SAN DIEGO -- They say it's never too late to follow your dreams, and Nicholas Moede, popular owner of Rich's nightclub and longtime LGBT activist, will leave San Diego this month to pursue schooling in music production.
Moede, who has owned Rich's for seven years and is known by many of his friends and fans as "DJ Nikno," will be heading to New York City to see where a career in the music business might take him.
While some have wondered what will happen to the nightclub after Moede's departure, he said that there is no reason to worry as he will continue to be the owner.
"Rich’s will continue pretty much as it has been," Moede said. "I handed the reins over to [general manager] Ryan Bedrosian about a year ago and he has been doing a fantastic job. I have a great management team over there between Ryan and Andrew Jacobsen and we have a great team of employees. We are planning some some big events for the future and we are also looking at doing some remodeling over the next year or so."
Moede holds a great amount of confidence in his staff, which is why he is ready to leave town and let his passions ride out.
"I started producing my own music last year and it has become a huge passion of mine," Moede said. "I want to pursue it and see where it takes me. You could say that I am following my dream. I’m very fortunate to be at a place in my life where I am able to take a chance and see where it takes me. I've lived in San Diego for 21 years so you could say it's time for a change of environment."
Upon arriving in New York City, Moede says he will be completely focused on his music.
"I'll be taking classes in sound design and music theory and I have a tutor that will help me with song writing," Moede said. "I also plan to immerse myself in the cultural scene there and look forward to letting my creativity flow."
Moede, as DJ Nikno, has long served as Rich's music maestro, keeping Rich's dance floor moving night after night at popular regular parties like Voltage, Active Duty and the now legendary "Massive" events.
As he works on his first official CD release, Moede says that it is the crowd that makes him love being a DJ so much.
"I love feeling the energy from the crowd. I really feed off of that," Moede said. "When people on the dance floor are energized and responsive to what I’m playing it really allows me to push the boundaries with the music. I also have to say that one of the most rewarding experiences of my life has been to play music that I have produced. It’s an amazing feeling to look out at the crowd and to realize that everyone is dancing to something you have created."
Moede hopes his release is out by the end of this year, and hopes to produce something that gets picked up by some of the bigger-name DJs.
"It is definitely be a dream of mine, to be at a big event and hear someone like Tiesto drop one of my tracks," Moede said.
He also sees himself DJ'ing to crowds in bigger party spots around the world.
"As far as DJ'ing goes, I would like to build up a residency in New York or somewhere else on the East Coast and my ultimate dream would be to DJ in Europe," Moede said.
Owning one of San Diego's most popular nightspots since 2005 has been very rewarding, Moede said. The popular dance venue just celebrated its 21st anniversary Saturday night with a special party and live performance by pop star Alexis Jordan.
Moede listed a few reasons behind the amazing success of Rich's.
"First, I think it’s because our priority was always about having fun," Moede said. "We never really stuck to a budget and we never sat around talking about how much money we were going to make. When we get together and plan events it’s always like, wow, this is going to be a great fuc*ing party!
"Second, I was very conscious from the beginning of creating a space for everyone. I think we have the most diverse crowd of any club I have ever been to. We aren't just targeting the circuit boys or the pretty crowd. I wanted to create a space that everyone feels comfortable in."
The club, which is open Wednesday through Sunday nights, continues to offer a diverse lineup of events, including a women's night on Thursdays, special events on the weekends, and rotating DJs.
Moede has been very active in the LGBT community during his time in San Diego, most notably his participation in the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA). Recently finishing his term as president of the organization, Moede was part of the team that helped bring a number of projects and events to the neighborhood, including the Hillcrest Pride Flag, new Hillcrest sign and the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party.
Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of HBA, said Moede utilized his creative and business talent to lead the organization in new directions over the last several years.
"During his time with us, the HBA launched Hillcrest Hoedown and the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, reinvigorated Mardi Gras and CityFest to have broader appeal and created the Hillcrest Pride Flag Project," Nicholls said.
"These were all part of Nick's vision of a dynamic and exciting Hillcrest. New ideas and new directions don't just happen over night or by chance. Leaders have to have a vision for a project and see it through. Nick certainly has done that during his tenure as HBA board president."
City Councilmember Todd Gloria echoed Nicholls' sentiments.
"Nick is a trusted community leader whose counsel I rely on to help me improve District Three," Gloria said. "Because of his thoughtful approach to neighborhood issues, we've been able to deliver results in the Hillcrest Business District. We will miss Nick while he is away and wait anxiously for his return to San Diego."
Moede said he has enjoyed giving back to the community and will continue to do so as he can.
A special goodbye party for Moede was held at Rich's at the end of September and hundreds of people turned out to hear him DJ at the club one last time before his departure and say farewell. Moede's close group of friends have also hosted a number of dinners and celebratory occasions to say goodbye to this San Diego legend.
Moede says he is committing to two years in New York City, and will make a decision about his next steps after that. He also said that he'll be making regular trips back to San Diego and will be DJ'ing at Rich's during holidays and special events, as well as at the Hillcrest Mardi Gras in February and the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party in July.
We Come Running Remix Contest
Nikno is currently participating in the We Come Running Remix contest, which challenges DJ's to remix Youngblood Hawke's debut single. The winner will receive $1,000 and get on the official remix EP alongside internationally renowned DJ Tiësto, The Knocks and RAC.
To check out Nikno's remix submission or to vote for him, click HERE.