NASAYA, a Berklee College of Music graduate and multi-hyphenate musician and producer, gives a new viewpoint to the electronic music scene. NASAYA was born and raised on Reunion Island, a French island in the Indian Ocean, and spent his childhood surfing island waves and absorbing influence from classic rock superstars such as Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. NASAYA is making a reputation for himself and his unique creations. With the ability to provide current fans with a novel sound that will make an impression on the rave scene, the boundary-pushing producer is here to chat all things music, including his newest “RÊVES” EP. The 4-track project provides a refreshing and immersive new viewpoint to the dance floor scene in this musical masterpiece, after his last smash track “RUMMELSBURG” and recently backing ODESZA on their Last Goodbye tour.
For the uninitiated, who are you and how would you describe your project?
“I’m from Reunion Island, France, which is off the coast of Madagascar. My family is from there. I started playing music with the guitar. I played classical guitar, then rock music, and then jazz. I studied jazz at Berklee, and when I was there I started music because I had some friends who were producing. I was already listening to a bunch of electronic music, like Tycho, and seeing people do music on their computers made me want to start a project. Since then, I’ve been in LA, but then COVID happened and I moved to Paris, and now I’m back here. The story gets gradually shorter from here.”
How would you want listeners to perceive your music?
“Perceive it however they want! I never know how to describe it, because my first couple of songs are more indie or indie-pop. It still had an electronic bass, but now some of the newer stuff has faster BPMs, like U.K. garage or alternative electronic music.
There are always some guitar or organic elements. I come from playing in bands so I think there are always some organic pieces in the song.”
What was your local music scene like as you grew up? What did you like and what didn’t you like?
“So in Reunion Island, I wasn’t part of any music scene; I was playing classical guitar and rock music. I was in a rock band with a bunch of 50-year-old people. I don’t even remember how I found them, but I was like 15 and playing with these old rocker dudes. That was my local music scene.”
What are some musical elements or themes that you feel you try to bring into every song?
“I feel like there’s always some kind of feeling that is common in my songs. Whatever style I make, there’s always an old lo-fi sound. I like melancholic music, like Jamie XX and Tame Impala are very different artists but they have this feeling that is similar between them. It’s almost nostalgic in a weird way. Even though some of my new stuff is super different, there’s still a similar theme or sound.
I’m a bit of a nerd so I like when the production is a little like ear candy. When I listen to my favorite producers, I don’t really hear their production. I just feel like it’s a nice song and they’re not trying to impress. But, towards the end when I was finishing my EP I was going crazy over the mixing and mastering. Every time, I always tell myself that I’m not going to worry about the mixing that much but I end up doing it anyways.”
Can you explain your relationship with dance music and where you think it stands?
“It’s funny because when I started music, I was really into bands. I used to think that was “real” music because I was playing an instrument. When I started playing songs with my guitar, I somehow felt limited. I felt like I loved a lot of music like Bonobo, Jon Hopkins, Tycho… I’ve listened to them since I was in high school, but I wasn’t making the kind of music that I would listen to. It’s weird because this I feel is the hardest music to make.
Dance music is so sophisticated. I feel like the mentality has changed now from what I thought. It’s more accepting, and there are so many emotions in dance music.”
Have you ever been to a rave? And if so, what parts about it made it memorable?
“I think living in Europe made me understand electronic music more. I don’t know how, I think it’s just the way they live and party. People really listen to different kinds of electronic music there – drum and bass, breakbeat, jungle, all those things.
I’ve been to DJ sets in Berlin where I’ve never heard any of the songs before. It was the weirdest music I’ve ever heard but it was incredible. It was very different from what people think EDM is. You get a very refined palette from just living there. It’s like if you are in California and listening to Tame Impala. There’s some music that is just tied to a geographic place. I think it’s more of a culture of DJing. Even if you look at France, people are really fond of electronic music and they’re proud of it. It’s like their national anthem.”
What can you tell us about the “RÊVES” EP?
“I have worked a lot on it. I feel almost disconnected from it because I wrote it in Paris while I was stuck at home. In LA, I was doing a lot of sessions and working with people, but in Paris, I was just working by myself. It’s the first thing I’ve really done solo. All of my favorite music is just solo instrumental music, so it was very interesting to just do a project by myself. It was music I listened to a lot but never tried sitting down and making so it felt like I was writing it to learn how to make that kind of music if I’m being honest.”
The musical direction we seem to be headed with this project is very fun. I really enjoy the garage sound. It’s refreshing and ravey, but also emotional. Is this something that you will keep up with in future projects?
“Yes, ideally. I think this is the music that moves me the most and it’s been that way for a long time. Since I’m moving back to LA, I’m going to be writing a lot of music for other people so I kind of want to start doing stuff with vocals. We’ll see what feels the most natural to me because it’s completely different from how I was living in Paris. Maybe I’ll make trap music next, or folk or country! “
To wrap things up, give us one of your favorite moments on this ODESZA tour.
“I think it was the first show. It was nice because I had never played in front of so many people. I don’t even think it had the highest attendance, but I was stressed out because I had only ever rehearsed in my room. I knew the set pretty well but I was still nervous, and it ended up being a nice moment. I have a weird relationship with performing. I love DJing, but I feel like when I’m performing I’m always thinking about the crowd, and my setup, it’s hard to be in the moment. The more shows I do, the more I can improvise or try more stuff. DJing feels more like partying.”