Writer and Dry Magazine contributor Mike Williams caught up with the Miami/Berlin based DJ & producer Danny Daze in Glasgow pre-set to see what’s going on.
So, how does it feel like to be in Glasgow, we know you are playing Sub Club……
Danny Daze: Well….I’ve been looking forward to playing the Sub Club for a very long time this (Sub Club) is equal to, like Panorama bar, you know it’s up there with Panorama bar, with Fabric, with those clubs, its one of the most important clubs, its been around for what 27 years or something like that…
That’s pretty sweet
Danny Daze: Yeah, I am really, really excited, really happy to play.
Cool, so you’re going to Italy (Torino) tomorrow, then you’re back to Berlin..
Danny Daze: Yeah, back to Berlin and I’m probably gonna head straight to Panorama since a couple buddies of mine are playing…
That’s kind of funny cos I went two weeks ago and you were playing at KOMPAKTARAMA
Danny Daze: oh yeah, you were there??
Yeah, was intense
Danny Daze: cool. cool.
Why do you think Berghain/Panorama is so good. Do you go as a DJ? What is the difference between going as a DJ or with friends? You played two weeks ago, 8am set until 12pm.
Danny Daze: Yeah, I played like 4 hours. I think the big difference is how much you are socialising that day. If you are there (Berghain) for the music you are there for the music. A lot of people go there, strictly to socialise sometimes, so it just really depends man.
and do more than socialise….
Danny Daze: Yeah, and just be seen there. I mean, I don’t really party too much. I don’t go out too much. I’m usually, the only time I ever go out is if I have a day off and one of my friends are playing. If not, I am in the studio making music.
So you’re not a big socialiser, even in Berlin?
Danny Daze: No, I am not no, usually what I do in Berlin, it’s a good home base to fly out. The studio is my headphones right now. Headphones and I have a modular synth and one Nord Lead (Synthesizer) back in Miami I have an entire wall of stuff. But it’s actually good to be limited because you don’t get too confused with so many synths, so it’s good to be limited.
Yeah. Were you not in Barcelona recently and you moved to Berlin?
Danny Daze: I was in Barcelona and I didn’t like it.
Danny Daze: To be honest, I speak a pretty ghetto fast Spanish, I’m Cuban and thats just what we do. We speak really fast a people barely understand us and have some pretty crazy slang. I got the impression people in Spain thought I was uneducated so that kinda put me off a bit. Overall though, everyone I’ve worked with out there has a been a total pleasure but the normal cats who I was just ordering food off or something would look at me weird as hell.
Were you brought up in a family speaking Spanish?
Danny Daze: Cuban family, Scarface (laughs). We play dominoes n’ crap.
I suppose if you pick two cities in Europe, the music scene, Barcelona and Berlin would you say?
Danny Daze: No. 1 would be Berlin, no. 2 would be London. Those are the top two contributors to underground music I think.
And how is your home town Miami, do you play WMC every year, Do you try and get back out for that?
Danny Daze: Yeah the last ten years. I have been playing WMC for almost 14 years.
Is that where you exploded on the scene?
Danny Daze: Well, I used to be a turntablist who also was into the Bboy scene. Barely a turntablist actually, I pretended.
Yeah, with your blonde hair.
Danny Daze: Yeah, I used to be a scratch DJ but I totally sucked. That was my biggest thing. And, DJ Craze is from there, and a bunch of the legendary turntable dj’s. That’s how I first started, it was that and I was playing breakdancing parties, so I would play Electro for all the B Boys and all the breakdancers. There was a big Experimental scene, a big Electro scene in Miami. That was way back… 99, 2000, 2001. I started doing parties, roller skating rinks, and people would breakdance, and that’s where I started, doing that.
Because your sound, I mean, listening to some of your music, you know the Hot Creations releases, and then obviously coming through to the Kompakt releases, less than 1 month ago, it’s almost like a side of you that’s from Miami, you know the old school Booty music and House, and then from Europe. Do you think there are two sides to Danny Daze, coming from Europe with Techno, Tech/House?
Danny Daze: Yeah, I have an influence, but I definitely don’t have a sound. I have my influence, my influence comes from Miami and Detroit. So it’s Detroit Ghetto/Tech and Miami Booty bass music and Electro that all fits together. The stuff that I did for Hot Creations for example… That one release for me is actually more Electro influenced than anything else. The way I DJ I call it “hybrid” a big mixture of electronic music. “Hybrid house”.
Danny Daze: Yeah, it’s a huge, huge bass sound that all comes from Miami. It all comes from big Miami bass records.
And it’s big, big, big….
Danny Daze: Yeah, that was a big record. Unfortunately I didn’t release anything with them (Hot Creations) anymore, because I am more of a Techno guy. But, at that point I made that song in 2009, and it came out in 2011. So, you know, by that time, I was already producing Techno records. I wasn’t really doing that. That record to me was something different, When I produced it, even when it came out, it was different, that’s why it had that big boom.
Do you still like playing it (Your Everything)?
Danny Daze: No I haven’t played it in a long time actually…
Is it because everyone recognizes it and you want to move on?
Danny Daze: Not really that, it’s more about the sound I play today. You definitely get pegged as a type of sound. You know, and the sound that I play is pretty dark. All the music that I play, all the Detroit guys that I know, the stuff on my label, it’s not really that. So, you can still do it, you know, if I play a really dark set for 4 hours, and people know exactly what I play, I can play that only at the very end. Just as novelty, but it’s tough to fit it in any of my sets now-a-days.
So how did you get into Kompakt, how did the guys reach out from Kompakt? Michael Mayer et al.
Danny Daze: Actually, Michael and I were together at some festival, and heard a couple of tracks I was playing and dug the sound, he mentioned he plays my stuff so I got his information and after that just to send him new music, that’s it, we just linked on email. Very easy. And I sent them some new stuff, that’s it.
How do you feel like releasing music with Kompakt?
Danny Daze: It’s been one of my goals since the day that I started. And now, thankfully I’ve done a remix for them, this (Speicher 80) EP, now I am giving them more tracks.
Maybe we will see you on Kompakt 15.
Danny Daze: Yeah, I am going to continue to release with them, because they are the sound that I like, and it is a good mixture, they release ambient music to really hard techno. That is kind of my aesthetic. They are also just really cool, nice people.
Yeah, there is a quote actually from Michael Mayer who said that, he described your sound as “rough and muscular” Is that how you would describe it (your sound)?
Danny Daze: Pretty much.
That was Michael Mayer speaking before you released material with them (Kompakt).
Danny Daze: Yeah, I think my sound is rough…but it’s not the dirtiness that a lot…it’s still dirty but clean. There is a big fad going on right now with this disgusting sound that sounds like it was mixed down in a bathroom. I like for it to have a really rough sound but you can tell that there is engineering behind it. There is proper engineering behind it. Because there are songs that I wish sounded better for me to play. A lot of record labels are releasing some stuff and I am like “Damn, this would be a badass record but the mix down sounds like crap, the mastering sounds like crap” and that’s what I try to avoid. I want to have the rough, really rough stuff, but when you hear it in a club it’s powerful. That’s what I like.
And will you be releasing anything before the end of the year 2014?
Danny Daze: Yeah, I am gonna be releasing something else which would be my fourth EP this year which is a lot, I think I did 3 or 4 remixes this year so been a computer nerd this year…. Got another 2 remixes I think as well …. so yea
And, are you still working with Translucent?
Danny Daze: Translucent is a friend of mine, I mean if you know anything about him, maybe you don’t, but he used to play trumpet for Paul Johnson, for Boo Williams, for Glenn Underground.
Live, it’s like improv….
Danny Daze: Yeah, but he also makes music, he produces as well. He is very big in the Chicago scene. And now, we’ve been friends for a very long time, and now I am kind of bringing him back to the Underground. He was making Pop and Mainstream music for TV and Radio…., and now he has gone out with me and now he has the bug to make Underground stuff again so that’s cool.
Going back to Berlin, you now as we know, base yourself in Berlin, why did you move to Berlin and are you going to be, you have a studio in Miami but are you going to base yourself in the future in Berlin?
Danny Daze: I don’t ever see myself saying that I have a home. The rest of my life, my DJ career is gonna be like that, where I don’t have a home.
Travelling so much…
Danny Daze: I’m gonna have doubles of synthesizers, I am gonna have a Nord Lead Synthesizer in Miami and a Nord Lead in Berlin. So, I don’t know, it’s gonna be tough, but I see myself staying in Berlin. Just because the vibe is what I like, the music, the people, and it’s easy to get all over Europe.
Yeah, just like what you said. It’s kind of like run by kids….Berlin.
Danny Daze: Yeah, the city takes care of itself. You drink in the streets, I haven’t seen one fight yet. Maybe I don’t go out enough. I don’t know. The city takes care of itself and its very techno influenced. Electronic music influenced.
Favourite place in the World, and it has Berghain/Panorama. What was it like playing there.
Danny Daze: Yeah, I mean it’s amazing..
There is no like, DJ Booth, a pedestal kind of thing.
Danny Daze: Yeah, you are just there with the people, It feels you’re are inside a Person’s living room. That’s how it feels.
What was it like doing a set from 8am till 12pm?
Danny Daze: Well, I am used to that actually, cos I used to play in Miami, and I used to have a 12 hour set in Miami, every Saturday, for 3 years.
A 12 hour set?
Danny Daze: For 3 years. That’s how I learned to read crowds and how to take the crowd for a ride and ply all sorts of genres.
Yeah, you have to take the crowd for a ride, you can’t go hard at the start….
Danny Daze: No, you have to really build it up. Go hard, bring it down. So I did that for 3 years, every Saturday. So, 4 hours, it’s cool, I am used to it. It is a little different, you know, waking up, at 7 in the morning, “Oh I gotta go play now” that’s a little weird but I’m fine.
So what about remixes?
Danny Daze: Actually, I got something coming out on Comeme, Matias Aguayo’s Label. Yeah I did something for Philipp Gorbachev. Philipp is one of the new artists on Comeme from Russia, really good artist so I did a remix, and a weird thing for him, but I am trying not to do too many remixes because I put a lot of my ideas into remixing while now I am working on my album. So I’d rather take all these ideas and throw them into the album.
You are working on an album?
Danny Daze: It will come out next year. I guess more experimental. It’s not gonna be a dance album, but it will definitely be more experimental.
Do you have a favourite remix, or favourite track of yours?
Danny Daze: Yeah, that I can’t answer. It’s either everything or none! By the time I hear the music I hate it. By the time it comes out I hate the songs, but then maybe a year later on my own, this track is pretty cool. I’ll play it again. But that is really hard to answer. Because all my music sounds very different than each other, so it depends on the time of night. ‘Silicon’ does not sound like my ‘Freeze’ record that I released on Kompakt, or anything I released with Ellum, and it’s not going to sound like anything on my label, it’s a little bit all over the place but I think I do have a certain characteristic to the stuff I produce, even if they sound completely different from each other.
So, how would you rate your 2014, and what do you expect for 2015? I mean (2014) it’s still going…
Danny Daze: It’s still going, I have another EP coming out, I think this year was a really good turn for people knowing what it is that I am about. I’ve always like to maintain versatility and not get pegged into one sound you know? I come from experimental music like Autechre and Squarepusher and labels like M3rck from Miami, and stuff like that, So now I feel this year, is where people have noticed, so this year has been an important year for me.
What other guy’s now are coming up, coming up on the scene, that you like personally, from Miami or…
Danny Daze: Actually there is this guy named Deroboter from Miami, which I am gonna be releasing him on my label actually, I have known him since 2000, 2001. He has always been a complete nerd, computer programmer stuff like that. He is making some really interesting stuff. I like that guy Philipp Gorbachev from Comeme. This guy named Drvg Cvltvre. He used to release music under the name RA-X. Pure Electro. He is making some doom disco, like death distorted disco stuff it’s really, really cool.
This is a kind of weird question but I’m gonna throw it in there, is it true you used to play Tennis? Professional Tennis? Before you started DJing?
Danny Daze: Yeah, that was my life, I turned pro when I was 17, and I had to stop. Something big happened to me in my life and I had to stop. If it wasn’t for what happened in my life, I would still be playing Tennis. Well, maybe retired by now. It is a young man’s sport. Not really, Federer is like 30 something.
Is there anything from being a Sportsperson, being a Professional, being utterly focused, that you brought into your musical career?
Danny Daze: I think that is the reason why I was able to break out of Miami even though I never followed the “Miami Sound” …. I’ve always just stuck to my guns and had 100% dedication into what I believe I wanna do.
I mean, theres DJ’s who will party, but be focused in the studio and get shit done…..
Danny Daze: Yeah, that’s the way training was….
You took from your training to your music career?
Danny Daze: Yeah 100%. When I said I need to be here, I need to be here. When I said I need to focus on this track, it’s just like me training 5 hours a day for a month, for this one tournament I have at the end of the month. You just stick there and do it and that definitely came from the discipline that you have from playing tennis.
Taking some success from your old career as a Sportsperson into your new career, your dedication or whatever.
Danny Daze: To release the amount of records that I have been releasing lately, it definitely takes full focus and can be pretty exhausting but yea, I love doing this.
So what do you enjoy most, do you enjoy playing, do you enjoy it in the studio, programming, remixing, are you a crate digger..are you..
Danny Daze: I am actually more of a DJ. I make music, because when I am DJing, I always feel that sometimes I need a certain sound in a set, and that’s usually when I go back and say damn I need this type of record, to fit my set. So that is why my sound is so wide-range. Because since my set’s go up and down like a wave, sometimes I will take a mental note like damn right now would be a really good record, a really good time to have a record that has (intonates musical pattern) like ‘Freeze’, I remember that’s how I came up with Freeze, it was like I want a record that is just a bass note.
That track is hard as fuck. So basically you are learning from your own sets.
Danny Daze: I am not learning, I am taking creative input from my sets into the studios, because I said damn I need this type of record, a really crazy record like ‘Silicone’, that I did on Ultramajic. That sounds like Afrojack produced it you know, with crazy sirens and stuff. You know, I took that from a festival I played a festival and I was like damn right now I could use something that this big, and right after the festival I went back and started working on it, immediately after the gig, I went back and said I I had to write this, put this down and a week later I had the song.
So basically you go by DJing.
Danny Daze: Yeah, I am 100% a DJ more than anything else. Crate digger, I hate to say but I don’t want most people to know any of the records that I am playing, thats my challenge. I don’t wanna sound like other Djs, thats kinda the whole purpose of Djing, having your own sound. I buy vinyl and then I rip the vinyl and make sure that I can save the vinyl for later if I wanna play it. That is usually what I am about.
Yeah, like people taking photos of what you are playing…
Danny Daze: I’ve had that before when somebody, somebody comes and takes a snapshot of your actual vinyl and I hate that. I can’t stand it because there are some songs that have taken me 5 years to find out what it is. I heard this one guy Miami it one year, 5 years later I finally find it after dusty create digging only to have one dude take a snap of it., thats crazy man.
Danny Daze: Yeah, unreleased or promo, not even promo, some weird demo or something, somebody just comes and takes a picture of it and they go and they put it up on freaking Resident Advisor you know. I am totally against it, unless with your friends you can totally share, but to be this guy, like, Oh here! let me just get this record and tracklist it and everyone starts playing it. It beats the whole purpose of being a DJ. Of going to see a DJ, of being a DJ, of being known as a DJ, you wanna be known for your sound. You want people to come for you, not for what you and your friends and what everyone else is playing. I’m all about giving new music to other dj buddies, but man, to be that dude coming up to your turntable and taking a picture of the vinyl you’re playing, thats nuts yo.
Do you play more out in Europe now? Do you see yourself playing more out in Europe or going back to the States.
Danny Daze: Oh its 75% Europe. 75%.
The crowds are more receptive in Europe or….
Danny Daze: The US are just as receptive, they are just not as used to being even deeper in the Underground.
For example, Berlin.
Danny Daze: No, even here (in the UK) I can play the deepest, weirdest stuff here and in the United States I feel like I have to play a little bit more mainstream, commercial, accessible music, and I don’t, so it’s a little bit weird, so if I go there and there is cricket’s on the dancefloor man. I am not getting any feedback. But, I don’t care. I’m not gonna sell out and just play songs the crowds wanna hear, my goal is to educate without completely boring them obviously ..
Yeah. What, is there like one amazing gig that has stood out over this summer, recently…
Danny Daze: I mean I played Fabric this year, I’m sure Sub Club is gonna be good tonight, there are so many different vibes, so many different festivals, it’s really hard to narrow them down, every gig has it’s own vibe and you take something home in your head with you. What really stands out are the bad gigs (laughs). That’s what really stands out, when there’s absolutely nobody, yeah last week actually I played, what was this festival? Crap completely forgot the name right now, but there were 7 people on the floor, and in the other tent where other guys were playing, there was 3000 kids sweating their dicks off, so yea that really stands out. So, everything else, you know Panorama, Fabric, Sub Club all these you know, big festivals, they’re just really really good man, insane.