Dance music changed Nicole Moudaber’s life – now she’s returning the favour. “The drums reached me,” she says of her initiation at New York’s infamous Tunnel Club. Ever since then, the Nigerian-born Lebanese star has dedicated her immense energy to finding ways to share that vibe.
Nicole Moudaber is currently based in Ibiza and her career got its launch back in 2009 when Carl Cox described her as “the most underrated DJ” to DJ Magazine. Her 2013 debut album Believe was Number 1 for a month on the Beatport techno, tech house, and deep house charts. Since then, Moudaber has teamed with techno notables such as Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, etc. and has also launched MOOD Records imprint in 2012.
While living in Lebanon, Moudaber was one of the first people to bring dance music to Beirut. After the war in 1996 her “Trashy Renaissance” party in Beirut was the first rave event of its kind and prompted her to bring out international DJs, including Paul Van Dyk and Anthony Pappa for the first time to the Middle East. Moudaber described her first party as: “I threw it in the middle of Beirut city, which was in the vicinity of a mosque and a cathedral. It was meant to defy the notion of hatred and prove we can do it together through music. It was a total success.”
One of Moudaber’s all-inclusive electronic music parties was detailed in the media and resulted in her being summoned by the police, but in the end it assisted her in focusing on moving onwards to other areas that would understand what she was trying to accomplish. “At the time Syrians were heavily involved in Lebanon, I had started putting on parties. One happened to be around Halloween and as a result, all the gays took advantage and came dressed up as drag queens and other outrageous stuff—all in the name of fun. It turned out that undercover journalists were scouting the party. They took photos and it ended up being a five-page spread in the Middle Eastern equivalent of Cosmopolitan talking about homosexuality and perversion in the Middle East—my party being heavily featured within this article. Five months down the line I was asked to go down to the police station because the authorities had some questions for me. When I got down there, they were treating me like a terrorist, asking me all sorts of questions about my affiliation with homosexual people and whether I had seen them doing things. It was a really sad and outrageous situation, but luckily I had connections and therefore didn’t stay long. It was enough to persuade me that I was wasting my time out there and that these people would never get that sense of ritual and community I was trying to bring within these events, so I very much stuck to London and Europe from there onwards.”
Nicole performs Sunday, August 31st on the Sunday School Grove Stage. Below is her new remix of Carl Cox’s track “Kommen Zuasammen.”