Rebel Without a Pause: Our Lockdown Talk with Nifra

Twelve years ago, or, in social distancing terms, the Before-time in the Long Long Ago, an ambitious young woman released her first single. Today, she is one of the most recognizable names in Progressive Trance, vibing with the Trance family between Miami, the Netherlands and her home country Slovakia. Meet this year’s IDMA nominee, Nifra.
Nifra, the Rebel Without a Pause [Interview]
Sara Mekinc

While the world has collectively agreed to abandon the concept of time and healthy eating habits, Nifra seems to laugh at the idea of rest. Active on her social media accounts as always, she has used the time without live gigs to create her own “Lockdown Livestream” series, streaming her sets on both YouTube and Twitch, which, according to our data, brings her thousands of weekly views, an engaged crowd and also the constant opportunity to promote her merch. Curious about what drives her creative mind, we had a quick talk.

Looking at your channels, you seem to be pretty savvy on social media, adding a lot of humor and a personal touch to your posts. How do you see the role of social media in your career?

Why, thank you so much! I actually have a degree in Marketing Communication, but these “new media” were not yet part of my studies back then. I think it just comes naturally to me, being a part of the “social media generation”. It’s not an obstacle – I find it very important to directly communicate with my fans, and through simple sharing or retweeting, more and more people can discover my music, too. 

“I love being creative on the social media front as well, coming up with ideas for fun and quality content for my fans. The possibilities are endless.”

In recent years, you’ve become one of the most visible female artists in Trance. What’s your take on your role in the industry, in terms of opening doors to other women?

You know, from the moment I became interested in EDM, I’ve never thought about the fact how very few women were involved in it. I didn’t see myself as being different in any way. I’ve always been a music lover, extremely curious, and a bit of a rebel as well. I remember I always wanted to excel in “boy stuff”, and I would never accept anybody telling me something was “for boys only”. 

We agree: shooting lasers from fingertips shouldn’t be pointlessly gendered. Source: Instagram

Fast forward to today, I hope I can be some sort of an inspiration to other women who want to pursue a career as a music producer and/or DJ. I’ve played many events as the first woman to do so, and that’s quite crazy, to be honest. For example, in 2019, I was the first female Trance producer to perform in Armin van Buuren’s “A State of Trance” studio.

It doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything out of the ordinary. I’m just following my dreams like anybody else, but I guess when these things sum up, they will lead to something bigger and open the door for even more women. 

Your first single was released on Coldharbour back in 2008, with Markus Schulz taking you under his wing. How important is having a good team around you, supporting your work ethic, and also connecting you with other industry players? Any advice for up-and-coming artists when it comes to choosing the right people to work with?

It’s unbelievable that it’s already been 12 years since my very first release. The Coldharbour sound presented by Markus Schulz way back then was the reason why I fell in love with Progressive Trance in the first place. I’ve always been a sucker for the dark “hoover” bass sound – together with the melody, those are the most important elements of a track for me. 

We began the discussion of joining Markus’ management and booking company Schulz Music Group a few years later, after I released another EP on Coldharbour. It just felt so right. In my case, I knew that the sound I love is also what I want to produce and play, so becoming a part of the Coldharbour family was just a natural step in my career – one I’m extremely thankful for. 

The notorious tracks that kickstarted it all.

I grew as an artist so much since then. Many artists can feel insecure, or a bit lost at some point. I’ve been there too. But once you have the right team around you, things can become easier and clearer, and that can point you to the right path in your career. 

You’ve recently released your first compilation album “Follow Me”, featuring a dozen of great artists (Fisherman, Markus Schulz, Orjan Nilsen, etc.). With your first project under your belt, what can we expect in 2020 – new releases, maybe some other big projects? 

I was so excited when I finished it and had it ready to present to my fans. I’ve been touring around the world for the past few years, playing clubs and festivals, and I love the craft of DJ-ing, so a product like a mix compilation simply had to happen sooner or later. The responses were amazing, and I’m working on my music a lot right now, since I’ve been wanting to create my own album for such a long time. I can’t tell you much about it yet, but I set a personal goal that this year it has to happen, no matter what :) ! Because of the current situation, I won’t be travelling and performing in clubs anytime soon anyway, so there is plenty of free time. 

“Many artists can feel insecure, or a bit lost at some point. But once you have the right team around you, things can become easier and clearer.”

In February, you and Fisherman had a mesmerizing b2b set at A State of Trance 950. How did you prepare for the show? Did you plan to respond to the audience’s reactions, or did you just go for a ride and know they’ll follow you? 

Oh, ASOT 950 was absolutely incredible! Fisherman and I have played a couple of b2b sets before already, and we blend really well, so we enjoy playing together a lot. We treated this particular performance as a showcase of our music, so the set was full of our recent, new material only. The room was packed and I have to say our set was quite a party. You have to understand that the vibe during A State of Trance events is unlike any other. People come from all over the world to celebrate Trance music and the ASOT radio show, so we were humbled to be invited by Armin for this special occasion. It was one for the books!

“We treated this particular set as a showcase of our music - our recent, new material only. It was one for the books!”

You’ve also been doing the monthly "Rebel Radio" show since 2015. Can you tell us what's been the best thing about it, and how you choose tracks for it?

Rebel Radio is a monthly radio update of what’s going on in all Trance subgenres. Since I perform a lot, I always need new music for my gigs, and having a radio show definitely pushes me to keep up to date with the latest stuff and discover cool new tracks. I often get messages from fans telling me how much they like it, how it helps them through tough times, or through workouts. Since the show only happens once a month, I try to choose the tracks carefully. What you hear in my show, you’ll probably hear me play live soon as well.

Cover photo: Artist’s archive

As Nifra says, finding the right people helps you grow. We're here to help you connect easier. If you're a musician, your profile, automatically updated with all your latest stuff, is probably already on Viberate. You can send it to promoters, talent scouts, and A&Rs, and use the time you'd otherwise spend updating your onepager on making music. Check it out and sign-up to claim it.

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Sara Mekinc

Sara Mekinc

Content Specialist at Viberate
Avid concert-goer, a sucker for creative wordsmithery, and 100 % biodegradable. Google "melomaniac".