Nick Terranova, better known in the EDM world now as Starkillers, has successfully risen to fame in the dance scene. With the mission to leave a supernova on dancefloors all over the world, his edgy and mind-blowing blend of electro house and trance has landed him under major record houses like Ultra, Door, and Spinnin. Landing himself a spot as one of the headlining acts for the Pinnacle of H-Artistry – The Global Art of Mixing Trilogy, JUICE got the chance to speak to the man himself and found out about his fondness for bananas before a show and what Vegas is really like.
You are from Las Vegas. How is it like living there? Is it really as wild as people make it out to be?
Yeah! It is wild, because that is what it’s about. People go to Vegas, that’s what they do, they party. It’s like people go for three, four days and they’re up all day long. The casinos are pumping oxygen into the air so you don’t sleep, you know. That’s what Vegas is, it’s a party, it’s an adult playground. It is what people say.
What was the first thing that popped up in your head when you first heard you will be heading to Malaysia for H-Artistry?
My agent called me and said we’re doing this whole thing, and I thought it was really cool. I didn’t really know what to expect. Usually when they say there’s gonna be press and whatever, it’s usually very quick, you know. So I’ve never been to a press that’s so massive, it is definitely cool.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I just… eat bananas. Nothing really crazy, no sticks and bones, no fires. I like to drink a couple of drinks before I go on. I like to get there early. Most DJs show up 5 minutes before they’re going to play. I like to get there early and watch what the crowd is into, and then I can kind of go from there, because I don’t want to ever get there 5 minutes early, and the DJ just played the song I was going to play!
What do you feel are some of your biggest achievements throughout your music career?
My biggest achievement is my career? I dropped out of high school when I was in 8th grade. I never finished high school, I never went back or had any college or anything like that. And I never had any music lessons. So just to be able to have the pure drive and want to succeed in this business without having anything has been a massive achievement. But there are so many steps that I’ve felt great about that have happened in my life. And it’s also a big accomplishment to be playing in Malaysia. People know your music over here. The average person never gets to ever experience going out of the state you live in.
Back in 2001 you had lost your job in a club that had been shut down, would you consider that the turning point of your career?
It was, yeah. At that time I was making about $850 a week and I was 21 years old, and that was crazy, you know. I was DJing at the biggest club with all the biggest DJs there and it got shut down, and I went back to making $4 an hour, scooping ice-cream. I was told to start making my own records. So that was when I bought my own computer, started buying equipments, and started making my own records.
With the EDM phenomenon in Las Vegas growing bigger, why did you decide to relocate?
The thing is, it’s like anywhere else. When you live somewhere, they consider you local. So before there was a scene in Las Vegas, there was one place to play, it’s was called Empire Ballroom. I would play there once a month, as a residency, but I was an international DJ touring all over the place. Because people knew me in Vegas, it wasn’t as cool because I kind of got this “Oh he’s a local DJ, we don’t have to pay him five thousand dollars, we can pay him eight hundred dollars.” I said no, that’s not how it works here. I told myself, I’m going to move back to LA where I was before, so nobody can say “Hey you’re local”, because so many artists and DJs live there, and you can’t say that to them over there.
In another interview you had said that Paul Oakenfold and Gerhard Joost gave you advice that has stuck with you ever since, what is the one advice of your own you would give to any upcoming DJs?
[Laughs] We were talking about this in the car. It’s a tough business. Stick at it and you just have to have the drive. It’s not going to come easy, this is not an easy job at all. This is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but the rewards are amazing. It is fun to be able to play places like Malaysia and see different parts of the world. I’ve been to 96 different countries, and people don’t get to see 96 different stop lights in their life.
Lastly, what is the craziest thing you have ever done in Las Vegas?
[Laughs] Did you guys see my last webisode? I did a webisode with me and my girlfriend when we were staying at the Trump. Basically we took the bubble bath and we poured the whole thing in this huge jacuzzi, and the foam was everywhere. We kind of just foamed out the whole room I guess. You should watch the webisode! The reason why I do the webisode is because I want people to see my personality. People are intrigued by your music, but they want to know about you and how you became this person. And I also think a lot of DJs are introverts, and that can come off kind of rude. There’s also some other list of things that have gone on in Vegas, and yeah, I’ll probably be looked at differently.
Keep documenting them on video!
Starkillers spun at The Finale of H-Artistry 2012 on 3 November 2012. To find out more about future events, log onto www.h-artistry.com.my. For updates on Starkillers’ latest touring spots, check out www.starkillersmusic.com.