Nabihah Iqbal


Wednesday 14th March 2018

Nabihah Iqbal

Where are you from?
London, born and bred.

What do you do?
I’m a DJ, producer and radio presenter.

Describe your style in three words
No categories please.

What are you up to at the moment?
I’m spending a lot of time in the studio, working on new music. The new tunes are sounding really different to my previous releases. There’s a lot more guitar, but it still incorporates the electronic element.
I’ve got a few interesting things coming up – I’m collaborating with Wolfgang Tillmans as part of his exhibition at the Tate Modern. He does a lot with sound and music, and this exhibition shows his versatility. I’ll be giving a talk there on 20 Feb and I’m going to perform live on 11 March, with Wolfgang providing the visuals. I can’t wait!

Do you do everything yourself in the studio?
Yes. I’m still learning as I go along. I’m pretty much self-taught. It’s hard, but I’m always getting better. I want to keep it this way because, sometimes, when you’re a girl, people will offer you advice, or say, “do you need someone to come in and sit with you in the studio?” They just ask you that because you’re female and they assume you can’t do everything yourself. They’re wrong.

Can you play any instruments?
I play the flute, piano, sitar and guitar. I’ll play everything on my new record - mainly guitar and keyboards. I’m recording and producing it all myself.

How did you get into music?
Really unexpectedly. I did a lot of studying. I did the law conversion course and then the Bar, and I was working in law with a focus on human rights. Music has always been my favourite thing but I never thought I’d actually be doing it full time. I was DJ’ing at parties and making my own music too, just putting it up on SoundCloud, but I never thought anyone would really listen to it. But then Kassem Mosse heard my music on the internet and put out my first record. I also got offered a show on NTS Radio around the same time, and everything has just been gathering momentum since then.

Tell us more about your NTS show
I just did my 70th show on the station, it’s been almost four years now and I’m on every other Saturday. I like to play lots of different music from all around the world, and to talk about it a bit. I guess it reflects my undergraduate studies in Ethnomusicology a lot.

How do you discover new music?
It’s a combination of things. I have a lot of friends who work in music, so just talking to people can be a really good way of finding out about new tunes. I have to do a lot of research for my NTS show – exploring music and reading a lot about it. Obviously going into record shops is a fun way of discovering music. I also think YouTube is good at suggesting music you might like: you just start clicking and discovering.
I’m really interested in music from everywhere I go, as I like to make recordings for my radio show. I find that if you speak to taxi drivers in different countries about music, it’s a great way of finding out about the local music and as you’re in their car for a while you can actually have a proper chat with them.

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