[INTERVIEW] Nayef Issa, Founder Of Nü Androids, Shares Experiences And Wisdom From Establishing The Beacon Of D.C.'s Event Space
Over the last decade, Washington, D.C. has become a major player in the music and arts live entertainment sector. With a constant influx of tourism and large population of dance music enthusiasts, there are plenty of competitive opportunities for event brands to establish a foothold in this city. One brand that has consistently proved to execute top-notch shows is Nü Androids. This forward-thinking company fuses mind-bending A.I. technology, immersive venues, captivating art installations and vendors, with renowned artists from across the globe.
In doing so, Nü Androids and its innovative founder, Nayef Issa, have built an expansive, dedicated following of party-goers and creatives alike. We sat down with Nayef so he could share his remarkable story in the event industry and knowledge he has accrued over his journey.
Check out iEDM’s exclusive interview with Nayef Issa below.
iEDM: What initially sparked your interest in electronic music and the event industry? When starting out, were there any specific artists or event promoters that had impacted your brand and business model?
Nayef: I was really inspired by what Future Classic was doing in Australia. While they are currently more of a label now, they originally started out doing parties. I loved their branding and sound.
iEDM: How did you come up with the logo for Nü Androids and what does it symbolize? Is there a reason that headwear was selected as a main option for your merch catalog?
Nayef: When we were originally starting out, we liked the idea of a music note being incorporated into a logo because, while it was simple, we hadn’t seen anything like that from a collective brand. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of vibrant colors and wanted that to be part of our brand because I feel like that represents how music makes me feel a beautiful rollercoaster of emotions.
When I was talking to the designer, we discussed the idea of Tetris blocks and after a few iterations the note was created. I really love having, not just the name, but a symbol for a logo that can just be placed anywhere for people to automatically recognize.
In terms of merch, we’re working on some new drops, but the dad cap is always a vibe, hence why it stays in our catalog.
iEDM: Fashion can often reflect its wearer’s personality. How do you showcase your identity through fashion? What are your top rave fashion or general fashion trends right now?
Nayef: I don’t really have rave fashion. I am into high-end minimal clothing. I do love me some bowling print style shirts. You can find me in a lot of cheetah or tiger-print dad shirts with some wide leg stretch pants and some Rick Owens.
iEDM: What has been the toughest obstacle you have faced in regard to spreading awareness about Nü Androids when launching it? How were you able to surmount this?
Nayef: The toughest obstacle was finding locations in order to grow with the artists. I networked with club owners, developers, and other professionals to find spaces to do pop-ups (which became our bread and butter). From there, we became the go-to company for music & art pop-ups in the district.
iEDM: Nü Androids has been a leader of booking talent in a way that is engaging to a wide spectrum of listeners, rather than consistently booking similar types of artists within the same subgenre. What is the importance of diversifying the talent that you host?
Nayef: I don't like to pigeon-hole the company. I, myself, am into a bunch of different genres of music. Plus, in today's world, people have so much access to different genres of music – it's silly to only present one style. People can listen to both techno and R&B – you don't have to listen to only one style.
iEDM: What strategies do you utilize to bring together unique vendors that will radiate a centric vibe or theme for an event?
Nayef: I love to give people their first chance of seeing a performer live. So, if it’s someone new and I like what they are selling, they are in. Specifically, I’m a sucker for talented face paint artists, live canvas painting – things of that nature.
iEDM: How does SÜNDOWN series provide an exclusive, one-of-a-kind experience for its attendees? How does it differentiate from the other shows that you have organized?
Nayef: DC is a huge brunch city. However, there was a massive lack of a fun, vibrant, forward-thinking music events. People are usually done around 4 PM and there is nothing to do afterwards. So, naturally, we filled the gap by providing a dance party in the evening where guests can watch the sunset right alongside some of their favorite artists. Nothing really beats the vibe – and the people seem to agree. It’s been going strong since 2019 and, to date, we’ve only had one party that did not sell out in advance.
iEDM: What are some of your favorite or most memorable activations or art designs for an A.I. event, and why do they stand out to you?
Nayef: Honestly – anything disco. The “Disco Down the Drain” was an amazing activation that my homie Abbey helped conceptualize and bring to life. Now it's living at Flash on the first level.
iEDM: What advice would you give to event promoters who are new to the scene and are aiming to raise capital to fund their projects?
Nayef: Start slow and steady – I never raised capital for any events – and make sure your event is filling a void. It's easy to promote one-off events – it’s easier to convince your friends and community to come and support you. But the more events you do, the less they’ll feel obligated to attend and the more you’re going to need to promote. The industry is getting saturated with DJs and promoters, so you need to be offering a truly desired, unique offering.
iEDM: What makes D.C. a solid hotspot and base of operations for these innovative events put on by Nü Androids?
Nayef: We have a huge international airport, basically everyone flies through here. Per capita, we do really well in terms of numbers and audience. But honestly, it’s really helped that I grew up here and had a solid promotional network.
iEDM: What would you like to say to the Nü Fam for their support over the years? Are there any upcoming projects you want to mention or hint at for your fans to look forward to?
Nayef: First and foremost, if it weren’t for the Nü Fam, we wouldn't exist. People approach me all the time and thank me for creating this space that is full of love, vibe and acceptance. However, I hit them right back with a, “No…thank you!” The Nü Fam is more than responsible for the atmosphere that is created at our events. Our new space Culture is finally open, and we are slowly getting settled into it. We have so many dope shows coming up for the space.
iEDM: What aspirations do you have for Nü Androids from now until 2025? Do you have any predictions about the music and entertainment industries as a whole?
Nayef: My goal is to make Culture an institution in DC nightlife.
Photos courtesy of Nü Androids and Nayef Issa.
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