"Exotica from XL" is how Sim Nagai describes his music. The phrase identifies two things about Sim: he loves vintage 'exotica' music (as popularized by '50s musicians like Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman), and his home base in Ixelles, Brussels. Ixelles, you see, is pronounced "XL."
Sim began his musical explorations as a music journalist, writing for Fuzz Magazine, an online electronic music publication. He connected with many artists and producers through the magazine, eventually interviewing Cold Busted artist Poldoore twice. When the latter announced he would be giving a masterclass in beatmaking, Sim didn’t hesitate to enroll . This class was a turning point, accelerating Sim's production know-how and giving him the flex to produce his debut album, Exotica XL.
The name Sim Nagai was adopted, inspired by Japanese illustrator Hiroshi Nagai. Sim sensed a tone in the illustrator's drawings that he sought to replicate musically. "His illustrations evoke feelings of leaving, or being on holiday," Sim explains. "Dreamy late night drives and having no worries." This connected Sim to the exotica genre, which aimed to transport listeners to leisurely, faraway places. "My music is often inspired by places, some which I've visited myself and others I haven't."
It was through the iconic beatmaker Poldoore that Sim got in touch with the respected beats imprint Cold Busted. Now Sim's debut, Exotica XL, is due soon via Cold Busted on vinyl and digital formats. Sim Nagai's quick climb to sit among his beat-making peers speaks volumes about his music's quality. Sim's story is just beginning, and it will be fascinating to watch all the places he'll go.
Instagram: Sim Nagai