“Nobody has the right version anyway so I’m not super bothered,” recently turned 24-year-old Nicky Romero retorts when I ask him how he feels about people illegally downloading his new track. “For me it has to do with respect too. It is something we try to counteract but there are always people ripping or illegally recording sets.”
Last month, the Dutch DJ and Avicii finally released their vocal edit ‘I could be the one’ after months of speculation and pirated copies. Since its instrumental debut back in February 2012, there has been countless versions appear on the internet to download for free but Nicky believes it’s just something you have to accept.
“It feels unfair to say the least but it is something that comes with the territory. People can download something but it won’t be the official version, no one has that until it’s released and that’s what I focus on.”
Turn the clock back three years, before winning support from the likes of David Guetta and Tiesto, and the fresh-faced youngster was no different than any other wannabe bedroom DJ. Crafting masterpieces on his dad’s work computer, Nicky first saw success with his 2010 track ‘My Friend’ which featured as a Beatport Chart Favourite and drew the spotlight on him.
“I realise that it is all moving quite fast but on the other hand I feel like I have a lot to prove,” Nicky, real name Nick Rotteveel, admits. As one of the relatively new faces of electronic dance music, the Amerongen-born DJ is not only competing with already established acts but also has the new bread of DJs to contend with, in a genre that is only going to get more saturated.
“Well I think the whole EDM genre is becoming mainstream,” he tells me. “Everybody is trying to grab their piece of the pie and over the next few years it’s only going to get worse – if that’s the right word to use. I see EDM becoming a leading genre in the next few years.”
So how does this aspiring drummer turned beatsmith stand out?
“I always push myself to do new things,” he says, as if hinting to any upcoming DJ who wants to turn pro. “I design loads of my own sounds and try to bring new things to the table with every production I put out there. It’s always very exciting to see how a track goes down with the crowd, it’s like letting your children out of the house for the first time.”
Last year also saw the motorbike enthusiast team up with the Nervo twins, Miriam and Olivia, for his November release ‘Like Home’ as well as join forces with David Guetta, one of the artists who initially demanded tracks from Nicky to play in his sets.
“Teaming up with David was a huge gift,” Nicky, who was voted No. 17 in DJ Mag’s Top 100 Poll this year, says. “I have to hold back a little as I play before him but over the past year we have done some amazing gigs – the crowds are massive!”
Closing the year off with a small tour of South Africa, Europe and a stint in America, Nicky has had a taste of diverse crowds and he admits the two sides of the Atlantic have very different feels.
“Europe, I feel, is a little use to the artists that they have mainly because it was always hard to get across to the States due to work permits. There are a lot of good artists who have been touring Europe for a while because of this and therefore people are use to hearing famous DJs. In America though, it’s quite new, the scene is still quite new and people are curious.” But, ever the diplomat, the DJ quickly adds: “I love playing all over the world, let that be said”.
For someone who hasn’t reached their mid-20s yet though, Nicky doesn’t seem to be letting his rapid rise to fame get the better of him. As he’s done throughout the interview, the Protocol Records owner admits it’s not all down to him.
“I’m surrounded by an awesome team that supports me in everything I do and it’s because of the fans that I am where I am today – I truly feel blessed. I have to pinch myself to realise all these things I’m experiencing are real.”
In recent interviews the DJ has openly stated he doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything nobody else can, it’s just his ambition and dedication that’s got him to this point in his career. Something that is poignant in his final comment: “The Romero storm will not subside if I have anything to say about it”.