Welcome to the third installment of Talk Tuesdays, in which I post a conversation with an artist or someone affiliated with the electronic music industry for your viewing pleasure.
When I first stumbled upon Nhan Solo’s hour-long mix for Amsterdam’s Boom Room, I thought, “You gotta be kidding me.” Both the music and the name had me intrigued- energetic, deep house sounds dished out by an obviously Star Wars-obsessed fan? Underground meets outer space? Count me in – I quickly delved into the artist and his label, Mother Recordings, scooping up as much music as I could to inspire my own mixes with fresh heat.
Fast forward a few months, and things got even weirder. As it turned out, Nhan Solo was embarking on a tour of the Americas, and he was coming to San Francisco! Thanks to a dear friend of mine who so kindly introduced us, I was afforded the opportunity to sit down with this elusive character. The following pages consist of my conversation with him on a rooftop in SoMa, SF, as he meticulously cut a watermelon and I sipped on some cider.
What is your birth name?
Solo, Nhan Solo, actually. It’s really funny because, let’s say, 99% of the first questions asked is “are you a Star Wars fan?” Of course I am! “Is that your real name?” Yes it is! It’s my birth name. Nhan Solo. Yes, it’s true. I’m also a big Star Wars fan, huge fan of science fiction. Thanks to [my] parents. It’s a beautiful name, nice phonetics, and easy to remember! *laughs*
Where are you from originally?
I’m full blood Vietnamese. My parents are Vietnamese, yes.
How did you end up in Berlin?
Actually, I came to Berlin for my studies. I didn’t mention to you, but I never had the intention to become an international DJ or never had intention for music, money with music. The passion was always there, but I actually came to Berlin because of my studies. And I must say, thanks Berlin. I love Berlin, I owe Berlin everything, because Berlin really opened doors.. so thanks a lot. But at the end [of the day], you need to step in – no pain no gain.
Yeah Berlin’s known for its great music scene. How does your environment impact your development?
It’s impacted me a lot. Because you see, for example, all the music industry moved to Berlin… all the major labels. So it influenced me a lot… and you can see it because it’s right now like a magnet, everyone wants to move there because they see there’s a lot going on. Especially in the music scene, the art scene, the fashion scene. It’s affordable in comparison to San Francisco, still a little affordable.
So how did you choose house music, how did you gravitate towards that?
My roots.. let’s say, I listened my whole life, a lot of my youth, to hip hop music. I think it’s kind of similar to house music because it has the same kind of roots: it’s black music, it’s groovy, it’s funky, it has a lot of samples. And I like house music because I mean like, when it comes to house music, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white or young or old. If you go to a party, everyone wants to have a good time. So there’s no boundaries or whatever, it’s cool to listen to house music. It’s really positive.