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Dance floor fillers and hits aren’t the only thing Nastee Nev has been cooking up in his bedroom-turned-studio over the years, the DJ has also extended his hand to the art of baking pie – humble pie, to be exact.
When Nastee Nev, real name Neville Moeletsi, approached record labels when he was starting out as a DJ two decades ago, they turned him away, saying his sound was “too deep”.
“Commercial house was dominating at that time,” he recalls. “They told me I would struggle and said my music wouldn’t be received well.”
And he did struggle, but that was about all the record labels got right.
Fastforward to today and you’re almost guaranteed to hear Nastee Nev’s single, Take Me, featuring Donald Sheffey, each time you switch on your radio or television.
Who is Sheffey, you ask? Neville doesn’t know either.
Despite having created two hits together – Hung Up and Take Me – the pair are yet to meet in person.
“I came across Donald’s music on Soundcloud and was very impressed,” he shares.
“We started speaking and I sent him the Hung Up instrumentals and asked him to listen to it.
“Sheffey, who had never done vocals for a house song before, liked what he heard and started writing. He e-mailed me the vocals he had worked on and I put the song together. Neither of us expected it to do as well as it did,” Nastee Nev smiles.
Despite the track’s instrumentals having leaked before Neville could officially release the song, Hung Up went on to become an anthem in 2011.
“Record labels started approaching me,” he recalls.
His sound suddenly went from being “too deep” to being just the right amount of deep.
“It was sad because the standard and quality of my music hadn’t changed one bit,” Neville says. “The sound they were complimenting was the same one they had turned away years ago.”
But Neville the businessman wasn’t going to let past grudges stand in his way. Doors were finally opening and he didn’t hesitate to walk through.
“The roles had changed now. They came to me so now we work on my terms.”
Neville is clear on what he wants: “Give me money. I can do without fame and the celebrity status. Just give me money to survive.”
His unapologetic bluntness has lost him a few friends over the years, but Nastee Nev continues to call it like it is.
“These young DJs are doing the rest of us a huge injustice,” he says.
“They approach record labels with so much desperation that they are happy with any old deal they are offered. Labels then expect the next person to be happy with that same deal.
“DJing is my bread and butter,” he said. “I will never sell myself cheap.”
It is for this reason that Nastee Nev has never played beyond this continent.
“Thousands of rands are forked out to have Ralf Gum play a one- hour set in South Africa,” he says, vehemently.
“Why should I only get paid R3 000 when I play internationally? A lot of DJs and musicians are blinded by the ‘play inter-nationally’ part that they don’t realise how little financial sense there is to it.” The only ever time he will play overseas, he says, is when someone is prepared to pay him the amount he knows he’s worth, but until such time, the DJ is perfectly happy only travelling abroad for a holiday. Trying to imagine what record labels are kicking themselves the hardest after turning away Nastee Nev is proving to be quite difficult.
They have paid for not signing him when he was a desperate young man trying to get into the music industry, or only wanting him now when he knows his worth and won’t settle for a cent less.
Well, one thing’s certain, anyone who doubted the musical genius that is Nastee Nev is enjoying a generous serving of his pie right about now.