A Moment with: Nunca Duerma [Interview]

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Born in Detroit and now residing in Chicago, Tahif Attiek, better known as Nunca Duerma, is the latest in a line of artists breathing new life into the beat scene. Fusing influences ranging from traditional boom bap hip-hop and juke to synthy electronica, Nunca Duerma creates a sonic landscape that reflects his urban origins.

His latest release “Shapeshifter” on Elliot Lipp’s Old Tacoma Records, is followed up by a string of remixes and new work that have been gaining the up and coming producer some much deserved recognition.

We managed to sit down with Tahif before a string of shows that culminate in his premiere tonight at the Low End Theory in Los Angeles, to find out where the road takes him from there.

GLM: So, for our first question, who are you and how did you get here?

ND: My name is Tahif Attiek. I make music under Nunca Duerma. I moved here three years ago. Graduated school and yeah, still out in Logan Square now.

GLM: And do you love it?

ND: Yeah, Chicago’s awesome. For sure.

GLM: Why do you create?

ND: I think it’s a lot of fun. For a lot of people they do it… mostly out of inspiration, you know? You listen to certain types of music that really feel special to you. And that’s kind of the whole reason, I think.

GLM: Speaking of music that’s special to you, you just released an album recently, didn’t you?

ND: Um, yeah. I just released a 11 track LP called Shape Shifter. It’s co-released through Old Tacoma records and Young Heavy Souls. It’s my first vinyl release as well.

GLM: Nice. It’s also available digital, cd, 8track. Any other form that you can think of?

ND: Yeah it’s available for download through I-Tunes, Spotify, Beatport, all the big ones. And then if you want to get the vinyl it’s at youngheavysouls.com.

GLM: Most excellent. Shout out Young Heavy Souls.

ND: For sure.

GLM: Um, so, some independent labels in the mix. Tell us about your experience in the industry thus far as an artist. Like how long have you been doing this? What have your experiences been?

ND: I first started making my own music in 2006, palying guitar and stuff. And then over time I just started producing. I’d say in 2011 I started like, actually doing it progressively, you know what I mean? Where you’re actively trying to get better, every single time. So yeah, I don’t know. The last couple of years – it’s cool, like I don’t really think of it as industry stuff. I get to release music with friends so yeah, I don’t know. I guess I don’t have too much industry… it’s all indie, DIY. 

GLM: Have you toured extensively?

ND: No, not all. Doing my first gig in LA in October…

GLM: And that’s for Low End Theory, correct?

ND: Yeah, Low End Theory, October 22nd

GLM: That’s very exciting. You must be so excited for that.

ND: Yeah, definitely. Anytime you get to share the music with people, I think that’s like the most important thing.

GLM: Yeah, excellent. What is your favorite venue to perform in the city of Chicago?

ND: Wow… that is a really good question. (Laughs)

GLM II: Just for context, we have a spectator. Live studio audience I guess.

GLM: Shout out Ryan. Say hey Ryan…

Ryan: I’m sorry. I try to take it [the picture] and then two seconds later it gets dark and I’m like, I already took it, why did it just do that?

GLM: Aw man, Instagram’s hating. Insta-haters.

All:  Insta-haters.

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GLM: How do you feel about your Insta-haters?

ND: I love them.

GLM: Yeah? You love your Insta-haters?

ND: Yeah. I love attention.

GLM: That’s good, that’s good. (Laughter) Do you know that some of your Insta-haters have infiltrated your shows? I mean I know for a fact that you love the attention you get, even if they’re insta-hating on you while performing at your favorite venue in Chicago, which is?

GLM II:  You just confused the fuck out of him.

ND: Yeah, you confused me. I think honestly, maybe, Jerry’s?

GLM: Jerry’s?

ND: I don’t know, I think it’s just like, the room. They have really good beer and the sound is decent too.

GLM: What do you think about their food selection?

ND: I don’t know, I never eat there. Is it good?

GLM: I’ve never eaten there either, I just know they have really expensive sandwiches but they’re probably artisinally made. (Laughter) Very rare roast beefs. Muenster cheeses that have been cave aged in Iowa. They do that in Iowa. The Maytag cheese factory, it’s an extension of Maytag appliances.

GLM II: Maytag makes cheese?

GLM: Yeah, they make bleu cheese – really good bleu cheese.

GLM II:  I don’t even want to know what that has to do with their appliances.

GLM: Well they’re in the middle of dairy land. You know, farm country…

GLM II: No, I understand the placement but that’s the thing – they must have somehow figured out…

GLM: They have manmade caves on their property to age their cheese, that’s my point… I’m saying man, they gotta capitalize somehow, man. When the refrigerators go people are still gonna be coming there, for the shopping mall in Williamsburg and then also the bleu cheese from Maytag.

GLM II: Okay we’re way off track.

GLM: They have a really good pecan glazed sauce for the blue cheese.

GLM II: I don’t even like pecans.

GLM: That’s fine. That’s good, okay, more for me. Anyways, continue… outside of Chicago, generally speaking, what would you say has been the craziest show, like the best show you’ve ever been a part of?

ND: Oh shit. Outside of Chicago? Any of the basement weeklies in Grand Rapids. Honestly, like, it’s really small…

GLM: You’re talking about The Bunker?

ND: Yeah, it’s called, like, Basement…

GLM: Yeah, that’s where we’re playing in October. Yeah, with Friendly.

ND: Oh… It’s so hilarious, it’s probably like a 400 person room, and they don’t have any other nights that night, cause it’s kind of like a beat college town and stuff, so all the students go out to that night, and it’s like $1.50 beers or whatever and so people just get insanely wasted out of their minds. But like, it’s just really funny to watch big groups of girls, like humping each other kind of, throughout every…  I don’t know…it gets really wild out there. Yeah, those are tons of fun. Also playing out there September 22nd with Nortronics and Vaporize, which are Young Heavy Souls artists.

GLM: I gave Nortronics a new nickname when I was in Detroit because he fell asleep while we were all hanging out. I call him Snore-tronics. (Laughter) It stuck. Now, outside of shows that you’ve actually experienced in real life, what would your dream event be? If Nunca Duerma was gonna have an event, what would just get your rocks off entirely? Like you could retire at that very moment and never perform again…

ND: Like feel completely happy after this happened?

GLM: Like, you’re gonna walk 5,000 miles, like woman of your dreams, like scratched off lottery ticket waiting in your dressing room with a million dollars attached to it…

ND: Right…

GLM: Like, dolphins jumping in the air…

ND: Right, right…I think…

GLM: Rare bleu cheeses from Maytag delivered to you….

ND: Right, right, right…so you really want to play for a lot of people and stuff, like festivals and outdoor like events you know, those are like tons of fun. So maybe like Red Rocks, or Electric Forest or something would be pretty sweet. But honestly man, playing out at Low End Theory has been one of my dreams, so to have the very rare opportunity to out there. Awesome. Super stoked.

GLM: Who’s on the bill with you at Low End Theory?

ND: Oh, I have no idea. They usually have The Four Residents, Gasland Killer, Daddy Kev, D-Styles, and I think, DJ Nobody? 

GLM: They were killing it. I met Percy P out there.

GLM II: He’s a frequenter of the line, at Low End Theory.

GLM: Yeah, he’s got the $20 holler. Every album he’s ever made for twenty bucks. Cool dude. Well thank you so much man, really appreciate it.

ND: Thank you.

GLM: Awesome.

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