nathan surreal

From Amsterdam to Sheffield: We meet Nathan Surreal

When we heard that one of Amsterdam’s finest house and techno producer and DJs had moved to Sheffield our ears pricked up and we thought we’d send our Nightlife Editor Leo Burrell to find out more. 

Back in Amsterdam you’re a producer, DJ, promoter, label owner, radio show host and music production teacher on the side…Why on earth did you leave!
Haha you’re too kind! Last year I received a very generous grant from the Dutch government to study abroad which I couldn’t turn down, so I’m doing a Masters in Music Management and Cultural Creative Industries at the University of Sheffield. It’s been hard to run the show back in Amsterdam from Sheffield but it’s a short flight – I’ve already been back 3 times since September and do another label showcase at the end of this month, so the ball’s still rolling.

Can you tell us a bit more about your projects?
Well primarily I’m a DJ/producer, I’ve been releasing music for seven or so years. In Amsterdam I’m kind of known as the Detroit-techno guy – my first major release was on Kevin Saunderson’s KMS label back in 2014 which put me pretty firmly in that box, but nowadays my music’s a bit more broad, encompassing house and techno with ambient influences. Then there’s my clubnight, Kommune, which focuses on bringing exciting new international artists like Chaos in the CBD, Skee Mask and Ilian Tapes to Amsterdam, we do parties all over the city. I also host a Kommune radio show on Red Light Radio every 6 weeks or so, we just had Ciel on, and the next one is on 1st of December with The Block resident Anna Haleta.

And Kommune does some 30 hour parties?! Is that an exciting thing happening in Amsterdam, the “24 hour city” thing?
Yeah, we were actually one of the first parties to do it, it’s super fun. You can only do it a few times a year at each venue so it’s reserved for big occasions like birthdays or the new year, but it’s definitely becoming a reality. It really makes those parties special, we had twelve artists play at one over the 30 hours! Giving people the chance to play extended sets but in the context of an even longer club-night is amazing.

And then there’s two labels right, Native Response and De Lichting, what’s the connection there?
NR was started by myself and three friends (Eversines, Human Space Machine, queniv), and De Lichting is a new umbrella label formed by; Native Response, Yield Records & Working Titles. We’re all Amsterdam based and we do everything ourselves, from the music to the artwork to the packaging and the PR, there’s no external artists on the label. We are also an agency now, so all our bookings go through De Lichting.

So what are you hoping to achieve here in Sheffield and the UK?
Lots hopefully! I’d like to network as much as possible with the UK scene and get my name out there a bit more over here, and meet some interesting new people. It’s strange, I’ve headed out to see some DJs I know from Amsterdam in Sheffield and ended up seeing more of them here than I do back home. They’re always shocked to see me haha!

Where have you been out and who have you met in Sheffield?
I’ve been to quite a few places, the Nice Like Rice party at Theatre Deli with Bradley Zero and Powder was great, and then Chaos in the CBD for Sweats at Yellow Arch Studios was sweet too. I met Adam S from Pretty Pretty Good there, whose party at Hope Works with John Talabot I went to. I spoke to Lo Shea there for ages, he’s an interesting guy. Then there was DJ Sports and Orpheu the Wizard with Front & Back.

Tell us a bit more about your latest release on Night Defined Records with Eduardo De La Calle.
Oh yeah! It’s so exciting for me to be working with one of my absolute heroes, he’s such a key influence for me. We booked him back in 2015 and ended up collaborating over the internet. I sent him a drum track and he added the FX and melodies in a way that only he could, I’m super happy with the result!

Great chatting to you Nathan, I hope to see you play soon.
Thanks Leo, see you soon!

Nathan Surreal is available for bookings through

In association with , the local box office

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