Nicole Moudaber & Friends Rally to Celebrate an NYC Nightlife Mainstay
Photo by Darren Black
Nicole Moudaber has a routine for getting through long nights at the club. "No alcohol, no drugs, lots of water, lots of vitamins, sleep a couple of hours before the show and get on there," the London-based DJ says on a recent call. For the average partygoer, that might seem counterintuitive, but for Moudaber, it works. "That's how I keep my energy levels up," she says. And she doesn't have time to get groggy behind the decks. Moudaber might be dropping the jams all night before catching a flight to the next international destination.
"You've got to be regimented," says Moudaber, who has played everywhere from Southern California to Bulgaria this summer. She also recently released the EP Breed, featuring Skin from Skunk Anansie on vocals, through her label, MOOD, and hosts a weekly syndicated radio show, "In the MOOD."
"If you want to do those back-to-back shows, you've got to be really regimented, for sure. You've got to sleep right, eat right, no alcohol, just focus without any distractions because you need to take a flight the next day." Strict as she is, though, she gives herself a few minutes to hit the dance floor at the end of her sets. "I just want to dance with everyone," she says.
Perhaps it's that discipline that allows Moudaber to take on challenging, yet rewarding, gigs. Take September 12's Nicole Moudaber & Friends event at the Brooklyn Mirage: It's the DJ's first festival-style event in New York — something she describes as "the most special and precious gig" she will likely ever play in the area — and it almost didn't happen.
The event was initially organized by Rob Fernandez, who chose the location and helped design the concept. Fernandez, well-known for his work with Pacha and RPM Presents, died in July. After his passing, Moudaber was "reluctant," she says, to go forward with the plans. The promoter and the DJ had a good working relationship that went back several years. In fact, it was Fernandez who gave Moudaber her first New York gig, at Governors Island in 2011. "Since that moment, everything went up, and my profile went up, and he continued to push me and I am here today doing my first festival in New York because of him," she says.
When Moudaber was told that Fernandez would have wanted her to continue with the plans, she moved forward, albeit with a slightly different angle. "This whole day is for him and his family," she says. Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit Fernandez's family.
Once the festival was on, there were scheduling issues. With the festival circuit and Ibiza still in full swing, booking DJs was no easy task. "I had to pull favors from the DJs last minute because, obviously, everybody is booked," she says. Even Moudaber was already booked. "We all canceled our weekends just to give this tribute to Rob and to make it very special for him."
Ultimately, Moudaber, herself a former party promoter who spent almost six years booking DJs for monthly events in London, brought in L.A.-based house DJ Lauren Lane. The two have previously played together in Los Angeles and Mexico. Her pals Hector, who also worked with Fernandez, and Joel Mull, who played with Moudaber in Brooklyn last fall, came on board, too. Rounding out the bunch is New York's own Victor Calderone, who will be playing a back-to-back set with Moudaber. The two previously played B2B at her MOOD Day party during Miami's Winter Music Conference. They have also produced tracks together, including the club hit "The Journey Begins."
"We speak the same language musically," says Moudaber, adding that some people asked if they rehearsed their set in Miami. "We just got on and did our thing without even discussing what we needed to play, how we wanted to play it. We just blended instantly and it was magic."
As fall approaches, Moudaber is getting ready to wind down the whirlwind gigs. She'll spend October through December working in London and taking some weekend gigs in Europe. She also plans to spend some time training in her new hobby, racecar driving, in the U.K. and Italy. "I'm going to take it seriously, and who knows?" she says. "Who knows what happens?"
In the meantime, she'll be doing double-duty at her Brooklyn Mirage gig, playing the warmup set in addition to her B2B set with Calderone. "I think it's important for me to open the festival since first, musically and creatively, it allows me to be free and do my own thing," she says, "but, also, to warm up for all my guests." Given her expertise and the fact that she's got the EDM-machine routine down, we'll take her word for it.
Nicole Moudaber and friends will take over the Brooklyn Mirage on September 12. For ticket and lineup information, click here.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.