DJ on the Scene: Nicola Bernardini
BY: Kelsey Jae Burke
Finding something to do in Central New York can be tricky. Syracuse University students have the joy of house parties and Harry’s. But whatever happened to concerts, weekend adventures, and going to clubs (don’t those exist in college too?)
For some students, the balance is easy. Nicola Bernardini, current SU sophomore, Milan native, and DJ/club promoter, spent his high school summers touring Italy, France, and Switzerland. Coming to Syracuse for college was no reason for him to quit something he’s been doing since his brother passed down the turntables when he was thirteen. Family is a big part of Bernardini’s career in music and aside from real Italian pasta, is what he misses most about being away from home.
Earlier this semester, Bernardini played a show at the Westcott Theater, being the first supporter for Carnage. This month, he is opening for Crizzly and Figure, which he says brings him “a really challenging crowd because they play hard-style music”, not that he doesn’t welcome a challenge with open arms. He likes to play his style while catering to the crowd and coming up with his own unexpected mash-ups.
As for style, Bernardini describes his music as energetic. I can attest; whenever I’ve heard him play, he gets the crowd going in a way that leaves even the shy sway-ers begging for a dance partner. “It connects every single person in the club, and it makes people forget whatever happened during the day,”says Bernardini. His favorite part of DJing is interacting with the crowd. “It gives me a feeling that nothing else can. When the break comes in and it starts rising and then the beat drops and everybody goes crazy… there are no words to describe the feeling.”
By way of musical and stylistic influences, Bernardini would say that Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafi a is similar, not only in music and style, but crowd-interaction. It seems that his strategy for concocting the perfect set is like any other art form: through the close observation and study of other acts to draw inspiration.
Bernardini plans to work in the entertainment industry upon graduation, which seems likely given that he has two years of experience as a promoter in Italy and has been working as a promoter for a club in NYC since September. I asked if he has any notable celebrity encounters to which he said among the many that accompany his weekend crew, Leo DiCaprio was the best (exact words: “total bro”) because he was an enjoyable addition to the crew (specifically the models).
Whether you’re looking for good music or have the taste for Italian, stop by DJ’s on the Hill (ask for “Nico’s Shot,” “it’s a super secret recipe” Bernardini came up with… though if you plan to buy him a drink, I recommend a classic Screw Driver with “top quality” vodka).