French DJ and producer Nico Moreno is well known for the driving speed of his industrial techno tracks. His label, Insolent Rave Records, is set to release his latest album, along with tracks from some of techno’s hottest new names. The path he blazes as an artist, producer, and performer is securing his place as a fixture in Europe’s industrial techno space.
Nico Moreno’s journey from DJ to techno giant
Moreno’s first exposure to France’s music scene was in the cramped quarters of a DJ’s mixing booth. He got his start as a 15-year-old mixing EDM, trap, and hip hop for local nightclubs in his hometown of Normandy, but as he rubbed shoulders with artists in the techno scene, he dreamed of more.
“I wanted a full-time career in music more than anything,” Moreno remembers, “but breaking into the space and making a living doing what you love is not easy. I spent my weekdays making ends meet with boring part-time jobs and my weekends producing in the mixing booth.”
When Moreno met Axel Picodot, he knew it was time to leave the booth and spread his wings. He wanted to make a start in the techno industry, but he had a difficult decision to make: either stay in the safety of the mainstream nightclubs where he had already made a name for himself, or venture onto an entirely new path. Together with Picodot, he took the leap and co-founded Black/Plague.
“I gained valuable experience in my role as a mainstream DJ,” Moreno recalls. “I cut my teeth in the booth learning how to mix tracks, connect with the crowd, and anticipate the sounds and songs people wanted. As I was exposed to a wide variety of artists, I began producing techno tracks in a broader style.”
Today, Moreno has carved out a place in Europe’s techno space with technical knowledge, audience connection, and a thoroughly unique style. When asked to put this signature style into words, Moreno often has trouble.
“I have a hard time defining my style,” he admits. “What I play doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre. I tend to mix elements from industrial techno, hard techno, gabber, hardcore, and acid techno. Like myself, many DJs end up fusing several styles to create their own.”
Though Moreno’s tracks defy definition, his original style garners widespread appeal. As of mid-August 2023, his top 10 tracks on Spotify each claimed over 1 million streams. For example, “Purple Window” racked up 11,854,366 plays, “Insolent Rave” attracted 5,354,678 listens, and “Techno Crari” showed 3,606,276 hits.
Where fans caught up with Nico Moreno in 2022 and 2023
During the past two years, Moreno kept up a blistering tour schedule. He crisscrossed Europe to hit the continent’s largest festivals, nightclubs, and raves.
Moreno never stopped moving during 2022’s summer tour season. The festivals he played that year included the Verknipt Festival, Kappa FuturFestival, Ploegendienst Festival, Katlan Festival, Hive Festival, Rotterdam Rave Festival, Aquasella, Tilliacum Festival #05, and Rotterdam Rave 10 Year Anniversary.
This year proved just as busy. His most notable performances of 2023 include:
- BlackWorks Festival II Edition
- Terminal V Festival 2023
- Verknipt Easter Special
- Soenda Festival 2023
- Extrema Outdoor 2023
- Ikarus Festival
- Complex Festival 2023
- Kappa FuturFestival 2023
- Hive Festival 2023
- Monegros Desert Festival 2023
- Teletech Festival 2023
- Barrakud Festival
- Insane Festival
- Galactica Day & Night Festival
- Nibirii Festival 2023
- HardBeats Festival
- Rotterdam Rave Festival 2023
- EXHALE x DC-10
- Decibel Open Air 2023
- Rheingrün Festival
- Intercell x SNTS Invites – ADE By Day
Techno — a subgenre of electronic dance music (EDM) — has not yet fully broken into the US mainstream. Nevertheless, its synthesized soundscape and driving BPM are instantly recognizable, and it is gaining a US following.
“The past few years have seen more and more people drawn to techno,” observes Moreno. “As a whole new generation is coming to appreciate the techno scene, artists like me can finally branch out to play outside of Europe. This year has been full of new places and new crowds.”
How Nico Moreno is using Insolent Rave to promote new talent
Moreno’s recording label Insolent Rave Records is set to drop his latest album this year. The album is entitled “You Can’t Stop the Movement” and contains eight gritty tracks full of the aggressive drive fans have come to expect.
Insolent Rave will also release several other albums during 2023. “When my touring schedule allows, I plan to release tracks from techno’s most talented emerging artists,” says Moreno. “Bringing new stars forward is a huge part of my role now.”
Moreno knows the hard road to success and is quick to help up-and-coming stars in the techno scene. “Whatever you do, don’t give up,” he concludes. “Keep mixing, mailing, producing, and posting your promos. Above all, stay true to who you are and the style you want to play. Take the time you need to grow as an artist and stay committed to your craft.”
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