Joe Nice: A BEACON OF INSPIRATION & MUSIC
An essential part in the foundation of the North American dubstep scene, Joe shares his perspective on the Bass Coast Festival, music, and culture. We caught up with Joe a few hours before his set at Bass Coast 2017. Promoting different styles of music for over 20 years, he sheds some light on his exposure to the music we now know as dubstep and how to continue to building our musical community.
Lk: Please introduce yourself.
Joe Nice: Dubstep DJ and record label owner who recently moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I am a Dad, brother, uncle, cousin, boyfriend, and student. Life is wonderful and I am happy to play Bass Coast for the first time.
Lk: Are you excited to play tonight?
Joe: I’m not excited to play just yet, simply because each of us only has so much energy. That “nervous energy” is still...energy. In life, energy is either gained or lost...it transferred from one point to another. I would rather stay cool and keep calm before I play my set. About thirty minutes before my set is when the juices get flowing. I gotta focus and give everything I have to give in the moment. I got here earlier this afternoon. Bass Coast is easily the best festival I have ever been to and I still have a few more days to hang out here. This is an amazing event. Canada is one of my favorite countries to visit. The people here are so generous, kind, and warm. The vibes here are just incredible.
Lk: What have you heard about Bass Coast, how has that prepared you?
Joe: I have heard about Bass Coast is it’s not a big festival. It is not a ten-thousand to fifteen-thousand person festival. The festival is much smaller and focuses on underground culture and underground lifestyles. That’s why you have all these different workshops, yoga seminars, and events in addition to the different music that Andrea and the team curates yearly. It’s also not the same artists you see on every single festival. I love the diversity and I am going to do is bring my special flavor to the dance. All dubplates, all night...power mixing and big beats for 90 minutes. This is my fourth show in four days. I’ve had a shower and a two-hour nap and I feel perfect. The only thing in my life that’s easier than playing music is breathing. Put me in a room or on stage for 90 minutes or more....I’m in my element. Like a bird in the sky or a fish in water. It just feels natural. I’m ready for tonight!
Lk: What re you hoping to influence right now with the music your currently pushing right now?
Joe: I hope to continue to spread the sound because dubstep is a wonderful genre of music. It’s the type of music that people should be into. It has bits and pieces of other genres of music that people enjoy. I want people to understand that dubstep is a part of soundsystem culture. My goal is to continue to promote soundsystem culture through dubstep. That is the goal and it’s a never-ending goal. There is no expiration date or finish line with culture-building.
Lk: Do you feel Drum & Bass and Dubstep culture correlate?
Joe: Other than understanding soundsystem culture between the genres, I really don’t know. I never listened to drum & bass when I was younger. I never got into it. I don’t know or understand it. My history with electronic music as it relates to dubstep is very different from most people’s entry into dubstep. I grew up listening to Baltimore Club and Soulful House. Most of the UK Garage in the late nineties and early 2000s reminded me of Soulful House I listened to and played ten years prior. Now...UK Garage to dubstep.
Lk: What can we do to pass and preserve the culture within Dubstep and Bass Music?
Joe: The best way to preserve a culture is to promote a culture. Promoting a culture involves people who know the culture and are willing to share the knowledge with those who want to know about the culture. You promote through education and through sharing knowledge. You share skills, you have events, and you do interviews (like this), and you read and write books. You preserve the history so people can learn from the history and they can continue to create histories within the genres.
Lk: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Joe: I plan on more traveling. Canada is the twelfth country I have visited this year. I want to continue pushing my releases on my label, GourmetBeats. I want to push artists who deserve to have their music heard. I want to continue doing my radio show. I need to spend more time with my daughter. I need to see my lady again. I need to learn how to swim and drive a stick-shift car. And, I need to start graduate school (again). I just finished my first master’s degree from the University of Baltimore in May. I start another graduate program at Wake Forest University this fall. One year, full-time...let’s go!
Lk: Are trying to make the world a better place?
Joe: Making the world a better place -- that matters. That is important. If you remember the movie ‘Star Wars’, Yoda looked at Luke Skywalker and said, “There is no try, do or do not.” So... I don’t want to try to make the world a better place... I want to make to world a better place. It’s interesting that you ask that question because my degree is in non-profit management. Any sort of non-profit endeavor needs a mission statement and vision statement. With both statements the main goal is rooted in social betterment. Ultimately, you are trying to improve someone else’s life. It’s no different from what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to make sure that I am the best person that I can be. I also want to make sure I can somehow help other people become the best version of themselves.
Lk: Any shouts?
Joe: Shout out to everyone who has supported me. I want to shout out anyone who has ever booked me. I want to shout out anyone that has ever said, “Hey, JoeNice...nice set.” “Hey Joe, I listened to your radio show. You got me through a tough time in my life.” I want to thank anyone that has ever said a kind word to me, and any of the musicians or artists that worked with me because without them there is no me. I want to thank a few people by name: first, Dan Gee and John Ask. They were always supportive of me when I got started playing dubstep late 2000/early 2001. They were the DJ’s other DJ’s listened to. They always told me keep going, keep playing, and on those Wednesday nights at Sonar when I was playing for ten people -- it would have been very easy to say, “The hell with this. I don’t want to do this.” They were major supporters of what I’ve done through all of this and I am grateful. I want to thank my man, Dave Q. We started a party called DubWar in June 2005. We were the first party to exclusively feature dubstep in North America. We had that event every month for five years. What a time! Out to Alex, Jua, and Seckle as well. Shouts to my former roommate, Tyler. We originally started GourmetBeats as a radio show and arts & music collective. I want to thank my Mom, my lovely lady, Marina, my daughter, Parker, and RIP Elaine Anderson, my grandma. Lastly, I want to thank you for doing this interview.
For music and tour dates follow Joe Nice on Facebook.