Nick Rotteveel is best known as Nicky Romero, the Dutch powerhouse who just began a residency in Las Vegas. A resident at the new Omnia nightclub at Caesars Palace—he’ll perform there June 6 and 18—Romero took a few moments to reflect on his early days as a Las Vegas headliner, the story behind his newest project and his meaningful tattoos.
What factored into your decision to do an Omnia residency?
Whenever we decide to play a new residency, [my team and I] always look at the speakers, the bottle-service setting, the crowd and how the club is designing their interior. Omnia just did a great job on the interior and the design of the whole club. They paid so much attention to all of the small details around everything. It was hard to make any other decision than Omnia.
What’s your favorite part about the nightclub experience?
Being close to people. It’s more of an intimate night. People can stand around you and almost touch you. When you’re playing, you can see what the music does to the people, because you’re so close. You experience everything close up.
Any particularly memorable Las Vegas moments?
I had just started playing Marquee, which was like four years ago. I played my third or fourth show in Las Vegas, and one of the managers of that club came up to me after a show and said, “I have someone who wants to meet you.” I expected some sort of bottle-service guy. I went upstairs and they were playing a card game. He introduced me to Yolo, a big spender from somewhere in Asia, I think. Then he said, “This is Leo, one of his friends.” Then [the friend] turned around, and I was like, no shit! It was Leonardo DiCaprio. And he says, “Why don’t you join me?” He gave me coins worth $30,000. I didn’t know how to play. I couldn’t believe that one of my first shows in Las Vegas, I played blackjack with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Did you win?
No, I didn’t win. Not at all!
You have some interesting tattoos. What are they all about?
I have three tattoos. I have the bass and the treble clef on my arms. And I have a waveform on my arm. It says “Nothing Tolouse,” which is a part of the lyrics to “Toulouse,” the [breakout] song that I made. It’s [a waveform] of my voice recorded, and the image that’s being created after you record the sound.
What are three of your favorite tracks to play in your sets right now?
Well, of course I would say [my new release], “Heartbeat.” Next to that, I love the new Armin van Buuren song with Mr. Probz, [“Another You”]. I really love “On My Way” from Axwell /\ Ingrosso.
What’s the story behind your edit of Magnificence and Alec Maire’s “Heartbeat?”
I was in Chile for Lollapalooza, and we were sent a song called “Heartbeat.” I remember demo-ing that song and thinking, “Hmm, this song is good. The atmosphere is good. It just misses a lot in the production.” So I took the song and started to edit it in the hotel room, and I made my own version. I changed the drops and the breakups and added some elements. I also changed the vocals, the chorus and the bridges. I sent it to the label [Protocol Recordings], and I said, “Guys, we can make it work with the original producer. I would love to do this song but only if they release it this way.” So, that’s how it started. I also want to give credit to the original producers, because they did a great job.
Are you saying you re-recorded Brooke Forman’s vocals?
I didn’t change the lyrics; I changed the position of the bridge and the position of the chorus. I added some ad libs. I changed the buildup to the drop, and I changed a bit of the drop. There have been [a lot of] changes. There were, like, three different versions before we got to an eventual release.
What do you listen to outside of work?
When I’m not working, I listen to the music that’s being played on [soccer videogram] FIFA 15, to be honest. [Laughs.]
Are you a big gamer?
Yeah, kind of.