25 years is a long time in electronic music, but that’s how long British techno DJ Billy Nasty has been at the forefront of the game. From early beginnings in London’s acid house scene to the huge global following he enjoys today, Billy’s continual hunger for new music, combined with his extensive experience, has made him one of the scene’s most enduring and in-demand figures. And with a current residency at BLOC festival plus a string of new releases coming up, Billy shows no signs of slowing down soon.
Emerging from a background playing rare groove and funk, Billy’s first forays into house appeared during his residency at London’s The Brain Club, alongside Lost founder Steve Bicknell. Meanwhile, he manned the tills at Zoom, one of the capital’s most important record shops, soaking up everything from American house and techno to the emerging strains of British progressive and early European trance. Quickly making an impact, he was asked to contribute the first volume of the seminal ‘Journeys By DJs’ series – gaining him entry into the Guinness book of records for being the first DJ to produce a commercially available mix.
As the dance scene of the early 90s splintered into numerous subgenres, Billy’s profile sky-rocketed, resulting in regular slots at famed London clubs Final Frontier, Open All Hours, The Drum Club and Strutt. Collaborating with a handful of likeminded friends, Billy’s studio work started to reach the public’s ears, and by 1995, he was jetting across the globe every weekend, spinning at many of the most famous clubs and festivals in dance music history.
Around this time, he formed his own agency, Theremin, and was responsible in no small part for introducing the wider world to the talents of now-huge European DJs such as Adam Beyer, Marco Carola and Joel Mull. Meanwhile, his first label, Tortured, showed the development of his style into a harder, purer form of techno, and quickly became one of the genre’s most influential and prominent imprints. This was followed in 2001 by Electrix, where Billy released more experimental techno and electro from artists including Umek, The Advent and Carl Finlow. Again, this quickly became one of the leading labels in its field, and remained so until its closure in 2006.
Having decided to wind down his labels to concentrate on DJing and studio work, Billy has spent most of the 21st century doing the same as he always has – sourcing out the freshest, most innovative, dancefloor sounds to spin. Incorporating the recent trends towards minimalism, along with dubstep, electro and classically-styled techno into his seamlessly-mixed style, Billy is a regular guest at Fabric, and holds a residency for the UK’s hugely-acclaimed electronic music festival, BLOC, whilst continuing to travel the globe for gigs each and every weekend.
But while DJing is clearly his first love, he’s also found time to get back into the studio, collaborating recently with Gregor Tresher for labels including Datapunk, Terminal-M, and Crosstown Rebel's Rebel1 subsidiary. Under their Teflon guise, they’re about to drop a new EP for Marc Romboy's Systematic imprint, which includes a killer Raudive remix from Oliver Ho, and is set to be one of this summer’s big tunes. As if all that wasn’t enough, he’s also been working on a new project with Keith Tenniswood, of Radioactiveman and Two Lone Swordsmen fame, which is set for release later this year. He’s keeping tight-lipped about the style of the project, but early indications suggest it’s another fresh direction that may surprise anyone who had Billy down as a pure techno artist.
As electronic music continues to splinter and evolve deep into the future, one thing is certain – Billy Nasty will be right there in the thick of it, doing what he does best. It’s time to get Nasty…