In the era of commercial EDM, seemingly every Vegas DJ and his personal trainer is now also a producer. But it didn’t used to be that way. Be it a lack of musical pedigree or production hardware, or having no real prospects of financial payoffs—among other reasons—locally made tracks were few and far between, especially in the early 2000s.
Which is exactly when Nathan Clement, a regular presence at former local hang SRO Cafe and Strip nightlife pioneer Club Utopia, hung up his earphones. His interest in progressive house and trance outlasted that of the clubbers for which he played, so he retreated to the studio, where he hunkered down and taught himself music theory, sound design and synthesizer plug-in production to craft his own tracks. “Honestly, I think it’s weird that any DJ wouldn’t want to produce,” he says. “I love the music so much, why wouldn’t I want to?”
The process would take him more than a decade, but Clement, who has since returned to DJing here and in the southwestern U.S., eventually acquired the skills, songs and label contacts to establish himself as a producer. His output this year alone includes the second most bought EP for Polytechnic Recordings (Dirty Martini), single “MORelectric” and a remix of Klinedea’s “Close Your Eyes” (all of which can be streamed at soundcloud.com/n8-music or purchased at Beatport).
Learning patience also helped, both in the mastering of the process and the creation of the music itself. “It’s seriously insanity,” Clement says. “You listen to a 16-bar loop a million times and analyze it over and over—that’s insanity. You’re picking parts out of it and making little adjustments that only you might hear.”
Clement doesn’t make club bangers; his nuanced music resides in what he calls “the deeper underground progressive sphere of electronica,” emphasizing the low end but also intricately layering melodies (evidenced in “Rock Rose”) and percussion (see “Illuminated Aether”) until he develops the right emotional frequencies. “When you listen to the track over the speakers, it’s like it’s saying, what do you need?” he says. “It’s like a child—what can you feed it?” From the sound of it, Clement nourishes his creative process well.
Habitat with Nathan Clement, Illegal Party, Michael Scalar, Bad Beat. December 20, 10 p.m., free. Satay Thai Bistro & Bar, 3900 Paradise Road, 702-369-8788.