Q+A: Five Minutes with Niilas


Norwegian producer and composer Niilas returns with his new single ‘Pyromid’, released on the 6th of October. With his debut album Also This Will Change gaining him a Norwegian Grammy Award (Spellemann) for ‘Electronic Music Record of the Year’, the multi-faceted producer has garnered over 1 million plays across all platforms and received airtime on BBC Radio 1, earning recognition and praise from the likes of VICE, Stereogum, Magnetic Magazine and ElectronicGroove. In addition, he headlined at Munch-museum, appeared at Øyafestivalen 2022 which featured Gorillaz, and performed at Spot Festival 2023 before notable artists Caribou and Todd Terje. We took some time out to speak to the enigmatic and experimental producer after his release. 


Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

As the son of an artist, it felt natural and the most appealing.


Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Either or, really. I dont.


Does your material feature any collaborations? 


Yes, several for this coming album. I’ve worked with Harding-fiddle players Benedicte Maurseth and Erlend Apneseth, Santoor-player Mirsaeed Hosseiny Panah, Violinist Elise Macmillan, and sound-artist Elise Waage Mikalsen. They all bring immensely valuable contributions to the record, and i’m very grateful to be able to work with them.


What’s on your current playlist?

Arthur Russell, Aevestaden, David Bowie, Susumu Yokota, Cocteau Twins.


Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I really try to open up on-stage and have a sort of energy-exchange with the audience, which is really important since i dont speak into a microphone or interact /directly/ with them in a traditional sense. It’s easy to get stuck behind the comfort of a laptop, so i try to let the live-shows feel as much alive as possible, and create a common experience with the audience.


What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Re-sampling my own material, trying to work fast and intuitive, kill your darlings, and keep a steady flow of production.


Take us through a day in the recording studio.

If i dont have specific tasks or projects, ideally i start off with a short practice session on an instrument, or play-based workflows. If i get into the zone, things happen by themselves. If not, i try to get done anything that i should have gotten done, and if there is nothing on that list, i might just call it a day and do something else. I rarely get good results from forced work, or grinding out material.


Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?


No, more of a gradual transition into a steady state of artistry. This has “always” been what i wanted to do, so it has been more of a transition into actually doing and working with it.


What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?



Any emerging artists on your radar?

Fakethias is dropping an amazing band-music record this fall…


What gets your creative juices flowing?

A new refreshing perspective, a great experience, or sometimes just a simple walk in a park can do wonders.


Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I use laptop+Ableton Live as my main workstation, and connect everything through there. I have a Moog Matriarch, some synths from SOMA, Elektron Analog Four, and a large library of samples, sounds, field-recordings and soft-synths.


Any side projects you’re working on?

I also make techno under the alias Reidar Bruun!


How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I think the most important thing might be to let the ideas breathe, not oversaturate with sounds or effects. More is NOT better!


Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

I recently did some major shows in Norway at art-museums Munch and Kistefos, and im really looking forward to releasing this fall. “River Of Sound” is a collection of tracks im really proud of! There might be another one coming this spring also….


Famous last words?

Stay hydrated!

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