By Doug Booth
Nick Stracener was introduced to the dance floor at 18 when he went to his first rave in his hometown of Lindale. Texas. “I was so fascinated by the sounds I heard,” he remembers. He moved to Dallas soon after and quickly ingratiated himself within the circuit community. “Circuit music is so powerful and liberating because it’s easy to dance to and live your fullest fantasy. There are so many different types of circuit music and it’s really fascinating how unique they all are.”
Nick’s unique sound is best described as a combination of indigenous rhythms with lots of sultry uplifting, female vocals. He aims to take revelers on a journey with high energy beats mixed with slow moments so that they can fully experience different emotions. To him, dance music is therapy and a way to escape life’s biggest hurdles.
His latest remixes are Lindsay Lohan’s “Back to Me” and Lady Gaga’s “Rain on Me.”
Would you call DJing and producing an art?
Yes, in different ways. A DJ has the ability to showcase their talent by taking the listener on a journey with their set. Learning to read a crowd is a talent in itself. Producing is all expressing yourself. You are in complete control of your track from start to finish. You have so much freedom to make a song sound exactly as you picture it in your head.
How would you describe your approach to making music?
To me, DJing and producing is all about having fun. If you don’t have fun with it, what is the point in doing it? Also, if you’re not having fun, the crowd most likely isn’t either. Your mood directly affects the crowd.
What came first for you?
DJing came first. I ventured into producing because the pandemic put a halt to playing live for people. I’m really glad that I have learned how to do both though because they are equally important.
Which is your real passion?
Nothing can quite compare to the feeling of being on stage, playing your music and putting a smile on people’s faces.
Take us through a day in your life. How do you spark the creativity?
I honestly wish I had a routine! I juggle way too many tasks. I’m a flight attendant full time so I make time to DJ and produce when I’m not flying. I try and always set aside a couple hours a day to work on producing music or on practicing. My creativity comes from wanting to do something unique that hasn’t been done before so I try to make each remix and each set a little different while remaining true to my sound.
Have you ever tried producing in the buff to get yourself in the mood?
I have, actually! It’s quite fun and cozy. Just me and my blanket, laptop, and headphones.
Can you explain why some DJs strip down to their skivvies in the DJ booth? Is it to feel more intimate with the music?
It’s usually super hot in the DJ booth and we want to feel a little cooler. Also, it feels quite liberating. The main reason, though, is that many DJ’s want to feel like they are part of the crowd.
Can you describe your state of mind during a DJ set?
I am 100% focused on making sure every transition is seamless and that I’m reading the crowd correctly, giving them what they don’t even know they need. I take my DJing very seriously but I have fun with it.
What are some of the considerations that go into deciding which track to play next?
When I’m DJing, I have a list of a few songs that I for sure want to play that night, but I don’t ever have a set order that I’m going to play them in. I found out quick that if the crowd is loving a particular genre, or era of music, or style, that I should stick with it a little bit before switching over to whatever song I thought I was going to play. Nothing ever goes as planned. It’s mostly improvisation.
Do you spin private dance parties for your partner at home?
Oh, he gets to hear way more of my music than he probably wants to! We have friends over occasionally but I haven’t actually DJ’d a house party at our house yet.
What are fun things you and your partner like to do together when no one else is looking?
We like to play with our two fur babies, Oliver and Olivia, who are the absolute sweetest puppies in the world. They actually don’t mind the circuit music, which is a plus. I call them my circuit puppies.
What will be your next music project?
I’m starting my next set as we speak and I’m continuing to put out a remix or two every month! I also want to produce my own song from scratch, top to bottom with a friend as the vocalist. That will be something a little further down the road, but it’s in the works.
Visit nickstracener.com/djnickstracener. Follow Nick Stracener on Instagram @thenickstracener.