Beats born from forced sabbatical

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A spell of home detention for a musician who goes under the name The Nomad is an irony not lost on Daimon Schwalger. 

But the DJ, producer and label owner – caught up in last year’s Wanaka party scene drugs bust – has taken lemons and made lemonade. 

The internationally-renowned beats maestro set up a studio at Te Tai Poutini on the West Coast of the South Island and used his four-month forced sabbatical to create a new album of bass-driven drum & bass and trap tracks. 

“I had such a blissed-out time up in the coast. It was one of the best moments of my life to tell you the truth,” Schwalger says. 

“Just to simplify your life, drop all your responsibilities and just focus on one thing. 

“It’s quite lucky that I’m a very creative person and have music, and have been doing it a long time. 

“It was actually a beautiful, calming experience.” 

Schwalger begins a nationwide tour of album 7 in Queenstown tomorrow. 

He’s sourced a “huge” wall of LED screens for the tour, which will display commissioned visuals, and is also bringing down a saxophonist and vocalist from Auckland. 

“Dude, I can’t wait. It’s been five months’ work to date,” he says. 

“It’s a hell of a lot of work goes into that two hours but the show itself is always exciting – that energy, the feedback. 

“The sort of music I make is really bass-driven. It’s real produced, so it’s nice to actually take it to a big sound system.” 

The set will comprise tracks from 7 and some back catalogue from his other six studio albums. 

“I’ll be dropping all the big tunes of each album as well, so it will be something of a mash-up of stuff from 7 and classics off previous albums. 

“It’s going to be a journey for the crowd. There’s definitely an element of quite calming sounds on the album but an equal element of quite hard-hitting bass sounds. 

“So it will start off quite mellow and build up so at the end it’s more drum & bass and dancey. 

“And it will be an experience as far as the AV goes.”

 The Nomad – album release tour, Vinyl Undergrounds Friday, 9pm. R18