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We speak to the Protocol don

He played his first DJ set by the age of 19 and his first record, ‘Funktion One’ came out when he was just 20. In the few short years since he has set up his own label Protocol Recordings, presents weekly shows on Protocol Radio and more recently started a management division. Randomly selecting fans phone numbers Nicky drops calls to them during his show because, “for me the radio show is one of the most important things, it really is the bridge between me and the fans,” he explains

Being such a successful artist at such a young age, you’ve probably been given a lot of advise from people and your mentors. Which pieces of advise have you helped you the most?
“Well I’ve had a few people around me that have helped and I have to name Fedde Le Grand as one of them. He really helped me for the first time in my career by helping me with contracts, saying ‘you should do this, you should do that, make sure that no one can claim your name but yourself’. I’ve made some stupid mistakes before, like I signed a contract where I granted people the rights of all my records, the copyright rights when I was 19, I was super stupid. My manager Sander, and also David [Guetta] helped me out of that contract now. If I sign new artists to my label I definitely want to help them getting the right choices done as well, getting the right management, that kind of stuff. I think it’s really important to be honest. In the music industry right now so many people, you can’t trust anyone, I’d say most of the people are in it for the money and that’s really sad for me. Rather than letting you be creative.”

It’s great that it’s important to you already as a young artist, to support other producers, is that something you set out to do?
“I do this because when I was really starting out there was no one who wanted to help me and they all refused my demos at labels, and no one really replied, so when I hear someone with talent I’d rather help him out and see if I can help them with something and try to build them up. And that’s where it’s really interesting and it inspires me as well to see new people with fresh ideas, and they have a fresh approach to the scene, it really helps us. So it works both ways. I don’t know, I just really like to have talented people around me that have the same intent and they wanna be on top of the world, I really like that and I strive to look for.”

What’s happening with Protocol Recordings, what have you got coming up that you’re excited about?
“I have a lot of new artists that I’m signing and I’m super excited for some guys called Victone. I recently signed a track called ‘Tremble’ and it’s going to be released this week. They are these guys from the north of Holland, and they’ve been doing well, and I play a lot of their records on my radio show. And after a while everything started to work out well and I wanted to help them and everything felt good and comfortable to have them with us on the team. They also did some remixes for ‘Legacy’, the track that I did with Krewella.”

Tell us about your tour that you’ve got coming up in the States this month…
“We started the Nothing Toulouse tour and we took a few friends like Vicetone and Don Diablo with us. It’s going to be a tour of North America and Canada, and it’s going to be especially big because I’ve not played Canada in a while. We made a special audio video intro to go with the show and we’re going to bring a lot of cool merchandise.”

What plans do you have for the rest of the year and next year?
“Well there’s a new jam on Size Records which is called ‘Sounds Of The Underground’ which is done with Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. And I’m working on an album. And we’re working on someone else’s album which I can’t say who it is yet. And after that I really try to focus on Protocol Recordings and try to get the artists out there and try to get it to grow more, and Protocol Management. So there’s a lot to do and a lot to come. And next to that I just try to stay healthy because I just recovered from glandular fever.”

Stay well Nicky. How do you keep level when everything is full energy and peaking all around you?
“I don’t know, I don’t think I try to do anything special, I try to eat healthy, I try to be healthy, I go to the gym as much as possible. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t do anything special. It’s important to take a nap whenever you can. I take a nap before every show because you feel way more energetic.”