LessThan3: Your Diamonds tour starts on Dec. 4. Is this the first major North American tour you’ve done?
Daniel: We’ve done one before, earlier this year, but this is definitely the biggest one yet–the most cities and the biggest venues I’ve played to date, so I’m really excited about it. There are a lot of cities I’ve played before that have been amazing, and also a lot of new cities, so it’s a good mix.
LessThan3: Do you prefer a certain size or feel when it comes to venues you play?
Daniel: My favorite type of venues at the moment are the smaller ones, like 300-cap rooms where you walk down the stairs and there’s just some cool lights and a DJ booth right on the floor. I really like venues where you’re not too far away from the crowd. It’s nice to feel the energy right next to you when you’re playing, because it gets you in the mood of really being in it and feeling the music. I also like it when there are people rammed up right against the booth–I’ll get people involved, grabbing hands and putting them on the mixer. We also sometimes do boat parties which are amazing.
LessThan3: Do you feel the scene is similar in North America and Europe, or are there any major differences between the vibe you get from the clubs and the crowds?
I would say it’s incredibly different, especially for someone like me. I’m obviously American, and I think that I have a bigger fan base in America. Obviously America is a very big place, but it seems that my tunes are received with a lot more recognition by an American audience compared to Paris or Germany or wherever. In America I find people to be very open and I always feel a lot more comfortable playing different styles and switching genres, because I think people aren’t necessarily tied to one sound–people will listen to anything. I’ll see messages on Facebook or Twitter from people who were at TomorrowWorld
or wherever and they say “saw Lane 8, Griz
,” and in Europe you couldn’t believe that a Hardwell fan would want to listen to Lane 8, but in America that stuff just kind of flies and people are into everything, and it’s such a positive environment. There’s no pretentiousness, or at least I haven’t encountered any. But a lot of the music I love is coming from Europe though, so you need both.
LessThan3: Would you say that feeling around the scene in America is due to the recent explosion of dance music?
Yeah, that’s exactly it. It’s such a new thing for so many people. So many of the people who are going to the big festivals, like the Insomniac
events in the States and getting exposed to all this, they found out about dance music through your Aviciis
or your David Guettas
of the world, and what we’re hoping for is that those people will then start to dig a bit deeper and say “OK, what else is out there in this universe of electronic music?” Meanwhile we’re just doing our stuff and if people find out about us it’s amazing. It’s a great thing to have that cross-pollination happening.
LessThan3: Do you have any plans to mix things up at your gigs, perhaps including live performance aspects, or do you prefer just to keep things simple with a straight DJ set?
It’s a bit of both. I love DJing, and I never want to stop DJing simply because I enjoy it so much, and there’s something to be said for a really good DJ set. I have a ton of respect for really good DJs, so that will always be a part of the project, but there also are plans to play live. We’ve actually just done a live session for my new track Diamonds
with a group called Solomon Grey
. We’ve just recorded a video that’s going to be coming out soon, so that will be a good indication for people to see what my live show is eventually going to look like. I’m going to be playing keyboards, some drum machine stuff, there’s going to be singing. It’s not ready just yet, but I think every artist wants to do that at some point. I feel I’m at that stage where I do want to start playing live shows in the next year or so.
LessThan3: You’re perhaps most associated with deep house, but how would you describe your sound to someone who perhaps wasn’t familiar with your style?
Daniel: Well, the kind of half-joking, half-serious answer I always give is a term the promoters I play for in Detroit came up with. They called my music “dreamy back rub house” and I think that’s the perfect description of it. There is some influence from deep house, but “deep house” has almost become a term that doesn’t have any meaning anymore, because everything that’s less than 125 bpm is called “deep house” now. It has some influence from that world, but it also has some influence from the trance world in terms of melodic structure and I try to put a bit of that euphoric feeling in every song, or at least I hope to.
LessThan3: When it comes to the studio, is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
I’m working on a lot of music right now with various singers. In terms of other producers, I’ve always talked to a guy called Kidnap Kid about working together, so we’ve been trying to find the time to do that. I really like his stuff and I think it would make sense. I haven’t really done any producer collabs in my career so far. I’ve tried, but I find it to be unnatural and not really beneficial. Either one person does all of the work or you just never get anything done if everybody has to sign off on every decision. As far as singers go, I love the singers I’ve already worked with. I love Lucy Stone’s
voice, I love Solomon Grey, I love Patrick Baker
, and I’m working on follow-ups with all of them. I’d like to work with Matthew Dear
would be cool too.
LessThan3: When it comes to those vocalists, was it just a case of meeting these people then working with them, or did you have a style in mind and then went looking for it?
Daniel: In the early days I’d just find people I liked. I’d be listening to SoundCloud and I heard something that Patrick Baker did and I loved his voice, so I just messaged him saying “hey, I really love you stuff, here’s my music, would you want to chat about doing a song together,” and luckily he was up for it. Sometime people will just write to me, like Lucy Stone; her manager wrote to me asking for a remix for another band he manages, and at the bottom of the e-mail it said “PS – I have this girl, so check her out.” I didn’t end up doing the remix, but I wrote him back saying “we’re not taking on any remixes right now, but this singer sounds amazing, can I talk to her?” and I called her and we chatted. It’s always the case that you kind of know right away if it’s going to work–you just get along with people right away so it becomes quite easy to work with them. I’ve had situations where management sends over someone and we chat, but it just doesn’t feel right so we don’t do it and that’s fine. Also it’s just finding the time, because everybody’s busy and everybody has different projects that they’re doing, but it’s always great when it works out; making music with other people is my favorite thing in the world to do.
LessThan3: If you could give one tip to an aspiring producer, what would it be?
I get asked that question a lot, and it’s kind of a tricky one because there’s no one tip that will help anyone. The most useful thing I could say is just to cultivate your tastes in music; your taste in music is everything. There’s a guy called Stimming
who said that “a track is just the sum of all the decisions that you made” and I think that’s totally true. Your decisions are influenced by your taste, whether you like something enough to decide to keep it in a track, or whether you say “OK, this piano melody that I just wrote isn’t good enough, I’m going to write a new one.” If you educate yourself in music and you understand music in a multi-dimensional way, and you can approach it from a point where you’re influenced by many genres and many great musicians that came before us, the ideas are all there and your taste is there and it will influence the decisions you make in a way that will create good music.
LessThan3: You’ve had a long relationship with Anjunadeep, but in the long term would you be looking to branch out and start your own label?
Daniel: Right now I’m really happy working with Anjunadeep. I think they’re amazing and they’re on a tear right now. Of course I would love to start a label someday, but that’s something that’s on the backburner for me right now; I just want to focus on music at the moment. Running a successful label is an incredible amount of work and I think I’m not quite ready for that yet, but it’s something that I do want to do. I see running a label as a natural extension of what DJs do already; DJs are all about supporting music they think is great, and running a label is basically the same thing.
LessThan3: Is there anything you can tell us about that you’ve got in the pipeline for the near future?
Daniel: It’s a little bit tricky to say right now! I’ve got a ton of music written and we’re just wrapping our heads around what to do with it. I’ve always wanted to do an album, and it’s just a question of whether we feel that’s the right thing to do right now, or whether it’s more about singles leading up to an album later. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes, but there’s a ton of new music written and a few remixes coming as well for some artists that I really like, so plenty to be excited about.