Getting to know Nomad In The Dark

Nomad In The Dark is no stranger to Qoöl. In fact this Wednesday will mark his 3rd appearance at our modest happy hour. If you don't already know about him, it's time to get to know the man. 

Hailing from Pakistan, and living in North Carolina, Nomad In The Dark (or Iffy Dean as he's known to his friends) has been something of a Progressive House wunderkind in the last 6 years. He's both DJ and Producer, and on top of that a family man and an incredibly humble person. 

This excerpt from his bio gives you some idea of his stature, and the interview that follows will give you some insight into a down to earth artist who's heart is in exactly the right place. 

"Sasha’s pick is usually a decent bet. In 2009 Sasha named Nomad in the Dark as his pick for breakthrough dj/producer in DJ Mag. Billed as one of the “the leading prog producers of the moment”(Harley Augustine of Kiss FM Melbourne Australia), over the past few years Nomad in the Dark has moved to the forefront of progressive house’s new breed of producers. His work and DJ mixes have been regularly featured on dance music shows including John Digweed’s Transitions and Pete Tong’s Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1."

Qoöl: When and how did you happen to stumble upon the electronic music scene, and what about it grabbed you? Who was the first DJ that grabbed your attention?

Nomad In The Dark: I grew up in Pakistan and in the early to mid 90s and a lot of my friends were British Pakistani kids who were bringing back jungle and rave cassette tapes back to Pakistan. I got into early mix tapes by people like Grooverider, Dj Hype and  Ellis Dee along with the renaissance tapes by Sasha and John Digweed. Sasha and John Digweed’s sound grabbed me from the start. That grooving spacy yet very melodic sound on the first northern exposure album really hit a chord for me too.

Q: Are you a DJ or a producer first, or are you equal parts of each?

NITD: It has always been in equal parts for me. I started out “djing” in Pakistan in the late 90s with absolutely no equipment. I would make these mix tapes by running a Y adapter as a “mixer” between two Sony Walkman professionals with pitch control  (as my decks). Probably the ghettoest setup known to man. I got my first set of decks when I came to the US. I started producing in the early 2000s on fruity loops and then on Ableton and since then it’s been equal measures of both since then. 

Q: What is the role of music in your life?

NITD: Music plays a very essential role in my life although I work full time, am a husband and a father of three. Music is where I go to get away from it all.

Q: You are currently living in Ashville North Carolina, which is also the home of the iconic Moog Synthesiser. Have you connected with those guys?

NITD: Yes I'm friends with a lot of the folks at moog and the dj trio that Im a part of called In Plain Sight has done two shows with them to date at the moog factory. They featured us for their AHA AVL series that premieres local talent and we also played for them around moogfest at the moog factory. The AHA AVL show was quite interesting because used analog moog gear along dj gear to do a dj mix/live production hybrid. 

Q: What kind of sounds or music styles are peaking your interests these days?

NITD: I’m a very big fan of Burial and that nightbus sound. It's great to see a lot of other artists picking up the that sound now and people like Youandewan and Midland really talking that sound to another level. I'm also really liking this early 90s acid house revival  that artists like Dusky are doing. 

Q: Pick a moment in your relationship with music and describe it.

NITD: My second daughter Neriya was born 3 months premature. We spent countless hours with her in the hospital.  I started writing tracks for her and my other daughter Attia in the hospital. Later both the tracks got signed and were played worldwide by a lot of my musical heros and that really touched me. When it really hit me was seeing a video from Womb in Tokyo with Sasha playing the tracks back to back to an absolutely packed out room and the crowds emotional reaction to it. These were tracks written in a rough period in my life and it was amazing to see people getting the feelings that I was trying to convey through them.

Q: What's your greatest joy in life?

NITD: Hanging out with my wife and kids, playing out to a fun and responsive crowd, cooking and eating good food, making a half decent track… in that order.

You can catch Nomad In The Dark at Qoöl on July 31. Cheers!


Nomad In The Dark, seen here forging one of his musical works of art. 

Nomad In The Dark, seen here forging one of his musical works of art.