Hailing from Bolivia, South America, and currently based in New Jersey, Nekter Gun (real name, Hector Gundlach) emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was a young child. From a very young he was playing the guitar with his grandfather, singing in the church choir and built his music career the old fashioned way. Step by step.
From singing at home with family to performing at local coffee shops as a child, to hundreds of thousands of streams and his own record label. In 2020, Gundlach established his own imprint, Gunlock Records, and Nekter Gun’s “Neon Night” was released later that year. “Neon Night” charted on iTunes’ electronic charts in Mexico (peaking at #18) and also did well in Canada. Nekter Gun has clocked more than 1 million streams to-date. The second artist signed to the label is Sunset Capone, and he is expected to release new music on Gunlock Records in 2021.
Nekter Gun has had a long musical journey to get here today. After a rough health scare and a near death experience, his philosophy of living in the moment is even more poignant.
According to Nekter Gun, the mission of Gunlock Records derives from Nekter Gun’s philosophy as an artist, “To live in the moment is to experience the infinite.”
Enjoy our exclusive interview with Nekter Gun
ThatDrop: First of all, we’re so happy you’re feeling well enough to talk with us today! You recently suffered a really bad case of COVID-19….man, what was that like?
Nekter Gun: Intense! It was a life-changing bout with COVID19. I had acute respiratory failure and I almost died. I was at Tisch (NYU Langone Health) Hospital for five days hooked-up to wires and oxygen and being pumped with life-saving meds. I was in such a daze for those five days, and there were four different doctors and five different nurses that came in and out throughout that period. I’m forever grateful to the medical professionals who saved my life and to Dr. Robert Cerfolio who oversaw my care. Those people are heroes! During that time, I realized I have way too much music in the vault that hasn’t been released. I’m not worried about genres anymore. In the hospital I thought, it would’ve been a shame to make all this music and then just die because I was too worried about confusing my audience. [laughs] But seriously, I have some reggae, tech-house, slap-house, trop-house, big room, dance hall, pop. All waiting. This year is definitely the beginning of my breakout.
ThatDrop: We haven’t heard a lot about you, yet, but we’re diggin’ your alias. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Nekter Gun: I’m relatively new to the scene so it makes sense. I released my solo debut single last year in June, called, “Neon Night.” Before that, I was releasing music with artist, Pat Ross, as his producer. Then, eventually, as a duo, for a couple of releases, until I decided to start doing solo work as well.
ThatDrop: How about your upbringing?
Nekter Gun: I was born in Bolivia and came to the U.S. at age four. Music has been in my family since day one. I honestly don’t remember a life without some sort of musical instrument being played in the house by either my grandparents or me. If not that, then my parents playing everything from reggae to merengue or artists from ABBA to Pink Floyd, or my mom’s ‘90’s dance mix on repeat. There was a time I dove into the jazz world, as well. I was deeply moved by the ‘40’s bee-bop movement and culture while studying it in high school. Although you can’t really hear it in my music today, it’s definitely in there somewhere.
ThatDrop: How did you come-up with your alias, Nekter Gun?
Nekter Gun: My real name is Hector Gundlach, so Nekter Gun is a play on my first and last names. Kids used to call me “Hector Nectar” growing up, and people in general would mispronounce my last name as “Gun-lock” instead of “Goond-lahk” … so that kind of made things a little easy for me thinking of my new alias. I didn’t like the regular “Nectar” spelling, so I stylized it! [laughs]
ThatDrop: “Surreal” is your new single. It’s really fun! Perfect for spring and summer and we love getting outdoors again! What was your inspiration behind this song?
Nekter Gun: I have an amazing songwriting team that consists of my sister, Adriana Ward, Sunset Capone, Geo Hart (aka Geo Sheen) and Abigail Jennings. This time around, it was Adriana who came up with the idea of the song being a “city vibe.” I had already come-up with the production about a month prior. I was going for this future-house vibe. This is the first time I’ve really tried going in this direction as a producer.
ThatDrop: “Surreal” almost has a childlike quality to it; it’s really accessible and friendly sounding. Was that something you were specifically going after when you recorded it?
Nekter Gun: I’d say so! The idea of something being surreal is definitely derived from a childlike wonder with the world around you. My mastering engineer is Earl Cohen and he really helped bring-out my vocals. He is a genius mixing engineer and vocal producer. He had me listen to some “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson and “SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake. That was his version of ‘punky’ that he thought I should try for. There’s definitely some grit and attitude that was added there with that type of inspiration. Michael Jackson was very childlike when he sang, so maybe that brought it out in me, too.
ThatDrop: You come from a live-instrument background. Can you expand upon that a bit? How did you make the transition from performing with live-instruments to making electronic dance music?
Nekter Gun: I wanted to dive into the electronic music world for a long time. I have that bit of influence from my mom. She would listen to house music nonstop in the car driving up to NY to visit our family. So even though I had been playing piano and guitar since I was seven, I had this deep love for electronic music already. It just took me a little bit to get out of my comfort zone.
I borrowed money and went to Dubspot Academy in NYC for a semester to learn Ableton Live production techniques. I haven’t looked back since.
ThatDrop: In which discipline do you feel more expressive, acoustic instruments or DJ’ing/producing with computers? Why?
Nekter Gun: When I was younger, performing really did it for me. Just me and my guitar and voice in front of an audience going wild. We are talking crazy, raucous house parties or shows. Pure fun and connection with my tribe. I feel like I may have lost a little of that fun along the way. It became a grind as I got older. My interests turned towards technology and production. I began to love studio work.
ThatDrop: What did Berklee College Online’s music composition and production program teach you that you feel you never would’ve been able to learn on your own? Do you think a formal music education is necessary to “make it” as a DJ/producer?
Nekter Gun: The core Berklee curriculum is very robust in composition and theory. I honestly wouldn’t have even known to learn some of the stuff I learned there. Not to mention just being around people that are as hungry as you are and love music as much as you do. It pushes you to be a better artist/producer. It is most definitely world-class. I think my biggest takeaways from Berklee were the in-depth harmony and arrangement techniques I learned. I hate to sound so clinical about it since it actually opened up an endless palette of possibilities for composing for me. But at the same time, technique goes a long way. My songwriting classes really helped me understand how to connect with an audience at a far deeper level. Though I’m not as much of a songwriter now as I was a long time ago, I feel like I can step into any songwriting circle in the industry and contribute quality. That’s definitely thanks to Berklee.
Follow Nekter Gun online!
- Official: https://www.nektergun.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nektergun
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nektergun
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/nektergun
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1go9NNTAqig7l8SyXAD3hM?si=wPPSPSE2QIC-CHsIcYXFGg
- Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-502138775
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG4lPOjY81rWETH8xbMv_Bw