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Interview: DNYO

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It’s been a long journey so far. A good one too. Danny’s 15 years of musical achievements can be considered as dreams for others, whether it’s remixing Marco V’s “First Light” back in 2006, signing on Anjunadeep and Fraction Records under Danny Loko, to birthing his DNYO project through Burn Energy Drink and Sasha’s “Cut Me Down” remix competition where he placed 2nd amongst a list of 2 thousand entries, earning an official release on Last Night On Earth as well. DNYO’s unique sound earned him a long-lasting relationship with the Canadian imprint – microCastle, as well as other releases on equally big labels, drove his name up the charts and into DJ playlists, with an added bonus of having been remixed by legendary producers like – Barry Jamieson, Charlie May, Andre Sobota, Jamie Stevens, Marc Marzenit, Guy Mantzur, Max Cooper, Cid Inc and more. More recently, Quivver’s album ‘Rekonstruct’, which hit #1 on Beatport on multiple genre pages, featured a special edit on DNYO’s “Reaction” by John Graham himself. Danny’s wild sound design capabilities and incredible attention to detail in his productions are a foundation of his uniqueness, match that with great musicality and there’s the reason he’s considered as one of the most forward-thinking producers out there. With his new ‘Radiate’ EP for Juicebox Music, DNYO has now ventured into a slightly new mood, prepping us for the summer ahead. “Radiate” pays homage to the sound of yester-year’s deeper side of house music but dressed in futuristic attire. As the soundtrack progresses with multiple layers being introduced, it almost feels like a glimpse into how musical tastes have progressed over the years. “Closer Distance” stays with the deeper-theme and taps into a more tribal and percussive route with an ethereal synth-laden score. We had a chance to catch with Daniel for an exclusive chat just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hi Daniel, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hey Mitch, thanks for having me. As long as I keep the screens in this house away from the news, the mood stays good. Just had lunch, so I’m more relaxed.

“La Mer”, a record by Riverrun from 2011, English producer Daniel Land, beautiful oceans of sound waves, go check him out.

What are your plans for the coming week?

I got a ton of clients to clear this week in the studio, most are mixing-related, I received new machines from Apple (long story) still have a few things to install and get back into those projects. Then get ready for some sim racing on the weekend.

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

I consider these some of the most intense in production value and storytelling. True paintings. There’s vast color and travel.

GusGus – Purple (Sasha vs The Light Remix)
Tilt vs Paul van Dyk – Rendezvouz (Quadraphonic Mix)
Bedrock – Heaven Scent
Lostep – Burma
Altus – Innerspace Outermind

There was a period in your career where you produced under Danny Oliveira for a time and then eventually came back to DNYO as a primary alias, tell us about the evolution of your sound through those stages.

Yeah, I thought I was done with DNYO at that time. People wouldn’t understand the name, all that drama. But I focused too much on that instead of the real problem. Music got very bad, worldwide. Progressive House was bombarded with garbage. Tons of underground artists like me had no space due to a very active youth coming up learning it the other way around. later I realized that DNYO, what it had accomplished was already there and to throw it away would be a mistake. So that took some time to organize. Not forgetting that I love producing other styles as well. So separating Danny from DNYO was a good choice. I was already spinning techno as Danny Oliveira for many years and then upon that decision to bring back DNYO, I locked myself in the studio for almost a year, creating a sound for Danny Oliveira and the feedback with the releases were more than what I could ask for.

Are you a sound design junkie? Tell the truth.

Yeps. Can’t get away. It’s the best part of the process. One can go as deep as one wants for days and weeks at a time for one little part. When I’m working on something new I still save each part as its own project and then start bringing them in, go back and revise, it all becomes a big puzzle, I was blessed with the patience for it too so that’s cool.

Are you addicted to granular synthesis? Tell the truth.

I am, that’s true. BT is to blame. When I first heard it I was 19. You know it’s as old as the 60’s I think. But technology brought it into some crazy depths. It’s hard not to like. I ended up pausing for a few releases but I didn’t quite like what I produced without it. Even if it’s applied gently, it can change the scope of texture like nothing else. It’s a big part of my process in sound design.

Your Konstrukt imprint returned earlier this year after a five-year hiatus, what are your plans for the label going forward?

Yeah, I was very surprised with the number of demos sent after “Parallel Dubs” was released. These next few months are going to give me some space to explore what I got lined up. I’d like to use this time to dig deep into the sound again. Some of those demos were taken, and I want to push these producers out there. There’s a ton of solo stuff from me coming as well. In July, Andy Arias and I are coming back to the label with a collaboration. I’m very happy to have him in there, oh and there are some revisits in order as well.

You have a new EP out this week on Praveen Achary’s Juicebox Music, tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your individualities.

I’ve been seeking a sound for this project, something that can reference the past, but keep pushing towards innovation. I’m sure these are only two tracks that can showcase some of that, and that might not be enough, for now anyway, but the EP gives a taste of what I’d like to distinguish. Dancefloor music doesn’t have to be simple, made out of templates, repetitive, and copied over and over again. There’s magic in taking your time and exploring. People seem to be in a rush these days. I take my time and I pour all I got as a new sound escape for others and Juicebox Music is allowing me to do just that.

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way, your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself?

Oh yeah, most definitely. Time is everything, and life is movement, movement is living. Still, life is never still. It’s a big issue being locked all this time on that part of the equation. I don’t have a problem with it. But it doesn’t allow us to see the world as we used to. I was in Beirut (Lebanon) once and driving with some friends, we went into this beautiful, old tunnel. Gorgeous thing, the light setup was also old but you could see how well it was put together and the distances between them combined with the speed of the car. That gave me a song. Looking out the window in airplanes is inexplicably tons and tons of music for me. It’s a feeling. It inspires. Very powerful stuff.

Where does your inspiration come from and was there anything that inspired the two tracks which make up your ‘Radiate’ EP?

It comes from all of these things. Travelling, a movie, a story being told, a small scene in life, a view, a friend. ‘Radiate’ was made under the sun. You can hear the vibe in there. It reminded me of some of those summer vibed prog tracks from the 2000s. I took it to India to play for the 1st time and it still had no name. That never happened before. ‘Closer Distance’ was inspired by a friend, who called me during these difficult times and told me I shouldn’t stay so distant. So I made that track to remind myself to stay at a closer distance to things, to people.

Walk us through the production process on one of the tracks, whichever you like.

Ok then, “Closer Distance” started with the Moog. I thought of doing a long riff with chords, something that would fill a 32 bar while the bass was rolling. Since the Moog is monophonic I had to record every note individually. I ran the same setup on a poly but, I had already made a preset on the Moog I wanted to use so much, so I took my time. The phasing of a monophonic note on top of another is something of a dream for me. I adjusted the oscillator frequency individually very little in different spots, one by one to get different textures in every note. Then off to the beat I went. I wanted something more percussive for the beat. What I do here is an awesome session of “Batuques”. Brazilian word for “beating/drumming on something”
I’m combining timbre’s of percussion, do I want skin, wood, or metal? I usually control them by frequency and space them out to stand in their own place in the mix. Each sound has its own individual group of chains of effects, so I had a few of those rendered out and took them for some sound design in another session, get them to sound different is the main idea. I wasn’t happy with the clap/snare, so I granulated both of them, it needs more of a snap, some saturation, and a wider and longer tail. That sound is a finger snap, my middle finger’s knuckle knocking on wood, and a 909 clap.

Then the hats have their own session. There are the ones that add texture and some rhythm. Others have a focus on more rhythm than anything else. Shakers, high hats, and rides do a lovely work of controlling speed and tension, so I space them out in the arrangement and test. They all go through a lot of processing, each sound is in its own group, again, which can hold as much as 5, 7 channels of whatever I want to put in there. This is where I control stereo imaging, reverb, echo, flanger, phaser, delay. Then I take those out and play with them in sound design. There’s a big Rev fx sound from the start of the track to the 30-second mark. That’s one of those hats on a long tape echo with tons of release and processed afterward with frequency shifting/phaser/flanger.

Then back to the Moog for the bass. Needed some attack, but I wanted to keep it on the lower-end for rhythm purposes. Just rolling. Not a lot of attention. But you notice how it has a decay control throughout the track, gets stronger when it needs to add more tension, gets weaker it has to let go and breathe a little so that something else can come along and shine. You can hear that in the breakdown, as I break elements and cut things shorter on decay. That’s when the lead synth comes in. I wanted the progression of it to be longer and take its time before the comeback. The sound is from a synth I’ve been developing in Max. Been using this sound in tons of these most recent tunes of mine. It’s got a vintage vibe to it, a bit trancy, not too much. Like every sound, it’s got its own chain of effects. Good old EchoBoy does the work on the tape delays here as I open the synth’s filter in the breakdown. I added a few other harmonic pads to fill in for more mystery and texture. The bells were recorded from an old wind chime on my balcony. That’s a sampled instrument on its own. Then I found a flute session recording from years ago when I used to work for a studio back in Sao Paulo, and I added some of it in there as well. That completed my harmonic field and gave me tons of colors.

Then I ran those into a sound design session for each. Ran them in a Max machine I’ve been doing, glitchy as hell, it uses water/bubble samples and convolution reverb to calculate and randomize patterns via LFO shapes. So all those bubbly sounds you hear throughout the tracks are tons of rendered automations. Then I bring them into the track and find their fitting place in the arrangement.

Is that a typical flow for the majority of your work or is every track a different journey in a sense?

I’d like to keep the process of creation under those steps. If I have that, then I have speed. If I have speed then I can control whichever comes first based on idea and inspiration, like starting with the beat or the bass first. But this is the journey every track takes you into. Makes you get off the chair and record some stuff in the kitchen or go back into memory lane and search for old samples and recording sessions.

This is your second EP for Juicebox Music, was this a project you had written with them in mind from the beginning? And what has made the label a great home for your music in recent years?

Yeah, these were carefully produced for Juicebox Music. Before embarking to India, I told Praveen I was bringing a lot of new ideas made for the label, so he, Greg, and I got to see the impact of these tunes on the floor. We shared that moment. That’s how special this EP is to all of us. I told Praveen that I’d like to be part of this story and the reception to the music and in his hometown has been a beautiful thing altogether. Juicebox takes artists seriously. Puts in the effort to expose true talent and expand what they believe is the best sound on the planet whilst truly exploring their passion, that’s pretty good for me if you ask.

Looking back on your first Juicebox EP from 2019 that was a sound which was quite typical of you at the time, a bit darker and heady sounding, but this new EP has a more melodic, friendly vibe to it, is this a sound we can expect to hear more from you going forward?

Very true, this is the new road for DNYO. Dark will have its limits. I have tons of room for the other stuff. I’m focused on a Progressive sound, the one I fell in love with years ago.

What’s a piece of gear that always gets used when you’re writing a track? And what are some studio tools that featured heavily on this EP?

One that I use on everything is Elektron’s Analog Heat. Gives me the punch and distortion I need, very fast, and it sounds very unique. On this EP there’s a lot of Soundtoys Echoboy, PhaseMistress. Eventide’s H910 Harmonizer and Omnipressor. Softube’s Transient Shaper and Fix Phaser. Max for Live. I might have used VintageVerb from Valhalla at some point as well.

When working on music is the dance floor always something that’s taken into consideration?

For certain scenarios, yes. Then you gotta pick the right ones for that floor as well. If a producer can separate his focus points, he can then pinpoint what is more important at that time for him/her. Drawing board. But ignoring your hunger to try something different is stupid. One must find balance. I’d pay the same amount or even more to go see an ambient artist perform live.

Is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so why?

Tenet. That is my stuff. Nolan is a genius. He messes with time a “mind-bogglingly perfect” vision. It provokes my senses. It inspires me to make music just by watching it, imagine if that was the case. Quite sure a lot of producers would agree. Nolan has done me good quite a few times too, watching Interstellar, gave me one of the best songs I’ve ever created.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Driving makes me very happy. The sense of speed. In real life or in a Sim. Photography and Videography as well. Big passions of mine.

What does the remainder of 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

For now, yeah I’ll be more active with Konstrukt finally, some great things planned. Got a few releases coming up on a few labels. But my mission to get rid of all the music I made, is still on. I want to be free from all of it.

‘Radiate’ is available now via Juicebox Music: https://bit.ly/3pxMuVP

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