Podcasts & Books

The Enigmatic Nina Las Vegas

By Jacqui Thompson - 26 Sep 2013

You would have spent many an evening being musically seduced by the dulcet tunes of Nina Las Vegas. This all-star DJ and radio presenter gives up her precious Saturday evenings, each week, to produce and voice Triple J's House Party and Mix Up Exclusives

We caught up with Nina to hear a little about her 'creative' upbringing, about life as a DJ, her project Heaps Decent and what music we should be listening to.

In case you missed it House Party Vol 2 is out now, but for your immediate audible pleasure Nina has kindly curated a playlist just for you. ?

TUL: What's the best part about being a DJ?

Nina Las Vegas: My favourite part about DJing is that my 'research' is never boring. I don't feel bad about listening to music 24/7 and get to play my favourite things out loud, in front of people.

TUL: Is there a story behind the pseudonym Las Vegas?

Nina: Yes and it's really simple. When I first started at Triple J, Scott Dooley used to sing 'Nina Las Vegas' with the same melody as Elvis' 'Viva Las Vegas'.... and the nickname stuck!

TUL: What was it like growing up with touring puppeteering parents?

Nina: Ha! Have I mentioned this before? They were puppeteers before I was born however, all the puppets (massive marionette puppets!) are still in our garage and were often used in show and tell. Mum and Dad are super creative, my Dad still runs an art space and design agency called Advision.

TUL: We have our sources Nina haha . . . Forced to attend music lessons by your parents, has there been a particular "we told you so" moment?

Nina: No, because I admit it for them. If anything, I wish they made me continue learning while I was at uni. Although I studied for 12 years, some of the music theory has left me. Having said that, I can still play kinda well . . . sort of.

TUL: Curating and producing a weekly radio show is no easy feat. What has been the best part of hosting Triple J's House Party?

Nina: 'House Party' and 'Mix Up Exclusives'! House Party is easy because I mostly work on it myself. If I'm lazy, I'm only going to let myself down you know? Mix Up Exclusives involves a lot of liaising with artists, DJs and labels . . . which can be frustrating. On the flip side, I get to share amazing music and musicians with a national audience.

TUL: You founded Heaps Decent with DJ friends Diplo and Andrew Levins to help underprivileged youths and emerging artists. Can you tell us a little about the project?

Nina: Ahh, it's such a massive organisation that I'm super proud of. Honestly I could talk about it for hours (and do), so it's best to share Heaps Decent's mission which is 'Heaps Decent is an initiative committed to finding and nurturing the creativity of underprivileged young people and emerging artists. By providing resources and opportunities, Heaps Decent supports the development of high quality Australian music with a unique identity.'

Please, please check out our site! There are workshops happening all over the country every day. 

TUL: With the Summer festival lineups slowly being released, which festivals are you heading to and who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Nina: The Laneway Festival lineup is killer. I am a massive fan of Cashmere Cat and am still yet to see him, so I will be there with bells on.

TUL: Awesome. The second annual Electronic Music Conference will hit Carriageworks in December. What can we expect from the event?

Nina: I'll be there, on my soapbox wink

TUL: Love a soapbox . . . How has the dance music scene evolved over the last few years? 

Nina: Yes! Massively SO. Technology has made the creation of dance music more accessible, and with young acts like Flume gathering global attention, a lot of young music makers are inspired.

TUL: Where are some of your favourite places to eat and drink around town?

Nina: Anywhere that makes soy mochas with real chocolate, has avocado and not too much spice (unfortunately, I can't do it.)

Image credit top pic: Justin Vague
Deejaying image credit: Nina Las Vegas Facebook

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