotify.com/album/50PFjk1vjg4WDVD28LigNb?si=KZLqKGEzQ9m1SaYJjUhh4A

Who are your current musical inspirations?

Since my musical influence comes strongly from the hip hop and rap scene, sampling plays a big role. I was influenced many, many times by Hip Hop and R&B and not necessarily by other electronic artists. The first 2 CD’s I bought were “The Marshall Mathers LP” by Eminem and “The Chronic” by Dr Dre back in 2001. But in the end I think I get inspired by everything that I perceive as being a cool sound. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from hip hop, house, drum n’ bass and so on.

You’ve received support from the likes of Pete Tong, Robin Schulz and Sam Feldt recently. What does it mean to you to be championed by such established artists?

Obviously it is very great to have support from such artists and it is very inspiring at the same time. It feels great to see that artist that have partly influenced me are actively supporting me. Artists like Bakermat or Robin Schulz aroused my interest in “melodic house” back in 2013. So, it’s definitely great to see their support.

You’ve created remixes for the likes of Izzy Bizu, Blossoms and Honne. How do you go about choosing tracks to remix?

Well to be completely honest the remixes above were requested by the bands directly or by their management. So, when you get a request from such artists that do great music and are already known, I am more than happy to do a reinterpretation of their songs.

You’ve already supported the likes of David Guetta and Alan Walker. What do you enjoy the most about performing?

What I most like about the genre I play music in, is that I do not necessarily have to stick to one specific sound. It pretty much depends on the playtime respectively on the crowd what set I play. Sometimes I play more commercial sets, especially if I want people to simply have a good time. For example when playing at a festival which is a bit more commercial. On the other hand playing later at night in a club I’d rather take the visitors on a journey playing more deep sounds. I do not stick fully to one genre. For me it is important however, to bring in melodies and vocals from time to time. I personally do not like it if it is too monotonous. Therefore my sets differ a lot depending on the crowd. Sometimes I play more uplifting “Good Mood House” sometimes “Funky House” and sometimes some more deeper Tech-House. However, it has be groovy, no matter what! This variety is very diversified, and that’s what I love.

Do you have any tour plans for 2018?

Well, since it is getting warmer I am looking forward to the festival season. My main base as a DJ is mainly Europe. So I am looking forward to play some cool festivals again in France, the Netherlands, Germany or of course my home country this year.

What else do you have in store for 2018

Sure, there will be a couple of new remixes coming soon. One for a German Band, one for a Swiss band. Furthermore, I am already working on my next single and a few more collaborations. So, overall there will be for sure a lot of new stuff coming soon, including another song with Sam Halabi.

Thank you to Nicolas Haelg for his time. Make sure you keep up to date with him on Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud.

Share your thoughts on our interview with Nicolas Haelg on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina
Email: katrinanaomirees@gmail.com