The importance of Nina Las Vegas to Australian music
Don't believe us? Take it from some of Australian electronic's biggest names, from Anna Lunoe and Touch Sensitive to Cosmo's Midnight and Ta-Ku.
Tasked with writing about the importance of someone like Nina Las Vegas is an almost impossible task. How are you meant to cover the significance of someone like Nina Las Vegas when, in every avenue of their work - radio host, label boss, DJ, producer, charity-runner, social media queen and everything else - they're completely and entirely dedicated to giving people a platform to strive on? As a triple j radio host and party-thrower, Nina gave musicians such as Flume, Wave Racer, What So Not and Flight Facilities a platform to shine on both nationally on radio and in her curated triple j House Party (and then NLV Presents shows), and is one of the many crucial reasons why these acts - among many, many others - are where they are today in Australia and beyond. As a DJ, she's shared and played music no-one else was playing both in Australia and around the world, using her slots on Diplo & Friends, Radar Radio and others to share music from literally anyone she thought was cool - no matter who they were, how big they were or what they were making (as long as it was good).
As a label boss, she's given some of the Australian electronic's most incredible and forward-thinking names - Lewis Cancut, Swick, Strict Face, Kota Banks, Air Max '97 and herself being the Australian signees - a platform to share their music with the world with that extra push, and as a producer, she's teamed up and highlighted artists like her partner in crime Swick, C.Z. and Snappy Jit - the latter two being acts that otherwise, wouldn't quite make it across to many Australian listeners on their own. Then, on top of all of this, there's Heaps Decent - the charity she formed with Andrew Levins and Diplo which, over the last ten years, has helped countless young people and emerging artists from diverse backgrounds work and think creatively.
Summarised, in every single facet of Nina Las Vegas' career, she's put in countless hours, blood, sweat and tears into giving artists and people aside from herself a leg-up in the world and I think that without her, the current Australian electronic music landscape would look completely different - and definitely not as fun, adventurous or wholesome. Almost every single person in Australian dance music's current world - and many internationally - have been impacted by Nina Las Vegas in some way, whether it was through means like those above or just in her general position as such a massive inspiring influence in our music world.
Don't believe us? In celebration of her just-released new EP Lucky Girl - grab it HERE and/or stream it below - we gathered a bunch of Australian musicians and industry workers who have been impacted by Nina Las Vegas at one point in their careers to join us in sharing why Nina may just be the most essential person in Australian music. Believe us; she's an incredibly powerful, inspiring, influential and just incredible woman who really, really deserves more respect than the plethora of musicians who celebrate her every year - Porter Robinson a recent inclusion.
Why Nina Las Vegas is the most important person in Australian music, by the people behind Australian music themselves:
"I met Nina when we were both baby volunteers at FBi Radio back in about 2006. I weirdly knew she would be important in my life straight away, but then again most people probably feel that about Nina because she gives a shit about everything - which is fucking brave when you're 20 & everyone else is still pretending they are too cool to care. It's quite impossible to know exactly who influenced who to do what because we have literally coached each other through our entire careers since the start.
In an industry that loves to peg women against each other, we soon worked out that we were stronger together. We taught each other skills we had learned and shared our ideas every step of the way which looking back I think is pretty cool. She is an instigator, she is constantly challenging the way things are. I love how her parents (who we like to call Magzy and Jagzy) did an incredible job instilling a grit and work ethic in her. My parents were inspiring too but in a different way. I understood the magic one could find in art and music but it was presented to me that it was a gift that few lucky people possessed and were luckily discovered, whereas Nina saw it as hard work and making opportunities.
I wasn't always as tough as I am now. I was sensitive & impulsive and I think Nina's biggest influence on me was helping to bring out grit and a different kind of strength - and she brings that out in everyone around her. The artists on the label are so lucky to have her in their corner because I can count the number of people in this industry that will really fight for you on one hand, and Nina is one of them."
- Anna Lunoe
"Nina is the role model for which Australia’s music scene desperately needs right now. I’ve only ever known her to treat music as a shared experience, where success is dependant on artists and listeners coming together, forming scenes and building something inclusive. Nowhere is this clearer than in her constant support and championing of younger artists who are starting out.
Putting that all aside though, she’s also quite possibly the best DJ in Australia RN. I can’t really think of anyone else who comes close to the selection and energy of her sets."
- Lewis Cancut
"Nina's the best. One of my favourite DJs. She is constantly pushing new, different & exciting music to the world & is always helping everyone out no matter what. She has helped me out a lot with my music and it's a pleasure to be on her label. I hope everyone enjoys her EP because it's great & she has worked so hard on it. <3"
"Nina is the best. When a lot of other people wouldn't have given us the time of day she provided an incredible platform for bedroom producers (particularly in electronic music) to be heard all over Australia. I think I can speak for a lot of artists when I say that we wouldn't be here today without Nina's enthusiasm for growing local music."
- Cosmo's Midnight
"I’ve looked up to Nina as a DJ/producer/powerful woman since I first got into electronic music when I was 13/14. Without a doubt, she’s inspired me (and I’m assuming many other young girls) to pursue a career in dance music. It’s a privilege to now work with her as a collaborator and a friend and I learn so much from her!
Her music and the music on her label is some of my favourite in the world and I’m beyond stoked to be a part of this EP. Every track is unique and they’re all awesome. I could go on for ages, but happy release day Nina! Thank you so much for everything you’ve done to inspire and help me, I can only imagine that you’ve done the same for so many around Australia and the world."
"I riiiide for Nina. She is such a special and gifted person. When it comes to her label, she takes the kind of risks / has the kind of vision that I’ve never seen in anyone else. I think Australia is becoming increasingly excited about this new wave of avant-garde pop music and she’s actually at the helm. I think standing behind forward-thinking music is so important to her because she wants to evolve and continue to diversify the culture she’s come up in.
She has this unique ability to bring people together and nurture young women who are just starting out in the industry. She’s super loyal, a leader, an innovator, a mentor and a pioneer. Shoutouts to the queen on her release day <3"
- Kota Banks
"It's a little hard putting into words how Nina has done so much for our country, as an ambassador of Australia's electronic music scene locally and abroad. Partially because there are probably people who can summarise it better than I can. Partially because I'm a bit biased, having been signed to her label and working with her for a few years now. With that said, I really don't think there's been anyone else on a high level of prestige from Australia who's taken a gamble and flown the flag for emerging artists and producers like she has - I still vividly remember her playing all of the music my mates in London, Glasgow or New York would make and just being floored because I'd never seen anyone truly keep their finger on the pulse before her. Like, following her from when she was going from House Party to Mix Up, right up to running her own label, there's really something admirable about her pushing the envelope for club and dance music here and really opening the floodgates for this world to be weird, wacky and colourful.
Although we may still have a ways to go until NLV Records take over the world, just knowing that Nina Las Vegas fucked with my weird-ass sounds enough to get me on the ship is still surreal in the best way possible."
- Strict Face
"Nina is like my musical grandmother - she is so caring & genuine and really helped me with many aspects of being a young artist. I admire her drive & talent so much. 143 Neens."
Nina Las Vegas, by Michelle Tran.
"Nina is cool without even trying, she plays instruments, sings, has mad taste, smokes everybody as a deej and knows all about the waves when they’re merely ripples in the sea. All my love. x"
- Touch Sensitive
"I’ve been friends with Nina for fifteen years and counting! Easily one of THE MOST passionate people I know, Nina balances cutting-edge creativity with the relentless hard work required to pull it off. She’s a boss behind the decks, a true supporter of the scene and absolutely crucial in the future of electronic and club music. Love you butters x"
- Linda Marigliano
"My first real job at triple j was hosting Nina Las Vegas' House Party. Nina would set up the show and I would present it. We quickly found out the show was way better with Nina presenting the shift herself but isn't the perfect example of how Agzarian works? It's never been about how it benefits her or her profile - the fundamental focus has always been how a show, song or, now with NLV Records, an artist's career works.
Sometimes I think it must be tough being Nina, waiting for everyone to catch up with what you knew was gonna be a cool years ago. Also, no one shreds the decks like Nina, and that's that on that."
- Brendan Maclean
"Personally, Nina has played a massive mentoring role for me. She was 100% my tour guide into dance music and the reason I started DJing. She was the first tastemaker I could really trust and had a huge influence on me coming up as a fresh 18-year-old.
Meeting her as a fan, she immediately took me under her wing. Introducing me to the team at triple j (where I now work), bringing me on board with the NLV Records label and just generally sharing her wisdom.
[I'm] not a unique case, there are so many people who have stories like mine. The amount of people who can say Nina got them their job is surely countless at this point. One of the most generous and passionate people in the industry, she’s one of my biggest inspirations."
- Kristy Barker (triple j / NLV Records)
"Nothing gets me more hyped than talking about Australian dance music (it defies and defines genres!! It has so much potential!) but, growing up in Newcastle, I would never have even clocked the concept of a unique Aussie scene without Nina Las Vegas. Her passion and incredible hustle pushed bold new bangaz onto the radio and into music venues, changing my life in the process.
Now she’s defining dance music for me in a whole new way — producing and releasing the shiny gems that I’m most excited to play in clubs and on the radio. She’s also been super supportive of me on a personal level, constantly encouraging and backing me in my weak-ass attempts to emulate her career. NLV forever!"
- Sandro Dallarmi (FBi Radio)
"Nina is my favourite DJ, but she’s so much more than that. She’s invested so much time and energy into supporting emerging acts and helping our scene to grow, not to mention all the charity work! It’s super inspiring to see her shining and still pushing boundaries in the latest chapter of her career: as a label boss. The work she’s been doing with Kota Banks and Swick is a breath of fresh air. Nina4Eva!! <3"
"Nina is a total boss and I'm constantly inspired by her. Her vision is amazing, she's forward thinking and a true leader. She heads her own label and business with one hand, and with the other, she writes absolute bangers that get people shaking their asses across dance-floors worldwide. That's a gift right there!!! I’m honoured to have been asked to contribute to her killer EP."
- Ecca Vandal
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