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Nina Las Vegas Opens Up About Why She Left triple j to Start Her New Label

Check out a new track from Melbourne's Air Max '97, who among NLV Records' first signings.
October 29, 2015, 7:20pm
Photo by Julian Marshall

It was the end of an era when Nina Las Vegas announced that she would be leaving her role as host of Australia's taste-making triple j radio—where she has presided for more than ten years—to start her own record label called NLV Records. Last Saturday, the self-described #girlboss celebrated her last hurrah on the radio with a stacked final show featuring Diplo, Flume, Cashmere Cat and more. She also announced the first batch of artist signings to her new label, starting with a host of Australian talents like Lewis Cancut, [Swick]( Vi), Air Max '97, Strict Face, and of course, Nina herself.


To mark the occasion, we're premiering "Passage" by Air Max '97—a perfect slice of oblique club music that the producer has built his name off. We also talked to Nina about leaving the triple j family, her plans for the new imprint, and how she plans to bring more female talents into the fold.

THUMP: Your last Triple J show featured some of the biggest names in dance music—Diplo, Cashmere Cat, Flume. Was it bittersweet to leave the platform on which you established your legacy and jumpstarted so many young talents?
Nina Las Vegas:100 percent. Part of the reason I stayed in the job so long was because I felt it it was my role in the scene to push new acts onto the triple j audience. Having said that, triple j has an incredible music team and Unearthed, so I can always still bug them about someone cool that they should support.

When did you decide to start your own label? Was it something you've always wanted to do or was it a recent decision?
The idea came to me from management about 18 months ago after a few people had expressed interest in me working in some kind of A&R capacity for them. I pushed it back a few times, but then when I started thinking about my life beyond triple j and how much I loved finding new music, it started making more sense.

As far as picking new artists, what is your guiding idea? Is it a similar kind of process to choosing acts for your Triple J sets? What kind of sound should we expect from NLV?
The current lineup are all producers and DJs that I have a known for a while. We've all been in communication about NLV Records for almost a year and I've really got to know what they want out of a label.

The first collection of songs are all songs that I would play out. In my triple j mixes, I only played songs that I would wanna hear over and over… it's the same here.

In an interview with Howl and Echoes, you said that you wanted to spotlight more women. All the signed artists so far have been male. Will you be bringing in more female voices as the label develops?
Yeh, definitely. We've started a weekly #WCW feature on the NLVR site in the meantime to highlight great women in the scene until the right act for the label comes along. Right now, know a few girls that I'd want to sign but I'm still working out how and when I could put their music out. I want to do it well, you know?

In terms of developing an act, that will come with time. But it is a priority. I just have to make it known to female producers that this is a space that I'm willing to occupy.

You're one of the most recognizable names in the Australian dance scene. Are you looking to expand your influence here in the States?
I'd like to! I mean, I've toured twice here this year and each show keeps getting bigger and bigger. I like the grind of starting again in a new place, working super hard on shows and set… it's exciting. I'd like to work with American acts too, so it would be cool to have that following here to be a legitimate and exciting label option for producers.

Nina Las Vegas and Swick's Cool Sports EP is out today on Fool's Gold. Get it here.