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Music by VICE

Nicky Romero Used to Be In Marching Band

And other revelations from the young Dutch DJ superstar.

by Michelle Lhooq
Jul 10 2013, 7:21pm

Pop quiz, hotshot. Name a young European DJ who has headlined major festivals, collaborated with kingpins like David Guetta, and released insanely popular tracks that you hear blasting in, like, every club ever? Nope, not Zedd. Not Skrillex either. We're talking about Nicky Romero, a 24-year-old Dutch DJ who's part of the next generation of baby-faced princelings about to topple the EDM dynasty—you know, the one that's currently ruled by Tiesto, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and the like (they've got to retire sometime).

Romero's latest single, "I Could Be The One," was actually made with his European peer/possible doppelganger Avicii. (Seriously, look them up. The resemblance is startling.) And it beat Baauer's "Harlem Shake" to top the UK charts in February, proving that Brits really love their adrenaline-soaked EDM bangers. Bonus points: Romero's also got his own record label, Protocol Recordings, which is set to release John Dahlback's latest single this month. I talked to Romero about his humble beginnings, the track that launched his career, and what it's like hanging out with David Guetta in Ibiza.

THUMP: How do you communicate with the crowd during your set?
Nicky Romero: Eye contact, hand signals, and talking on the mic. Contact with the crowd is the most essential way to build a party, so I try to party as hard as they do.

What do you love about seeing the crowd react to your music?
When I play a track I just produced and it goes off, it's the biggest pay off in the world. It is such an adrenaline rush to see people like your hard work!

How did you get started as DJ and producer?
I was in a marching band playing percussion when I was a kid. Then I landed an odd job at a local bar. When I saw the DJ perform there, I knew that this is what I needed to do.

Were there particular DJs who helped you with your career?
Fedde Le Grand is my mentor. We are good friends! I've done a residency with David Guetta in Ibiza, and am doing it again at Pacha and Ushaia this coming season. David's taught me a lot—he's a legend.

Are there particular tracks of yours that were especially important for your ascent?
The first track that broke me into the scene was my remake of Groove Armada's "My Friend." Spinnin' Records released it, and it all started rolling from there.

What's something you've learned about the "scene" from DJing?
Not everyone you meet in this business is on the same level as you are. I don't mean this in a negative way. You just have to stay on point and never let your judgment, or willingness to do so, fade to the background.

Michelle likes champagne popsicles and neon leg warmers. Follow her on Twitter - @MichelleLHOOQ