Their Combined Force Is Greater Than Just The Cool Name – An Interview w/ Nadastrom

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life

Nadastrom, the combined brainchild of Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom, refuse to be defined. They just love to make music. From humble beginnings in the Baltimore and D.C. scenes, they have taken their game to a whole new level. The “Godfathers of Moombahton” are the total package and are currently closing out a North American tour. Here’s a little insight about how this machine was put in motion.

Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom, together, are Nadastrom. They grew up worlds apart, even though they were only separated by around 30 miles, but eventually they were united by their mutual passion for music. In addition to being credited with exposing the world to the phenomenon known as “Moombahton,” they are known for showcasing a deep, heavy style that crosses genres freely. The momentum this duo has been gaining since they joined forces is truly remarkable. Currently at the tail end of a North American tour with Salva and Sinden, Dave and Matt take some time to let us know how it all came together. Enjoy.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you guys grow up?

Nadastrom – Dave: I grew up in PG County, Maryland. College Park to be exact. Born and raised.

Matt: I grew up in Springfield, Virginia.

A’Damaged Pro – Did you play an instrument when you were younger? If not, what would it have been and why?

Nadastrom – Dave: Ever since I saw Ritchie Valens in the movie “La Bamba,” I was obsessed with playing the electric guitar. I was about 10 years old and wanted to rock out so bad. He looked badass, I wanted to be just like him. Haha.

Matt: I went through a bunch of different instruments…first was guitar…then drums…then bass. At some point in there I did violin for a year. I definitely regret not learning the piano.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences?

Nadastrom – Dave: Definitely Ritchie Valens, and traditional Latin music like cumbia, salsa, merengue were always playing in the household growing up. But that all got steamrolled by Doug E Fresh, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Slick Rick, and Eazy E. My older brother, Bryan, was a huge hip-hop and go-go head, so he put me onto that music and it was a game changer for Yung Nada. I wanted to break dance, I wanted to rap, I wanted a fucking kangol, a dookie chain and a Fila jumpsuit! Then the rap shit got steamrolled by punk and hardcore, which my cousin, Jason, introduced me. That was the ultimate game over, because I was a 13 years old butthead with an attitude and was ready to go crazy. Punk rock was my anthem and soundtrack from there on out.

Matt: When I was little, I got really into breakdancing which naturally led to an interest in hip hop. Then, I got really into skateboarding which led to an interest in punk rock. That lasted through the majority of my teenage years until I was just out of high school and started going to clubs with a friend and discovered drum n bass. That was my first love as far as dance music was concerned.

A’Damaged Pro – How have those influences evolved as you have matured?

Nadastrom – Dave: Well, I’ve played in punk and hardcore bands for a good 10 years. Then I gravitated towards djing and producing, once I got into college. Growing up on both hip-hop and punk has shaped who I am, not just musically but as a person. I’ve learned some pretty key life ethics from those cultures, which I continue to apply in life as well as in the studio and in the clubs.

Matt: When I first got interested in dance music all I really listened to was jungle which was a big hinderance…I was so close-minded to most other things at the time and missed out on a lot. When I started to lose interest in it is when I really started to explore other music…house, techno, funk, soul, r&b, etc.

A’Damaged Pro – When did you know that you wanted to start making music?

Nadastrom – Dave: Probably around 1992 after going to my first real concert, Lollapalooza 2. I was a huge Ministry fan and my brother took me to go see them. Then, later that year my cousin, Jason, took me to go see them play in Baltimore with Helmet and Sepultura. I was so blown away and it changed my life. I remember telling myself, “I gotta learn guitar, I wanna do this!” Once I felt like I had a grasp at playing guitar, I was on the hunt for other kids that were into the same kind of music and that could play instruments. It was really hard, but eventually I found them. And that’s when I started one of my first bands ever, De Nada. That’s where my DJ name comes from. People knew me as Dave from De Nada, so everyone would just call me Dave Nada for short.

Matt: I don’t know if there was ever a specific moment…I was always trying to play in bands and stuff in high school. I bought turntables because the music I liked only came out on 12″ and I thought it would be fun to learn how to DJ. Despite my short breakdancing history I can’t actually dance at ALL and wanted to do something that contributed to the party, haha. Then I got really curious as to how the music got made and started looking into that. I spent years engineering other people’s music and still do it to this day.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you feel that where you have lived has affected your style of music?

Nadastrom – Dave: Most definitely. Growing up in the DC and Baltimore area was and continues to be a huge inspiration. In the late 90′s the local music scene was amazing. We had the pick of the litter, from Dischord/indie music, to hardcore, to punk pock, to underground hip-hop, to the rave scene with drum n bass and house, etc. All of the scenes were healthy and creative. Growing up on that was priceless. It definitely influenced us as DJs and producers.

Matt: Most definitely…the punk scene, the rave scene, the club scene, even the skateboarding scene…I learned from all of these things and DC had a lot of it. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters growing up so I was always searching from other people about new stuff to listen to. Thankfully, there were several large music communities just a few miles away in the city that I could try and learn about new stuff from.

A’Damaged Pro – Who are some artists that inspire you? How does their music speak to you?

Nadastrom – Dave: Fugazi has always been a huge influence, with their approach to the music industry as well as their DIY ethics. Also how their sound continued to develop and grow throughout the times. As a producer, it’s inspiring to see that growth throughout the years. Helps me keep an open mind about my approach in making and listening to music.

Matt: Yeah the Fugazi/Dischord scene was a pretty big inspiration…not only musically but ethically as Dave said. I also had the opportunity to work with the duo Deep Dish who turned me on to a bunch of music over the years as well taught me a lot about making records and about the business as well. Switch is another one…musically we have been fans of him for a very long time but we also have these listening sessions with him where we just hang out and play each other tunes. Doing stuff like that can be so inspiring and send you home with so many ideas.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you enjoy producing or performing more?

Nadastrom – Dave: Apples and oranges. Both are rewarding and fun in their own ways. Also whenever I’m on the road for a minute, I start to miss the studio. And whenever I’m in the studio for a while, I start to miss the road. Haha!

Matt: I’m with Dave…I’m not sure I could ever have one without the other.

A’Damaged Pro – Name 3 artists that you would like to collaborate with and how you feel your style, both musical and performance-wise, would complement theirs.

Nadastrom – Dave: I always thought it would be dope to collaborate with DJ Negro Dub from Argentina. He’s a cumbia legend, and reminds me of J Dilla when it comes to production…very soulful, loose, and raw. We try to keep it the same vibe with Nadastrom, so I like to think we’d all hit it off in the studio.

Matt: Yeah, DJ Negro for sure…we recently just did a collab with 2 of our favorite producers Sinden and Salva which was a blast to do. Sometimes it can be tough to get along in the studio but those sessions have been so natural and flowed so well. It was a really good time. Dave and I have also said that we would love to do a record with Guy from Fugazi one day.

A’Damaged Pro – You play a wide variety of music but do you have a few genres that you enjoy playing more than others?

Nadastrom – Dave: It all depends on the mood and the crowd. Matt and I love moving around in tempo and styles during a set. Although, I really love it when we get to take things pretty deep and heavy.

Matt: Yeah since we love so much different stuff it’s great to be able to move around but like Dave said, when we can take things in a deeper, more left field direction is when I think we get really excited.

A’Damaged Pro – Out of all of your travels, which city has given you the warmest reception? (Keep in mind I’m from New Orleans)

Nadastrom – Dave: Haha, we love Nola! The vibe in that city is unfuckwithable. Some big surprises were probably San Cristobal in Venezuela and Moscow. We had zero expectations and ended up getting some crazy love from the crowds in those cities!

Matt: DC is always great to go to…considering it’s where we are from it feels like such a homecoming playing back there. They also take a lot of pride in moombahton originating from there.

A’Damaged Pro – What was the atmosphere like at the Dallas stop of the Mad Decent Block Party?

Nadastrom – Dave: Dallas was insanely hot that day! I remember the stage managers wrapped a tray of ice in plastic trash bags so DJs could put their laptops on it so it wouldn’t overheat during their sets. So crazy. We had a blast though, kids were ready to party regardless. Dope times!

A’Damaged Pro – What is your dream gig?

Nadastrom – Dave: I’ve been fortunate enough to have had many a dream gigs so far in my life. I would still love to play Warung in Brazil, though. That and Panorama Bar in Berlin are on the bucket list for sure.

Matt: Those spots for sure and also Womb in Tokyo. We recently got to do Fabric in London which was a HUGE check off of the bucket list.

Upcoming dates include the House of Blues in Anaheim + other gigs to follow.

Connect with Nadastrom on: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud