Words Zoe Cooney
Hobart electronic musician Nick Brown sits in his bedroom surrounded by his equipment. He tinkers on his Casiotone CT-370 keyboard and plays a chord distorted by an eerie effect, which sounds like a futuristic church organ. With sounds like this to experiment with, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn why this 24-year-old began to delve down the rabbit hole of electronic music.
Nick is working on his EP Water Music, released on 17 July. He borrowed the title from Baroque composer Handel, whose own Water Music debuted on the same day 300 years ago. Nick describes his music as left-of-field electronic hip-hop.
“With electronic music, especially if you’re sampling and using synthesizers, there’s heaps of different things you can do to express yourself in different ways,” Nick says.
Nick has been passionate about music since he was a kid and his musical pathway has taken many twists and turns to arrive at where he is today. He picked up the guitar when he was 10, which sparked his love for bands such as AC/DC and Black Sabbath. Throughout his teenage years, he played punk rock but grew bored with its musical structure. As Nick’s interest in electronic music and hip-hop grew, he started working as a DJ at around the age of 18 under his stage name DJ Broccoli. With regular gigs at bars, nightclubs, markets and events across Hobart, it is likely Nick has helped you get your groove on at some point.
Nick expands his knowledge of music production and technology through his Bachelor of Musical Arts at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music. “It’s rad,” he says. Nick’s drive for attending the conservatorium is to fulfill his own artistic potential and make music that best represents him. “As long as I am expressing myself as much as I can, that’s important to me.”
Although Nick is kept busy with his DJ work and studies, his real passion lies in creating his own material. The theme of Water Music is pretty ambiguous, according to Nick. However, he does reveal that water was a major point of inspiration for the EP. “Water is the means for life to exist in any capacity. And even before that, there was the sound of waves crashing on land,” he explains. “It doesn’t really matter what the concept is. I know what it is, but you should take from it what you want.”
Nick has taken a darker approach in comparison to modern mainstream hip-hop by using a blend of field recordings, classical, and religious music samples; and a mixture of organic and electronic sounds. “It’s more just about creating a feeling with the textures and the sounds so it can be ambiguous,” he says. If that doesn’t make Nick stand out from the crowd, then what will?
The release of Water Music is an exciting time for this Hobart musician, who is committed to expressing himself through his electronic musical creations.