Although the world of electronic music can often feel like a factory line of tracks, Stockholm producer Nause ensures that his music possesses a hand-crafted flair. His global hit ‘Dynamite’ is a case in point – the dramatic drops, soaring synths and funk-fuelled beats are very much in evidence, but its jazzy-tinged verses and naturalistic vocal give it an irresistible soul that saw it pass 100 million streams at Spotify alone.
Nause’s journey so far has included numerous unforgettable highlights. From topping Sweden’s charts with his first anthem ‘Hungry Hearts’ to dazzling in front of 14,000 fans at a gargantuan outdoor homecoming gig, Nause has already achieved more than most musicians will in a lifetime. Yet the young producer – AKA Jakob Criborn – remains resolutely grounded.
“I didn’t think about the possibility of going to play in Miami or Ibiza, but suddenly I was in all these places,” he remembers of his first international adventures. “I was really happy, but I’ve always been thinking about the next step. The main drive is always to do better.”
And when better to improve than right now? Nause’s latest cut ‘Aqualung’ finds the young producer raising the bar in striking fashion. While rooted in the Swedish house sound, ‘Aqualung’ resonates with an uplifting power that will surely see it emerge as a mainstay of playlists across the globe.
“It’s a much poppier song but it still has the Nause vibe to it,” he says. “It has such a great, nineties style piano hook that I knew I had to release it!”
The track’s topline comes from Sweden’s flamboyant pop icon Miss Li, whose mountainous vocal delivery is the perfect match for Nause’s life-affirming grooves. He considers her theatrical lyrics to the song (“Gonna swim for my life / Please don’t let me drown”) to be an unrequited love story.
Eager to build on the success of ‘Dynamite’ with ‘Aqualung’ and to ensure that Nause “reflects me as a person,” he is currently spreading his creative touch to every aspect of the project – visuals, merch, styling and artwork. That personal touch is particularly important when it comes to planning this summer’s live show. Inspired by the engaging visuals and brand recognition of Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, Nause is currently developing a mask that will be featured at all future performances.
“The Nause mask is my identity and I’m investing a lot of time and energy into it,” he states with conviction. “I don’t want to be a silhouette in the background. I want to look people in the eye, connect with the fans and make them feel like they’re part of the energy. It’s not them and me: I want us to party as one.”
And that’s not the full extent of it, either. While the newly-masked Nause is rampaging to the forefront of the stage, he’ll be backed by several LED screens featuring digital musicians performing in identical masks. A charismatic frontman plus explosive sounds multiplied by innovative visual tech is a formula that’s guaranteed to result in visceral chaos.
Nause in 2018 is a massive evolution from his modest beginnings. As a child, he started playing guitar and then piano, but discovering house, techno and their myriad sub-genres ignited a new passion for him. It wasn’t long before he was taking his first exploratory steps into production and DJing, and local heroes such as Swedish House Mafia and John Dahlbäck demonstrated that worldwide attention was entirely possible to attain.
“Back in the day, DJing was more technical and about having the most unique records,” he recalls, noting that Tiesto was an inspiring exception who was happy to nurture new talent. “It was elitist, but now it’s about sharing rather than competing. It’s a community where we support each other. We’re sharing tracks with each other, we play each other’s tracks, and that’s how we create a buzz.”
Nause’s music evolved step-by-step, but was always informed by one essential rule: “It doesn’t matter what the genre is, if there’s a good melody there’s a great song.”
Nause was still working a day job in a warehouse when his breakthrough track ‘Made Of’ was released. By the time the track’s supporting tour was booked, he realised he could afford to buy an apartment. And even more importantly, “I realised I could do this for a living.”