[INTERVIEW] NAZAAR Discusses VISNS EP, Career Growth + More
Relishing in the glory of releasing his newest EP, VISNS, NAZAAR has established himself as a force over the course of his rapidly growing career. The young artist has received honorable recognition from the likes of Excision, Zomboy, DJ Snake, and more. His dual upbringing in Pakistan and the United States has inspired him--fusing his global influence into a wide array of bass.
VISNS showcases his impressive skill alongside an emotional, coming-of-age story that reaches deeper than previously seen from the artist. NAZAAR discusses his work to date, the inner workings of the music industry, and future plans.
Read iEDM’s exclusive interview with NAZAAR below.
iEDM: You described your most recent EP, VISNS as “a story about me finally finding myself and having absolute clarity about my future. 6 songs, 6 stories, 6 different feelings”. The concept of an emotional journey is both powerful and holds exciting variety.
Does the EP tell your specific story, or depict the relatable turbulence of personal development? Was this the initial direction you wanted to take this project, or was it your interpretation following production?
NAZAAR: The VISNS EP is truly a personal story of my own growth and development over the last two years. It aims to show the range of feelings I encountered from 2020 up until the end of late 2021. I think from the beginning, when I first started working on VISNS, I wanted to tell a story about myself, but I wasn’t too sure which story to tell, but as I continued to produce and make more music, the story literally wrote itself.
iEDM: You have experienced a rapid rise to success over the past few years. What sort of adversities are unique to this generation of aspiring artists? Did you endure any obstacles that were formative to your career?
NAZAAR: I’m so grateful to have the career I have now, but to say it came easy would be quite an understatement. In the earlier years of my career it was a fight to stand out, and get noticed by the big name labels in dance music. As my career continued to progress, the landscape of bass music and dance music as a whole continued to change. Right now, all music has a really short shelf-life, most songs are relevant for a few days then it’s on to the next one, that challenge really makes it hard to write deeply personal and meaningful music when it feels like a race to write “the next big hit”. The younger generation of artists are being pressured to become content creators, Tik Tokers, vloggers, and that takes a large amount of focus away from being an artist, especially a producer.
iEDM: When referencing international dance music, many American listeners picture regions such as the UK, Eastern Europe, or South Asia. However, the Middle East also puts forth a booming electronic music scene. As a Pakistani- native, has the Middle Eastern sound influenced your music?
NAZAAR: Being from Pakistan has shaped my entire life inside and outside of music. The Middle East has so many amazing regions, and each region has its own specific sound. Being Pakistani, I took many influences from Sufi music, Raag music, and the overall dramatic themes in Bollywood. A lot of my harder records such as "Guru", "Jinn", "Walls Cave In", "Kandahar" and others have influences that come directly from the music of the Pakistani region. It makes me so happy to see the Middle East beginning to turn a new leaf and discover a love for dance music.
iEDM: You have recently released some tracks outside of the riddim genre. Do you see yourself leaning into a more diverse discography in the future? Or, will bass music always be your favorite avenue of expression?
NAZAAR: I first started producing music when I was 14 years old, at that time, I was making hip-hop beats and big room house. Bass music became a huge avenue of expression for me in my late teens (17-20 years old), but as I continue to progress, I want to be as diverse as I possibly can. You’re going to eventually hear records from me in genres such as Hip-Hop, House, Reggaeton/Latin, and hopefully much more. I really take pride on being a diverse producer with an ear for catchy sounds, and I hope that I can truly express my love for ALL music at different points in my career.
iEDM: You have received recognition from massive artists and labels, such as Excision, Zomboy, DJ Snake, Subsidia Records, and Never Say Die. How did this affect your growth and attitude towards making music?
NAZAAR: When I was 14, I was watching recap videos of festivals hosting names like DJ Snake, Zomboy, Excision, etc. each one of them inspired me to become the producer that I am today, so to receive their support made a whole difference in my career. Watching these guys drop my music for thousands of fans truly changed the way I viewed myself, and made me so much more confident in my own music. I’m forever grateful for the support of my idols.
iEDM: One of the standout aspects of your releases, aside from the music itself, is the fantastic cover artwork. The art is intriguing and pleasing to the eye, while perfectly capturing the essence of the track. What is the process behind creating the perfect visual representation of each project?
NAZAAR: That’s such a huge compliment, thank you so much. So, when it comes to artwork, usually I make all my own arts, but recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing designers such as Piper Ferrari and Be Safe. Usually, when it comes to the design process, I try to set a scene and come up with a visual representation of the art, from there it’s about selecting the right icons, fonts, and colors to make sure it fits the vibe. Most of the art is coming from my mind, so there’s not really any specific process each time, it’s mostly just taking the song and finding a way to represent it on a canvas.
iEDM: You’ve collaborated with several talented bass music producers such as Virus Syndicate, Louiejayxx, LAYZ, and Pixel Terror. Does the dynamic in creating a collaborative project vary significantly between artists, or is there a more standard work ethic that you adhere to? Are there any artists you hope to work with in the future?
NAZAAR: I’ve had the honor of working with many amazing artists in my career from Carnage, to The Chainsmokers, and so many more. Usually, when creating a collaboration, I try to make it as easy of a process for my collaborator as possible. Each artist has their own workflow and I try to be as understanding of that as possible. Depending on whether I sent the idea to an artist, or they sent an idea to me, I try to incorporate as many of our styles as we can. I think collabs are really about showing off the capabilities of both artists, and being able to hear that in a song is an awesome thing. I really hope to work with Skrillex, DJ Snake, Eptic, Dillon Francis, Jauz, NGHTMRE, Slander, and many more in the future.
iEDM: As someone in their early 20s, this generation was commonly introduced to dubstep in their formative years, with the likes of Skrillex, Flux Pavilion, Zomboy, and several others. Was this part of your journey in finding a love for bass music? Do you see being able to follow in their footsteps as an advantage, or is it increasingly difficult to set yourself apart in a more saturated scene?
NAZAAR: So, I began listening to EDM around the time I was 12 or 13 years old. In that early phase, I was listening to Skrillex, Aviicii, Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, Hardwell, Blasterjaxx, and the whole rising big room scene. It wasn’t until I was about 15 years old or so until I discovered dubstep. You’re absolutely right when you say that Skrillex, Flux, Zomboy and others were amongst the first people I ever heard within the genre. Following their footsteps seems like a really big thing to do, but I think every genre has a time of change, and with the new generation stepping up and beginning to make a lasting impact on the scene, I really hope to be able to fill those shoes and become a staple act in dance music. It is really hard to set yourself apart in this scene, because of how oversaturated it’s become, but I take huge pride in being a diverse producer with songs in many genres, and that’s something I have in common with my idols. I try not to focus on how “big” I can become, but rather I try to focus on how to become a greater songwriter, producer, and overall person.
iEDM: Many other music genres have been trifled by predatory record labels for decades, whereas many EDM labels are created by successful artists in hopes of empowering smaller artists. Is it a relief that you can navigate this scene devoid of most mainstream labels? Are the politics behind releases even more intense when you are able to cultivate personal relationships with members of dance music record groups?
NAZAAR: Artist-ran labels are amazing, I think that the larger artists giving the smaller up-and-comers a shot is an amazing thing, but dance music--or should I say, more specifically bass music, is a tough genre to be in right now. Dubstep songs have a really short period of relevancy time, sometimes only a few days, and that makes the pressure of running an effective label really hard, because a label basically has to become a music factory: churning out songs at a super fast rate. I think what’s really important is finding the balance between label-driven work, and personal self-releases. Working with a collective of people is awesome and boosts your creativity, but ultimately, your individuality is what has to stand out, and that can be hard to achieve when there’s twenty songs coming out on a label within one week.
iEDM: What has been your most interesting experience with a fan?
NAZAAR: I constantly say this, and I might be biased, but I truly do have the best fans in the world. One that truly stands out to me is a fan named Dustin, he’s been a supporter since 2018-19 when the NAZAAR project barely started getting on its own feet. He’s come to almost every Texas show, he started a Facebook group for me, and the best part: he has the evil eye logo (my logo) tattooed on his HAND!!! I’m forever grateful for him, and the thousands of others who go out of their way to support me day in and day out, it is truly appreciated.
iEDM: What is the most important nonessential item that you bring to every show?
NAZAAR: Hmm, haha funny story. I bring all the kandi that fans have made for me in my backpack. I usually take my backpack with me everywhere since it has all my essentials like USB’s, Headphones, etc. but just as an added good luck charm I have about 15 Kandi bracelets that were made for me by some of the amazing habibis I see at the shows. If you’ve ever made me a kandi bracelet, chances are it's with me at the show.
iEDM: You have played massive festivals such as Lost Lands. Has the energy of any other events sparked your interest recently?
NAZAAR: I’m really excited about festival season, but in the last few years, I’ve set a goal to perform at a few festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, Hard Summer, and Electric Zoo. I think with the diversity I'm bringing in my music, I could really put up something special at these festivals.
iEDM: 2022 is about to be another massive year for you. Are there any projects in the works that you’re especially excited about?
NAZAAR: I’m already working on the follow-up EP to this one, and on top of that I made a goal to drop new music every month of this year until December. It’s safe to say that there will be no shortage of new music from me any time soon. In the long run I think it might be time to start working on something a little bigger ;) but in due time.
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