DJs Gina Turner and Laidback Luke have combined their musical superpowers to form the dancefloor-destroying-duo Nouveau Yorican, and they’ve been pounding out tracks since early 2009. Their first collaboration, “Boriqua,” juxtaposes Chicago juke rhythms and Latin house elements that seem imported straight from the Island. “Chiuso,” their most recent release, continues – thankfully – in the same vein.
Gina Turner’s discerning ear for the tastefully outlandish serves the project well, with sultry, almost seductive sing-along vocals sprinkled over a simple yet not unsophisticated beat. Check out the song below, as well as an interview with Gina after the jump.
Nouveau Yorican – Chiuso (Original Mix)
Dancing Astronaut: How did you and LBL first get in touch to form Nouveau Yorican?
DJ Gina Turner: We had mutual friends. And the moment that we bonded was about 3-4 years ago. A girl stole one of his CDs. I was like, “YO…” and got in this girl’s face. But that was how we became really close friends. Ever since then I was always playing really weird music for him – our styles are pretty different. He’s more trancey, big-room sounding. I’m just kind of weird and more underground. Every time I would play music he would say, “What is this? You have the most diverse and obscure taste in music. I have to pick your brain production-wise.” That’s how it all started. Short story long.
DA: When did you first start making music together?
DGT: Our first track was released on Sound Pellegrino. Boriqua. We actually made that track in December 2009, – that’s when we started making music together.
DA: Do you find that your work with Laidback Luke has influenced your solo sound?
DGT: Yeah, we’re constantly influencing each other for sure. It’s been an honor and inspiration working with him because he has so much experience and is a total whiz…I went to school for audio production and studied Reason and Pro Tools and know them like the back of my hand. On the other hand he’s completely self-taught so I’m learning things that you can only learn from experience. It’s changed the way that I’m producing now.
I’m focusing on my solo productions at the moment. I have something coming out on DJs are Not Rockstars (Alexander Technique’s label). It’s going to be my first solo release, so I’m really excited about that. But yeah, it’s totally influenced me, because Luke is really good at what he does and really fast. Whereas I will spend so much time focusing on one little kick drum or snare for like 3 hours, he takes 3 hours to make a track. No joke.
DA: What programs do you use to make your music?
DGT: My first love was Pro Tools, and I used to run Reason through Pro Tools. It’s what I’m most comfortable on. Then I moved onto Logic, and I broke up with Logic. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
DA: Was it a messy breakup?
DGT: Actually, yes. It crashed a couple times – it was enough. And I was on Ableton before I was on Logic, but it was more for audio editing than for production. And now I’m strictly on Ableton, and I love it. FL Studio is actually pretty cool too. I like everything – I’m kind of an audio geek and that’s one other thing Luke and I bonded about. I like to be able to use a lot of different options.
DA: Who were your big influences at the beginning of your DJ career?
DGT: You know, it’s funny..I guess I don’t get cool points for this answer…Jonathan Peters. I would go to see him play a lot in New York. And Danny Tenaglia.
DA: And they’re still a fixture in the NYC dance scene.
DGT: Yeah. And, well, the person who taught me how to DJ was very into Jonathan Peters. We would go into Sound Factory on Sunday mornings and then we’d go to see DJs in Belmar afterwards, and then the next day we’d be in the Hamptons at CPI for Danny Tenaglia…that was the scene that I was really immersed in. So it’s actually funny if you think about what my sound is now. I’m very tribal-y and drum-oriented in terms of DJ sets, but I had a big room beginning.
DA: Is there any one album that sticks out in your mind that made you think, “Wow, I want to start DJing?”
DGT: You know what? I can tell you a song. For me, it was “Flowerz” by Armand van Helden. I was like, oh my God, how is this song making people feel this kind of emotion? That was my song. I don’t drop it as much nowadays – I save it for special occasions. It’s crazy, though. Looking back, I can’t even believe it. I’m friends with Armand van Helden now, and I totally geek out with him all the time. “Like, dude, you don’t even understand…your song…” he’s really humble about it. He really doesn’t understand how that song, for me, made me want to start DJing.
Armand van Helden – Flowerz (Original Mix)
DA: Who would you say were a big help in getting you to where you are now?
DGT: I had my start in radio. I was spinning records on the air in Boston for a show called Revolutions. Morgan Page got his start there too, along with some other DJs. Like the Soul Clap guys. I have a more radio-based beginning.
And there was no electronic music scene there. And I was part of this radio station, this culture, this electronic music show that really helped launch it. So when I left Boston, I went straight to LA, and I became very close friends with DJ AM and Steve Aoki, and those people helped launch my DJ career in LA. It’s funny, because their styles are totally different. DJ AM was a complete club rocker, and he was a great person to look up to. Of course, working with Luke, and making a track with Zoo Brazil really helped push my career to the next level. But in terms of mentors, I’d have to say [DJ] AM.
DA: What are you currently listening to?
DGT: I’m listening to Nicki Minaj, on repeat. You don’t understand. I love it. [Laughs] I’m currently listening to a lot of drum and bass. It’s not a new thing, but I’m doing a special mix for one of my upcoming radio shows. I like the kind of drum and bass that’s more house vocal-based…that’s less [Gina simulates an undesirable drum and bass track – see http://tinyurl.com/d5cpra for inspiration]…and more about pretty vocals. I want to do a mix just like that.
DA: What was your favorite gig of 2010?
DGT: Okay…I guess it would have to be doing the Jersey shore debut of Tiesto. I opened for Tiesto for two nights, they were sold-out shows. People were telling me that I had to realize that I was opening for Tiesto, that they would be chanting Tiesto’s name the entire time. But because I kind of had the home-field advantage, with the Jersey and New York crowd, they ate me up. I was playing the New York hits. I knew the crowd, and for me, that was special. Opening for him was supposed to be hard because I was told people were there to see him and not me, but I really won the crowd over. And now I’m doing New York shows…and also in Orlando, in Chicago. And for me to be playing the music I play – which is more weird and tech-housey, for a stadium crowd of 10,000 people, it’s really something.
DA: Who would you most like to play a back-to-back set with?
DGT: Can I be honest? I’m really picky when it comes to playing back-to-back sets. Every once in a while I do a DJ duo back-to-back called Staccato, and we have a system down, and it works. I’m kind of…I can’t explain it. I take over the turntables and I take over the mixer and I don’t want anybody else touching things. Even when I play back-to-back with Luke, we’re both such bosses behind the decks, that’s its hard sometimes. It’s like putting two cooks in the kitchen. I guess what would work most would be – well, it’s a hard question. I’ve never really thought about it.
It would be a dream to play back-to-back with Derrick Carter. And I think it would work really well music-wise. The other thing about Derrick Carter: I like to watch him DJ. So I would rather chill. And not do that. Or DJ Heather. She is one of my DJ heroes. The whole Chicago house scene is awesome. Actually, I DJ-ed the Om party this year, and she was dancing to my set. And now that I think about it: Matthew Dear. “Dog Days” is one of my all-time favorite tracks. Totally giving the Midwest some love here. Matthew Dear, or Loco Dice.
Matthew Dear – Dog Days (Original Mix)
DA: What’s your favorite color?
DGT: Black. Does that count? Or, to quote my friend Maluca: fluorescent beige. But I have to give her credit for that one.