One day you’re slowing down the tempo of Afrojack’s “Moombah Remix” so you don’t get the fur torn off of ya for playing music that’s too fast at your cousin’s skipping party and the next day you’re playing that very same style of music at some of the greatest venues in the world, spawning a whole new genre of music tailored for the dance floor. So the story goes for Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom of the DC-bred, LA-based DJ and production duo, Nadastrom, who have godfathered a brand new style of dance music – moombahton.
Groovin’ at a 108 bpm pace and inspired by reggaeton, Dutch House, and pure kismet, moombahton is rockin’ every dance floor from DC to London and everything in between. What was once a “happy accident” now has countless producers demonstrating their take on the original sound of moombahton and exploring new sub genres, like smooth, sexy moombahsoul and the moombahton-dubstep hybrid, moombahcore. Nadastrom even started their own moombahton record label, Diabluma Sound, which kicked off this year with fresh releases from Steve Starks, JWLS, and Boyfriend. Because of all its success across the board, moombahton has become a destination event at major festivals and has sold out parties around the world, including its monthly Moombahton Massive celebration at the infamous U Street Music Hall in its homebase of DC.
Much like the curious hybrid that it is, moombahton is a family affair – it has a particular way of bringing people together and welcoming new party people and DJs alike to dance music with open arms. From Dave Nada’s early days of edits, like “Riverside”, to Nadastrom’s official remixes, like Alex Clare’s “Too Close”, Dave and Matt have been guiding the moombahton missle straight to the top, with their original productions serving as the ultimate creative guidance.
But Nadastrom has been slaying the scene long before moombahton – since before I knew anything about anything. I remember my first introduction to dance music in action was seeing them play Baltimore club, tech house, and everything else they could get their hands on at TaxLo parties here in Baltimore. They have been the real deal since the first night I danced to their soundtrack and with a deep knowledge of how Baltimore really gets down (spoiler alert: down and fucking dirty), they rose to the top like the cream of the crop. Enamored with their intuitive selections and the ease with which they control the floor, I’ve been following Nadastrom ever since. So of course, years later and with a rack of parties stored neatly in my memory bank, I’m so pleased and honored to have interviewed Dave and Matt. It’s their unwavering passion for music, their free-spirits which make every performance a great time for everybody involved, and their constant demonstration of forward-thinking creativity and innovation that sets the standard of excellence in this game.
Cool Breezy: We all know the story of how you accidentally created moombahton over three years ago and started releasing those classic edits like “Riverside” and “Moombahton”. Did you ever expect the genre to blow up the way that it has? What do you think of its evolution so far?
Dave Nada: Nah, I really did not expect it at all. I did, however, think the concept was cool and fun. I saw it work first hand since the start, so I already knew it was something that would translate well in the club. The evolution of it all is pretty crazy too! It’s come a long way in just three years and now there’s a moombahton vibe that exists in music and club culture. The production of the sound has gotten better as well. I feel like it continues to refine itself and new influences are popping up from all over the world.
CB: Since moombahton’s genesis, you have hosted successful Moombahton Massives in its mecca of DC and all around the world. Most recently, hosted a stage entirely dedicated to moombahton at Hard’s Day of the Dead festival in LA. Did you have any say in choosing the talent for the moombahton stage? Also, how does it make you feel to be the godfather of such a wildly successful movement?
DN: Yup! Me and my Moombahton Massive partners, Matt Nordstrom and Sabo, help curate the lineups for all of the Massives. When we work with Hard, we combine our forces with them. I feel like HARD are at the top of the game and they ALWAYS kill it with the lineups and tours for their events. I feel humbled and grateful when it comes to moombahton and how far it’s come, from the artists to the music lovers around the world. [I’m] very proud of what we’ve built with the Massives and the music.
CB: I know first-hand how uniquely wild moombahton parties can get. I’m sure there are many memorable and unmemorable nights for you, but describe one of your favorites.
DN: I’m biased here, but my favorite moment was at Moombahton Massive Thanksgiving 2011 when I proposed to my fiancé, Jen Lasher, in front of hundreds people at the end of her set! Not only was the moombah fam there, but a lot of our relatives as well. What a special night!
Matt Nordstrom: Man…they are all pretty special. It’s really hard to pick one, so I’m gonna say three. The night we had Toddla T for the Two Year Anniversary of [U Street Music Hall]; the night we had Thee Mike B who said, with quite an epic resume of parties played, that that was one of the best gigs and parties he has ever done; and of course last thanksgiving when Dave purposed to Jen, which, for the record, NO ONE knew he was going to do.
CB: Do you remember the first record you ever bought?
MN: It was either “Thriller” by Michael Jackson or “Future Shock” by Herbie Hancock.
DN: [The] first record I ever bought was Doug E. Fresh “Keep Risin’ To The Top” 12″ single. B-side was “Guess Who”, which got me fired up every time I listened to it. I also remember being mad confused as to why there was an acapella track and instrumental version. I didn’t understand the DJ side of things at the time, haha.
CB: While you have embarked on an entirely new maginificent journey through moombahton, Nadastrom’s nights of spinning club music in Baltimore have still remained the stuff of legends. How have those past experiences influenced the way you feel about music in the present? Any chance we’ll hear some new Baltimore club sounds from you in the future?
DN: They still influence us to this day. As a matter of fact, we’ve been playing tons of Bmore and Bmore inspired club music in our sets lately. We’re also getting a rep for playing longer sets these days, so this has given us more opportunities to play different styles in one night!
MN: It definitely still influences us – the stripped back approach, the loops, and probably most important is the impact of a kick drum. Pretty much sums up Nadastrom, haha! We recently did a remix for our new label, Diabluma Sound, reworking Boyfriend’s “Vodka House” into a 130 club joint. We have some more in the works as well but can’t really speak on them just yet.
CB: This year you’ve greatly advanced moombahton through major events, impeccable productions, and even the launch of Nadastrom’s very own moombahton label, Diabluma Sound. So, what’s next?
MN: We are currently working on our debut artist album, which is something we have toyed with in the past but got really serious about the past few months.
DN: Yup, we think it’s about time now!