This should go without saying: don’t sleep on the Keep Watch Mix Series. Need proof? Crank up the fourth edition (from way back in 2008), which featured LA by way of DC-duo Nadastrom.
Nadastrom is comprised of DJ/producers-extraordinaire Dave Nada (né Villegas) and Matt Nordstrom. Established in 2007, Nadastrom have toured the world, unleashed their trademark brand of club-infused tech house on crowds everywhere, and found a home on Switch’s forward-thinking label Dubsided. It’s been a busy few years.
Nadastrom is an example of the whole being greater than the parts. Both Nada and Nordstrom were established talents when they came together: Nada as a resident of quintessential Baltimore party Taxlo and Nordstrom as a studio engineer for house music legends Deep Dish. But it was only together, when they combined the energy of Baltimore club and the pulsing vibe of deep house (along with precise studio programming), that they could reach superstar status in the global underground dance scene.
From the first bass blast of their debut Pussy EP, its been clear that Nadastrom is masterful at crafting soulful, big room bangers. The Soul II Soul-sampling title track and Blaqstarr-driven electroclub of “Tween Me + U” are still vital nearly three years after their release: guaranteed dance floor destroyers that should come pre-loaded on Serato boxes. The same can be said about “Save Us” on 2009’s The Saved EP: the shimmering breakdowns are but momentary respites from the hard-charging, soul-clapping spiritual.
Ever since they flipped Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” into a screwed-down grindfest, Nadastrom has proven to be expert remixers as well, taking on everyone from DC homeboy Tittsworth to Laidback Luke and Diplo. Keying in on the most essential element of a song, Nadastrom practically renders the originals obsolete. Last year, Nadastrom tweaked bass bangers from Udachi (“P-Funk Skank”) and AC Slater (“Take You”), slicing out most of the wobble but keeping all the intensity. Their most surprising remix, however, was a dubstep take on “Crush” by UK hip-pop act Fugative.
While their club and house credentials are impeccable, you can’t mention Nadastrom these days without bringing up moombahton. Nada may have (unintentionally) created it at his cousin’s skip party, but they’ve fostered the growth of the heatseeking genre together. Nadastrom is responsible for some — if not most — of the finest moombahton edits in existence; their Rum & Coke EP is required listening.
Since releasing the first official moombahton remix (of Steve Starks’ “Lydia”) they’ve brought songs by Florence and the Machine, Temper Trap, Win Win, and The Weeknd to the magical land of 108 BPM. Pairing up with UK singer-songwriter Alex Clare has resulted in two instant classics: “Too Close” and the as of yet unreleased “Up All Night.”
Moombahton may be getting them attention, but Nadastrom haven’t forgotten what got them where they are now. The duo dropped several singles earlier this year that hark back to tracks like “Pussy.” Ominous rumblers “Theo” and “M.U.H.” play on the dark side of house, yet the highlight of their new material is “All Night.” The track is built on a vocal riff from one of the most sampled songs ever, the James Brown-produced, Lyn Collins jam “Think (About It)” (for non-crate diggers, that’s where that classic “woo! yeah!” break comes from).
Nadastrom’s mascot / logo / spirit animal is the Yeti, specifically the one from the hilariously over-the-top SkyMall catalog. What started as an inside joke has actually come to describe the duo: this dark, mysterious beast who haunts our collective consciousness. If you’ve ever heard a Nadastrom track in a DJ set (you probably have) or have been lucky enough to see them live, you understand the Yeti. From the most powerful tech house to the smoothest moombahton, Nadastrom is out there.
If you’re in DC, just turn up the bass: the Nadastrom residency returns tomorrow July 10th to U Street Music Hall with guests Munchi and Jillionaire.