We land in Croatia. Goran Niksic is one of the most talented dj of the new generations. Refined musical taste combined with a deep passion for the tango. A foray into the new frontier of tango in Europe
From the beginning: I suppose that your first approach with tango, like for other djs, was with the dance. What inspired you to get into console and play music? A conscious decision or was the result of chance?
Yes, I started as a dancer in Zagreb, with Tajana and Zrinko. During their second trip to BsAs someone needed to take care of music for our regular practicas. That was the beginning and it sparked my interest in tango music. But it wasn't for another year that I took over a local milonga - I just wasn't ready. So yes, you could say it was purely by chance. But it feel on a fertile ground: my music education and already developed addiction for the dance. :) That's what may have attracted foreign organisers to start inviting me
What were your early taste of tango? There are significant differences with the current scene?
Early taste... well, don't know about that, but I remember when I first fell in love with a tango song. It was Di Sarli's "Indio manso" among his other later instrumentals. The problem on our tango scene was a narrow selection of music. Partly because we were depending on our teachers' trips to BA for new music so there wasn't much of a variety. My own taste therefore developed only after I began getting to know tango music. It always included music from Guardia Vieja to modern orchestras. Most of it is Golden Age, of course. I, as anyone else, have my phases of intense love for particular orchestras. Now I am in love with Fresedo and Biagi. I am still at a beginning so as I learn, my taste broadens, but that doesn't necessarily mean a big change.
Do you remember your first like tango dj?
The first place I actually felt like a real tango DJ was Belgrade, New Year 2012 - the energy and the dancers were explosive! They were happy, and I contributed to that. That's all I want as a dancer - to have fun. I am trying to provide that opportunity to dancers as a DJ.
The difficulty of the search for songs on cd often burned, the explosion of the Web and the consequent relatively easy to find in the music. Do you think this paradigm shift has changed the way of working of the DJ?
I guess it has. I live in the tango-internet age, but I started from a country where you couldn't, and for the most cases, still cannot buy tango music. And even if you can, you don't know what quality it is. And big companies obtained rights to music they invested nothing in. That disgusts me. I don't know how this will evolve, but I intend to support new projects that aim to preserve tango recordings and sheet music.
When you build your performance? Long ago, during the journey to the milonga, or sudden moment by moment?
I know which music I'd love to give people. I dream about new tandas all the time. I use that inspiration to create a playlist on the milonga, real-time. There are a few rare exceptions to this rule. But I never make a completely prepared playlist. I never know what will work on a particular night.
Have you ever played in a boring night? Have you you understand too late that perhaps the milonga could not give you the right motivation and you could not wait to finish? Do you accept whatever you offer or try to make a selection preferring location and fascinating evening with friends?
Of course I have my moments of better or worse inspiration. As I said, I am mostly governed by my own taste and emotions at the time. I find it universally compatible, regardless of the community where I am DJing. I do like to know what kind of music goes better in a place I am performing, but most of the time I can read it from the dancers on the dance floor.
How would you define your style? It has evolved over time? And in which direction? What can influence you in an evening, the audience, the dancers, the acoustics of the location, the duration of your performance ...
I like to play a well balanced combination of rhythmical and melodic tandas, depending on the community, time of day and character of the event. Sometimes I feel that during marathons people play less melodic tangos and I miss those as a dancer. Also, good cortinas are a necessity - they have to be a refreshing and cheerful interlude. I like giving the advanced dancers something more challenging from time to time, you know, some music with many layers or many changes that will keep their musicality satisfied. ;) Good energy on the dance floor, positive feedback from the dancers, being around friends, dancing a perfectly blissful tanda... all of those things can make my night better. It can be stressful when technical difficulties or bad acoustics make me run around and worry too much.
Do you prefer playing alone or sharing the night with a / colleague. Generally prefer to work alone, or with friends who you feeling? Or, you love the thrill of experimenting with a colleague ever heard until then?
I rarely had the opportunity to share. Recently with a DJ I never met before and it was great! Sharing can always work with a person who is in love with tango the same way and has a similar taste for music.
If someone asks you the name of a track you say it to him, perhaps suggesting where the CD is included, or invite him to venture into the trouble of searching?
Sharing is caring - I know how hard it was for me in the beginning. I had help by some dear DJs and I can not deny such help to others. Especially if a dancer falls in love with a song during my performance - it would be cruel not to uncover which song it was. :)
The public bother you with absurd requests: what do you do? Are you a jukebox?
I calmly listen to their requests and try to please them - maybe I won't fulfil their wish right now, of not the exact song or maybe not at all. But if I feel the time is right, I will play anything. I never consider such requests to be demands and I don't have a button "play" on me.
Do you like to dance and listen to your colleagues enjoy the selections and styles of others from your performances?
Of course. That's how I learn about dancing AND djing. Some styles I like more, some less. But I always dance! :)
Do you believe that the art of "musicalizador" is different for geographic areas? Argentina, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean ... or is it similar in every countries?
It most definitely is. What will work in eastern Europe may not be good for central Europe. What works on a big festival or marathon may not work on an encuentro milonguero AND vice-versa. In Argentina, for example, playlists rarely change. People don't explore the music so much down there any more. Here, the active great dancers are always looking for more.
Would you like to have a milonga just for you, furnish it with the appropriate facility to your desires, try to create a wave that satisfies you over to play when you want and create a calendar of events to measure your tastes?
I recently started a new milonga in Zagreb so I could satisfy my need for DJing. The venue is nice: modern yet warm. There are always loads of good dancers there. Zagreb is a nice tango community, and thanks to several very enthusiastic and high-quality DJs it will keep growing also in the respect for music. My objective is to help expand the community's taste for music.
The classic point-blank questions you have to answer, you cannot refuse:
Three orchestras that can not miss in one evening.
Di Sarli, Fresedo, Biagi, Tanturi. That's three, right? :P
Your three favourite orchestras, which may also be different from the previous ones.
Di Sarli, Fresedo, Pugliese.
Suggest a tanda of tango instrumental, a tanda of tango singer, one of vals and milonga.
Instrumentals by Tanturi: Arganaraz, Una noche de garufa, Comparsa criolla, El buey solo.
Vocal Ricardo Ruiz with the orchestra of Osvaldo Fresedo: Buscandote, No preciso, Plegaria, Hablemos claramente
Vals by Pedro Laurenz: Paisaje, Mendocina, Mascarita
Milonga by Biagi: Con mi perro, Flor de Montserrat(Pobre negrito), Por la Gueya
What are the three bands or singers you can not stand?
Ooofff.... hard one... I don't understand Firpo, actually. Don't know about others...
What is the band most underrated by the general public and which is the most overrated?
The most underrated would probably be Demare, and the most overrated D'Arienzo. :))
Your top three nights (in your opinion of course ...)
The last three nights, it always gets better! ;)
We are less serious: Last night a dj saved my life. The DJ rule is sexy? Have you ever had a relationship with some fans and some flirt with your colleagues?
Oh it is VERY sexy, I feel like a star. There are some photos... yeah, better not go there. :)) I haven't had a relationship with fans, but some occasional flirts were received. ;)