THE SPOKEN WORD
Family man, audible fanatic and as passionate as they come, Nicholas (Nick Grater to the world) has commanded his movement and vision for a better part of 2 decades. Laser-focused grace and a heart for pushing the envelope has brought parts of South Africa so much more than we could as for, both as a promoter and artist. We’ve welcomed his journey and its refreshing to be able to hear more of this path taken. An Exclusive with content compliments of PsyTribe and Stefan de Beer. We get the FULL Scoop:
Where and when did you learn how to DJ?
Nick: My DJ journey began in ‘96, but things became serious after I matriculated, when my sister’s boyfriend at the time, Paul Thackwray, a well-established DJ in JHB, showed me the ropes and broadened my skill set. I knew that this was my calling in life, & I invested in a pair of Technics 1210 turntables & a Gemini 626 mixer. The rest, as they say, is history.
You have been in the underground music / entertainment industry for over 2 decades. What was it like when it first started out and how did you get involved in it?
Nick: I am going to sound old now, or well-seasoned as I prefer to think of it! But it was nearly 30 years ago that I fell in love with the underground scene and all the incredible parties and clubs that were around back then! The massive raves and epic clubs like G.A.S.S., Krypton, Gates, White Horse and E.S.P made up an era I am extremely fortunate to have been a part of. I partied to and experienced mind-blowing acts in the flesh, the likes of Carl Cox, Jeff Mills, Sasha & John Digweed, Derrick May and Josh Wink, just to name a few! It truly was a special time. Obviously, the music was completely different back then, electronic music was in its infancy, with much simpler sounds and melodies, at the time it was mind blowing, ground-breaking and I loved it! I couldn’t get enough of the music, or the experience! I even came home with shin splints from “raving” too hard at an Ice Rave. I started hosting events in the early 2000’s. I wanted to create and share these life changing experiences, that I had had, with other people. I also wanted to diversify the party scene and offer a platform for other up-and-coming artists at the time.
I believe you have played overseas; can you please tell us more about your experience?
Nick: I have been extremely fortunate to play overseas, and have had some amazing experiences, sharing the stage with world renowned techno artists. Some of my most memorable experiences were playing in Brazil at a festival called Influence in Sao Paulo, at many squad parties in London, at the Berlin Love Parade in Germany 2007, that was a surreal experience!!! Being surrounded by 1.2 million Ravers!!! My first International Bionic set was booked for Airbeat One in Germany, on the Indian Spirit Stage last year, but it was cancelled due to COVID!! I have been reconfirmed for 2022, holding thumbs that this pandemic will have calmed down enough for me to make it!!!
How long and when did you start Teknotribe and psyology record labels. I know they were not started at the same time?
Nick: Starting the record labels was a natural progression from hosting events. This also gave a platform for our local producers to get their music out into the world. We started out in 2007, with CDs being distributed by some local music stores like Musika, CD warehouse etc and then, as the world moved online into the digital era, so did we. We joined an international distribution agency that distributes our music to all the leading online shops like Beatport, Juno download etc. Teknotribe records started in 2007 and Psyology records in 2012.
What was the first event you promoted and how did things progress to where you are today?
Nick: Teknotribe was the brainchild of a group of like-minded friends eager to introduce, educate and share techno with as many people as they could, whenever and however they could. We were involved in many events in and around Gauteng, initially hosting floors and collaborating with other promoters and clubs, like Stonewater in Muldersdrift, G.A.S.S nightclub, 3 massive events sponsored Lucky Strike Parties, the list goes on. The brand established itself as its own entity in 2003 when we moved to 177 in Randburg, where we hosted monthly Teknotribe Events. It was around this time that we started to introduce and incorporate Psy-Trance into our events. This was an extremely successful marriage of genres, leading to our Techno vs Trance Brand being born. This in turn led the way forward to collaborations with Mushroom Mafia, Red Eye Productions, Dragon Fly Culture, PsynOpticz and Mansion Records.
Nick: In 2007 we hosted our first outdoor festival, Ecotone, in partnership with Dragon Fly Culture (Carin Dickson – Artscape) Later that year we hosted our first New Year’s Eve Outdoor festival – Symbiotek, in collaboration with Red Eye Productions (Killer B). These were great events, that came with many lessons learnt, we were all young and navigating our way through new territories regarding the law, regulations, patron needs and wants, production skills, and each event became a learning journey, one we are still, and will always be on. 2010/2011 we joined forces for the first time, with Mansion Records, to host Revolution NYE Outdoor Festival. This partnership saw many years of hosting Moksha Spring and Revolution NYE Festivals, this partnership has now parted ways and Teknotribe & Psyology will continue to host Revolution NYE. We wish Roman & Mansion Records Crew all the best in their new ventures. We have taken our brand to the coasts of the Cape, hosting Psyology festival alongside the well-known PsynOpticz Productions Crew (Calvin aka SwiTcHcaChe) Sometimes we like to keep it all about the Techno! and have hosted a multitude of strictly Techno events/festivals, Fenomena (In collaboration with Deep Town) being one of these strictly techno brands. Now we do not just Techno & Psy, we Drum n Bass as well!! The brainchild, Underground Sound, born from our partnership with Science Frikshun in 2009, is alive and well! Twilight Festival and our indoor events are booming, and we can’t wait for our next adventure with this exciting brand.
Nick: Teknotribe is an ongoing production, an entity, that will continue infinitely – until the day I die!!! We will be celebrating 18 years of Teknotribe this year (covid numbers depending!!!!!).
How long do you see yourself putting on events?
Nick: Until the end of my time!!!