BIG NASH is the President & CEO of Auckland based record label and newly formed management agency Iconic Sound. This year, he’s spent most of his time building it into a foundation he can stand on for the rest of his future – not an easy task to do all at once, he just added an apparel side to the venture. Anticipating his debut EP ‘International Road Boy’ or ‘IRB’ for short, I remember interviewing a 16-year-old NASH, when he released the project ‘1st Impression’. Now just turning 23, his presence on beat is stronger. His heart is harder but so is his production. We caught up over email to talk about the first two singles ‘Know Thyself (Freestyle)’ & ‘Self Destruct’ produced alongside Next Wavez who is signed to DJ Mustard’s record label, 10 Summers. We also discuss his Instagram account and get his side on some of the controversial content he shares. On beat, NASH manages to channel his emotions, showcasing his undeniable musical abilities and flare for making a sound we actually want to hear. ‘Self Destruct’ starts and lulls you into a West Coast flex, melting over listeners’ ears with Talkbox and an R&B sound like maybe Tory Lanez was involved; when NASH’s verse comes in he bears a dark truth he says he enjoys as a lyricist: “I’ve always been a fan of dark lyricism. DMX and The Notorious B.I.G do it really well where they’re not just telling you about their pain but they’re taking you into the pit with them,” talking about ‘Self Destruct’. We might as well get into the interview:
How did you meet Next Wavez?
N: DontFollowSImba and Lando, Iconic Sound Senior Management members connected us one night when we were all OTP and the rest is history. The first night we met is literally the day we cooked up the instrumental for ‘Self Destruct’. It’s a familiar energy because we both have a solid work ethic which means as soon as we get in the same room laptops are being pulled out and music is being made!
What was it like connecting with Next Wavez as a person and then making music with him?
N: It was incredible. Such an authentic person and shockingly talented at what he does. Wavez’ story about getting signed to DJ Mustard’s label 10 Summers is powerful. It really helped me see the blessings in the curse when I started giving in to self-doubt and that Tall Poppy kicked in. We live in a small country that’s so far away from the rest of the world sometimes opportunity seems mythical and knowing his dreams manifested makes me feel like the rest of ours can too.
What can people look out for from Iconic Sound in the next six months?
N: There’s a lot in the works as far as the next six months is concerned but at the moment I can definitely promise the label’s debut group EP and expansion of the artist roster.
Describe ‘Know Thyself (Freestyle)’ & ‘Self Destruct’. What inspired these two tracks?
N: I worked hard to be a genuine individual even to my own detriment at times, built a home I called my own and felt like I lost it all over a situation that could’ve been avoided if I wasn’t such a nice person. It’s sad to say that in 2019, you’ll probably get further in life if you have a bit of shark in you. The 2 songs were originally one track that was basically a 64 bar verse of venting and salty punchlines. Luckily Rokske Tha G talked some sense into me when I played him the first demo and I partitioned the song into a two-part story.
You mention AmmoNation in ‘Know Thyself’, why was it important for you to voice that situation?
N: I felt like it was important because I’m a strong advocate for the spirit of truth. Everything comes to light regardless if I’m the one to shed that light or not. We’re still all men at the end of the day and no one is beyond reproach or a conversation..
What does Iconic Sound represent for NZ’s local Hip-Hop scene?
N: A new level of quality in the sonics and production value of what’s coming out of our country. The name says it all, there’s this ‘Iconic Sound’ I’ve been chasing in my music since the first time I played the keys. A certain level of conviction in my delivery, authentic lyrics that hold weight and lastly timeless production that stands the test of time.
Why should people get onboard with Iconic Sound?
N: They shouldn’t… They should get onboard with good music! There’s only 2 genres, good and bad music. If the people feel like we’re delivering good music then of course, they should get onboard but the day we stop keeping up our end of the bargain, I expect to be held accountable for letting them down.
Can we talk about your identity as a Kiwi, from your IG Stories? You have a very important and pivotal (albeit controversial) perspective in terms of third culture identity and progressing that for the next generation. Do you care about being labelled as radical?
N: I’m not knocking off corrupt government officials or trynna start the revolution in front of The Beehive. I’m just a guy with an Insta account like everyone else but I’m passing on game and applicable knowledge I recieved from my Mentors instead of taking photos of my food. If I’m a radical, what are we gonna call the real radicals?
Who do you look up to and why?
N: Nipsey Hussle, rest in peace to the legend, JAY Z, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, E-40, Master P & Russell Simmons.
How do they influence your hustle?
N: They influence my hustle and everyday character simply because they’re certified OG’s in the culture and their longevity speaks for itself. More than music but their business minds and entrepreneurship inspires a lot of young guys like myself.
The hardest truth to hear as a musician is there’s no money in selling music. The key is to build a platform with your talent then you graduate onto other lucrative ventures. I feel like the brave men mentioned above had a lot to do with this blueprint and the Self Made mentality we hold near and dear at Iconic Sound.
What situation inspired this line: “Hatin’ on these niggas and I’m hatin’ on myself, before this Kanye West shit I ain’t know about mental health, but right about now I could really use a blunt, I could really use a spliff, it might help me off this cliff…”
N: I’ll let people decipher that one for themselves but Biggie had a similar line in his song Suicidal Thoughts.
“When I die, fuck it, I wanna go to hell.
‘Cause I’m a piece of shit, it ain’t hard to fuckin’ tell.
It don’t make sense, goin’ to heaven with the goodie-goodies.
Dressed in white, I like black Timbs and black hoodies.” – The Notorious B.I.G