Celebrating 20 Years of Skitzmix with the One and Only Nick Skitz
Not even a huge lawsuit from a major international media company can keep a lid on the Skitz.
Nick Skitz, veteran purveyor of face-melting mixes and originals in a career spanning over 20 years, has remained shrouded in mystery to those outside his cult following. A legend of Australian DJ culture, whose work constantly defies genre and classification is known primarily for his work on Skitzmixes –a series of compilation CDs that feature megamixes and remixes of both popular dance tracks and cross-genre bangers, consistently in the top 10 of the ARIA charts.
Just ahead of Skitzmix 50's milestone release, Nick explores 20-plus years in the industry, his legal trials and tribulations with Nickelodeon (seriously), and find out what it was like to be around for the dawn of our country's club culture as we know it. Beer 'n' tongs in one hand, phone in the other, Nick let us know what's up on all things Skitz.
THUMP: Hey mate, how are you?
Nick Skitz: I'm really good thanks. Just here with my family in the backyard cooking chops on the BBQ. I'm living the dream. It's been a hectic couple of weeks.
Getting Skitzmix 50 together?
Absolutely. We've got the boys behind it and there's a lot of work with this one. It's a bit of a milestone so I guess I've gotta make a big deal of it.
Yeah 50 is huge. How long have you actually been doing this for and how much of it was independent?
Oh mate. I was with Central Station when they went into receivership and just like that I lost Skitzmix 1 through 30. Ended up losing about a million bucks in back royalties, which was basically my superannuation, my future. Since then I've been doing it on my own label. I figured out a distribution deal and I figured if anything is going to go wrong it'll be cos of me. That's been the last ten years or so. So I'm in a pretty good place. I remember around Skitzmix 10 and thinking 'yeah this is going alright,' but 40 CDs later, here I am.
To be honest, I wish I appreciated it more because it was just mayhem. Just big nights and packed houses every weekend. I just went with the flow and I kinda wish I took it in a bit more. But I couldn't – there was just too much happening. 10 years of it. It just wouldn't stop. Back then, you could count on one hand the DJs that were touring in Australia. There was just no such thing as touring back then. There was no reason for a DJ to play interstate so it felt like I was breaking new ground, playing all these different towns and regions.
What time period are we talking about here?
Skitzmix started in 95, so even a few years before that. Early 90s. I started the CD series and it went well, and a song called "Excalibur", which went really well in 1995. I don't even know what genre it is.
What DO you call the style of music you make?
Mate there is no name for it. I am lost in limbo. You've got your typical 120 BPM EDM guys and you've got your 150 BPM hardcore guys and I've always been right in the middle. I was never branded like that. It was always 'oh that's Nick Skitz' he does his thing. There was never a name for it. I always just tried to make fun music. Fun dance music. It's like you need a cool factor these days. 10 years ago everyone was singing the Vengaboys. I still play that shit and for the first 30 seconds people look around like 'is this ok?' then they are singing and dancing.
Do you still do a lot of club shows?
I do! I'm booked every weekend still. I haven't stopped for...for 20 years. DJing every weekend is great.
Sounds pretty skitz. How did you come decide on that name?
Haha from when I was 20 years old playing soccer. I used to go hard as fuck on the field and then wanna hug the other team after the game so my mates just started calling me that. Nick Skitz stuck. I've been playing with these guys for 20 years and that's just what they call me. I actually trademarked the name and ended up in a five year, half a million dollar lawsuit with Viacom who own Nickelodeon. They opposed my trademark cos they own pretty much everything Nick-related. I thought 'fuck that' but there was no way that they were gonna get my name. I lost five years of my life and half a million dollars but no way they were they were getting my name.
Nobody wanted to touch it, they were too big. That is the first time I've ever told anyone about that. This is the first time anyone is going to know about it. Little guy vs the corporation. I won.
With a name like Nick Skitz, did you get involved in the partying?
For me, the party was when I was playing. Right there and then. I never really did cos either I had another gig the next day, or an early flight or something. I just had to look after myself. You see DJs who do and after six months it's like 'fuck mate, are you alright?' I tried to keep it as a business as much as I could, and I'm still here, so the longevity has shown. I have my rider of bottle of vodka and ejoy that when I'm playing, and I stay around at the club, but I don't do the kick on elsewhere.
Fair enough. Tell us about Skitzmix 50.
Well we wanted to do something special so 50 is three CDs. CD 1 is a straight up Skitzmix. A lot of people still like the old stuff, so a put a bit of that on number 2, and CD 3 is a Skitz DVD, a kind of best of from the last 20 years. Then there's just 3-4 months of touring and that'll be a hard slog, but I love it.
How exciting. Cliché, but who is this most underrated producer in Australia today?
Fuck, it's gotta be me.
And the most overrated?
Everyone. Everyone wants to be Calvin Harris or David Guetta. Everyone is overrated. Even me. It's just how DJing is.
Nick Skitz on Facebook
Skitzmix 50 is out now on CD and iTunes through LNG. Various selections from Skitzmix 1-49 can be found on scratched CD-Rs in gloveboxes across the country.
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