DJ Oded Nir on staying afloat during the pandemic

Oded Nir and Marceline 2018
How to stay afloat during a pandemic? Label boss, producer, musician, and DJ Oded Nir has the answer. "See this time as an opportunity."

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

Last week Oded Nir's latest baby was released: Indoor Life. When I interviewed Oded Nir during the pandemic in 2020, his new single Rooftop Conversations just came out. Quite a different era. Included you'll find that 2020 interview with label boss, producer, musician and DJ Oded Nir. "See this time as an opportunity."

Corona has turned the world upside down. Even that of dance. The club and festival scene are at a standstill and many artists are complaining. Exceptions, however, confirm the rule, and a hefty dose of innate optimism sometimes cooperates. Israeli DJ/producer/all-around musician Oded Nir, for example, sees opportunities in this changing environment. His new single, Rooftop Conversations (Bohemian Remixes), was released last week. “It’s our time to be creative.”

DJ Oded Nir  768x768 - DJ Oded Nir on staying afloat during the pandemic

Oded Nir, now residing in Amsterdam for over fourteen years but originally from Israel, starts by acknowledging the economically collapsed dance scene. “Yes, I have enough friends in the hospitality industry who have already lost their jobs or fear losing them. I am convinced that jobs will disappear anyway. Just as A&R managers were the power players in the music industry in the past, now everyone has to be capable of everything. Nowadays, I handle everything myself at my own label, Suntree Records. I am the owner, handle A&R, marketing, etc. I used to employ two people for that.”

Immensely grateful

In contrast to many, Oded Nir has little to complain about in terms of work or income at the moment. Not only have seven out of nine singles been successfully released since the launch of his album Rooftop Conversations in April 2019, but the entire album is also performing excellently on Spotify and Apple Music. Last week (September 18th 2020), the eighth release of this album took place. “Besides, I am a resident DJ at more exclusive locations such as the Sky Lounge and the Amsterdam Tower. Of course, this has been on hold since March, but I could start working again from June. I’ve also recently become the resident DJ at the Harbour Club in The Hague. I realize that not all colleagues are doing as well, so I am immensely grateful. In fact, I have even had more online sales during these times. In other countries, such as my home country Israel and the United Kingdom, colleagues have no gigs at all.”

DJ Oded Nir Live at Har…terdam Tehater 2022 1 768x960 - DJ Oded Nir on staying afloat during the pandemic

Science fiction film

Oded Nir acknowledges that his gigs look literally different nowadays. “Yes, it feels strange that people are not allowed to dance. Even more so, that I have to tell them not to get up if they do. It feels unreal, like a science fiction film. But yes, if there’s enforcement, the venue will be closed for four weeks, and I’ll be out of work for four weeks, so it’s necessary. I’ve been hired soon for some sort of wedding, and the venue owner has already told me that I have to play very calmly so that people remain seated. While your job as a DJ is precisely to get people to dance!”

Jamiroquai's drummer

Overall, 2020 hasn’t turned out so bad for Oded Nir. “This year, I took the risk and released some tracks during the pandemic. This led to an absolute highlight of my career. I did an Amsterdam Weekender tour with one of my heroes: Derrick McKenzie, also known as Jamiroquai’s drummer. We released a drum & bass single together, Double Bass, and then went on tour in Amsterdam the weekend before the lockdown. I as a bassist and DJ, and he as a drummer and DJ, and we played B2B. This became the most successful track of the album Rooftop Conversations. Soon, a new single of ours will be released, a bit of nu-disco. We’re currently working on it remotely from our studio.” Collaborating with Derrick is a dream come true for Oded Nir. “If I had had a bucket list, I wouldn’t even have dared to put Derrick on it. Too ambitious. This man has worked with Tina Turner and Diana Ross and has three Brit Awards on the shelf, and I’m working with him! Wow! I’ve seriously said to myself: ‘If God forces me to stop making music now, I’ve experienced more than I ever dared to dream of.'”

Oded Nir 768x576 - DJ Oded Nir on staying afloat during the pandemic

Cottage in Zeeland

The curly-haired man also uses these strange times to get a later planned new solo album on track a bit earlier. “I’ve started writing lyrics and will soon rent a cottage in the woods in Zeeland to produce. I did the same last year for the album Rooftop Conversations. I’ll take my cat, my bass guitar, and my complete studio with me and completely shut myself off from the world. No visits, no internet, just focusing on music. Just like Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers did. Total solitude. Zeeland is really my magical spot.”

Bass roots

“This new album will go more in the direction of my funk and soul roots. Of course, I’m not going to make 88 bpm funk; I am and remain a house artist and musician. My work has always been a combination of genres. My bass roots lie in reggae, funk, and dub, and the MIDI comes from dance, which I’ve been involved in for the past fourteen years.”

Oded Nir Rooftop Conversations LP 2 768x768 - DJ Oded Nir on staying afloat during the pandemic

Amsterdam Dinner Event

As far as Oded Nir is concerned, the Netherlands is still the paradise of the dance industry, with the Amsterdam Dance Event as a spearhead. Like many, he is therefore disappointed that ADE will not take place this year. “I have enough international friends and colleagues who still want to come, even though they know there are no events. That’s why I now jokingly call it the Amsterdam Dinner Event.” He laughs. “We can network optimally but then over a nice meal.” Oded Nir is grateful overall for what the Netherlands has brought him. “This year marks ten years since I founded Suntree Records in the Netherlands, and in that time, I have achieved a lot. We’ll celebrate this in December with a compilation album of ten years’ best of Suntree Records. I have made music and performed with many big names like Richard Earnshaw (UK), Steve Taylor (UK), Bohemian (NL), Dirk Schot (NL), and Miss Sugawara (NL) and produced and released a lot of music.” However, there was also a price attached to this. “The price I’ve paid is my personal life. I don’t live near my family and childhood friends, and I especially miss my mother enormously. She’s in her eighties now and especially vulnerable during these corona times. Furthermore, I’m not married and don’t have children. On the other hand, I have been able to fulfill my musical dreams. What weighs heavier?” he philosophically wonders.

Oded Nir hopes that with his story and his intentions to remain creative, he can inspire others not to give up. “See this time as an opportunity. Dive into the studio, write new material about this period, and think about how we can return to our core business: entertaining.”

This interview with Oded Nir is originally published in September 2020 on This Is Our House.

Oded Nir Indoor Life - DJ Oded Nir on staying afloat during the pandemic

Suntree Records is thrilled to unveil Oded Nir’s latest musical endeavour, ‘Indoor Life.’

After a five-year hiatus following the success of his acclaimed LP, ‘Rooftop Conversations,’ the immensely talented bassist and multi-instrumentalist Oded Nir returns with a captivating and dreamlike new album. ‘Indoor Life’ is a sonic exploration, seamlessly blending elements of jazz, trip-hop, funk, soul, and downtempo gems. The result is a transformative musical journey that invites listeners into realms of self-reflection and dreams.

Highlighting this album are extraordinary collaborations, with Grammy award-winning Jamiroquai’s legendary drummer, Derrick McKenzie. Together with Oded, McKenzie co-wrote and produced the mesmerizing track ‘Alive,’ featuring the soulful vocals of his daughter, Jenner McKenzie. Derrick’s producer prowess also shines on ‘Late Bloomer,’ a disco-infused easy-listening tune, and ‘Hot Mess,’ where his live, powerful drums take centre stage.

Adding to the supergroup dynamic is Matt Johnson, another member of Jamiroquai, who lends his keyboard magic to Oded’s funky track ‘Hot Mess.’ Tel Aviv-based vocalist Meital De Razon graces the soulful and romantic ‘Come Back,’ while India-born vocalist Sandhya Sanjana contributes to the meditative early morning track ‘Sunrise.’

The late Paris/Amsterdam DJ producer Benjamin Ellery lends his French spoken word voice to ‘Film Noir,’ infusing the track with a trip-hop allure. Local Amsterdam musician and Oded’s band member Thijs Van Den Geest collaborates on the fantastic ‘Sababa Dub,’ a smoothly rolling groove. The title track, ‘Indoor Life,’ evokes feelings of nostalgia and love. At the same time, the album concludes with a re-edited 2023 version of Oded’s 2011 hit ‘Into Your Heart,’ featuring Dutch vocalist Gia Mellish.

‘Indoor Life’ has already seen the release of five singles, earning acclaim from FM radio stations worldwide and securing placements in major Spotify playlists. Prepare to be transported by the enchanting sounds of Oded Nir’s ‘Indoor Life’ album.

Album Credits:

Written, Composed, Performed, mixed and Produced by: Oded Nir
Additional Composition on ‘Alive’ and ‘Late Bloomer’ by: Derrick McKenzie
Featured Artists:

Derrick McKenzie: Drums on ‘Hot Mess’
Matt Johnson: Keyboards on ‘Hot Mess’
Jenner McKenzie: Lyrics & Vocals on ‘Alive’
Thijs Van Den Geest: Trumpet on ‘Sababa Dub’
Meital De Razon: Vocals on ‘Come Back’
Gia Mellish: Vocals on ‘Into Your Heart’
Chappell: Backing Vocals on ‘Hot Mess’
Massimo Imperatore: Additional Electric Guitar on ‘Hot Mess,’ ‘Indoor Life,’ ‘Sunrise’
Kajan Chow: Beats on ‘Sababa Dub’
Jazzy D: Additional Keys on ‘Come Back’
Sandhya Sanjana: Hindu Lyrics and Vocals on ‘Sunrise’

Mastering: Richard Earnshaw
Artwork: Mike Van Den Toorn

Recorded at:

VolksHotel Studios, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Suntree Studios, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Landal Studios, Drenthe, The Netherlands

More Oded Nir?

Share This Post