Artist Spotlight: NJ Carter
This Friday, NJ Carter makes his debut release on our sister label Deeper Traxx. A DJ, producer, musician and club promoter (back in the day), NJ Carter honed his love for music and his craft as a DJ and performer in Bristol. The unique blend of Bristol’s dance music scene in the 1990s and 2000s - from Trip/Hip Hop, Dub, Rare Groove, Disco, Underground House, Jungle, Techno and more has shaped NJ Carter’s music taste and style as both a DJ and producer - a mix of soul and funk infused deep melodic house, with a nod to the vibes from the city who gave us so many great musical stars.
Recently, NJ Carter has turned his attention once again to the studio, producing numerous tracks throughout lockdown, which has led to the launch of his first EP, coming this Friday on Deeper Traxx - entitled "The Search Is Over". The EP features 3 class deep house cuts, which you can pre-order here.
Ahead of NJ Carter's release, we sat down with him to find out what he's all about - everything from his musical background, to his life on tour, and his favourite records:
Where did you grow up and has that had an impact on your music? I grew up in Bristol. It’s a city renowned for fresh music and has a people and culture that dance to their own beat. We had great clubs in Bristol, from Lakota to Cafe Blue, from The Thekla to Trinity we were spoiled for amazing music and variety. Carl Cox 4 deck mixing some banging techno one night, to Roni Size, Die, Suv and many dropping heavy jungle and DnB the next - Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky. We were spoiled for choice. And Glastonbury being only 45 minutes away has always been a huge part in my music life. I first went in 1995! It changed my life and has inspired me and my music for years. I’ve always dreamed of playing one of the big stages at Glastonbury. #2022LifeGoals
You spent 9 years touring around the world. Any standout memories of a venue or party you’ve played? I’ve had some crazy memories (and lost a few) over the years. I spent quite a bit of time DJing in Australia and have some great memories (some of which I can’t put in print!). One of the best nights I remember - I was booked to play up in Byron Bay. I mentioned to the promotors that I had done some club reviews / writing for Ministry Magazine back in the UK (true story), and this creative promotor decided to use that to his advantage. I arrived at the airport and was picked up and taken to the hotel. As I got in the car someone handed me a flyer as I asked if I was going to this club tonight. I looked down and saw my name / details as the headliner. And under my name, they’d cheekily credited me as a Ministry of Sound resident! They’d done their job well, the town was plastered with the bill posters with my name and Ministry all over them. I kept my fingers crossed that nobody pulled me up on it, but went along with it. Before the gig, the promotors were managing my expectations: “It’s been really quiet for the last couple of months mate. So we’re not expecting a big night. But we’ve been hitting the bars and beaches trying to drum up a crowd. So fingers crossed!!” Fast-forward to 11pm and we arrive at the club to see a line of people 100 yards long around the block - people waiting to get into the club to see this Ministry of Sound legend!. It’s on! The DJ playing before me - the club’s resident - was amazing. Great skills and quality song choices. Nerves building. 12am. I’m up. Get to the DJ booth and it’s a rotary mixer (first time I’ve used one!) the club is heaving. There’s that kind of tense anticipation you get from a big club night. I’m nervous. There are about 6 x people mulling around the DJ booth as we do the handover. I put my first tune on (all vinyl back then) and make the biggest rookie mistake. It’s a 33. I put it on at 45. Disaster. The song sounds fucked - fast, cantering along, like the chipmunks doing rave. I clock the fuck-up instantly. So does the other resident DJ. Luckily I had my second track ready to go. The only solution was to switch deck A off, and let it slow down on its own… and shoot the crowd a look of confidence that "this was all part of my plan”. As it faded down, slower and slower I scratched the first kick from the second track (triple checking the speed was right this time) 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 boom! It goes off. The crowd went mad. The set was flawless from there on in, the night ended with the lights fading up and the entire club still heaving from wall to wall - arms in the air screaming for “one more tune!”. I went from zero to hero over those 2-3 house. I’ll never forget it.
What’s your first musical memory?
Getting my first ever vinyl - Paul Simon ’The Boy In The Bubble’ single. Still love that album. Top 3 house tracks and why? 1. Love Somebody Else (Maceo Plex) - I love the deep, melodic, soulful vibes on this track. When the baseline kicks in, you can’t help but want to get up and dance. Always in the record bag.
2. Caught Up (Metro Area) - OK, so maybe not quite a house track, but this is one of may favourite tunes. Love the floating organ vibes, interspersed with sharp synth stabs and gorgeous strings. I could listen to this track all day (and all night) and the layered, but spacious groove influences how I create music to this day
3. Passion (Gat Decor) - doesn’t matter what set you’re playing, or where you are, this track still has the chops to get the dance floor heaving. Love the old-school piano vibes and that deep and dirty techno baseline half way through the track. Genius.
Dream collaboration? Thomas and/or Guy-manuel would be pretty sweet! I’ve loved their music since Homework came out. Gutted not to ever see them headline Glastonbury. but can’t wait to hear what they do next. Definitely up for collabs! I
A big thanks to NJ Carter for answering these questions and delivering a quality EP!