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Nina Las Vegas on Sydney's Multicultural Music Scene

Nina Las Vegas on creative social enterprising, multiculturalism and how it plays into Sydney’s music industry.

Interview by Sarah Wei

Image Courtesy of Tayla Martin

Paradigm Haus: Can you tell us about the first moment or memory you have that made you fall in love with music?

Nina Las Vegas: Honestly, I can’t remember that ONE moment. It’s lots of moments over lots of years, including hearing the Kelis’ Kaleidoscope, DJing at Coachella, early Heaps Decent workshops, even a Ninajirachi & Kota Banks show I worked on last month! It’s in my blood at this point.

PH: Take us through your creative process and inspirations.

NLV: I’m driven by people, things and experiences around me. I document everything, keep a diary and scrapbook, use Pinterest religiously and listen to lots of music. I usually think about where I want a song to be played and go from there with a simple beat, sample or rough vocal hook.

Image Courtesy of Nina Las Vegas (via Instagram)

PH: How has multiculturalism played into Heaps Decent’s core values?

NLV: Heaps Decent has always been committed to providing resources for all young people to express themselves and their identities, no matter who they are, their background or where they are from. One of the best things about Heaps Decent projects is that often people come together from vastly different cultures and experiences, to make music or maybe visual artwork. This is a really powerful and grassroots way to make space for inclusivity, shared knowledge and respect between individuals and the communities they live in.

PH: In what ways does multiculturalism influence the music that you and your young artists create?

NLV: I make dance music, which is clearly inspired from Black music and pioneers. I love learning about regional sounds, where they are from and how I can work with their makers and communities - so I can build my own sound around my understanding of the history. I think we need to learn where things come from before we can start creating!

PH: What are the cornerstones themes and popular trends you see happening in Sydney and Australia for music right now?

NLV: I think we’re all trying to survive through COVID! It’s a really hard time to be an artist anywhere in Australia, so it’s ok to pace and really dive into new ways to make & release music - as live shows are never guaranteed.

Nina Las Vegas Boiler Room DJ Set by Boiler Room (via Youtube)

PH: Why and in what ways is the music scene in Sydney different to other major cities such as London, New York or Seoul?

NLV: Again! So hard to dive into through these Pandemic times. I think ultimately, Sydney has a much younger scene and it’s only just opening up and becoming more diverse.

PH: How have you seen Sydney’s music scene change?

NLV: Of course! West Sydney artists are taking over the airwaves and encouraging other communities to make, release and play music that showcases their identity. We are no longer a music landscape of indie, beach-side rockers!

Image Courtesy of Nina Las Vegas (via Instagram)

PH: What would you like to see come out of Sydney’s music scene?

NLV: I would love to see more diversity behind the scenes. Managers, label teams, promoters coming from the community representing the community!

PH: Tell us what you’re working on now and have coming up.

NLV: It’s lots of label work (NLV Records) and not much touring! I’m also planning on returning to Wilcannia with Heaps Decent when COVID allows.

Listen to Ninas latest release, Busy (BAYLI Remix) available on streaming services.

Video: Busy (BAYLI Remix) by Nina Las Vegas. Provided to Youtube by NLV Records 2021. Released on: Jan 21st, 2021 Produced by: Nina Las Vegas, BAYLI & Swick Written by: Nina Las Vegas & Bayli Mixed by: Swick Mastered by: Joker


Follow Nina on Instagram at @ninalasvegas and her non-profit music education group @heapsdecent.

All images courtesy of Nina Las Vegas and Tayla Martin.


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