Nicky Romero is one of electronic dance music’s artists to watch—and not just because MTV says so. Earlier this year, the 23-year-old Dutchman was given that honor along with Alesso, R3hab, Tommy Trash and Hardwell. Since then, he has been garnering some serious buzz. Not only has he put out remixes of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” and Eva Simons “I Don’t Like You” that are getting serious airplay, but he’s about to drop “Iron” which he collaborated on with Calvin Harris. Vegas Seven caught up with the busy DJ who is touring in Europe to get an idea of what to expect from his upcoming performance at Tao Beach on Sept. 2 and get his take on what being a young artist means.
How’s your summer residency with David Guetta in Ibiza going?
It is great, and one of the biggest parties on the island! It’s a next-level show. Dancers are connected to balloons, hundreds of them, and float above and touch the audience. It is next level, and only in Ibiza do you have this really cool experience with everyone in party mode.
You’ve been dubbed a “Next Generation DJ.” What is that?
Well, there’s not one style! I play progressive to electronic, and create a groovy atmosphere.
Are you bringing any of that back to your show in Las Vegas?
I visit Vegas a lot, and it’s a little bit more culture-rich because the high-roller culture creates a whole different experience. Everyone is in for a party in Vegas! I adjust to the audience, so there’s no particular style. I try to play new stuff and old to keep it interesting. If it’s all radio and commercial it’s not a challenge, but I’ll use a capella vocals to add commercial vibe. [Last time I played] a lot of unreleased tracks [at Marquee], and people went nuts.
So that’s your secret to success?
There’s no key to success. I try to do what I like and work with all kinds of instruments and drumming. I never focused on a job and my parents were concerned, but I was good with computers. My first record didn’t sound great [laughing], but that got me motivated. I didn’t care if I made money—now it’s a profession.
What has surprised you about the industry?
There’s lots of fighting between young kids who buy followers on Twitter because they’re not popular enough to get real followers. It’s really easy for an artist to buy friends. You can see 200,000 [followers on someone’s Twitter] when only 25,000 are real!
Who is inspiring you right now?
Madeon. He’s French and a good one to watch. [Also] the acid house [sound of] Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ song “Where Have You Been” that’s been really working now on the radio.
Why should we stay tuned to Nicky Romero?
A lot of stuff is coming out—collaborations with Calvin Harris, Kid Rock, Nervo and pop stars that I can’t name yet.
In terms of singles, “Toulouse” has been huge this year. Is there anything in the works that we should look out for?
My next single is “Sparks,” [and I’ll definitely play] the vocal part “Turn Off Your Mind” at my Vegas show.
It’s very cool that MTV is recognizing EDM. Is that why there is more of a focus on touring the U.S.?
[Americans] don’t all recognize dance yet, but there is a big market if you tour the states.
When you were named an MTV “Artist to Watch” did you think, “I’ve made it”?
I still don’t realize it, to be honest. I learn everyday by experience. You can only think you’ve made it if you’re No. 1. Otherwise it’s a hobby.