Producer/MC/beat-boxer/DJ/Multi-instrumentalist. Yes, these are all titles being used to describe a singular person, Nico Luminous. Following a performance at the Gem and Jam festival this past February, Nico has since held our undivided attention, and shows no signs of letting up any time soon. Rocking a custom live setup that stands in comparison to none, he has a totally unique and genuine approach to his art that anyone can appreciate. Inspired by a Keller Williams performance he saw as a teen, he constructed his own belt of loop pedals, which has enabled him to walk around festivals and play simultaneously. Needless to say, I was more than happy for the chance to sit down with Nico and pick his brain.
CYM: According to your Facebook page, you classify your music as glitch-a-delic-soul-whomp. What exactly does that entail?
Nico Luminous: My sound is a mixture of a ton of different flavors, but I would describe it as soulful, kind of laid-back, but still bass heavy. Slow tempos with an electronic glitch feel.
CYM: What stands out to me the most is that your music is very definitive, in the terms that certain tracks give a real persona to the artist behind it, not just the given mood you’re in at the time of producing. You do an awesome job of channeling yourself through your craft.
Nico Luminous: Thank you! The true purpose of an artist is to share your soul, and I love to make that connection. I grew up hitting a ton of reggae festivals in California and hip-hop shows, and my music has no choice but to reflect that. It’s what started everything for me.
CYM: Which came first for you, beat boxing or producing electronic music?
Nico Luminous: I started beat boxing when I was a kid. When I was about 18, I was practicing a lot. I didn’t start making actual beats on a computer until about 2004. From when I first began beat-boxing, to when I started producing, I was always singing, rapping and writing lyrics the whole time.
CYM: Where did the idea of wearing a belt of loops and recorders come in?
Nico: I’ve gone to Burning Man about 8 or 9 times, and it just made sense to me there. If you’re gonna join in with the hustle and bustle of that place, you’ve gotta be mobile. I drew inspiration from Keller Williams, who I remember seeing as a kid, and I just had the idea to hook it up myself. Now I can be performing wherever I want! [Laughs]
CYM: That’s pretty awesome! Definitely makes your live show one not to miss. This is your first Gem and Jam, yes?
Nico: Yup, first one ever.
CYM: You’ve got a couple friends on the lineup today, am I right?
Nico Luminous: Yeah, Russ [Liquid] and I, we started producing beats together a long time ago and Thriftworks is also a good friend of mine. I love festivals, most of them are like that; slightly different rotation, but generally the same artists on the bill. You get to see your friends and kinda hang out while doing what you love. It’s nice to have that homey vibe at big festivals! It really doesn’t get much better than that.
I’d like to thank Nico Luminous for taking the time out to do this interview. Check out his latest mixes and follow his social medias if you’ve been out of the loop! Trust us when we say, your life will be much funkier with Nico’s tunage in your life!