We capture a mental fingerprint of some of our musical and cultural heroes and preserve it in cyber-amber for the wonderment of future generations. This is the Insomniac Questionnaire—meet NGHTMRE.
What was your favorite toy as a child, and when and why did you stop playing with it?
I feel like most of my time when I was like younger was spent outside playing. I played soccer the most. Does a soccer ball count as a toy? I still will occasionally play for fun.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Did you take it?
I feel like I’ve heard it a few different times said in different ways, but my dad originally said, “No matter what you do, 30 percent of the people are going to say it’s awesome and it’s amazing, and 30 percent of the people are going to say they hate it and that you’re crazy.” I guess a third obviously just aren’t going to care about what you do. I try to apply that when I’m thinking about writing music and not write for other people—write for me—because in the end, no matter what I do, there’s gonna be some people that love it and some people that don’t.
What part of your day do you look forward to most?
The few hours before I go to bed—I’m usually working or traveling during the day. I love any day that I have a show, don’t get me wrong, but a whole day of traveling is not that awesome. If it’s a show day, the one or two hours that I get to play are significantly better than anything else, though.
What’s the best time you’ve ever had without spending money?
It was probably playing EDC this year. Like, actually getting to go up there to play music that you’ve been working on is the cherry on top of everything. The first festival I ever played was EDC Vegas on the cosmicMEADOW stage, and I was opening. This year, I played right after Major Lazer; it was such a cool moment. Plus, I had a bunch of family and friends there.
What is your most treasured possession?
I want to say my music collection—from the stuff I grew up with, to everything I’ve created when I started to write music, on through to this moment right now. Obviously, my family and things like that are more important, [but] if I had to choose a single possession, it would probably be my music collection.
Do you owe an apology to anyone?
I always try to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy and not upset. And I don’t like being on bad terms with anyone, so I usually apologize if I’ve done something wrong. I don’t think I owe anyone anything. Hopefully not, but if I do owe you an apology, consider this my formal apology.
When is the last time you were really scared?
I was on vacation in the Caribbean this year with my mom, dad, brother, and sister. We were in the Bahamas for like a week, and the first day we got there, we were super excited to get this house right on the water—complete with a boat that we could use. It was a pretty small boat, a Boston Wailer, like 20 feet, and it holds four people maximum—two people comfortably. So, it’s the first day, and we were all super excited. The four of us take this boat out. By the way, this island has like 3,500 people on it; there are no emergency services—nothing at all. So, we’re boating out, and it was pretty windy, and we get probably about a half a mile from our house. But we’re still maybe only 100 or 150 yards from the coastline, and our engine dies. We tried starting it back up a few times, and then we realize we’re out of gas. We’re like floating for a second and start telling each other to call someone. But none of us had our cell phones, so we start to freak out for a second, and then my brother threw down the anchor. But it was really short, and there were probably one to two minutes where we are just blowing out to sea pretty fast, because the anchor wasn’t catching. We all had life jackets on, but still, there was a moment where I was like, “We’re on a random Caribbean island with hundred of miles of nothing, and we’re floating out to sea”… but then the anchor caught. Luckily! My brother had snorkel gear, and he swam over to shore and then walked back and got another boat to come tow us in. It was terrifying for a second. I’ve never had a scare like that before. It very quickly went from fun to, “Oh shit, how are we even going to get back to shore?”
What is the last thing you googled?
This is gonna sound ridiculous—I’m just plugging EDC so much—but “EDC Orlando stages.”
What’s the last sound you would want to hear before you die?
Definitely a song, but I don’t know what song it would be yet. I think I have to wait a few years before I have the wisdom to decide. Maybe some Sigur Rós—they’re very angelic, heaven-like music.
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares? If not, what’s the last dream you remember having?
The last few weeks, I’ve had some really weird ones… I’m in a dream, and then I realize that I’m in a dream. Like, I realize that I should check to see if I’m in a dream by touching my face. And then I go over to touch my face and realize that I’m dreaming. It’s so weird. I haven’t had dreams like that before. It’s basically a lucid dream, but when I figure out that I’m dreaming, that’s when I wake up. So I don’t get the time where I realize that I am and can do whatever I want.
How do you measure success?
I think no matter how much happens to you—no matter how much money you get, or fame, or whatever—you’re always gonna want more. Everyone always says that. The one thing I care a lot about is my family. They spent their whole lives trying to make sure that my life was going to be comfortable, so being able to provide for them is what I care about the most.
If you could have one magical/superpower, what would you want, and why?
I feel like flying is a classic one. It’s simple, but it would be dope to be able to fly wherever I want—even just small places, like to CVS, the chiropractor, or just to do errands and fly home. Or fly to the beach real quick for five minutes. Oh, and obviously to all my shows. Like, 50 percent of my life is spent in planes and airports, so flying would be a huge upgrade.
Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal or supernatural?
I haven’t. I’ve heard some pretty weird stories, but I’ve never personally had any.
What do you remember about your first kiss?
It was a pretty classic scenario: middle school, on a date at the movie theater, all planned out. No tongue, it was very brief—a quick smooch.
What four words best describe you?
Grateful. Creative. Punctual. Relaxed.
What’s the last impulsive thing you did?
I don’t know if it was “the last” one, but it was pretty impulsive. I’ve been trying to find a cool old car that I can restore, and I found this 1968 Ford Econoline—a camper van. I bought it off Craigslist for like 8 grand.
Do you have a pet? Tell us a story about it/him/her. If not, what is your ideal pet?
My brother has a rescue dog. It’s awesome, so chill. I don’t have any crazy stories for it.
What is your strongest or best personality trait?
Patience. I’m generally a pretty patient person, and I feel like that definitely helps a lot in my life when dealing with everyday life things.
Do you believe in any conspiracy theories or urban legends?
Not really. But I don’t think in the end that I would be that surprised if some of them were true. The world is a pretty fucked-up place, but I’m not 100 percent confident about throwing them in people’s faces.
You can catch NGHTMRE doing his thing at Escape: Psycho Circus 2017, which takes place Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28, at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. For more information, visit the official website.