Nico Morano is a name with a growing presence in and around the European house and techno scene. Over the last few years he’s been able to hone and develop a progressive and emotive house sound which has resulted in him becoming one of Belgiums most loved electronic producers.
He’s been a key player in previous Tomorrowland editions, hosting his own stage and inviting some incredible talents to join him for the occasion. In 2019, Nico championed the livestream by taking it around some of Belgiums most idyllic locations and giving them the soundtrack they deserve – Ontourage has been building from these moments and this month it launched as a label with its first ever release, ‘Blackout’. We’ll speak to Nico about the brand, his unique sound and what’s next on the agenda.
The debut release ‘Blackout’ ft. Nathan Nicholson is out now
Hey Nico, how are you in these unprecedented times?!
Quite okay to be honest given the circumstances. Glad to be safe, have a house, food.. it sounds a bit weird how I formulate this, but the situation could be a lot worse.
Yes the agenda became empty and I’m afraid it will be for a few more months, in my opinion. So… yes, that is, of course, the part which is not really fun… but I’m sure it is necessary.
You have unveiled a new label called Ontourage Music and the first track ‘Blackout’ is now released. What inspired the label and also the music?
During a 2 day brainstorm session in the Swiss Alps in Feb 2019, it was already clear that “Ontourage” would be a ‘total’ platform. Ontourage covers different pillars. We started with the livestream session on idyllic locations for the people ‘around me’. We call it the like-minded souls. I specifically avoid the term ‘fans’ as it’s more like people who are interested in a certain genre of emotional electronic music. So I wanted to create a platform where people really can relate, and feel part of. I guess we succeeded in that first step, by throwing seven amazing parties in 2019.
We wanted to involve Producers and DJs who I think completely fit the Ontourage picture. Soon you will find releases from artsits with melodic warm vibes on the label. Vocal driven, instrumental, dancefloor friendly, easy-at-home listening music, … all types are welcome, as long as it feels melodic & warm.
All in all, the end goal can be found in our slogan: gathering like-minded souls, let the music unite. In these difficult days, the message could not be clearer. So I hope our platform (video & audio) can still connect people online and keep the spirit alive until we are able to party again, all together at amazing locations!
You hosted a lot of cool parties at the end of last year to build anticipation for the label, how do you plan to interlink releases with parties in the future, if at all?
If you are referring to linking releases to certain locations, YES! That is fully on our radar and it was already planned. So let’s hope we can plan new parties soon and integrate our release schedule with guest artists to our future agenda!
Your sound is largely progressive and most definitely melodic, how do you envisage guests to release on the imprint?
As said earlier in the interview, the Ontourage artists don’t have to bring exactly the same style as what I do. I will also bring ‘out of the box’ releases on the label. Things you would maybe less expect from me when you think about how I perform on stage.
Only one thing counts: emotion in the music. Because that is what connects the Ontourage family.
You also collaborate with the likes of Radeckt and also Biesmans on recent releases – how do you find the collaborative process compared to working solo?
A producers’ life can be very ‘solo’ and feel empty when you are locked up in your studio all day long. So when you find a few buddies who are thinking the same about music, it is not that difficult to come up with a collaboration. But… it is not always that easy to find your ‘buddy’, because you have to be able to put your ‘ego’ aside and be open to throw ideas in the bin and be open for newness!
Sounds easy, but in reality… it isn’t. So the choice or your ‘studio buddy’ is crucial. But, so far so good! I’m surrounded by lovely people and I will for sure keep on doing collaboration projects, besides my solo tracks.
We suppose, for now, Producers have a lot of time in their studios, how are you spending your time, a lot in the studio?
Nothing changed. I often see these memes online: A picture of a DJ in his studio, before corona and… after corona. The same picture.
A lot of producers lock themselves up in their studio during the week, so nothing changes. Only difference for me is now the weekends… In the beginning I really felt ‘lost’. Now I enjoy a bit of the time off and consider the weekend as… time off!
What else do you have planned for the rest of this year?
Try to stay healthy and safe and take everything day by day. We will see how the world will deal with this situation. If everybody takes this crisis seriously, I can only hope we can get back to normal life, because… I’m not going to lie: I MISS GIGGING!