Bouncy basslines. Crisp rap toplines. Captivating singing. Snarling synths. Electric beats. Pounding production. Driving and hard-hitting bass.
These are the makings of a bass house heater, one that causes ravers to stomp around on the dancefloor. One that causes people to dance without abandon. One that soundtracks a proper party.
These are the sounds of Nostalgix.
Nostalgix is the definition of a triple threat. The producer, writer and rapper exudes the charm and edginess of ‘90s culture through her masterful production prowess. Her signature bass house rhythmic dish has landed her in the crates of esteemed labels, such as Night Bass, Monstercat, Confession, Thrive Music, Insomniac Records, Dim Mak and UKF. She has also graced the stages of famed festivals, including Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas—where she holds the accolade of being one of the few female acts to perform on the event’s mainstage—Tomorrowland Brazil, Osheaga, HARD Summer, Electric Zoo and Spring Awakening.
Her illustrious resume also features her having embarked on a handful of North American tours alongside dance music leaders like Tchami, Malaa, AC Slater and ARMNHMR. In 2023, Nostalgix had her first headline tour dubbed Supah Fly, which is by the same name as her hit 2022 EP. Indeed, the Canada-bred artist proves to be one of the most exciting names in dance music currently.
On Friday, February 2nd, the sound designer once again impressed audiences with her latest EP, Star City.
It all begins with static synths, infectious basslines, a thunderous drop and Rico Nasty’s powerful rap vocals on “WAR.” Next is “Lockdown (feat. Scrufizzer),” which comes in hot with thumping bass, strong vocals, alarm-sounding synths and an explosive drop. “Need You” follows suit, boasting a commanding presence with tinkling and swirling synths and a dramatic buildup that’s followed by groove-inducing basslines and a drop so hard it makes listeners feel the punch of the bass in their bodies.
Nearing the end is “DEMONS (feat. Southside Diddy),” which starts with sizzling synths that immediately lead into basslines that produce sensations of audacity and authority. Closing out the extended play is the title track, featuring hypnotic energy, dynamic BPMs, snippets of Nostalgix’s sultry vocals, toplines by acclaimed artist DEV and tinkering synths. The tune differs from the rest of the bass house-driven EP, as the first drop is influenced by speed house while the second one is a techno production—both genres she has been listening to lately, the artist says. Surely, Star City proves to be a masterclass in forward-thinking production.
Nostalgix, legally known as Negar Hamidzadeh, says the EP was inspired by “an idea of wanting to create a world for the people who don’t feel like they fit in, the people who have been misjudged, the people who feel misunderstood, the people who the normal world doesn’t really accept for who they are.” For the song selector, Star City is a place meant for escapism, one that allows people to step into her dimension that is abundant with acceptance and love.
“In that world, you get to be whoever you want,” Hamidzadeh says. “You get to act the way that you want, you get to be your most powerful self. No one is going to put you down, and you’re celebrated for who you are, exactly as you are. For me, I really wanted to create that world and that safe space. It’s the same world and same energy that you get to step into when you come to see me perform—getting to really take a step into my head, my world, my music. That’s a place where you can really feel safe to be yourself, to be accepted, to be loved and really be your most like electric self.”
The banger creator says “Need You” was the first song she made on the five-track body of work, fueling her to create the rest of Star City. Hamidzadeh wrote the tune when she had to let go of someone who wasn’t good to her, leading her to pick herself and be the strongest version of herself. She recorded the toplines for the song on her phone, with that audio staying in the final version of the record. Though there were more vocals when she initially created it, she decided only to keep the “I don’t need you no more” lyrics, which concludes the tune, because of how much power is behind it.
“You can hear at the end of it all [how it’s] a very real moment in time for me, which I think was this time where I was called to choose myself and be like, ‘I am this person, I want the best for myself and I’m going to put myself in a position to be that person, even though it’s hard,’” she says.
This keeps in step with what Hamidzadeh aims to cultivate through her music and deejaying, which is helping fans find the strength to choose themselves, be the most powerful version of themselves and be their own biggest supporter.
“Because I’ve spent so much of my own personal life, I guess in a sense, struggling with having to really find that inner power and find that inner strength to really choose myself, put myself first and really be my own biggest supporter, it’s something that I almost want to give back to people,” she says. “It’s an energy that I want to give to fans and people who support me—that you really, really, really, really can do it all. You can be that person. [It] doesn’t matter where you come from, doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter whether you have money, whatever it is. You can be that person, too. That’s something that I very strongly believe in, and it very much comes naturally because of everything I’ve dealt with in my life.”
Part of having to find her inner power stems from her not being able to express herself when she was young. As somebody born in Iran, Hamidzadeh didn’t have the freedom to wear what she wanted, act the way she wanted and become the person she aspired to be due to cultural restrictions. However, she found escapism by watching MTV music videos at her grandparent’s house when she was a kid. Hamidzadeh says she was intrigued by the pop culture at this time, which was the ‘90s, and how artists could wear whatever and act however they desired. She grew up admiring people like Missy Elliot, Brittany Spears and Christina Aguilera because she was attracted to their “bada** energy” and the freedom they had to be “unique.” She says the cultural zeitgeist of the ‘90s inspires who she is as a producer today.
“Now, as an artist, being in the position that I’m in, I think I naturally gravitate towards the things that I saw as a kid and the things that I never got to have or got to do,” she says. “So it’s like I’m almost living out my childhood fantasies as a rock star.”
The rapper mainly lives out this dream while she’s behind the decks. She says she feels the most like herself when performing, even if she’s having a tough time. She says, “The second that I step on stage, it really feels like I’m home. I feel like I’m back to what I’m supposed to be doing, and it gives me so much peace and comfort.”
The ability to have this solace while spinning took time, though. Hamidzadeh taught herself how to mix while deejaying, which she says took “a lot of trial and error.” As somebody who is persistent, she persevered, consistently practicing until she honed her craft. This allows her to feel comfortable with who she is while onstage now.
Outside of music, Hamidzadeh is interested in mindset. She says she strives to continuously improve herself, and actively learning helps her achieve her life goals and become the “best version” of herself. Consistently taking action, the sonic stylist says, allows her to grow and see recognizable positive changes within herself. “I think, for me, it very much matters to get to be that person because I really want to be shining from my highest place and my highest light in order to inspire others to do the same,” she says.
“I’m always listening to podcasts and reading books, but I feel like it’s an endless thing that you can do,” Hamidzadeh adds. “I feel like no matter how much I learn, I keep hitting moments in my life where I feel like I’m faced with a challenge to grow and become a better version of myself. It’s always not the easiest hurdle. There’s always a big transition that happens, and I feel like I’m in one of those right now even [she says at the time of this interview, which was December 5th, 2023]. But I think the best thing to do is really put in the effort to learn more about yourself and be the best version that you can be.”
Hamidzadeh notes that she used to practice mindfulness while performing because she would get anxious, especially as the crowds grew bigger, but she has reached a point in her career where that’s no longer necessary as it now feels like a “meditative experience.”
Mindfulness is so important to the bass house maestro that she even plans to write a book about it one day. Hamidzadeh says she has started working on it by jotting down her experiences and storing them all in one place so she can piece them together when the time is right. She says the book’s overarching narrative would be “mindset, choosing yourself, knowing your worth and really fighting for the life that you want,” adding that these have been recurring themes for her. While she still wants to learn more about these topics, she hopes that the book will help others, something she says she would feel “very fulfilled” from doing.
Hamidzadeh has other notable aspirations, such as hosting a TED Talk. She says the talk would focus on her Iranian upbringing and the challenges she faced to get to where she is today. Mindfulness, of course, would be part of the discussion since she thinks a significant part of who she is today is because of her consistent work on mindset skills.
“It’s never been because I’ve had X, Y and Z handed to me or because I’ve been super rich or anything,” she says. “It’s always come from me working really hard, working on my mindset and knowing that those things will come.”
When Hamidzadeh was around 20 years old, she backpacked through Southeast Asia. The Los Angeles-based producer planned the trip because she wanted more for herself as she felt she was “stuck between a couple of different decisions,” such as staying comfortable in one place or pushing herself to try something new. So, she booked a one-way flight to Thailand with no plans other than staying in the country for at least a month, soul-searching and figuring out what she wanted out of life.
She was “terrified” upon arriving in Bangkok because she didn’t have cell phone service or a plan for where to stay the night. However, her trip only went up from there as she decided to “go with the flow” by traveling to numerous places in Thailand, island hopping and making new friends. Most noteworthy about the solo backpacking experience was her bringing her USB to random bars and asking to deejay.
When she traveled to the island of Phi Phi, she “fell in love” with it. Hamidzadeh adds that the island had a nightlife scene, so she started deejaying despite not having any music out yet. She would visit different venues and ask if she could deejay at the club. While she was frequently rejected, she eventually found one nightlight spot that said she could perform on Friday night. However, this occurred on Monday, and she had only planned to stay on the island for two days, so she decided to stay for the entire week and leave after the show. It was there, she says, that she lived her “best life” and felt like she “found herself.”
During her time in Phi Phi, she “met a lot of incredible people” and picked up Muay Thai boxing, adding that she was “very obsessed” with the kickboxing classes that were available. One day, she decided to get in a kickboxing match with another woman, who happened to lie about how much experience she had in the sport. Upon entering the ring, Hamidzadeh learned that the woman, who was double her size, was a professional who practiced frequently. At that moment, Hamidzadeh thought, “I got to fight for my life right now.”
Hamidzadeh immediately took down the other woman, who got so angry that she took it out on Hamidzadeh. The artist says the fight got “really heated” and became very competitive, so much so that she left on crutches. She then had to perform while using them when it came time for her set on Friday night.
Prior to her work in dance music, the producer was an extra in famous films, such as “Godzilla” and “50 Shades of Grey.” She initially dreamed of being in film production, working as “a bada** director.” She had pursued this career from the beginning of high school until she graduated, even planning to study film in college. However, her work as a background actor and extra in films led her to change her mind about going down that path. “It made me realize I want more creative control, and that’s what pushed me into wanting to be a musician and not be in film.”
Given her ability to act, transcend music genres and be a producer, writer and rapper, Hamidzadeh certainly proves to be a multifaceted creative, one that exudes positivity and empowerment not only in her personality but also in her sonic creations. Although her cheerful and confident attitude is to be applauded, she says it has also been one of the biggest hurdles she faces in life. Hamidzadeh cares deeply about the people she has let into her life, so much so that she is there for them “through thick and thin.” She has found, though, that people take advantage of this and have tried to put her down for these notable qualities.
“It’s something that’s really made me feel like I need to fight for myself and fight to push past all that stuff and not allow those people to get me down because, at the end of the day, I’m very proud of myself for being a very loving and caring person. I’m not going to allow other people to come put me down because I have those good qualities. For me, it feels like a battle to choose myself in those moments and know that I know what’s right for me and, if this person is trying to put me down, if this person is trying to make me feel bad, they don’t get to have that power over me,” Hamidzadeh says. “It’s come to a place of me being like, ‘I just need to choose myself,’ and it’s not easy because it goes against the kind of person that I am—that I would give my everything to other people. But I think you very much have to be strong, be who you are and be very powerful.”
Catch Nostalgix on tour. Dates and tickets are available here.