Detroit has techno, Berlin has minimal, London has dubstep and Baltimore…yeah, well you get the idea. Certain locations seem to create or embrace a particular sound. This then goes on to define their music and people at after parties start saying things like, “Yeah man, I’m really feeling that shit coming out of ‘such and such’ at the moment”. The reason behind this geo-musical association has been a point of contention and theories vary from cultural influences to what the buildings look like. Safe to say, when it comes to dub, there’s always been something special about NZ.
Daimon Schwalgerid is The Nomad, a DJ for 20 years, a producer for 12 and with no less than 6 albums to his name, a leading force in the power of talent that continues to surface from New Zealand’s music scene. His beautifully considered synthesis of dub, hip hop, breaks and drum and bass, is one of the finest examples of the sound that has grown to define the nation.
It all kicked off 10 years ago when The Nomad, as Nomads do, went wandering and ended up in Christchurch, on the eastern coast of the Southern Island. Here he met the boys from Salmonella Dub, including, then lead singer Tiki Taane, who would go on to help him mix his first two albums. Over time, Schwalgerid would meet a number of other bands and artists who would play a part in shaping his sound. “My early influences were of course Sal Dub, but also Rockers Hi Fi, The Mad Professor and Tehi from Fat Freddy’s Drop,” explains the man himself, “They where mentors of mine and I was privileged enough to do tracks with them. Growing up in NZ is great. It’s such a beautiful place. It has also been good for me to start my musical journey there because it’s small so you meet people a lot faster. There is also a very strong musical community in NZ. People are very enthusiastic and also very talented.” It was the perfect environment for Schwalgerid to develop his career and it appeared, for a while, that The Nomad had finally found a pasture where he could settle.
Over the years, Schwalgerid has kept up an impressive schedule of production output with an album released every two or so years, although you can hardly call it a chore, “I love making music,” he says, “It’s something that I have been doing for a long time. It’s in my blood.” In 2008, he was on the move again, this time choosing Melbourne and the opportunities that the city’s larger music scene offered for his career. “Melbourne has been good. I also spend a lot of time around other parts of Australia. I play at a lot of great festivals here – Kuranda Roots in Cairns, Island Vibe in Brisbane, Rainbow Serpent here in Melbourne. There are a lot of places to play around Australia. I’ve had a great response from the shows and I’m meeting great people and contacts.”
This weekend’s performance at Roxanne Parlour is the start of what will be a busy period for The Nomad, whose name you’ll see on the line up at a number of summer festivals, although don’t expect to witness the same show twice. “The set up changes every time,” says Schwalgerid. “For this show, we will have 3 vocalists, two guitars and myself on the mix/turntable/FX/beats/bass. The set usually starts quite slow and moody, and then builds up to a full on dance frenzy. Like a roller coaster ride that just gets faster and phater!” This mix of live instruments and vocals with programmed music is at the centre of the dub inspired sound that NZ is famed for; a fusion of the organic and the mechanic that The Nomad has mastered so well.